On Friday, 20 January 2024, the 75th Officers’ Ball took place in the historic halls of the Vienna Hofburg. Under the motto “SoundS of Music” – based on the famous musical or film about the history of the Trapp family – the officers of the Austrian Armed Forces invited all ball enthusiasts to a special ball night.
As every year, the Officers’ Ball was an impressive experience for me and is part of the Armed Forces’ tradition. I am particularly pleased that the Vermont National Guard was this year’s partner of the ball, as we are connected not only by our military partnership but also by our musical history. I would like to thank all those involved in the organisation and, above all, the musical performances, dances and show interludes, which were simply unforgettable,” said Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner.
Among the 3,400 guests were international military leaders, including the generals of the US armed forces, such as General Hokanson, General Christopher Cavoli and Lieutenant General Steven Basham and Major General Knight, as well as representatives of US diplomacy, including the United States Ambassador to Austria, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and numerous personalities from the worlds of business, politics, sport and culture.
Georg Ritter von Trapp’s granddaughter and her family, who had travelled all the way from Vermont, were also welcomed as guests of honour. The Officers’ Ball was opened with the “Star Spangled Banner March” under the direction of the Elmayer Dance School. A special connection between Austria and the USA was expressed by the presence of the “Vermont National Guard”. The “40th Army Band” and the “U.S. Army Europe and Africa Band & Chorus” provided musical highlights at the 75th Officers’ Ball.
Further musical entertainment was provided by the string orchestra and the gala band of the guard music, which US Army Europe and Africa Band & Chorus, the 40th Army Band of the Vermont National Guard, a women’s string orchestra, a disco and a folk music ensemble,
which invited guests to dance. In addition, Carinthia’s military bandmaster, Colonel Dietmar Pranter, created a great atmosphere on the piano with a “Tribute to Billy, Elton & Udo”. The musical midnight interlude “SoundS of Music” was based on the famous Broadway musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The obligatory midnight quadrille, which united guests from all nations, was of course a must. The evening also offered a varied programme after midnight with the opportunity for folk dances and dance performances. The ball ended early in the morning with the military bugle call “Zapfenstreich”.
The Officers’ Ball is an event with a long tradition, organised in cooperation between the Austrian Armed Forces and the “Alt-Neustadt” association, the graduates of the Theresian Military Academy. Austria’s officers invite people from different social, professional and age groups to a convivial get-together. The uniforms from all over the world illustrate how the Austrian Armed Forces and its officers are embedded in Austrian society and the international community.
We look forward to welcoming you to the next Officers’ Ball on 17 January 2025!