A rainy day of a wintery June has been the setting of Ertegala, the most awaited party of the season. For one evening a year, the Ertegun House becomes the stage of a black-tie soirée with live music bringing together the entire Ertegun community. What seems to be now an established tradition (which will hopefully last for many years to come) was only conceived in an afternoon of December 2017: I was thinking about the traditions of Oxford Colleges while going down the stairs of the House, when I almost bumped into a fellow Ertegun Scholar, who had arrived only a couple of months earlier but had already displayed lots of enthusiasm when it came to event planning. I almost spontaneously said: “hey, have you realised that Colleges have end-of-year balls but we don’t? Why don’t we organise one? Actually, how about a gala? An Erte-gala!”. As I was expecting, she was really enthusiastic about it, but what struck me the most at the time was that everyone else we told was incredibly keen. What started almost as a joke soon became an actual plan! And here we are: thanks to the help of everyone (especially Ed and Jill!) Ertegala has become the most attended end-of-year Ertegun event, and a wonderful occasion in which new Scholars can meet the many Alumni who come back to Oxford to join and enjoy the party. This year, She’Koyokh, one of the finest klezmer ensembles in the country, played a wide range of songs that everyone danced to. Live music was accompanied by delicious canapés and sparkling prosecco, and followed by silent disco. After 11pm most Ertegun scholars/alumni, together with their guests, moved to the upper Annexe (which had been previously decorated with disco lights), put on a glow in the dark bracelet, a pair of giant headphones connected to three channels with wonderful homemade playlists, and danced until late.
Ertegala is something special that I hope will last, something I – as an alumnus – would come back for. We are extremely grateful to Mica Ertegun for making our life at Oxford more enjoyable also thanks to events like this.