Into the Small Hours

28 06 2008
First-ever University Summer Night — 400 guests enjoyed an atmospheric summer party in a historical setting
Last night, the University of Heidelberg lived it up at an atmospheric summer party with the historical Witches’ Tower and the New University as a backdrop. Rector Prof. Bernhard Eitel had invited colleagues, staff members, students, friends and supporters of the University of Heidelberg to the first-ever University Summer Night.

At the outset many of the guests were pleasantly taken aback. The inner courtyard of the New University, otherwise a place students hurry through on their way to the next lecture, had been transformed into an ideal venue for an elegant summer garden party. In his words of welcome Prof. Eitel noted that after its success in the Initiative for Excellence the University was really going places and deserved “to lets its hair down and celebrate”. He thanked all those whose generosity had made the event possible in the first place. Without support from various sponsors – including MLP, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Heidelberg Savings Bank, Baier Digital Druck and Winzerkeller Wiesloch - the Summer Night would never have got off the ground.

Before the first item on the programme, the D.K.M. jazz trio provided snazzy musical entertainment and the guests had the opportunity to admire the works of the artist Bahaiden, exhibited in the newly restyled foyer of the New University. Bahaiden, a student of art history at the University of Heidelberg, can already look back on exhibitions in Europe and the USA and had agreed at short notice to put on a show of his colourful and decorative pictures for the party. As a special gesture he also painted two new pictures in the course of the evening and presented them to the University as a gift.

After culinary delights at the buffet the guests settled down to listen to Armin Töpel, an alumnus of Heidelberg University. As a cabaret artist and pianist he has been touring the German-speaking countries of Europe since 1999 with programmes of his own devising. Yesterday he entertained the Summer Night guests with a potpourri entitled “Piano, Blues, Cabaret and Dialect”.

As darkness fell, the courtyard was completely transformed into a mystic midsummer night’s dream. Torches, special optical effects and cunningly positioned lighting illuminated the walls and trees and brought out all the magic of the Witches’ Tower. At the foot of the Tower, the Rector and his wife were the first to take to the dance floor. With a wide range of items the band Ringo Hirth & Friends conjured up a highly congenial mood throughout the rest of the evening.

First-ever University Summer Night — 400 guests enjoyed an atmospheric summer party in a historical setting  
First-ever University Summer Night — 400 guests enjoyed an atmospheric summer party in a historical setting
Foto: Anja Meissner

Then, on the stroke of 12, came the Great Midnight Surprise. In his welcoming address Rector Eitel had revealed that even he as the host of the festivities had no idea what the organisers Anja Förster and Nicole Hoffmann had up their sleeves. On the lower balcony of the Witches’ Tower appeared the Nuremberg soprano Nelly Palmer, accompanied by pianist Leonhard Rieckhoff, to sing two highly expressive Puccini arias. This musical gem was followed by a dazzling display of fireworks raining down from the roof of the tower to the rapturous acclaim of the audience.

After these magic moments the University went on dancing and celebrating until well into the small hours.

Please address any inquiries on the Summer Night event to
Nicole Hoffmann
Dezernat 8.2
phone: 06221/542687

Journalists are requested to address their inquiries to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer
University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

Irene Thewalt
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317
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