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Snowball and Senior Ball Fill Ford Plant Craneway

Because the Memorial Auditorium is under construction with seismic upgrades, Richmond’s two traditional December events were held this year at Richmond’s premier venue, the newly-rehabilitated 40,000 square foot Ford Assembly Building Craneway on Richmond’s southern waterfront.


On Friday, December 7, over 2,400 students dressed to the nines attended the 55th annual Snow Ball, a formal event for West Contra Costa high school students. The ball is open to students in ninth through 12th grade at De Anza, El Cerrito, Gompers, Hercules, Kennedy, Leadership, Middle College, North Campus, Pinole Valley and Richmond high schools. This year's theme was “Realms of Royalty,” and for the first time the event crowned a Snow Ball King along with the traditional Snow Ball Queen. Candidates from seven high schools competed for the honor in speech and talent categories and had one-on-one interviews with judges. The winners were named and crowned in a coronation ceremony at 10 p.m. and will receive the Snow Ball Scholarship to be used toward higher education. The evening included DJ music, dancing and a light show.

On Saturday, December 8, over a thousand attended the 10th Annual Senior Winter Ball. Music was provided by the Junius Courtney 18-Piece Orchestra. The band, founded in 1966 by the late New Orleans trumpeter and now led by his son, drummer Nat Courtney, has an ample jazz repertoire that includes standards, original songs and Latin pieces covering all eras. There were the traditional dance contests, prizes and a light supper. The Malvern Wilson Alumni Association provided the a no-host bar, and the Richmond Police Explorers served as escorts to the craneway, which has received rave reviews as a location for public events, particularly with the Richmond Auditorium closed for renovation. The 10th annual ball, a not-for-profit event, is sponsored by the Richmond Commission on Aging, with Arnie Kasendorf as Chair, and support from labor unions and the City of Richmond Recreation and Parks Division.

Photos of the Senior Ball are shown below, courtesy of Ellen Gailing Photography, 510 236 7565.