Notwithstanding the unfortunate grooming house incident, Saturday’s first annual Fowl Ball was a great success, according to both organizers and attendees.
“We raised more funds than we ever thought possible,” said chief organizer Rafael Ortega at an after-party at his home.
“But I think where we did the best…and I would say we triumphed…was in raising awareness of the plight of our Avian community and of Avians in general,” he said.
Ortega, who spoke briefly at the Ball, credited his fellow organizers, the Ball’s dedicated contributors, and the “brilliant” musicians and other performers with making the event “five hundred times better than we ever could have imagined.”
Banded Brothers kicked things off with with a rousing rendition of “Surround Sound,” followed by their mega-hit, “ididitfortheband.” More music followed from The Tweeters and The Beasts of Burden, while Jargonhead demonstrated the reason he is so beloved in The Park.
A series of auctions punctuated the performances (there were seven auctions in all) and halfway through the evening, the stage was given over to a small group of Avian activists. They addressed the massive crowd of Animals, who were all decked out in their finery, clearly enjoying a good time.
“We certainly don’t want to bring you down,” they said, “but we want you to understand the reason you’re here.”
A short video, produced by the group, demonstrated the problems of the Avian community, particularly during migration.
“We try our best but the world is changing before our eyes and we can’t always see the danger ahead,” said Inez Gallina, president of Home to Roost, an group that offers aid to Avian immigrants. As she spoke, photographs of Birds who had been injured after they crashed into glass buildings flew across the screen, shocking many who had not realized the extent of Avian suffering.
But perhaps the most moving speech of the night was that of Philippe Sauvage, lead singer of the Feline band, The Feral Four. He spoke with sincerity and the depth of his emotion surprised the crowd.
“I harbour deep regret for the misery that my community has brought on the Avian community,” he said, as he promised to work for the good of all species in the future.