Laotian American Society | 6th Annual Charity Ball | November 20, 2010
I would like to thank everyone involved in the LAS Ball. Even though I looked liked I was stressed out (which I was…) I think overall it was our most impressive one yet, in the event’s 5+ year history. There is no way we could have pulled it off without every single one of our volunteers.
Nang and euy Dao and all the rest of our food contributors and food volunteers, all the comments that I got from our guests was that it was the best food of any of the events, either ours or other group’s functions. Before the ball, when we were promoting it, no one believed me about the amount of food and desserts that were going to provided for a crowd for 300+. I’ve been to lots of functions and often wondered “Is this it?!” for my sometimes $60 ticket, but not at our event. We’ve truly showcased the food generosity that is inherent in our culture.
ai Vee, Joy, P’ Oy (and the rest of our food servers) thank you all for being at the station the entire evening, from shredding the papaya right before, to cutting vegetables, and making sure the food was fresh and truly authentic Lao cuisine. Many of our other volunteers and board members and volunteers helped as well, even stepping away from their other stations.
Ashley, this goes beyond the title of decor. Thank you so much for joining the LAS family. We’ve never really been too much on titles, since all of this is volunteer work and everyone pitches in. LAS has always been multicultural, multi-age, and open to all. It really makes me happy when new people come in and enjoy the basic commonalities that all people have in friendship. You helped us out and participated in the dragon boat race, you came to many of the meetings, drove around many places to get supplies, used your place as storage for the ball, and put up with our suggestions. You also donned the Lao “pa vieng” as your earlier outfit, which signifies a great sign of respect. Thank you, and we’ll definitely have lots more non stress free outings in the future. Sorry for mispelling and mispronouncing your name, that just means you are officially one of us. 😉
Desserts and Centerpieces:
euy Keomany and Lendall, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the dessert and cake spread that you talented ladies put up for our ball, at what was such a minor cost to LAS, and many hours for you both. Thank you so much for prettying up the place, and giving a crazy amount of American and Lao desserts to a crowd that cleaned it out. What other function has cake, chocolate covered strawberries, fruit cups, and purple rice and custard? I hope everyone at the event to see and taste all your culinary creations. I think Ashley took some close up photos of the desserts, and they are some knockout type of shots!
Meiling, please thank your aunt for donating those awesome desserts. When I picked them up from her place, I had no idea I was going to have to make 3 trips to and from the car. It further added to the food buffet that will be talked about for a while. Please thank your parents as well, they’ve donated to our function many times before, and their drink money donation went a long way.
Wow, what an artistic display of meticulous patience and thoughtfulness. The ones in the front registration table would have been enough for other events, but when people stepped into the event, they were really dazzled by not just a fruit carving table, but an art display. We all did good in recognizing that the section when people walk in should be the centerpiece of the room, which was the amazing carvings from Ms. Somchay S. and Ott V. Every time I strolled by I would see people standing there and admiring all the detail and work that went into it. Thank you for carving that on the day of the event, and of course taking the time out to drive all the way from North Carolina. It’s amazing how generous the people in our community, near and far can be. Thank you Meiling for printing and framing the documents that let our guests know the significance of the carvings. I’m sure no one expected the radishes and carrots from HMart would have bee transformed into such an artful array.
Thank you to all the ladies who greeted our crowd and wowed them with your looks and class. I’m so glad everyone had no problem wearing the Lao sinh. I know it was hard to quickly try and be familiar with guests that were only known in numbers and letters, but you ladies made the best out of the situation. Kim, Kassie, Khammy, Emily, Paula, Ladda, euy Phouthone, euy Ting, Noy, John, and many others, thank you for being the frontline and first thing people interacted with when it comes to our ball. One comment that I always get from other guests is that our lovely ladies always have a radiance inside and out that really piques the interest of all our guests and other cultures. I’m not making it up, our culture is quietly beautiful in its humility and humbleness, and sometimes it is nice to be recognized (and even envied) by others. One thing I should have done was raise funds by having auctions for “dates” with the hostess committee, I know we would have made moolah!!! 🙂
ai Keck, ai Paul, ai Voranath, ai Dang, Noel, et al, I’m amazed that you guys took so much time out of your lives to practice for the ball. The sheer amount of equipment that you guys had to haul in was ridiculous, and the misc parts and pieces that you had to go to buy just to make the event work, was well beyond what others would have done. Months ago, when we thought you guys would be a great addition to the event, I didn’t know it was going to evolve into 4 singers, 50 songs ranging from Santana, to Europe, to Scorpions, Lao Songs, French Songs—just a wide array of songs that was pretty much like our food spread, people didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. Ai Keck you are a hell of a guitar player and you guys all have a passion for music and performance, without the ego and cockiness that can normally come with it. When I would pay attention to your management of the band, it was amazing. Everyone fell in line because you were the leader and they accepted it, and yet also still worked as a team. You guys definitely have a spark and the song selection is great. Thank you for opening up your house, over 2 times a week for band practice, and hosting and feeding so many people that would come in and out almost every day.
Ai Lan and Lao Bamboo Band:
Thank you to Mr. Somlan (and the newly christened Lao Bamboo Band), who took the time out to perform at Hmart and our ball. He promoted our event in his circle and was excited to perform again this year. When I saw them at the door, I was pleasantly surprised to see ai Jack Saiyavong from Alabama in the music troupe. Having this traditional Lao music performed at our ball was amazing. The haunting sounds of the Khaen and the lum of the folk singers really added yet another level to our ball. That is true Lao folk music, our bluegrass, our songs that echo and hearken back to the old times. I’m so glad many of our elders got to hear the songs and memories of their (and our) homeland. When I talked to the band briefly, I got a chance to shake hands and talk with the older Lao gentlemen, the “saw” player who is blind. He played for us last year, and he expressed to me how he so much appreciated us throwing an event like this and how he was honored to be there.
Bee, thank you helping out LAS once again. You drove all the way to Doraville on Saturday and Sunday to perform at Hmart. Again, your dancing, you haven’t lost it one bit, it’s only gotten better. I know so many people were impressed at the Hmart event, and ours, you opened it quite well. Thank you for always being there when we ask. You are so responsible, especially since younger folk have so much going on in their lives with school and work, and other things they could be doing with their peers, you always promote and represent LAS with grace and elegance.
Nina S., even though you now live in NC, you are still part of the LAS family. Thank you for driving all the way down here and taking care of the girls while euy Ting was doing all the other crazy tasks for the ball. As the subsitute teacher for just a few days, you didn’t lose a step, all the girls were prepped and the confidence was instilled in them so that we are really fearless in front of cameras and 300+ people.
LAS Natasinh is seriously one of the most impressive displays of what we are as a team, family and organization. It’s all for the children, and they see what we do, are affected by it, and continue on to be proud of their heritage and culture. Mollie, Sarah, Tila, Lauren, Indy, Ariana, and Emily, thank you for being the flowers of LAS. You gals did an awesome job, everyone is so proud and impressed by all the hard work and practice that you put in. I’m not that cool or confident on stage, and you girls all perform without any stage fright, with all smiles. Also, I can’t forget that everyone also helped sell raffle tickets for the iPad!
Royal Lao Classical Dancers:
Wow again. I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to the Pothikan family and the Royal Lao Classical Dancers. When I first started planning the ball, I knew I wanted to have RLCD perform. They are the most professional and elegant Lao performers probably in the US. They took their time to gather up the crew in multiple vans to drive here from the Murfreesboro (Nashville) area. Their support crew isn’t small by means, the trip isn’t exactly down the road, and it was an honor to see the masters and teachers also in attendance.
Ai Son, thank you for showing to the crowd a performance of master level. You are kind and that was the first time a male dance (Hanuman) was performed for our audience. Thank you for sharing a piece of the Ramayana Epic.
Euy Nee, Mina, and Noonee, thank you so much for continuing to support. Your friendship means a lot. Mina, what a graceful and pretty Nang Keo. I’m sorry I didn’t get to take many pictures, but when all 7 dancers were in synch in the center of the room, all glittering with the crowd around them and all staring inwards, it was a very impressive sight. It added yet another level of class to our event.
Noel and Meiling:
Amazing strength, resolve, patience, and character from the rising leaders of our community. Your passion and quick thinking really saved us at the ball while we were all in damage control mode. Both of your speeches were really heartfelt and echoed through the crowd. I know the elders were impressed. I think we got the message across that this isn’t merely our show, but an event for all of us. One that had all sorts of faces. Meiling, I knew you would be a good emcee during our trouble spots, and thank you for connecting and bridging the gap. You write about others, and at the event, got to write your own story. Noel did so many tasks, note taking, singing, trash picking, presenting, watching the girls practice, that it goes beyond any title. Don’t let any of the elders sometimes careless comments douse your sparks. It is that drive and flame that the elders don’t realize was once in them, but is more sharpened and honed in you both.
ai Pon, thank you so much for advising and promoting the ball so heavily amongst your friends. It really was amazing the amount of diverse people that you brought to our event. Tennesse, North Carolina, and even Canada. You do it without publicity, without title and always have the best interest of our people. Ai Thavi speaks highly of you and you are one of the keepers of the flame for Lao people and our struggles and stories. Thank you for bringing in ai Seangdao S. and hosting him. The projectors and live feed that he had was a slick feature for our party. He’s a great gentleman, and it was a pleasure talking to him. Please thank him for his time and his yearning to interview everyone and capture the behind the scenes. People have never really sought me out personally to interview, and it was a nice gesture.
Random Notes while it’s still fresh in my head:
Euy Ketsana, a very special thank you for coming down to our event. I know many people in the audience waited to see you, and your guitar skills was impressive. Thank you for making time out of your busy schedule to help the Lao community. I know first meetings can be rough, but I hope we can all help each other in whatever we do in the future.
Michael, I guess you didn’t know you were in for all this coming from France. But I would like to thank you for all your help and I saw that you got a chance to get on the dance floor as well. Coming from a young person, the compliments on our event mean a lot. I’m sure you’ll take back many good memories, everything from putting together napkins and forks, to slinging garbage with us.
Ann and ai Gai, thanks for always being there for LAS. Ann, you are a true ambassador for the group and Lao people in general. The message in your ad was quite uplifting and was truly spoken from the heart.
Ai Thavisouk Phrasavath, a fellow Lao artist and brother, man, the things we can accomplish if we only had time to work on some projects. That’s why you really need to move down here. 🙂 Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to come hang out with us. Anytime you need to take a break, my dojo/temple/studio is always open.
Philip M., thank for always being there. Ai Thavi was right, if I’ve known you since the 3rd grade, then you can’t just be a friend, you are a brother in the Lao sense, or any sense. Thanks again for always being interested and open to new cultures. Thanks for handling my gear and taking pictures of everyone, setting up tables, hauling stuff, and slinging garbage bags with me at 1:30 am.
Euy Phouthone, thank you for making the trip out, at least 3 hours of travel time a day to help us on ball planning. I’m sorry I didn’t get to feature you in my multimedia display, but rest assured, the video interview will be archived and presented in the future. I dug up your old essay for the program book, and I saw a good number of people reading and moved by it. Your story and good deeds is a moving one that needs to be told.
Neo, thanks for your continued support of LAS, you are one of the originals, going back some 6+ years. Thanks for hauling all that water and gear and manning the drink station. Some people might think that beneath them, but I know you do it almost every year.
John M., Megan M. and Marco, thanks so much for helping out with the printing, drinks, errand running and raffles. I know you guys didn’t get to experience the party really and man did we need the help. Always awesome friends and supporters.
Ladda, thanks for bringing your friends, hosting and smiling to every guest, cutting up vegetables and having a good time at the ball, after all that’s what it really is about.
Phileo, thanks for helping out at the ball with the cueing up of the songs. Thanks for being there as a support to Noel and to us. I hope you had a good time.
The old school LAS Board, Euy Dao, Cookie, Noy, Neo, and euy Ting, we all know what we did, the time we’ve spent, and the big and small things that we have continued to do in the past several years. I think I can speak for everyone that seeing an event like this turn out as a showcase for our talents, stories and people and unity is well worth everything.
I thank everyone for reading up to here, if I missed anyone it’s because it is 4 in the morning. Thanks again for listening to my suggestions and helping me put into motion the ideas I had, especially under such a small time constraint and budget as well.
Kawp chai lai lai! Thanks for helping us out at my “fake wedding!” 😆
I hope everyone sees how hard we work and how much personal time we spend to raise money for our various programs and scholarships.
(Now officially retired from LAS stuff) 🙂
(Photos by big people and little people. Overall, I think I took about 10 of these pictures) 🙂