College Night a family affair

Published 4:22 pm Monday, February 16, 2009

Margaret and Angel Sanders had a lot to celebrate Saturday as the Purples defeated the Golds by 47 points to clinch their 47th victory at the University of Montevallo’s 91st Annual College Night.

The mother and daughter, both Montevallo alumnae, were part of a standing-room only crowd at Palmer Auditorium to observe what is perhaps the oldest college homecoming tradition in the U.S.

For one week in February, the student body splits into two teams named in honor of the university’s colors — the Purple side and the Gold side. Each side produces a student-written, produced and performed musical, considered to be the coup de grace of the week’s festivities.

Margaret, a 1973 graduate, and Angel, a 2005 graduate, were Purples in their college days. Both enjoyed “That Damn Scottish Musical,” the Purple side’s comedic play-within-a-play about Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” The Gold side’s production, “The Last Four Seasons,” centered on a girl who receives a Christmas Carol-like visit from Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

“The Last Four Seasons” received less than stellar reviews from the Sanders women.

“It was different,” Margaret said. “We want Purple to win no matter what the Golds do.”

Margaret, who now lives in Andalusia, has missed only two College Nights since graduating 36 years ago. She sat next to her college roommate, Henrietta Presley, and Presley’s mother, Mittie, a 1940 graduate. Mittie and Henrietta are Purples too.

Margaret said College Night is worth the two-and-a-half hour drive from Andalusia to Montevallo. She’ll return to her beloved alma mater same time next year, and hope for a third consecutive purple victory.

“There isn’t anything like it. It’s truly a unique experience.” Margaret said.