Gold and purple pride radiates from UM

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

The energy was electric in Palmer Auditorium during the University of Montevallo’s College Night. The atmosphere was similar to that of a high school pep rally but with the addition of harmonized vocal music, ball gowns, 20-something-year-olds and deep-seeded rivalry.

While current students chanted, danced and taunted, I was surprised to see the loyalty of older alumni.

Properly dressed, middle-aged men and women donned gold ties and purple dresses and chanted along with their younger cohorts.

Among the visiting alumni was Alabama’s Secretary of State Beth Chapman, a devotee to the Purple Side. She said the Purple Side produced a dramatic show, as music and theater majors tend to gravitate toward the Purple Side. And with “Skin Deep,” I believe they did.

Echoing UM President John W. Stewart III’s comment, it was hard to believe the “breadth and depth of talent” fairly radiating from the stage.

The students of Montevallo committed to their performances by rehearsing daily and giving their all for their respective sides.

Another surprise was the talent displayed not only on the stage, but also in the orchestra pit. The side leaders chose their shows in November and held auditions in January, and the committees proceeded to compose orchestral music, direct an entirely student-run orchestra and provide lyrics. This doesn’t mention the acting, singing, set design, costuming and choreography of the actual performances.

This year’s College Night follows 93 years of tradition. It’s easy to see why the tradition has lasted so long, as the deep emotions running through students and alumni alike fairly ran over when the winner was announced. Tears flowed from both Gold and Purple sides when Gold was announced as the 2012 winner.

As the male lead of the Gold Side show, Cody Webb, said, “Literally blood, sweat and tears have gone into this.” It’s no wonder that the students reacted so strongly when the winner was announced.

“It’s pretty distinctive, isn’t it?” Stewart asked me after the show. I had to agree, and while both sides put out fantastic shows, with this year’s GV (Gold Victory), it was just meant to be.

Christine Boatwright is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 16 or by email at christine.boatwright@shelbycountyreporter.com.