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Treasures from the Averett Archives: The Platters perform in Danville

by Jeremy Groskopf on 2024-02-14T14:10:53-05:00 in African Amerian Studies, American History, Archives | 0 Comments

During the 1967-68 academic year, Averett College, Stratford College, and the Danville branch of Virginia Polytechnic Institute - all hesitant to book expensive performers without a guarantee that they could sell tickets - made a joint decision to distribute the financial risk by combining their efforts.  The three schools shared three different musical guests for Spring Weekend; each school would host one of the three performances, but would be allotted a pre-determined number of tickets for all three events.

This act of coordination between the three schools - a precursor to much larger ties between Averett and Stratford in the early 1970s - was designed explicitly to bring at least one big name act to the Danville area for the students to enjoy...and it worked.

Although Averett would not host the headlining event (that honor went to Stratford), the joint effort afforded the schools the opportunity to bring in The Platters - a group with multiple #1 hit singles in the late 1950s, who were still releasing charting singles in 1966 and '67.

On Saturday, March 16th, 1968, The Platters played a two hour set to a packed crowd in the Stratford gymnasium (pictured bottom left).  Later that evening, the group gave a second, more intimate, performance at another Stratford venue - solely referred to as the "Methodist 'coffeehouse' in extant materials (pictured bottom right).

The Platters in the Stratford gymnasium and coffeehouse

Although Averett would fly solo for Spring Weekend 1969, the coordinated effort in 1968 became the pattern for multiple subsequent Spring Weekend performances.  Averett, Stratford, and Danville Community College would join forces in 1970 (highlighted by The Friends of Distinction), 1971 (The Grass Roots), and 1972 (Goose Creek Symphony).

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