Meet Our Team: Lynn Marcum


Tell me about yourself.

My name is Lynn Marcum, and I am originally from Noblesville, IN. I attended Ball State University, where I studied Fashion Merchandising, Hospitality Management, and Communication Studies. My amazing parents, who just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, are also Ball State grads. I have one older sister who is the coolest big sis in the world! My hobbies include singing, dancing, sipping wine, and watching “The Office” 🙂 I also love to travel and spend time with my handsome boyfriend, Matt.

What is your connection to the crazy world of show choir?

I’ve been singing and dancing to Shirley Temple since I was a toddler 🙂 I competed with my high school show choir, and went on to become a member of Ball State University Singers for 2 years!

What is your favorite outfit/dress/garment in this year’s catalog and why?

I’m a huge fan of the new Bastille Metallic Knit fabric in any Tunic style. It’s slinky and sassy and FUN, and would be adorable for most closing numbers!

What is your work background and your education background? 

As previously mentioned, I am a Ball State graduate. I’ve had a variety of jobs since then, including: Flight Attendant, Cocktail Waitress, and Pharmaceutical Sales Rep! I have somehow found my way back to the wonderful world of show choir.

If you could tell customers one thing about you, what would it be?

Even though I’m from Indiana, I spent 6 years of my adult life living in NYC and Miami, FL. Traveling and exploring on my own was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Ummm ALL OF THEM! Just kidding – probably Strawberry Haagen Dazs.

Choosing Colors: Where do I begin?

You’re paging through the Rivar’s catalog, falling in love with more costumes than you could ever possibly need, but the same frustration hits you on each page: how can you ever choose which colors you want for your show choir costumes? We are happy to offer such a variety of colors, patterns, and textures so you can customize your choir’s garments, but we also know that it can be overwhelming to pick the perfect colors for your performance ensemble. If you’re unsure of where to begin, we’ve come up with three starting places to pick just the right colors for your show choir.


You have school colors, and we have fabrics to match them. Whether you need blue and gold, red and white, black and yellow, orange and white, or even a rainbow, Rivar’s has you covered. Here are a few ways you can incorporate your school colors into your show choir costumes. (pictured from left to right)

  • Line a neutral (such as gold or silver) with your school color.

Pictured: white/silver flapper sequins lined in red metallic knit.

  • Design an attached-style dress with one color on top and one on the bottom. If your colors are blue and gold, try a gold sequin bodice and royal sparkle illusion skirt.

Pictured: fuchsia Barcelona sequins and black sparkle illusion.

  • Color block it! We’re offering a brand new style this year, so you can customize more than one color on a top or a tunic. Pick black or white as your neutral, and you can choose up to two colors to go with it. The options are endless.

Pictured: White color block men’s shirt with fuchsia and royal custom color blocks.

  • Keep it simple with one color. Who doesn’t love a classic dress in a bold color? If you like this look but want to add your other school color on stage, consider custom sequin vests or ties for the guys!

Pictured: red Barcelona sequins


Patriotic concert coming up? Or perhaps a holiday show? You can mix and match so many colors and fabrics to create the perfect stage look for your show choir. Just to show you a few mix and match options, we’ve put together a family of show choir costumes you could design for a classic patriotic show.

Pictured left to right: red sparkle illusion, royal sequined quick-ship vest, white/gold tiara glitter (Rivar’s exclusive), royal sassy sequins



Are themes and school color combos still not your style? You’re looking for that one color or color combo that looks great on every single person in your choir. Here are a few options with which you can’t go wrong.

  • Black, white, and silver. It’s classy, simple, and really does look great on everyone. Consider a Rivar’s exclusive blazer for your guys (available in red, black, or platinum) or even a quick-ship vest. For the ladies, there is a huge selection of fabrics for dresses. You can go sassy or classy with a Rivar’s custom dress!

Pictured left to right: Rivar’s Exclusive men’s blazer, black sassy sequins, silver quick-ship vest, white/silver flapper sequins


  • Turquoise is almost unbeatable. It pops on stage and looks fantastic with every skin tone. Here are a few of of our favorite turquoise options!

Pictured left to right: turquoise enchanted sequins (Rivar’s exclusive), turquoise Bastille metallic knit, turquoise men’s suit, turquoise Barcelona sequins (Rivar’s exclusive)


  • Empire Sequins is here to save the day. This Rivar’s exclusive fabric is now available in black and red, so if you’re looking for something that has every color of the rainbow, you’ve found it. To keep it simple, line empire sequins in black taffeta or metallic knit. For something a little edgier, line it with your favorite color (we love kelly green!).

Pictured: all dresses in empire sequins; lined in black, turquoise, fuchsia, and kelly green


Call your account manager to get your costumes designed and ordered. We are so excited to see what you’ve picked out and help you design the perfect show choir costumes for your group!

Meet Our Team: Karen Pappas


Tell me about yourself.

I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I grew up in Wanamaker and went to Franklin Central High School. My mother and father still live in Wanamaker. I have two brothers that are older than me. Everyone in my family is a musician. My father made a living as a guitarist and singer and my mother as a singer and a bass player. My parents met in Bloomington working on Channel 4 TV station doing a live Country Western Show in 1949. I went to IUPUI and North Carolina School of the Arts to study theatre. I have worked as an Actress most of my life, with different jobs here and there to supplement my income. I lived in NYC for more than twenty years off and on. I love to go camping and hiking, attend the theatre and concerts. I love all music but my favorite is jazz. I like to sew and make jewelry. I adore vintage clothing, especially coats and jewelry. I love to travel, especially abroad. I love Archeology and hope some day to travel to Peru to see the Aztec ruins. I am an Interpreter at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis where I teach Paleontology and Archeology.

What is your connection to the crazy world of show choir?

I became involved in show choir in high school. I sang with the Franklin Central Singers. I became involved with Rivar’s when I started sewing as a seasonal employee.

What is your favorite outfit/dress/garment in this year’s catalog and why?

I really love the 1026PAN in the Red Empire Sequins. Red is my favorite color and that sequin design has a vintage, almost 20’s look. I also love the Tiara Glitter fabric in any style. It looks amazing under the lights.

What is your work background and your education background? 

I have worked as a Professional Actress most of my life, living out of NYC and traveling to various theaters or with touring companies. I have worked on stage at Beef and Boards, and also was an assistant in their costume shop. I have worked in offices of all types in NYC as a temp. I worked as a freelance proofreader. I have catered for Lincoln Center, waited tables, worked as a brand ambassador, worked at entertainment parks and museums, including The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I recently taught Preschool in Fishers.

If you could tell customers one thing about you, what would it be?

I love to laugh.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

All of them! It’s my favorite food group.

5 Costume Tips for New Directors


School is back in session across the country, and we know what that means… it’s time to get your Rivar’s order started! For those of you that are seasoned professionals, you know the drill when it comes to picking your fabrics and styles (you probably started brainstorming last school year!), sizing your students, and placing your order with your account manager. But for all the new directors out there, this process can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to know where to begin. Rivar’s is here to help.


  1. Ask questions!

There is no such thing as too many questions when talking with a costume company throughout the ordering process. These costumes are made-to-order, and we want to make sure you love them and your expectations are met! Schedule time to call your sales rep and discuss the sizing/ordering process at length. Knowing all the details about sizing, ordering and timeline will help you feel more prepared, and make your sales rep more prepared to accommodate your needs.


  1. Seek design advice.

Overwhelmed by the variety of sequins? Our sales reps are here to help you in the creative process as well as the administrative one. They are familiar with the fabrics and styles we offer, and they can help you design the dress of your dreams. Because we work as a team, we are able to bounce ideas off of one another, which allows us to put together the perfect outfit for your group.


  1. The earlier, the better!

Size early. Order early. The earlier you order, the less panic will ensue as your concert date arrives. As a new director, you have enough to worry about without having to stress about your costumes. We are here to take care of your costumes, but we need your order in our hands to get your costumes into production. Questions about sizing and ordering? Call us!


  1. Find a costume mom!

Costuming will need care and attention all throughout the school year, and having a costume mom or team to take care of the situations that arise will make that process much smoother.  A common misconception is that costumes will arrive, fitting perfectly, and they won’t have to worry about them from there on.  The reality is, students grow and change throughout the school year.  A hem might tear or zipper might bust due to heavy choreography and constant wear.  Some students will be better about keeping track of all their pieces than others.  Having a costume army to take charge of these things will keep you focused on the bigger picture – your students and the music!


  1. Remain calm, and enjoy the ride.

We believe that you are playing a vital role in the lives of many students. The arts are such a special field to be a part of, and we are grateful that you are giving this season of your life to developing the next generation of artists. We are a custom apparel company, but we are also huge supporters of the arts and music education. We encourage you to remain calm when the overwhelm starts to take over, and remember that this new school year is part of a wonderful adventure. You are changing lives, and there is nothing better than that.

Meet Our Team: Alyssa Thorne

We are gearing up for our busiest (and favorite) time of year, and our sales team is ready to go! New fabrics, new designs, and some new faces are at Rivar’s, and we wanted to take the time to introduce you to the newest members of our team. More often than not, we only get to work with you over the phone or via email, but we want you to know a little more about the people that are here to serve you and bring your costume dreams to life. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing introductions from the Rivar’s team so you can get to know us better. First up is a new member of our sales team!


Tell me about yourself!

I’m from Vincennes, IN.  I moved to Indianapolis about two months ago. My hobbies include shopping, traveling, and reading.  I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and our families.



What is your connection to the crazy world of show choir?

To my misfortune, I was not blessed with a decent voice.  While it does not stop me from singing around my house, in the car, or randomly in the office, I put most of my focus into band and other performing arts.  I was a dancer for 16 years.  When I was in high school I joined color guard.  In high school I was also the vice president for our Tri-M society, which connected me to our show choir.

What is your favorite outfit/dress/garment in this year’s catalog and why?

The 2141SEP in the blue tiara is to die for. We have one in the showroom that I will just put on for fun.  I’m obsessed! But really anything in the new tiara glitter fabric is just stunning. When you put it under the show lights it is breath taking.

What is your work background and your education background? 

I am a recent graduate of University of Southern Indiana. While I was there, I double majored in marketing and management. I also put myself through high school and college by working at Maurice’s.  I worked there for 7 years and became a Co-store manager. Maurice’s taught me so much about leadership, personal development, and outstanding customer service that I’m ready to carry it on to the next chapter of my work life!

If you could tell customers one thing about you, what would it be?

I’m your advocate! I am here for you, so let me help all I can.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Strawberry. DUH.

Saying Goodbye to Your Seniors

A few weeks ago, one of my former teachers posted this meme on Facebook:

I laughed. A lot. I laughed because I was definitely one of those crying girls, asking every person under the sun to sign my yearbook, and tearfully saying goodbye to my friends as if I’d never see them again. Though the drama was high as a young teenager, the tears became rooted in reality as I got older and was active in the choir program in high school. Saying goodbye to friends you’ll see in the fall is one thing; saying goodbye to graduating show choir seniors is a different story.

I was lucky enough to be a part of the top choirs at my school for sophomore, junior, and senior year, but this luck also meant three years of goodbyes to a lot of seniors. I have never been a music educator, so please forgive me if I am putting words in your mouth, but I have a feeling that there have probably been some particularly wonderful groups of seniors that have made the end-of-the-year goodbyes very difficult. At the same time, I am sure there have been other groups whose exit from the building was followed by a solo dance party in your classroom. Regardless of your feelings toward these graduates, there are a few things that happen each year as your choir family loses its seniors and gains fresh faces.


I was in the same mixed choir my junior and senior years of high school, but I use the word “same” lightly. These choirs could not have been more different. The people in my class who were in the group for two years banded together after a less-than-stellar junior year, where we were overshadowed by a senior class with some major disciplinary issues. Though we were frustrated our junior year, we used our frustration to set a high bar the following year, and our senior-year group dynamic was incredible. We really did become a family, and we ended up completing our competition season undefeated and nationally ranked number one. You have seen this happen, I’m sure, and it’s always a waiting game to see how your group dynamic will shift as time goes by, both during the year and through the years.


This is a no-brainer! With different people comes a different sound. One of my directors in high school had an incredible ear, and she took the time with her girls’ group to listen to small groups of people and move individuals around so that we could produce the best sound. Even after graduating from college with a music degree, I know that skill is more innate than it is learned. As seniors leave and younger students enter the group, you will be faced with the new challenge every year of blend, balance, and more boys with changing voices. Best of luck to you with that last one.


I am grateful to have worked with directors who placed their trust in our student leaders and handed over responsibilities to the student officer team. It made their lives easier knowing that they could trust a group of students to take attendance, send rehearsal reminders, coordinate packing lists for competition, and set a good example in rehearsal. But their placing of trust in these leaders allowed for something else to happen: the other students trusted the leaders. You are going to have a new group of seniors next school year. They will often think they run the show (so knocking them down a few pegs may be necessary), but that group of rising seniors is excited to have the opportunity to lead a new group and be the people with the most knowledge and experience in the ensemble. Let them be these leaders. Trust them with responsibilities, and they may very well blow you away with their commitment to the group and their ability to bring people together to achieve success.

At the end of the school year, many of you are probably ready to shut the stage door and exit the performing arts department for a few months. But as someone in the arts, I know that goodbyes in this field are not as simple as goodbyes in other arenas. Music truly does bind people together, and creating music with others is an experience that can never be duplicated, and it’s an experience that is hard to let go of. Whether you’re saying goodbye through a waterfall of tears or shoving kids out the door so you can have your solo dance party, you know that the group that you had this year will never exist again. I encourage you to take a moment, express gratitude for the experience you shared with those kids, and revel in the magic of making music with that unrepeatable group of students. And then commence solo dance party.

Happy summer, music educators 🙂


Photo credit: Daria Weingartner, choir director at Raymond Park Middle School (Indianapolis)

Sharing Music Beyond #MIOSM

We’re two weeks out of Music in Our Schools Month, and I’m guessing that your school still has music in it. Am I right? I knew it!

Though we have a month to dedicate to our love of music education, we are in the business of acknowledging the importance of music education during EVERY month of the year. I have loved seeing so many students posting their show choir competition photos on Instagram during the past couple months. And special shoutout to my music teacher friends for your amazing posts on Facebook about your passion and love for your job. The world needs more people like you, and I am so excited to follow your journey of leading the next generation of music students. As we close out #MIOSM, I want to offer a few suggestions for how you can continue sharing your love of music ed in the months after March.



Social media is powerful, so why not fill it with positivity? As I mentioned, I have several friends in the music education field, and their social media posts are a constant reminder of the power of music in people’s lives. Post about your upcoming concerts. Post about a great moment you had in class that day. Post about your favorite parts of your job. The more that people see the positive influence that your work has on the world, the more likely they are to support the arts. So keep on spreading the music education love!



Chances are you have friends outside the music community. Invite them to your concerts! Or share your love of your job with them. As a music educator, you have a tough but very rewarding job, and you get the opportunity to see the direct impact of your work every single day. There are very few fields that offer that “fruit” so to speak, and you can share the importance of the arts with your friends who don’t get to experience it every day like you do.



Are you a choir teacher whose journey began with a love of singing? Sing. Are you an orchestra director whose love of music began with playing the viola? Practice the viola. To feed passion to others, you must feed your own passion. And the best way to do that is to go back to the root of where your passion began. As a singer, I reignite my passion most effectively by singing the music that kickstarted my love: church music and show tunes. If you’re having trouble remembering why you got into this crazy business in the first place, go back to where it all began.

You can spread the love of music more by LOVING MUSIC MORE.
Hats off you to, music educators, for the hard work and love you put into your career each and every day. You have a tough job that can be very challenging and stressful at times, and I know that it’s not always easy to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. But know that you make an impact, and you have been given the opportunity to bring joy and positivity into the world by sharing music education with others. We’ve just celebrated 31 days of music in our schools… but the world needs music 365 days a year. And you are making that happen. Thank you.



Spreading LOVE with Music Education

Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to fight the winter blues than sharing your love of music with others? Many of you are in the throws of show choir and concert choir competition season. The rehearsals seem endless, the choreography is tiring, and you are now awake for a full twenty-four hours on Saturdays (I’ve been there–I know it’s exhausting). But even in the middle of the most stressful time of year, you know that every note and every dance step has a purpose because music truly changes people’s lives. And you play a major role in that as a music educator. Thank you.


As you continue pushing through competition season or even through preparations for an upcoming concert, I want to take this “day of love” to share three ways you can continue spreading the love of music education.


  1. DONATE to the Give A Note Foundation.


Established by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) in 2011, Give A Note is an organization that provides funding for music education to schools whose budgets may not be large enough to support and sustain a performing arts program. Since its founding, Give A Note has donated more than 1.2 million dollars in grants, which has brought music education to more than 45,000 students across the country. They take donations both large and small, and your donation this Valentine’s Day will help more young people have access to music in their schools.


  1. Practice good SPORTSMANSHIP at competitions.


My high school choir directors drilled this into our heads at every rehearsal before a competition. And I’m so glad they did. When you don’t agree with the judges or have a strong aversion to another school’s set, it is easy to fall into the trap of gossiping about other groups or publicly sharing your opinion about their out-of-the-ordinary costumes. Our directors always told us, “Save it for the bus.” I would encourage you (and this may be geared more toward the students) to always congratulate groups on a job well done, no matter what your opinion is about their set or the judge’s placement. Each group at that competition worked extremely hard to be there, and they deserve to be congratulated for their hard work.


  1. Always AFFIRM your students.


You expect professionalism, a strong work ethic, and commitment from your students. These are great standards to set, and I firmly believe that students will perform better (on stage and off the stage) with high standards in place. That being said, at the end of the day, these are high school or middle school kids. They will make mistakes. They will not always say the right thing. And the best way to spread love in the arts is to affirm your students to let them know you care. My choir was my family at school, and our directors were critical in setting that tone for the group. Even when they were frustrated in rehearsals, I always knew they loved each of us and cared about us beyond the rehearsal room because of how they affirmed us as people first and performers second.


On this Valentine’s Day, I want to thank you for all of the love you pour into music education. The world is a better place because of the arts, and you are making a difference every day. Keep spreading the love–we live in a world that needs as much as it can get!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

It’s the night of the concert, and a student runs into the choir room in a panic.

“I forgot my briefs!” she says.

Now what? You can’t let a girl spin around in a show choir costume without briefs. So the student has to call the parent, who has to hunt down the briefs in a teenage bedroom (never fun) and bring them to her child at school. The concert is now delayed, and you have an audience full of impatient parents who are just waiting to see their kid’s shining face on stage.

It’s not an ideal situation, but we know that it happens. How can you avoid running into this messy situation? Keep some extra basic items on hand! This week, I came up with a list of four in-stock items that are great things to keep on-hand in case of those unwanted emergencies. The best part? They’re all available in our online store!

BOWTIES and TIES3805mac-as (bowties)

When I was in choir, our men seemed to have trouble remembering two things: black socks and their ties. Bowties and straight ties are inexpensive and come in one size, so they are easy to keep on hand. In our online store, we offer black bowties for only $3 (that’s a steal!) and sequin bowties in red, black, or white for just $15. Our speed ties come in 8 different colors and fasten with velcro. You can even choose a faster shipping option if you need them more quickly than standard ground shipping!

crisp-color-shirtsMEN’S SHIRTS

Sizing may be a more difficult thing to predict in this case, but it never hurts to have a few of your more common sizes on hand. Our men’s shirts are available in 10 different colors and a wide variety of sizes. For those of you with smaller guys, our black and white dress shirts are also available in boys’ sizes. 


They may be more dependable than pantyhose, but dance tights are not bullet (or hairpin) proof, so having extra pairs of dance tights is always a good idea! When we would travel during competition season, each girl was supposed to bring two pairs of tights with her just in case they snagged. The tights don’t come in too many sizes because they’re very stretchy, so you don’t need to worry about having the wrong size on hand. Hairspray might fix a run in tights until intermission, but having a second pair ready to go for Act II is something I highly recommend.


Remember that poor girl at the beginning of our blog post? Forgetting briefs has happened to the best of us, so having extra pairs in your costume closet can bring everyone’s heart rate down before a show. At my high school, all the women wore black briefs no matter the dress color, so deciding what to order extra of was never an issue. If you have briefs that match your dresses, consider purchasing a few extra pairs in your most common sizes. Briefs are also available in plus sizes, but these sizes may take a little more time to ship. 

While responsibility and accountability are two life skills that students learn when they study music, these are teenagers we’re dealing with. Life will happen. Things will be forgotten. But you can cover your behind (literally) by keeping a few extra things in storage. Check out our online store for a super easy way to order your extra stock items!

Go out with a bang!

Looking for the best way to “go out with a bang?” Let Rivar’s help you put together your best competition look! Last week, we talked about THINGS TO REMEMBER when designing a closer costume, and our tips included reminders about quick-changes, comfort, and pizzazz. This week, we’re focusing on fabrics so that you can design a closing costume that really pops on the competition stage! Keep reading to find out more about our favorite fabrics for show choir competition closer costumes.

pink-geometryGEOMETRY METALLIC KNITturquoise-geometry-tunic

It’s stretchy, it’s shiny, and it is sure to make a statement on stage. This is our first year working with geometry metallic knit, and we are so excited to see all of the different ways directors use this fabric for their show choir costumes. From tunics to flash dresses to peplum tops, this fabric is hard to beat with it’s comfort and versatility. It comes in six bold colors: silver, turquoise, fuchsia, kelly green, gold, and red.

My favorite look in the catalog is pictured to the left. You can customize your own leggings and pair it with this fabulous peplum top! So fierce.


Edgy, bold, and striking are just a few words we could use to describe this new, Rivar’s exclusive fabric. Because it displays sequins in every color of the rainbow, you can mix it match it with almost any fabric. Line it in pink metallic knit (right) or stick to a basic black (left). Pair it with burgundy sparkle illusion for a classic look or pick out a different color to feature on this stunning sequin fabric. This fabric would look great at any point in your competition set, but its striking geometric pattern is sure to help you finish strong.

Black and Empire (Katelin)2098TUNPink and Empire (Molly)


What about those dashing men? This year, we’re making our men’s custom shirts and jackets from a fabric called Mystique. Unlike metallic knit, it won’t rub off from sweat stains and friction, so its durability is sure to keep your men looking their best during the show choir competition season. We love these Mystique jackets and shirts for men’s closing costumes. They create a nice contrast from a traditional suit but still look great with a pair of black pants so your guys don’t have to change their entire outfit!


Want something a little softer that still makes a statement? Try designing an outfit with spotlight stretch velvet! As beautiful as this fabric looks in the catalog, a photograph doesn’t do it justice. Just like with Geometry, this fabric is stretchy and versatile and can be used for dresses, tunics, and tops–whatever you feel will make your group stand out in their closing number. This fabric is one of the softest fabrics we carry, so it definitely gets a 10/10 for comfort!


You want your group to be successful on the competition stage, and we know that Rivar’s can be a part of that. With so many options to make your show choir look their best, we have no doubt that you’ll “go out with a bang” in a Rivar’s costume!