Catalog Photo Shoot: Day 1!

We’re so excited for the catalog photo shoot this week! We’ll be sharing blog posts EVERY day this week with model profiles and behind-the-scenes photos and updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates in real time. We’re excited to share this experience with you!

Kalob was first up for hair and makeup this morning. Our makeup and hair artist, Brenda, has been working with Rivar’s for more than ten years. We couldn’t do this without her!

One of our design team members, Kristen, was with us all day at the photo shoot. She was trimming threads and making last minute touch-ups to the outfits. She had to iron out a few last wrinkles before Devan’s first photo.

Name: Kalob Gossett

Hometown: Muncie, IN

Favorite pizza topping: California Pizza Kitchen with avocado, spinach, tomatoes, bacon

Favorite hobby: anything involving other people

What are you most looking forward to about the catalog photo shoot?

Getting to see the new clothes and dress all fancy! Oh, and bowties. I’m partial to bowties.

What’s your favorite outfit you get to wear for the catalog?

Black blazer with the leather lapels, white dress shirt, and black sequin bowtie. Classic.

When you’re not gracing the pages of the Rivar’s catalog, what do you do?

I work full-time, long-term care and physician recruitment assistant at Suburban Health Organization, and I’m getting my masters in health administration at IUPUI.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I’ve never met anyone that spells their name like me. And I like to eat olives and ice cream together. Not on each other! But simultaneously.

Name: Devan Mackellar

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Favorite pizza topping: pineapple

Favorite hobby: playing hockey

What are you most looking forward to about the catalog photo shoot?

Seeing myself in a catalog!

What’s your favorite outfit you get to wear for the catalog?

Navy suit and gold sequin tie!

When you’re not gracing the pages of the Rivar’s catalog, what do you do?

I’m a senior at Lawrence North High School. I golf a lot, and I play hockey. I’m going to Indiana University next year, but I’m not sure what I’m going to study yet.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I’ve played hockey since I was three. Oh, and when I was 10, I made a YouTube video, and it has over 300,000 views.

Name: Rose Wang

Hometown: Carmel, IN

Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni

Favorite hobby: I like to read, and draw, and dance.

What are you most looking forward to about the catalog photo shoot?

The makeup and the hair! It’s really interesting!

What’s your favorite outfit you get to wear for the catalog?

The black dress with the ruffles on top. That was really cute!

When you’re not gracing the pages of the Rivar’s catalog, what do you do?

I’m a freshman at Carmel High School. I read a lot of mysteries, and I also like funny stories. And I’m in show choir at the high school.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I’ve taken painting lessons for ten years.

Today was a blast! We can’t wait for the rest of the week. See you tomorrow for more behind-the-scenes fun!

Remembering Alan Rickman: 4 Life Lessons from Professor Snape

“If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.” (Alan Rickman)

The world loses wonderful people every day, but last week, the performing arts community lost an incredible man and performer: Alan Rickman. In honor of his life’s work and his unforgettable role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies, we’ve put together a list of life lessons that we learned from Professor Snape.


  1. Fight for what you believe in (even if it means sacrificing your reputation at times).

Professor Snape devoted his life to fighting for the right side in the wizarding world, but he did so behind the scenes. He appeared to most students as a harsh and unloving professor, and he was willing to sacrifice a positive appearance for the sake of fighting for his beliefs and the people he loved. He never faltered in his support for Dumbledore and his mission to protect the world from evil regardless of how he had to present himself to Hogwarts students to protect what he was fighting for.

  1. Loyalty will win out in the end.

Snape’s loyalty is a complicated topic because it wasn’t fully uncovered until the very end of the book series. Regardless of the specific person he was loyal to, he committed himself to the good side, and he majorly contributed to the good side’s victory over Voldemort and the Death Eaters. His contribution of memories (which were a result of his loyalty to Lily and Dumbledore) were a turning point in the final battle and helped Harry and his friends win the fight against evil.

  1. Stand up for those who will make the world a better place.

Snape could have easily been taken under Voldemort’s wing, but his love for Lily and appreciation for Dumbledore allowed him to stand and fight for young people that brought the wizarding world out of a very dark time. One moment in particular that comes to mind occurs in the third book of the series when Snape shields Harry, Ron, and Hermione from Professor Lupin when he is in his werewolf form. The Snape that readers knew at the time could have easily let Lupin get to the three students, but he protected them because he knew that they had so much to offer the wizarding world.

  1. Do everything with love.

Fighting for good, remaining loyal to your friends, and standing up for others—these actions all stem from one major lesson we can learn from Professor Snape. Do everything with love. His love for Lily Potter motivated his life’s work of protecting Harry and helping to defeat Voldemort. His love for Dumbledore gave him the courage to die for the right cause. Though he seemed rather harsh and insensitive at times, he used these unlikeable qualities to put himself in a position to protect and care for those who needed him most.


Goal Setting: Taking Advantage of THIS Semester

Spring classes are underway, competition rehearsals are in full-gear, and it’s time for a new semester of memories and academic adventures. It’s important to take full advantage of the time that you have this semester, but how can you make sure you’re accomplishing the things that you want to with your performance ensemble? Set goals. It sounds so simple, but setting specific and concrete goals is a great way to start the semester and ensure that you finish without letting opportunities pass by. We suggest making a list of short-term and long-term goals to give yourself “deadlines” and stay on track with what you hope to accomplish.

The first step is determining your end-of-semester goal so that you can list smaller steps that help move you toward that goal. In this step, it’s important to reflect on what you want to improve. Every group has differing strengths and weaknesses, both musical and non-musical. If no larger goal comes to mind immediately, take a few minutes and write down your group’s strengths and weaknesses to give you a clearer picture of what you want to work on. Maybe you want to encourage better teamwork in your group, or perhaps you want to use rehearsal time more efficiently. Maybe you have something musical you want to work on like vocal blend or sharper and cleaner choreography. Whatever that goal is, write it down and put it somewhere that you will see it every day so that you are reminded of the goal you are working towards.

Step two is to focus on the small, short-term goals and move forward from there. Here is a list of questions and suggestions for these short-term goal deadlines:

What can I accomplish TODAY?

  • I can plan my vocal warmups ahead of time to bring in elements of our competition set that need improvement.
  • I can start rehearsal exactly on time to take full advantage of the limited time I have with my students.
  • I can take five minutes of class-time to do a team-building activity.

What can I accomplish this WEEK?

  • I can perfect the hardest vocal section of our ballad. (Maybe try a sectional rehearsal!)
  • I can make sure my students have a packing list for an upcoming competition.
  • I can clean up the transitions between the numbers in our competition set.

What can I accomplish this MONTH?

  • I can make a game-plan for more efficient rehearsals with my student leaders (i.e. dance captains and officers if you have them).
  • I can delegate more responsibility to willing parent volunteers. (Ask yourself: what are some things that parent volunteers are able to do that would take stress out of my life?)
  • I can work on positive attitudes in my group by approaching challenges with positivity and encouragement.

Whatever your goals for the semester are, write them down and keep them somewhere that you will see them every day. Take advantage of the time you have with your performance group because this is the only semester you will work with this exact group of students. Keep up the great work, and best of luck to you this semester!

#Nafville2015: Our Top 5 Moments

Beth Slusher, Rivar’s President/CEO, and Jessica Wanek, one of our account executives, represented Rivar’s last week at the 2015 NAfME Conference in Nashville, TN. They had a wonderful time attending the conference, interacting with other supporters of music education, and playing a role in the furthering of music education. Here are some of their favorite moments from the conference:

  1. CMA (Country Music Association) Foundation announced it was giving the Give A Note Foundation a $150,000 grant to fund research about music education programs.

Beth is the President of Give A Note Foundation, and she had a few opportunities to speak at the conference. She was thrilled to announce this major donation from the CMA Foundation: “With our partners at NAfME, Give a Note Foundation will use the CMA grant funds to accomplish great things for music education!  We will be doing research that will help grantors, planners and educators guide their ideas about the next generation of support for music education. “

  1. Monster Mash!

Conference attendees could purchase tickets for this event, the proceeds of which went to Give A Note. Jessica said it was fun to see everyone dressed up in costumes having a ball at the concert.

  1. Beth presented for Give A Note before the opening concert.beth give a note NAfME

With Beth as our President/CEO, we hear a lot about her involvement with Give A Note and how much passion she has for music education. Jessica had never seen Beth present with Give A Note, and she said it was a proud moment for her as a Rivar’s employee to see our company’s executive present with the foundation and represent a cause that is so important to her.

  1. Jessica finally got to meet a long-time customer face-to-face.

We love our customers, and we talk to them a lot, but we hardly ever get to speak with them face-to-face. One of Jessica’s customers, who she has been working with for several years, visited her at the Rivar’s booth. Jessica said it was so fun to finally meet this director and talk to her in person. We hope we can see more of our customers in person at future conferences!

  1. Being the face of Rivar’s was a lot of fun!

Jessica and Beth are two members of a large Rivar’s team, and Jessica said she loved the opportunity to represent Rivar’s at the NAfME conference. Our company is a major proponent of music education in schools, and we are grateful to have had the chance to show our support at this year’s conference. Jessica spent most of her time at the conference at the Rivar’s vendor booth, and she said it was a lot fun to mingle with other people who believe in and support the same causes and ideas that Rivar’s does.

#NafvilNAfME image 1le2015 was a blast, and we are so happy to have been at the conference this year. We hope all of the other attendees had a great time, and we hope to see you the next NAfME conference!

How can I use social media to promote my group?

How can I use social media to promote my group?

In an era of retweets and hashtags, learning how to promote your group and their performances with social media is key. We’ve come up with a few tips to help you use social media to your advantage and get your students involved in promoting their performances.

  • Ask your students to promote shows and performances on their chosen social media outlet.

While Facebook and Twitter are still extremely popular social media outlets, Instagram is proving to be the dominant form of social media for current middle and high school students. Rehearsal photos, behind-the-scenes shots, and action photos from performances are great things to show on Instagram (and Twitter and Facebook) because they allow people outside the group to see what’s going on in your performance group. Maybe think about starting an Instagram account or Facebook page for your group, and give a few students the opportunity to manage the pages. This will get students involved in advertising performances and give them the chance to share the hard work they put into every show.

  • Make a #hashtag to engage the community.

Hashtags are taking over social media! Use them to your advantage by creating one for your group and/or your shows and performances. Hashtags cover multiple social media platforms, so Twitter users, Facebook users, and Instagram users can all utilize the same hashtag to stay connected. When creating a hashtag for a group or performance, simplicity is important. We want to promote creativity in the arts, but make sure your hashtag is simple and short enough for people to use. For example, if your holiday concert is called Holiday Spectacular, considering using #holidayspec instead of the full show title. Twitter allows only 140 characters, and you don’t want the hashtag to take up half the tweet! Consider putting the hashtag in your concert program and on any advertisements you create. Include other hashtags related to your group or performance (i.e. #showchoir, #concertchoir, #orchestra, #band, #musiced) to connect with people who are involved in the same things.

  • Make everything shareable.

Are you selling tickets online? Create links that are Twitter and Instagram friendly. Are you advertising online? Make the ads easy to share and post on social media platforms. Sharing your group and performance should be easy for people at all levels of technology proficiency and on all social media platforms. While your students are primarily using Instagram, chances are that a lot of your audience members are Facebook users. Engage all ages by making things shareable.

Social media is quickly becoming (if it hasn’t already done so!) the primary avenue for advertising and social connections. Instead of allowing it to be the bane of your existence, have fun with it! Your students are using social media constantly, and using social media to help your group will give them a great opportunity to get involved in more than just the music. Can I get a #retweet?

instagram logotwitter logo       FB logo

How can I jazz up my costumes for holiday performances?

How can I jazz up my costumes for holiday performances?

Are you looking for some quick, easy, and affordable ways to jazz up your costumes for holiday concerts? We have several different options at Rivar’s that can help you do just that.

  • With sugar and spice, some RED might look nice!

The combination of a white dress shirt and black pants is a classic look that is great for any occasion. But for holiday concerts, adding in some seasonal colors can be a fun and easy way to “spice” up your men’s outfits. Our men’s dress shirts come in a variety of colors, and we recommend red or burgundy for your holiday concerts. These in-stock items are usually available to ship the day after you place your order, so they’re festive and quick!

Men’s dress shirts are available online!











  • Let it Snow Sparkle!

You can’t go wrong with a basic bowtie, but isn’t life (and performing) more fun with some sequins involved? Check out our in-stock Bem Bem Sequin bowties, which come in black, white, and red. Pair a red Bem Bem bowtie with a black or white shirt, or brighten up the stage with a red shirt paired with a black or white bowtie.

Purchase these in our online store!

3805mac-as (bowties)

  • Deck the halls with quick-ship dresses… Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!

Classic dresses call for classic fabrics and colors. We offer a selection of quick-ship concert dresses, which are available in a variety of colors and fabrics, including popular holiday colors like red, green, and blue. A quick-ship dress will ship from our warehouse approximately four weeks from the order date, which is faster than our 6-8 week production time for other manufactured dresses. Check out some of our popular styles in the pictures below.

1205CPL in purple stretch iridescent taffeta

(Left) 2064SEP in emerald/black iridescent taffeta sequins; (Center) 1202CAQ in black velvet and royal/black iridescent taffeta; (Right) 1215CEL in red/black iridescent taffeta
1205CEL in navy crepe back satin




The holidays should be a time of great music, fun performances, and holiday cheer. Let us help make your holiday concerts easier (and a little more colorful!) with our in-stock items and quick-ship dresses. Contact your account manager to place an order or take a look at our online store and place your order there. We wish you all the best in your holiday season. After all, who else besides performance groups gets to start their holiday season in October?

Stressed about upcoming performances? Let us help!

This time of year is absolutely nuts for a lot of people. You’re handling upcoming performances, we’re trying to get garments made and shipped, and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. We understand how stressful upcoming performances can be, and we’d like to offer a few suggestions for handling the stress during this crazy time of year.

1. Remember why you chose to become a music teacher in the first place.

When stress takes over in the classroom, try to remember why you chose this career. Why is music education important to you? How does music impact your life and the lives of the students you work with every day? It can be difficult to remember the joy that sparked your desire to choose this career path when performance garments aren’t fitting quite right, the tenors in your choir are struggling with their part, or students are struggling to remember choreography. Take a step back (no really, a step back in time) and remind yourself why you chose this path. Passion and joy led you here, so try to remember why they did.

 2. Drink plenty of water and get some sleep.

This sounds basic (because it is) but it’s so important. This time of year is incredibly demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally, and keeping yourself healthy will allow you to give 100% to your students and your groups’ performances. The show can’t go on without you, so make sure you’re the most hydrated and well-rested version of yourself you can be.

 3. Prioritize.

What is most important to you about your upcoming performance? Is it extra rhinestone buttons, the right character shoes, or a blended choral sound? Determine what is most important to you (it will be different for every director) and put that at the top of your to-do list during your time with your students. Sometimes, there is not enough time to finish every single thing you want to get done. But if you do the important things first, you may be surprised how many other little things you manage to get completed.

 4. Take a minute (or ten!) for yourself during the day.

Whether it’s enjoying your coffee in the morning or listening to your favorite song during a passing period, find some way to decompress during the day so that you can re-focus your energy. When times get stressful in the Rivar’s office, we find that taking a short break to grab a snack, drink some water, or walk around the office can be really helpful. We want to provide the best service we can to our customers, and we need to be focused and energized to do that, just as you do as you’re preparing for a performance.

5. Consider the impact you are having on students.

There’s something very special about working in the arts, particularly in education, because you are providing others with opportunities to grow and develop into wonderful musicians and even more wonderful people. You are having an irrevocable impact on the students you work with every day, something they (and you) may not realize until many years from now. Even though most of the students you work with on a daily basis will not pursue a career in music, the lessons they learn and skills they develop in their music classes will carry them through any career path they choose. Music is powerful, and you are a major part of that experience for young people.

Purdue take 2
University Choir
Purdue University
William Griffel, Director


What type of shoes should my choir wear?

What type of shoes should my choir wear?

There are so many things to think about when putting together a performance. We’ve got your costumes covered, but what about those dancing feet? We’ve decided to expand on an earlier blog post about different shoe options you have when outfitting your performance group. Below you’ll find pros and cons of different styles we’ve looked into (and for some of us, worn!) so that you can pick out the best shoes for your group.

Bloch Splitflex Character Shoe (2 inch heel)

Bloch Splitflex feet

Bloch Splitflex








  • Allows for more foot flexibility and pointed toes
  • Softer material is less likely to cause blisters when the shoes are first worn
  • Stops can be added to the heel and ball of the foot to prevent a) wear and tear on the bottom of the shoes and b) slipping on stage


  • Recommended for women with strong ankles because the split sole doesn’t have as much support for the whole leg
  • Softer material on the sole of the shoe can be more prone to wear and tear depending on the texture of the stage floor
  • Can be more expensive than a typical character shoe

Capezio T-Strap Character Shoe (2 inch heel)

Capezio t-strap feet              Capezio t-strap







  • Fits snuggly on the foot to maximize stability in heels
  • Classic look that goes with any costume style
  • Great shoe for both strong dancers and students new to dance


  • Takes more time to get on and off (not the best shoe if you have shoe quick changes)
  • Can be slippery if the bottoms are not scuffed up

Capezio Manhattan Character Shoe (2.5 inch)

Capezio Manhattan feet   Capezio manhattan


  • Solid heel with more height for a leaner, longer line
  • Ankle strap allows for slipping on and off quickly
  • Classic character shoe look is versatile


  • Taller heel may take more time to get used to than a lower heel
  • Price runs higher than a lower-heeled character shoe

Bloch Character Shoe (1.5 inch)

Bloch 1.5 inch feet  Bloch 1.5 inch heel


  • Lower heel is appropriate for all ages
  • Lower heel is more stable for less-experienced dancers
  • Great for concert choirs, who may be standing in one place for longer periods of time


  • The larger (in terms of square inches) heel could be louder and more clunky on stage
  • Lower heel doesn’t elongate the leg line as much as a higher heel

*SPECIAL NOTE: All women’s character shoes listed above come in both tan and black.


Men’s Capezio Character Shoe

Men's character shoe (Capezio)


  • Structured similarly to a men’s dress shoe, so men adjust easily to the fit
  • More flexible than a typical dress shoe to allow for more dance movement


  • Not a con for this shoe specifically, but in general, there are very few options for men’s character shoes
  • Can be slick on a stage floor if not scuffed up on the bottom


If you’re interested in purchasing any of the above character shoes, check out your local dancewear stores or some of these websites:

We wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect fit for your performance group!

How do I take care of my costumes?

How do I take care of my costumes?

At Rivar’s, we strive to produce the highest quality garments on the market.  With that being said, there are certain procedures you can follow to prolong your garment’s life. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your costumes clean and looking fabulous.


  • Use only clear/non-whitening deodorant to avoid white stains on your garments. When you use clear deodorants, particularly gel or roll-on, make sure to let the deodorant dry before putting your arms against the costumes. Here are some recommendations from directors and former students:
Ban deodorant

Ban – Clear, roll-on

Degree deodorant

Degree – ultra clear

gillette deodorant

Gillette – Endurance, clear gel








  • When necessary, hand wash garments in cold water and hang to dry. If you hang dry stretchy materials, it’s a good idea to lay them flat or fold them over on a hanger so that they don’t expand while they dry.


  •  The washing machine is not your friend. Never machine wash or dry clean your garments.  Washing and drying them in a machine can break the garments down, strip them of their sequins and rhinestones, and fade their color. Our dress shirts and the garments entirely made with matte jersey or stretch velvet are the only exceptions to this rule. 
  • Avoid using hairspray while wearing the performance apparel, particularly the costumes with sequins and glitter.  We recommend wearing a “cover-up” to avoid the spray coming into direct contact with the fabric. Throw on your group’s spiritwear to show school pride and keep your costumes feeling fabulous instead of sticky!
  • Avoid direct exposure to heat and sunlight. Both of these can drastically fade the vibrancy of our fabrics. Your costumes will shine brighter in the spotlight than in the sunlight! To keep your costumes clean and safe during travel, consider garment bags with a good lining and solid zipper to prevent outside elements from getting on your costumes.

We want you to shine as bright as our costumes, so follow these rules and you’ll be sure to stand out. For all other questions about fabric care contact us at 1-800-775-4829 or at