4 Ways YOU can make the most of Music in Our Schools Month

Music in our schools is something to be celebrated every day, but March is a special month for music education in our country because it is officially Music in Our Schools Month! Or #MIOSM as you may be seeing on social media. As people involved in the world of music education, we have a special opportunity to show why music is such an important part of our lives. It is more than what we do; it is a part of who we are, and our love of music continues to grow and challenge us in new ways every day. We’re halfway through March, but there is still time to let the world know why music education is important in your life. So this week, we’re offering you 4 ways YOU can make the most of #MIOSM!

  1. Tell your story.

How has music affected your life? What made you decide to pursue a career in music education? What keeps you going when teaching music gets tough? Take some time to reflect on how and why you got to where you, and share it with your students. They may not always want to listen to corrections or sit up straight in their chairs, but if you can help them understand how their music education classes can impact their future, they may be more inclined to listen. Your story is important. Music in our schools is important. So tell your students how those ideas are connected!

  1. Donate to a music education foundation like Give-A-Note.

For those who want to keep music in our schools, donating to Give-A-Note is a great way to show your support. Give-A-Note uses donations to provide grants for schools who need money to keep music programs in their schools. Since its founding in 2011, this organization has donated more than 1.2 million dollars to support music education. Be a part of keeping music in schools that don’t have the money to do it themselves. Every child deserves access to music, and donating to Give-A-Note is a fantastic way to assure that this happens.

  1. Share what you’re doing on social media.

The best way to show others what music means to you is to SHARE it! Get your students involved in this. Let’s be honest… they probably are more connected to social media than most teachers. If you have a fundraiser, promote it on every social media site you can. If you have a concert coming up, share rehearsal clips, pictures from costume fittings, and other behind-the-scenes goodies. There are a lot of people who love music performances, but they don’t ever get to see what goes on before the curtain goes up. Share it with them! Let everyone be a part of the performance experience.

  1. Celebrate!

If you’ve dedicated your life to music and music education, there is obviously something about music that has stuck with you during your life. Celebrate it! Take time to notice the little ways that music brightens your day. Whether it’s seeing a light bulb go off for a struggling student or one of your favorite songs playing on your drive home, be grateful that you have an opportunity to be involved in something that changes lives.

Test scores have proved it. Students’ grades have reflected it. The world is a better place because of it. Music in our schools holds more importance than can possibly be expressed. How are you going to make the most of #MIOSM?

Why is the Super Bowl halftime show such a big deal?

Why is the Super Bowl halftime show such a big deal?

The office this morning was buzzing with talk of the Super Bowl, but considering the fact that we work in the music industry (for all intents and purposes), most of our conversations focused on the halftime show. We discussed things like Bruno Mars’ strange suit (he really needed a Rivar’s blazer), Chris Martin’s poor singing posture, and Beyonce’s ability to do no wrong (in our humble opinion). As we talked about our favorite and least favorite moments from last night’s show, it got me thinking: what makes the halftime show so special that it encourages many people to tune in for halftime and disregard the rest of the game? In this week’s blog, we’re going to highlight a few key points regarding the evolution of the Super Bowl halftime show and give you our top 3 reasons why we think the halftime show has become one of the biggest live entertainment shows of the year.

HISTORY

1960s through 1980s: The NFL keeps it classic with marching bands and some very family-friendly pop culture influence.

Show choir fans might like:

  • (1984) Disney’s Salute to the Silver Screen: girls with big hair dance in red sequined costumes, Goofy tap dances, and Mickey comes out to lead an encore of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” What more do you need?
  • (1988) The Radio City Rockettes tap their way across the field, accompanied by 88 pianos. It gets a little funky with a strange song about twisting and shouting (but it’s not “Twist and Shout”…), but the class and elegance of the Rockettes will win over every show choir kid’s heart.

1990s – mid-2000s: The halftime show begins to draw more viewers than the game itself.

  • (1993) Michael Jackson performs at the Super Bowl, making him the first major pop artist to perform at the halftime show. His performance completely altered the future of the Super Bowl halftime show.
  • (Late 1990s – 2005) The Super Bowl captivated older audiences in this era with artists such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, Prince, and U2. There were a few shows thrown in there with people like Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, and Justin Timberlake, but the older rockers dominated this era.

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2011-2016: Pop stars are the name of the game.

  • (2011) Black-Eyed Peas
  • (2012) Madonna with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO, CeeLo Green
  • (2013) Beyonce and Destiny’s Child
  • (2014) Bruno Mars
  • (2015) Katy Perry
  • (2016) Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyonce
  • Need we say more?

OUR TOP 3: Reasons (we think!) the Super Bowl halftime show has become the entertainment event of the year.

  1. Big names mean big numbers.

Michael Jackson wasn’t exactly a small name in the early 90s, so it’s no wonder that the 1993 halftime show drew so many viewers. After attracting a massive TV audience, the networks and the NFL caught on and continued to move forward with a trend of inviting major names to perform at the Super Bowl. Since then, every artist who performed at the game was a chart-topper, and the halftime show continues to draw more viewers than the rest of the game.

  1. People love spectacle.

From the Ziegfeld Follies to the Super Bowl halftime show, there has been no shortage of “spectacle” in American history. What can we say? We love our sparkle and spectacle. We are in the show choir business after all. But truly, people LOVE spectacle. There’s something magically captivating about fireworks, moving stages, and flashing lights, and the spectacle continues to grow with each halftime show. If the 2016 halftime show was as spectacular as it was, we’re excited to see what will happen at future Super Bowl games.

  1. No team affiliation allows for a moment of unity.

While the pop stars are fantastic and the stages are incredible, we think it’s the non-competitive aspect of the halftime show that draws so many people. The Super Bowl can bring out the worst in team rivalries and create tension among fans, but the halftime show erases all tension and rivalry for at least fifteen minutes and allows everyone to come together and enjoy a great show. The only two aspects of the Super Bowl that have this ability are both music-related: the National Anthem and the halftime show. Music brings people together in the best way possible, and the Super Bowl halftime show is the perfect example of this beautiful gift that music offers.

We all loved watching the halftime show last night and are grateful that music, in some capacity, is a part of one of the largest sporting events every year. What are your favorite Super Bowl halftime show moments from your lifetime? We’d love to know!

The Rivar’s Team: Our Favorite Show Choir Memories

THE RIVAR’S TEAM: Our Favorite Show Choir Memories

Have you ever wondered how a group of working adults could be so invested in a show choir apparel company? Why do these adults love show choir costumes so much? We do support music education and believe in the importance of the arts, but more than that, we have been there. Several Rivar’s employees have a show choir background and have a beautiful collection of memories from their time in show choir. This week, we’re going to look at some of the employees and their favorite show choir moments.

Tara Holcomb, Sales Director

Franklin Central High School, FC Singers

  • Getting to wear my first Rivar’s dress – I always loved seeing which color and style the FC Singers dresses were each year.  When I finally got to wear my own, I was thrilled!  I ran home and said, “Mom, my dress is going to be RED!” (my favorite color).  I loved how the skirt was so full, and what they looked like when we moved.  It was a huge achievement to be chosen to be in our show choir, and the day I got my dress was when I finally felt like a true FC Singer.
  • Out of state trips to national competitions – we competed at both Showstoppers and Fame my senior year of high school, and the trips out there were so fun.  We slept overnight on charter buses.  We got to run around Disney World for days.  We saw show choirs from the other side of the country that gave us deeper appreciation for how the arts can differ.  We had so much fun getting away and doing what we do best – perform!
  • Our last competition of the year was in Branson, MO for Fame.  I remember the curtain being closed and we were getting set up for our opener.  All of us had tears in our eyes and gave each other huge hugs as we prepared for our final show together as a team.  We were so cohesive, and proud of how far we had come.  During that performance, my cheeks literally hurt from smiling so much.  I wanted to leave every last piece of myself I could on that stage, because I knew it would be my last time performing that set.  It was sad, happy and moving all at once!

EVAN CAIN, Account Manager

Carmel High School, Ambassadors

I think my favorite memory from show choir was the last time our group sang together my junior year of high school.  The Ambassadors really  connected with and grew attached to a song called “I Am Not Yours”. On the last day of school all of us gathered on stage and held hands in a circle. It was our first time singing this acapella song without a directer, we had never sounded better.  I felt so connected to the group in that moment.  I have a video from that day that I reflect on a lot. It was such an amazing moment and I am so glad I got to experience it with my friends.

Evan

MEGAN DUNN, Customer Service

Brown County High School, Elegance and Mystique

I’ve been thinking and no specific memory stands out for me.  Basically I remember loving the community created by being in choir, the trips we took as a group (we went to Chicago and Six Flags Great America one year and it was a blast, even though one of our two charter buses broke down on the way back and we finished the ride home in just the one remaining bus), and spending all day at Edgewood Contest of Champions (the only competition we went to) performing, watching other groups, and just hanging out all day.

Megan - Mystique

JESSAMYN ANDERSON, Customer Service

Carmel High School, Ambassadors and Accents

  • I so clearly remember waking up for my first competition when I was a sophomore. Because I was in the women’s group, we had to be at the school at 4:30am to catch our bus to the competition. My alarm was set for 3:30 (which is usually an ungodly hour), but I was so excited that I popped out of bed at 3:00am and couldn’t fall back asleep. I had been watching my older sister compete for a few years, and it was finally my turn. I couldn’t wait.
  • Senior year was my favorite year in show choir, and it was because of the people. We really became a family, and we worked extremely hard together. Even though we were successful throughout the season in terms of awards, we had a tough season because of other things: our white dresses and white suits got mud all over them on the bus ride to our first competition; there was a lot of illness in the group (as in, we had trash bags tied to costume racks backstage so people wouldn’t throw up on costumes); and we ended up completely cutting our original competition closer after the first competition and re-worked the end of our set in one week. But because of all these challenges, we were that much more driven to win, and I will never forget winning our final competition of the season because it meant we had an undefeated season. I have never been more proud to be a part of a group than I was at that moment of victory.

As a team, we frequently reminisce about our days in show choir. Those years are filled with memories that will last a lifetime, and we are grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in creating show choir memories for others. We wish you the best of luck this competition season–always keep a song in your heart and some extra sparkle in your smile!

Beyond the Hairspray: What do I bring to a show choir competition?

BEYOND the HAIRSPRAY: What do I bring to a show choir competition?

You’re probably thinking, “Rivar’s is trying to tell me what to bring to a competition? I already know… bobby pins, my shoes, my costume, water… I’ve got everything packed.” You may have your duffel bag ready to go, but there are more impactful things than a can of hairspray that you need to bring to a competition. Many members of our Rivar’s team have participated in show choir competitions, and we would like to share some non-material things that are essential for any competition.

A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

Your alarm is set for 3am. And that means it’s competition season. If you have to get up when it’s still the middle of the night, make sure to get to bed early and do what you need to do to insure a peaceful night’s sleep. Show choir competitions are physically and emotionally exhausting, and it will be easier to recover from the 24-hour event if you go into the event well-rested. Singing while exhausted can put your vocal cords at risk, and you are more likely to get sick if you over-sing on a tired voice. So get to bed, protect your voice, and rest your body so that you can be on the top of your game for your choir!

CONFIDENCE

You’ve been working for months on this set. You know the choreography inside and out, and you could probably sing the ballad in your sleep. (Perhaps you have already because you’ve been dreaming about nothing but show choir for weeks…) So do as Maria does in The Sound of Music and have confidence in yourself and in your group. If it’s your first competition of the season, have confidence that you can put your best foot forward this weekend and continue to get better as the season goes on. You’ve worked too hard not to have faith in the amazing things your group can and will accomplish.

i have confidence

AN OPEN MIND

Show choir has exploded in the past decade, and choirs all over the country have taken this art form to innovative and inspirational places. Themed shows have made their way onto competition stages while other choirs own their traditional Broadway style. Whatever your preferred style is, open your mind to other schools’ ideas and choices. Instead of being instantly critical of something that is different than what you’re used to, take the time to think about the different kind of work and energy that group put into their set. If you’re used to edgier sets focusing on pop and rock music, you may have trouble seeing the challenges of a more classic, Broadway style. Open your mind. If you’re used to the golden age Broadway showstoppers, you may not understand the difficulties of putting together an edgy, rock music competition set. Open your mind. Try to appreciate different styles this competition season—you never know what might inspire you.

A SHOW CHOIR SMILE

When you’re exhausted by the time finals roll around, there are two things that can pull you through that final number in your set: adrenaline (which you have no control over) and a fabulous show choir smile (which is all yours to give). Let your smile light up the stage as you have the amazing opportunity to share a performance experience with your classmates and the hundreds of people that have come to see you perform. While it may be easy to keep that smile ON the stage, remember to keep smiling that show choir smile OFF the stage. You never know who may need to see a sparkling smile that day.

MANNERS

Please and thank you are great things to say to all those helping at show choir competitions, but having good manners during competition season goes further than easy words. It’s tempting to talk poorly about other groups at the competition: you don’t like their costumes, their vocals need some work, or maybe they’re really good and you’re concerned about them winning that night. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to either keep those comments to yourself or wait until you’re solely with YOUR choir to talk about other groups. You never know who is around you at a competition. Judges also take lunch breaks in the cafeteria, and parents from all the choirs are floating around the school during the day. Consider the impact your words could have on someone before letting them fly in a very public place. Wouldn’t you rather be remembered for indispensable kindness rather than a disposable trophy?

A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

“Keep it positive! Let out your inner freak! Keep it positive!” I think Elle Woods had it right in Legally Blonde: The Musical. Show choir competitions are a blast, but it can be tough to stay positive if you didn’t do as well as you had hoped on a personal level or a group level. Let that show choir smile light up your face and your mind, and remember to simply have fun. The most important thing to remember about having a positive attitude is that it majorly affects those around you, including people in your group and those in other choirs. If you win, win with positivity and keep it positivekindness. If you lose or didn’t place as high as you hoped, lose with positivity and good sportsmanship. Positivity makes the (show choir) world a better place, and you, as students and directors, can make sure that positivity is present at all times.

Show choir competition season is such an exciting time, and you will create memories that will last you a lifetime. Friendships will grow, musicianship will get stronger, and your group will bond over things you never knew could bring people together. Obviously, bobby pins, character shoes, and an extra pair of tights are must-haves for a show choir competition. But remember that your attitude, manners, and a dash of confidence will always take you further at a show choir competition than a can of hairspray ever will.

#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!