4 WAYS to make the most out of your show choir camp

I have so enjoyed seeing recent photos and Facebook posts from my music educator friends who are kicking off their school year this week. Many of them organize and run show choir camps in the week before school starts, and this week is essential for laying the groundwork for a fantastic school year. During my last two years of high school, I was in the top mixed group at my high school (Carmel High School in Indiana), and we participated in “Ambassador Boot Camp” the week before classes began. It was a week full of hard work, new friendships, and a lot of memories. Though it was a lot of fun, I now realize how important that week was for our teachers as they worked to set our group on the path to success. So this week, I’m sharing 4 WAYS you can make the most out of your show choir camp to help kick off a great school year!

Establish TEAMWORK

Just like a sports team, a choir is a group of people dedicated to a common goal. Teamwork is essential for any successful group. And I’m not just talking about success measured in trophies! For a group to perform well together, they need to understand what it means to work together beyond the walls of the stage. My high school directors showed us from day one that we could not accomplish any of our goals as a group without supporting one another, both in our successes and failures. If someone in the group was going through a rough time in his/her life, we lifted that person up. If someone was working toward something, we cheered them on. If someone was celebrating something special, we were ready with (figurative) confetti to throw. When a choir works together as a team, things like solo auditions and outstanding performer awards create less of a rift in the group.



Give your students RESPONSIBILITY

Every student has more to offer a group than his/her voice and musical talents. If students are given the chance to contribute to the group as student leaders, helpers, or other non-musical roles, they become more invested in the group as a whole. (This may sound like it’s from research… but it’s purely from my own observation as a previous show choir member.) Whether it’s taking attendance, making sure the rehearsal room is set up, putting music binders together, or organizing group events, duties beyond simply showing up and singing and dancing offer opportunities for students to become more invested in the process of putting performances together. TEACHER BONUS: Giving your students extra responsibilities takes some of the work off of your shoulders. Yes, please!


There are several ways to set expectations for a group: have a list of rehearsal rules hanging in your classroom, have a sit-down chat with your group, establish rules gradually as you see fit… the list goes on. Regardless of your teaching style, setting expectations for rehearsal behavior, rehearsal attire, music preparedness, and group dynamics is important. As a student, I always appreciated knowing where the bar was set and how I was expected to behave in all choir-related situations. Punctuality was a huge deal in our group, and I will never forget one of my high school teachers talking about being on time.

“To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. To be late is to be dead.”

Have FUN

1936979_301486995098_7401971_n Let’s be honest… choir is a BLAST! It takes hard work, dedication, and a lot of preparation, but at the end of the day, you are making music with other people who love music. There’s not a lot in life that’s better than that. Students are more willing to give of themselves if they enjoy what they’re doing. So yes, establish teamwork, give your students responsibility, and set expectations but also remember to have fun. You are dedicating your life to keeping music in children’s lives, and that is a beautiful thing. So remember to have fun and maybe toss around some non-figurative confetti!



Spring Cleaning at Rivar’s!

Competition season is over, #MIOSM is coming to a close, next year’s catalog is nearly finished, and the end of the school year is almost touchable. While you are winding down from a hectic winter and early spring, we are already gearing up for next school year with spring cleaning! This time of year is when we do inventory, clean the production room, reboot, and re-organize our lives at Rivar’s, and we want to share some behind-the-scenes moments from this week!


During our annual cleaning extravaganza, we have to go through ever item in the warehouse and make sure that our inventory numbers are correct. This includes things like ties, briefs, men’s shirts, and men’s pants. So. Many. Pants. These were the most difficult items to scan in because they have to be stored in flat boxes to prevent them from getting wrinkled in the warehouse. It was quite a task to make sure we got them all scanned in correctly! But it’s important for us to know if the inventory number in our computer system is matching up with our inventory numbers in the back. We also use a tagging gun to add plastic tags and barcodes to items like stock dresses and trumpet pants. Before we dive into making more stock dresses, we need to know how many of each size we already have. Some sizes are more popular than others, so we watch our sales numbers from past years to figure out how many of each size we need to keep in stock for the fall.


Only at Rivar’s would we have machines clogged up with glitter and sequins. Our design team was busy in the production room this week going through thread, cleaning out sewing machines, and taking stock of what we have on hand for our sewers. Take a moment to think about all the different fabrics and colors we offer in our catalog. We have to have zippers, straps, and thread in all of those colors… that’s a lot of thread! The design team also uses this time of year to work on patterns to make the sizes more consistent across styles.


As we prepare for another busy school year, the sales team has been in meetings this week planning for the summer and the fall. We are so excited about our new fabrics and dress designs, and we’ve been reviewing the catalog pages before sending them off to our printer. We’re also making sure that our customers have everything they need to finish off the school year with a little extra sparkle.

This week has been pretty quiet, but we have been hard at work making sure that we are ready to order more of our stock items and prepare our team for a fabulous season after our catalog reveal. What are you most looking forward to seeing in this year’s catalog? We’d love to know!

Catalog Photo Shoot: Day 4!

It’s our final day of catalog photo shoot! We have two fabulous models on set today: Mia and Alexis. You may recognize them from our catalog cover last year. This is the third year in a row that they’ve been on set together, and they were very excited to be reunited this morning. Both girls are positive balls of energy, and there have been nothing but smiles all morning! It was fun watching them together, and they were always so excited to put on a new dress. And my gosh do they look fabulous in every single thing they wear! We can’t wait for later today when we get to shoot the catalog cover with these incredible youg

Mia (left) and Alexis (right) have been on set together for three years in a row. They are fabulous individuals, but they make a star-quality team of models. We are so happy to have them with us for our final day!

Name: Alexis Edgerson

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN 

Favorite pizza topping: pepperoni 

Favorite hobby: Ultimate Frisbee and music performance

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

Um, I don’t know! The fun! And the sparkles. And the music. The accomplishing feeling of looking good.

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

The cover dress!

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

I’m a freshman at Purdue University studying to be a physician’s assistant. I’m in jazz band, and I play tenor and soprano sax. Also, I don’t like being alone… so I’m always hanging out with people!

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I can belly dance with my tongue.

Name: Mia Kaehler

Hometown: Zionsville, IN 

Favorite pizza topping: cheese

Favorite hobby: I like to cook! 

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

Oh, I don’t know! Just wearing all the sparkly dresses. Reliving my show choir days!

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

There are so many… But I like the mermaid-looking fabric, and the black and white one with a high neck!

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

I’m a sophomore at Butler University in the physician’s assistant program. I’m a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, and I’m in a women’s a capella group called Freshly Brewed. 

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I can burp my ABCs. I’ve been able to do it since I was in second grade.

Today was a BLAST on set! Mia and Alexis were so much fun to work with, and we can’t wait to show off all the beautiful garments they modeled today. When the catalog is mailed out, we’ll be posting more behind-the-scenes photos from this week. We don’t want to reveal all the glamour just yet… so stay tuned for a fabulous catalog. This year’s fabrics are some of our favorites that Rivar’s has ever sold. All that’s left to say is… that’s a wrap!

Catalog Photo Shoot: Day 3!

After a day off from the photo shoot, we’re ready to get started! Today and tomorrow are HUGE days on set. We have our girls with the most dresses on these two days, and we can’t wait to see the garments under lights. For each model profile, I’ve been asking the models what their favorite garment is, and I have a feeling the next few days will bring some difficult decisions on that front. Today, we have four people coming in: Rachel Berry (a new model), Molly O’Connor (her fifth year!), and a sibling duo, Sierra and Trasan Combs, who will be our middle school models. We’re looking forward to a busy and glamour-filled day!

Brenda works magic with hair and makeup! She gives our models fabulous faces so you can see what your Rivar’s dresses will look like on stage. And Tara, our sales director, knows how to spin, so she gave Rachel some twirling lessons this morning before we got started!

Name: Rachel Berry

Hometown: Carmel, IN

Favorite pizza topping: Cheese

Favorite hobby: I work with Special Olympics, and that’s my favorite thing in the world. 

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

I love hair and makeup because I love glam… and I love the dresses! And being in front of a camera! I love everything!

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

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

I’m a senior at Carmel High School. I do pageants! I like to play piano and sing, and I also work at church.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I know every word of the Elf movie.

She’s had a couple Miss Indiana titles (UNM Miss Indiana Teen, Miss Indiana American Teen), but she’s too sweet and humble to talk about it! So I will!

Name: Molly O’Connor

Hometown: Carmel, IN

Favorite pizza topping: extra cheese

Favorite hobby: During the school year, I really like sleeping. During the summer, I watch a lot of Grey’s Anatomy.

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

I think the process is fun. I look forward to getting to wear all the cute outfits, and I always kind of embarrass myself, and we all laugh!

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

I really like fuschia panel dress and the turquoise empire dress in that same fabric!

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

I’m a senior at Carmel High School. I’m very involved with the Carmel Ambassadors show choir, and when my life is not being taken over by show choir, I’m very involved with DECA. I’m either studying business administration or marketing at Ball State next year.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I have two different ears because when I was getting ready for a choir concert, a girl burned my ear with a flat iron, and the skin never grew back the same.

Name: Sierra Combs

Hometown: Fishers, IN

Favorite pizza topping: pepperoni

Favorite hobby: I like to annoy my brother, and I like to draw, and I like to run, and I like to hang out with my friends! I also like to roller skate!

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

Trying on all the dresses… again!

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

Purple showstopper babydot dress because it’s soft!

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

I’m in fifth grade at Sand Creek Intermediate. I’m in show choir, I’m on Student Council, and I also do Girl Scouts.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I can make many faces.

Name: Trasan Combs

Hometown: Fishers, IN 

Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni and Sausage

Favorite hobby: Reading

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

Wearing the fancy clothes.

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

The bowtie and suspenders!

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

I’m in seventh grade at Fishers Junior High. I’m either reading or playing the baritone tuba. I also do parkour classes on the weekends.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I’m afraid of heights. I can also flip my eyelids.

Energy is HIGH on set this afternoon! We’ve got Molly for the fifth year in a row (in the left photo with Tara and Jessamyn), and we’ve got a sibling duo as our junior models. Can you tell they’re related…? There are so many gorgeous garments in photos today, but a lot of them are a secret until the catalog is finished. We can’t wait to share all the new fabrics and styles with you!

Today was a full and FABULOUS day! We are looking forward to our final day of photos tomorrow!

Catalog Photo Shoot: Day 2!

It’s an exciting day on the set today. We’ve got our first female show choir model, Katelin, in the chair for hair and makeup. This is her second year as a Rivar’s model, and she is excited to be back again this year. Danny, one of our younger male models, is the other model on the schedule today, and he is also a returning model. We’re looking forward to a full day of fun and photography!

Name: Katelin Maradol

Hometown: Micronesia, but I live in Indianapolis, IN now

Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni

Favorite hobby: I really like to draw and read when it’s raining outside.

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

It was a lot of fun last year, so I’m looking forward to having just as much fun and having a new experience this year.

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

I like the black and silver-sequin dress with the red skirt! It’s definitely my favorite.

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

I’m a sophomore at Park Tudor High School. I’m always either with friends or at home relaxing with my mom and my cat! 

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I won a goldfish at the State Fair two and half years ago, and he’s still alive.

Name: Danny O’Connor 

Hometown: Union, KY but now I live in Carmel, IN 

Favorite pizza topping: cheese

Favorite hobby: sleeping

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

To look good. I guess that’s the whole point anyway!

Day 2 was a shorter day than anticipated, but we are so excited about the outfits (and the wonderful models) from today. Check back tomorrow for more fun updates from the Rivar’s catalog photo shoot!

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!

Brighter and Bolder: Rivar’s Makeup Tutorial

Rivar’s Makeup Tutorial

Are you looking for a way to look brighter and bolder under stage lights? We’re here to help. Welcome to our very first Rivar’s makeup tutorial! My name is Jessamyn, and I’m a customer service associate and show choir alum. After many years of competitions, concerts, and other performance opportunities, I’ve learned a lot about what (and what not to do!) with your stage makeup. So I’m here to share some tips and tricks for looking your best on a show choir stage.

In an effort to make your life as easy as possible, I’ve written down the steps from the video in addition to some extra tips for makeup application. As in the video, I’ve broken down this list into three major sections: face, eyes, and lips.


  • Foundation
    • Choose the foundation formula that’s right for you!
    • You can use a brush, a sponge, or your fingers for application. Again, it depends on your skin type and the formula you choose.
    • TIP: Apply the foundation in the direction of the hairs on your face for the smoothest appearance.
  • Concealer
    • The shade of concealer should match your skin exactly or be one shade lighter. If it’s darker, it will draw attention to those spots on your face instead of covering them up.
  • Contour
    • Remember the places you need to contour: under your cheekbones, the “corners” of your hairline/forhead, the sides of your nose, and your jawline.
    • TIP: When contouring your nose, don’t put the makeup beyond the sides of your nose. This will broaden instead of narrow your  nose.
  • Blush
    • Remember… if you think have enough on, put on some more. Blush really warms up your face under lights and prevents you from looking washed-out.
    • TIP: The placement of your blush (and highlight and contour for that matter) depends on your face shape. Check out this picture for some tips on application based on your face shape.
  • Highlight
    • TIP: Use highlight with a little shimmer on your cheekbones if you want your skin to catch the light a little more.
  • Powder
    • Because you already have so much color on your face, I recommend a light translucent powder for this final step. You can reapply powder throughout the day to keep the shine away.


  • Eyebrows
    • Correction: In the video, I said that I recommend using an angled brush with eyeliner, but I meant to say an angled brush with eyeshadow. I apologize for the confusion!
  • Eyelid
    • Use a flat brush and a lighter neutral color like taupe, copper, or silver for your eyelid.
  • Crease
    • TIP: If you want to add a bold color to your look, this is the place to do it!
  • Highlight
    • Highlighting is the crucial blending step. Make sure to apply the highlight under your eyebrow and in the corner of your eye.
  • Eyelash Curler
    • Pump your eyelashes from base to tip to curl instead of crease.
  • Eyeliner (black and white)
    • I used Covergirl Perfect Point Plus in this video because it is easy to apply, and you don’t need to sharpen it. You can use any eyeliner formula you like: liquid, gel, pencil, or something else.
    • TIP: For bigger eyes (and less shadow on stage), do not connect your upper and lower eyeliner lines. You can even extend the upper and lower eyeliner slightly beyond your natural lashline to make your eyes pop even more.
    • Apply the white eyeliner along the waterline for an extra boost.
  • Mascara
    • You only need a thin coat! The purpose of this step is to prepare your real eyelashes to blend into your false ones.
  • False Eyelashes
    • Apply a very thin line of glue along the edge of the lashes, and wait a moment for the glue to get sticky before applying.
    • TIP: Longer and thinner lashes will make your eyes look bigger on stage. Shorter and thicker lashes will weigh down your eyes and shadow your face. You can even cut off the side of a false eyelash if it’s too long for your eyelid.
  • Pop of Color
    • Bring back your crease color to soften your under-eye eyeliner.


  • Lip balm
    • Apply a thin coat of a very smooth lip balm or chapstick to soften your lips before putting on lipstick.
  • Lip liner
    • Choose a color that matches your lipstick or is a neutral color.
    • You can fill in your lips entirely or line your lips (which is what I did in the video).
  • Lipstick
    • TIP: Choose the red that’s right for you! We all have different skin tones and undertones, and red lipstick is created from different color combinations. The same red is not going to look good on everyone, so look around for the right red for you.

Thank you for watching our Rivar’s makeup tutorial! I hope you learned something new (or learned a LOT of new things!) while watching our video. We had a lot of fun putting this together and sincerely hope it helps you look your best under stage lights. We wish you the best of luck this competition season!

For more on all things show choir, check out our blog!

Makeup artist and speaker: Jessamyn Anderson

Video and Photography: Evan Cain

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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!


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


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.


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.


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?


“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.