River City Revue: a group of friends through high school and beyond

Several students of River City Revue sitting on the stage at Hannibal High School where they will perform for the annual fundraiser, Sugar Rush, on May 13 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the high school office or at the door. Pictured from left, Tucker Cowden, senior; Kaylee Cox, junior; Grayson Mueller, freshman; Madelyn Johnson, sophomore; and Lanie Privett, sophomore.

HANNIBAL — When five students from River City Revue, a show choir at Hannibal High School, chatted about their upcoming fundraiser, it wasn’t hard to see they were a group of friends.

“That’s one thing about River City Revue. Even though we are all in different grade levels, we really get to know each other as people,” sophomore Lanie Privett said.

Grayson Mueller is a freshman and known for being quiet but he said his warm welcome into RCR has helped him to know everyone quickly.

“This is all new to me,” he said. “But in RCR we are like family and we are really close.”

Their friendships are what keep them going when practices get hard. Junior Kaylee Cox said practices are a lot of work — with blood, sweat and tears — but with the family-like atmosphere they have fun in the meantime.

“The amount of sweat is ridiculous though,” Kaylee commented with a chorus nodding and laughing behind her.

Fittingly, their award-winning theme and competition piece for the year was “Work Hard Play Hard” which they will showcase at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, when they host Sugar Rush, an annual fundraiser and spring tradition. Students will also perform a variety of music including solos, duets, and small ensembles to show off the group’s wide array of talent.

River City Revue is directed by Kate Fuller and Sara Kurtz. Mike Fuller directs the jazz combo, which is a group of jazz band students who accompany RCR singers during competitions and performances.

“Our directors are absolutely wonderful,” said Lanie.

“Yes. God bless them,” laughed Madelyn, shaking her head.

The fundraiser will support next year’s costumes and competition costs.

Although for some students, like senior Tucker Cowden, it will be the last performance with RCR.

Tucker said leaving the group will be hard because RCR has been a pivotal part of high school career. Tucker said the stigma that sometimes comes with boys being part of choir held him back at first, but once he made RCR, he never looked back.

He also said that being part of RCR helped him make the decision to pursue a career as a dental hygienist.

“It’s completely unrelated to music, but it has set me up,” he said. “I’ve always been a person who does things that scare me. It’s a high demand job to learn but now I am not terrified of doing new things.”

The group said that when the seniors leave it is more of a see-you-later than a goodbye, as many alumni stay in touch with their RCR friends and often come to support them at performances and competitions.

They also have another group of regular supporters: their parents, who show up for them no matter what.

In a recent competition at Mount Pleasant, parents weren’t allowed to attend. So they instead showed up with signs of support lining the sidewalk in front of the school building, cheering as the buses drove by.

“They had these signs saying things like “Go RCR!” and they just stood on the side of the highway. None of us knew it was going to happen,” said sophomore Madelyn Johnson.

“We were all just like, ‘Oh my gosh, our parents are so cute!’” laughed Lanie.

It’s apparent that this jovial group of high schoolers is also a talented one.

During the 2021-22 school year, RCR competed in four competitions and won three awards for Best Ballad and one for Best Opener; they placed first in their division twice. They won first runnerup overall at Battle High School and Rock Bridge High School, both in Columbia, Mo., along with other awards.

They were awarded Best Combo twice this year, and that award goes to the students in the band who volunteer to accompany them as they perform. The group said that having a group of high school students playing behind them gives their performance a unique element.

“Not all groups have high schoolers playing behind them. Instead a lot of them have professional musicians playing behind them,” said Lanie. “We are grateful to have so many talented people willing to play for us.”

They said band members are another part of the RCR family and another extension of those who work hard to make the shows happen.

“It’s hard. It’s a lot of dedication,” said Madelyn. “People here are endlessly helpful and we are a family at the end of the day.”

Tickets for Sugar Rush can be purchased at the office of the Hannibal High School or at the door.

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