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Rivertown seeks to raise revenue for Rhythm in Red

Jan. 06, 2010 @ 11:55 PM

As a four-year member of Cabell Midland High School's award-winning show choir, Kala DeHart has sold everything from poinsettias and fruit to Avon and Marshall game-day programs to help pay for Rhythm in Red's ambitious competition and tour schedule.

Come Saturday, the fundraising gets a little more personal as she shares her original songs and fires up her country-rock band, Rivertown to raise some green for Rhythm in Red with a concert at 7 p.m. at the high school.

Tickets are $5 (VIP tickets and packages are also available).

Doors open at 6 p.m. There will be full concessions and T-shirts with all proceeds going to the show choir to help pay for expenses including a trip to Mexico.

Call 304-743-7400.

DeHart, whose band Rivertown has became a staple on the Tri-State festival scene in 2009 with shows at Summer Motion and the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival, said they thought the concert would be another great way to raise money for the show choir, and just in time. They unveil their Spy Theme show next week, Thursday and Friday, Jan. 14 and 15, and competition starts Saturday, Jan. 16, in Portsmouth, Ohio.

"We've sold fruit and Avon and little stuff like that and it has helped a lot," DeHart said of defraying expenses for such bigs trips as New York, Disney and this year, a performing cruise to Mexico. "We thought we might as well do something really big so we're doing the concert benefit. We have raised about $1,000 so far and we haven't even started to sale tickets individually."

Kala's dad Rich, who plays rhythm guitar in the band, said the fundraiser is the least they can do for this hardworking group of kids led by instructor Leslie Ridell.

"Leslie does an amazing job with the kids and she works her butt off," Rich said. "They have to raise all this money to help with their travel expenses because at Spring Break they've been to New York and Orlando and spend the whole week performing at various places. It's not like driving to Hurricane. They have to raise the money so I went to my wife Becky who works at the school and said why don't we do a concert to raise money. If we can raise a few thousand dollars then that is that much we don't have to sell."

With nearly 50 members, the show choir will be doing all the jobs at the fundraiser from working concessions to ushering in the crowd.

Although she's played before thousands of people at Summer Motion and other fests, this will be the first time Kala has sang with her band at the school.

"I'm excited to see what they think of this stuff that has come from me -- all of these songs that are original," DeHart said.

She shouldn't be too worried. Her original songs have already won over many fans, including the band's new drummer, Greg Fletcher, who started playing with the band in October.

Fletcher, who moved back home after more than a decade touring the world as a member of Billy Ray Cyrus' band Sly Dog, said he's been impressed with DeHart's songs they worked up with the band.

In fact, Rivertown will soon be heading into the MusicPlex Recording Studio in downtown Huntington to work with Keith Barnhart, a veteran sound engineer and musician who spent most of his career in New York, Atlanta and Nashville working with everyone from Paul Simon to former teen star Debbie Gibson, who he toured with.

Fletcher said they're going into cut DeHart's originals to pitch in Nashville and see what happens.

"It's been amazing the way the youth market is exploding and to me she blows away all the people going on right now," Fletcher said. "To just be 18 and a senior at Cabell Midland, she has a huge grasp on what she wants to be and what she wants to sound like."

DeHart said she owes her musical maturity to Ridell and the endless hours of honing her performing and vocal skills with Rhythm in Red.

"We practice every day during school and after school," DeHart said. "She teaches us so much, how to breathe correctly. That's helped and just performance, I used to be so shy but being in show choir for four years and now performing with the band has opened me up a bit."

If you go

WHAT: River Town featuring Kala DeHart

WHERE: Cabell Midland High School, 2300 U.S. 60 E., Ona

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9; doors open at 6 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $5

GET TIX: At the door. All proceeds go to the Cabell Midland Show Choir. VIP tickets and packages available. Concessions and T-shirts available. Questions, call 304-633-6384, 304-634-8686 or 304-743-7412.

OTHER SHOW CHOIR: Hurricane High School's show choir has its annual Dinner Theater at the high school, 3350 Teays Valley Road, 6:30 p.m. Friday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan 8-10; doors open one hour before dinner Guest will enjoy a home cooked meal of roast beef and all the trimmings, followed by a debut of their 2010 competition show. Advance reservations, call 304-562-4799. Gift certificates available by calling 304-757-9124. Cost is $15; $10 children 12 and under; matinee is $12; $7 children

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