CAPERS prepares to entertain, fundraise


CAPERS, the RBHS annual talent show, takes place tonight at 7 p.m. in the PAC. Photo by Aniqa Rahman

Alyssa Sykuta

CAPERS, the RBHS annual talent show, takes place tonight at 7 p.m. in the PAC. Photo by Aniqa Rahman
Squirrels in the Attic, one of 21 groups to perform at CAPERS, rehearses their cover of “What is Hip?” by Tower of Power on stage Monday night. Photo by Aniqa Rahman
If all goes as planned, at 7 p.m., the parking lots will overflow, the ticket box in the Performing Art Center lobby will be nearly sold out, and the auditorium will be overflowing with students, teachers and families sitting anxiously in their seats.
The pit band, dressed in black, will sit in front of the stage, blowing air through their instruments. The lights will dim; the band will play. Emcees Troy Guthrie and Sam Keller will waltz out on stage to introduce RBHS’ 32nd annual talent show: CAPERS.
Founded in the early 1980s by Music and Film Analysis teacher and then-band director Rich Hadfield, assistant band director and CAPERS spear header Robert Thalhuber said Columbia Public Schools’ longest-running talent show has always been called CAPERS, to “give it a title rather than just a generic talent show, because we try to make it more than a talent show.”
All money collected from ticket sales directly benefits the RBHS band program. Because money from the district starts running low as second semester wears on, CAPERS serves as a fundraiser to hold the band’s bank account over until next fall, bringing in a couple thousand dollars each year.
“This time of year, money gets tight because we have to spend our budgets by a certain day, so there’s a period of time where we don’t have money in our instructional budgets, so this sort of gaps us until we have our next year’s budget,” Thalhuber said. “So anything that comes up — we need[ed] to buy a rain stick, for example, for [the district] festival [in March]. So that money is going to have to come out of our ECA that we had from CAPERS last year. So it gets us through.”
Thalhuber and student teacher Alex Higgins held auditions for the event March 12 and 13. More than 40 students auditioned, comprising roughly 26 acts. March 15, Thalhuber posted the results in set order, admitting 21 acts to perform at the actual event tonight. This is unusual, according to Thalhuber; normally only 15 to 18 acts perform because of time restraints and the desire not to bore the audience with hours of similar acts.
“We try to strive for a variety. … We have a lot of female vocalists that come out every year, and so we can’t have a bunch of bands and female vocalists because we want to make it a variety show,” Thalhuber said. “So sometimes, if something’s different, [acts] have a better chance of getting in, even if they’re not as talented, because we want to keep the audience engaged.”
Though there is always a chance for rejection after auditions, junior Daniel Shapiro was not surprised to see his act made the cut. Shapiro compiled a group of nine musicians to perform the funk tune, “What is Hip?” by Tower of Power. Never having participated in an act before, the trumpeter seized the opportunity to play for an audience this year.

“I like playing music, and I really like playing music in front of a lot of people,” Shapiro said. “I knew that this would be a time where I could play in front of a huge crowd, a lot of which who I know, so I thought it would be cool if I put a group together.”

Not only do the acts make each year of CAPERS a different experience, but the night’s hosts add their own special twist each year to the event as well. Last year, alumnus Charlie Davis and foreign exchange student Joseph De Bony embedded jokes about France and a sung invitation to prom between acts. This year, Guthrie and Keller hope to put their own spin on things.
“One thing we’re doing is we’re going to have videos in ours. … I think it’s going to be a little bit more inappropriate this year, but it’s going to be really funny,” Keller said. “You’re going to see a lot of Troy and I making fun of each other, so that’s going to be fun.”
For $5, anyone can purchase a ticket for tonight’s entertainment. From singing to dancing to funk bands and comedic relief, Keller says the talent show is sure to be just as thrilling as it has proved in previous years. Anyone is welcome to attend this event, support the band program and witness a slice of the talent RBHS has to offer.
“There’s a lot of talent at Rock Bridge, and CAPERS gives a lot of the kids that … don’t really get a chance to shine on their own, it gives them an opportunity to show their talents to an audience in front of however many people can fit in the PAC, because it’s always packed,” Keller said. “It’s just a fun evening.”
By Alyssa Sykuta