Quartet History



The River Cities Quartet with Aaron StewartThe River Cities Quartet has been performing in one incarnation or another since 2002. The original quartet, comprised of Mitch Stewart, Aaron Stewart (Mitch's son), Brian Buchanan and Larry Kellogg, formed to play and sing the roles of the River City School Board in the August, 2002 Danville Little Theater production of Meredith Wilson's The Music Man, and was the featured quartet at the grand opening of Danville's Carrington Pavilion. Following the run of The Music Man, Aaron left the quartet and was replaced by Donald Merricks, another of the show's cast members, singing bass. Mitch, Brian, and Larry continued to mix it up when it came to who would sing which other voice part, an experiment that emerged from the Music Man experience. In that show, Mitch Stewart (who would normally be singing tenor) actually sang all four voice parts through the course of the show. While each member has preferred parts to sing, decisions regarding who will sing which part are made depending on the style of the music and the message of the song.

The quarteThe River Cities Quartet with Don Merrickst has been privileged to perform at numerous public and private functions in Southside and Central Virginia, and in North Carolina. RCQ has sung for special events for civic and community organizations, local and state election rallies, school district events, church worship services and special church-related events, at professional minor league baseball games, retirement centers, and a whole bunch of family gatherings (we never say no to covered-dish dinner invitations!).

In November, 2003, RCQ was invited to sing a Dinner Theater performance at the historic Winton Golf and Country Club in Clifford, Virginia. This provided an opportunity to develop and incorporate comedy routines into our performance package, including parody and novelty numbers. This comedy set was also presented when the quartet performed as the special musical guests of the Renaissance Little Theater in Lynchburg, Virginia for their 2003 New Year's Eve Cabaret.

In September, 2004, RCQ was invited to be one of the featured quartets on the Danville, Virginia Sertoma Club's barbershop show. The experience of performing on the same stage with the General Assembly (the award-winning barbershop chorus from Research Triangle Park, NC) and with Dixie District quartets Genesis and Pyramid prompted RCQ to make changes necessary to perform and compete in Barbershop Harmony Society-sponsored venues. The quartet became more focused on fine-tuning barbershop craft, in addition to maintaining the level of entertainment that their audiences had come to expect.

These, and numerous other engagements, totaled over 60 performances between April, 2003 and April, 2005.

The River Cities Quartet with Dave MinnichIn April of 2005, Dave Minnich joined the quartet, replacing Don Merricks on bass. Dave brought with him an extensive barbershop background and rich knowledge of repertoire, barbershop craft and competition experience. Prior to joining RCQ, he sang bass in Pyramid and in City Market, both Dixie District Finalist quartets.

Mitch, Brian, Larry, and Dave share a combined 100+ years of performing and quarteting vocal experience to the stage. The quartet's emphasis on entertainment and quality singing has helped create a loyal group of fans across the Southeast. Past performances include the following, many with two or more performances each:

  • Amelon United Methodist Church, Madison Heights, VA
  • First Baptist Church, South Boston, VA
  • First Baptist Church, Danville, VA
  • Danville, VA Sports Hall of Fame Induction
  • Danville Braves Baseball Club, Danville VA
  • Blessed Hope Baptist Church, Danville, VA
  • Grace Design United Methodist Church, Danville, VA
  • Improved Order of the Redman, Danville, VA
  • Kiwanis Club, Danville, VA
  • Mended Hearts Chapter #16, Lynchburg General Hospital, Lynchburg, VA
  • Monroe United Methodist Church, Monroe, VA
  • Ringgold Baptist Church, Ringgold, VA
  • Sandy Bottom Christian Church, Madison Heights, VA
  • Brosville Elementary School Dedication, Pittsylvania Co., VA
  • Virgil Goode Political Campaign Rally
  • Lynchburg, Virginia Elks Lodge
  • Kentuck Baptist Church, Kentuck, VA
  • Pittsylvania Masonic Lodge #24, Danville, VA
  • Mill Creek Baptist Church, Chatham, VA
  • Roman Eagle Memorial Home, Danville, VA
  • Virginia Secretarial/Clerical Association State Convention
  • Caswell County (NC) Educational Association
  • Danville, Virginia Fine Arts Celebration
  • Winton Golf and Country Club Dinner Theater, Clifford, VA
  • Renaissance Little Theater "New Year's Cabaret", Lynchburg, VA
  • Smith Mountain Lake Barbershop Harmony Society Chapter Meeting
  • Salvation Army, Danville, VA
  • Korean War Veterans, Danville, VA
  • West End Christian Church, Danville, VA
  • Travel Consultants Business Group, Danville, VA
  • Schoolfield High School Reunion, Danville, VA
  • Providence Baptist Church, Roxboro, NC
  • Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, Danville, VA
  • 20th Annual Batteau Festival, Lynchburg, VA