TAMPA – They are a hard-working, dedicated band of vocalists. Many travel regularly to the Tampa Bay area from well beyond Hillsborough County to painstakingly perfect their craft.
The payoff is well worth their effort.
The Toast of Tampa, an a cappella women’s show chorus, placed first overall among a field of 21 choral groups in the April 5 Sweet Adelines Atlantic-Gulf Region 9 annual competition, held in Daytona.
The choral group also earned the highest score ever in Region 9 competition, earning a total of 751 out of a possible 800 points.
The award qualifies the 140-member chorus for entrance onto the world stage in Las Vegas for the 2015 Sweet Adelines International Chorus Contest.
Toast of Tampa came home as third-place winners in the 2013 international competition in Honolulu. And because of last year’s achievement, the group must sit out the 2014 international competition to give others choruses the opportunity to medal.
Additionally, the group captured Region 9’s Deena Tanenblatt Showmanship Award, named in honor of one of the chapter’s past president and chairwoman of Region 9’s convention from 1991 until 2001.
Moreover, Toast of Tampa’s six out of eight quartets placed among the top 10 quartets in the regional contest. Among the winners were 4Joy, second place; Galaxy, third place; and Ladybug, fourth place.
Bit N Pieces, a quartet featuring the organization’s youngest-ever competitor in 9-year-old Kylie Kirkman, was awarded ninth place; and the chapter’s newly formed Ingenue quartet composed of singers ages 13 through 25, placed 10th.
Carol Singleton, TOT’s music coordinator and past team leader, largely credits the chorus’s director Tony DeRosa for the chapter’s achievements.
“Many join this chorus, especially those that travel a long distance, specifically for Tony, and I think Tony has attracted a group of ladies he can tap for internal leadership positions, which aids the chorus as a whole,” said the Temple Terrace resident.
Toast’s team leader, Ruth Walker, who lives in The Villages and carpools the hour and a half one way every week with a foursome of chorus members, agrees.
“Tony is the catalyst who’s taken us to where we are,” Walker said. “Plus, Toast of Tampa is really truly like a family. We care about one another and I think that motivates each of us to want to do our best.”
To learn more about the nonprofit organization, call (813) 391-4407.
Visitors are also welcome to drop by Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 304 Druid Hills Road in Temple Terrace on any Tuesday night year round between 7 and 10 p.m. to watch the chorus rehearse.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]