TAMPA — The Toast of Tampa Show Chorus, an a cappella barbershop harmony ensemble, has plenty of reason to sing its own praises.
In November, the 118-member, all-female troupe ranging in age from 8 to 80, returned from the 2013 Sweet Adelines International competition in Honolulu as the third-place winner from a field of 600 choruses spanning the globe.
And if that’s not reason enough to elevate their sense of pride, they recently learned that Tony DeRosa, TOT’s director since 2007, was named the 2013 SAI Director of the Year. He was chosen best among all chorus leaders in the international competition.
“It was a surprise to even be nominated for the award, so receiving it is all the more honoring,” DeRosa said. “This award is a direct representation of the members of Toast of Tampa and their dedication to the organization and their leadership.”
Raised in a musical family, DeRosa grew up singing barbershop harmony under the coaching of his father, who directed choruses in Rochester, N.Y., and Polk County.
He hit the international stage at age 12 and seven years later became the youngest person ever in the Barbershop Harmony Society to capture a gold medal.
DeRosa is the lead singer in the 2007 gold-medalist Max Q quartet and is part of Main Street, a quartet that has placed among the top five winners in international competition for the last three years.
In addition to the TOT chorus, DeRosa directs two all-male harmony groups: The Big Orange Chorus in Jacksonville, and the Heralds of Harmony in Tampa.
He lives in Winter Garden, and is music director for the Voices of Liberty at EPCOT and the Dapper Dans at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
“Tony DeRosa embodies the truth that excellence is never an accident. He always aims for the top of the hill and is able to take others with him,” said Derric Johnson, arranger, founder and original director of the Voices of Liberty.
He is married to his wife Jodi, who sings with the Voices of Liberty, and together they “share” four children and two grandchildren. His son Joseph sings in the Big Orange Chorus and his daughter Sophia is a member of the TOT.
“Toast could not be more proud of Tony and his many accomplishments,” said member Beth Bosserman Curts of Temple Terrace. “We’re the lucky ones to benefit every week from his amazing tutelage.”
Carol Singleton, also a longtime TOT member and resident of Temple Terrace, echoed similar sentiments.
“Now everyone knows what Toast of Tampa has always known – we have the best director in our society.”
The chorus draws women from throughout Florida who come together to rehearse at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Christ Our Redeemer Church in Temple Terrace. The public is welcome to observe.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.