The Top of the Rock Chorus is the Little Rock (Pulaski County) chapter of Sweet Adelines International, the female barbershop singing group. The chorus was formed on February 7, 1961, and two original members sang with Top of the Rock until 2005. The group was originally called Little Rock Chorus and was renamed Top of the Rock Chorus in the 1980s. It is composed of about sixty women—ages twenties to eighties—who rehearse weekly and compete annually against other female choruses and quartets in Region 25 (Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas), the Heart of America Region.
Sweet Adelines International was formed on July 13, 1945, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A few women wanted to participate in the “chord-ringing, fun-filled harmony” that their husbands—members of the relatively new Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America—were singing.
In addition to the main chorus, there are 2 smaller groups, Rock Star (formerly, the chorus's small group was known as Piece of the Rock), and more recently Heart of the Rock. These groups have lower performance fees and often can fit in venues where the full chorus cannot. The chorus also has several quartets. All groups perform for a wide variety of events, from the capitol lighting ceremonies in Little Rock during the winter holidays to convention banquets and birthday parties.
Among the ways the chorus raises money are annual dues, paid performances, and annual shows. The chorus cooperates with area men’s barbershop choruses—Accapella Rising (formerly Diamond State Chorus) in Little Rock and Fun City Chorus in Hot Springs—with such events as selling “Singing Valentines” in February and performing together on our shows.
At competition, choruses are judged in the categories of sound, music, showmanship, and expression. The chorus has won the region’s chorus competition five times and the Harmony Achievement Award for best small chorus at the international convention in 2000. Over the past fifty years, the group has consistently ranked in the top five choruses in Region 25. As either a regional champion or wildcard selection, Top of the Rock Chorus has represented its region internationally eight times. In 2014, Top of the Rock chorus earned an invitation to compete in Baltimore, MD in the Sweet Adelines Harmony Classic as one of the top 5 Mid-Sized Choruses in the world where we placed Third. Quartets from the chorus have won many awards, including regional honors. Director Peggy Gram’s quartet, Rumors, won the international quartet championship in 1999.
Gram became director in 1972, when she was twenty-two. Kelly Causey replaced her as director for one year in 2006, and then the two began to co-direct the group. When Peggy Gram retired, Kelly Causey became Top of the Rock’s full time director, and a new era of Top of the Rock Chorus was launched!
The chorus has produced three recordings of its songs—in 1995, 2001, and a Christmas album in 2002.