Lead Vocal: Maria Verhelst-Hopkins
Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, Maria has been singing since the age of 3. Often described as a ‘dark horse’ she only threw herself into performing in 2015 when she joined ‘The Circus of Horrors’ on their UK tours, as their main female vocalist. Her first string of shows saw her take the stages of Isle of Wight festival, Fugi Rocks Festival and Moscow Stadium Live, along with theatres all over the UK.
Maria occasionally joins fellow ‘Totally Toto’ band mate, Daniel Angelow in the 80’s Glam Rock band, ‘Doctor and The Medics’. Together, they also gig locally around South Wales with their own band ‘Touch The Fist’ giving Maria the opportunity to replicate the skill sets of her favourite singers such as Ronnie James Dio, Lady Gaga, Amy Lee, David Coverdale and Ian Gillan. Speaking of Ian Gillan, Maria also fronts the only UK all female Deep Purple Tribute band; Diva Purple.
Maria oozes energy and power with every performance and can’t wait to rock up the stage performing all of the Toto hits!
Keyboards and Vocals: Kev Armstrong
The solid foundation of our group, in the middle of everyone, stands Kev on keyboards. The complexities of each song for the keys is difficult to explain.
To switch from the ballads that showcase his skill in a faultless elegance, to the rocking speeds of the rock genres and then the unique sounds of Toto’s tracks, Kev quietly fulfils his role with no fanfare or spotlight.
But just for a moment, watch his concentration, and listen to what his instrument adds to each song. Keyboard plays a huge part in every Toto track, and Kev is up there with the best who have ever played them.
Kev has played guitar and keyboards in venues all over the world and spent many years working on cruise ships.
Favourite music: Steely Dan, Toto
Bass guitar: James Higginson
Taking the role of Mike Porcaro, we have London based player James Higginson, known to the band as ‘TC’.
The other musicians comment on how James’ natural feel drives the songs along creating an infectious groove.
James puts this down to his bass playing hero Pino Palladino.
James has been a professional bass player for the last decade.
Other projects: As a session bass player, James has been in function bands, performed on cruise ships and played in various shows at theatres around the UK.
Favourite Music: Toto obviously, Steely Dan, Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder
Tom Lark: Percussion & Backing Vocals.
Normally Tom is Horn Section Leader and Trombonist extraordinaire as part of the And Finally…Phil Collins show, but for this production he takes Percussion and Backing Vocals.
There is no doubt that Tom loves to be on the stage, playing directly to the audience with his infectious style at every opportunity.
Watching Tom up there, you can’t help but smile with him!
Tom began in local Big Bands in Somerset, before progressing to the professional circuit playing Soul, Funk and Latin nationally to great acclaim.
Tom holds a BA Hons in Band Musicianship, which led him to become a founder member of our band, and the leader of the And Finally Horns.
Favourite Music: Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Incognito, Fred Wesley
Previous Projects: Tom has worked with performers such as Yazz, Omar, Ray Davies, Kula Shaker, The Drifters, Jamie Johnson and Natasha Watts.
Lead Guitarist: Dan Angelow
Dan has been surrounded by incredible musicians his whole life.
His father is a guitar player as is his brother, and they’ve all been involved together in musical projects growing up.
When he was 19 he joined a well known touring theatre show, and after playing various tours around the UK and Europe, he ended up being the musical director.
During his time with the show, he has been a keen session player, and because of that Dan also became the guitarist for long lasting 80s rockers Doctor & The Medics, gigging all over the UK and Italy all year round.
Drums: Stephen Mackrill
Stephen Mackrill began playing drums at 11 years old after watching a live broadcast of Billy Joel Live At Wembley Arena in the summer of 1984.
From then there nothing else mattered in life other then than playing drums.
Taking a small amount of lessons, he’s largely self taught. Learning through listening to early Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Rush albums and generally being fixated on any drummer that came on the radio or tv.
At 22 he moved to Spain to join a band, made 2 albums with them and did some session work with Spanish pop and rock bands, some of which sold millions in the Spanish speaking worlds.
Returning home in 1998 he turned pro and would take gigs with anyone and everyone.
He teamed up with Kevin Armstrong and thus began a 20+ year working relationship in bands from holiday park residencies and cruise ships. Steve has also spent the 5 years in the UAE playing with several bands on the live circuit out there.
Being a massive fan of Toto thanks partly Jeff Pocaro and Simon Phillip’s playing, joining a Toto tribute is dream gig for Steve.
Totally Toto Stage Shot at The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne on 11th October 2018!