Tina Louise Thomas
Tina Louise Thomas is a former Miss Pennsylvania (1973) and Miss America national talent winner and runner-up (1974), as well as being an accomplished and award-winning singer, musician, songwriter, writer and editor. Thomas was baptized Christina Hatzithomas in her father’s Greek Orthodox Church. While her family attended certain Greek religious services, she was raised in her mother’s Protestant faith. (Hatzi is a preface to a family name given for people being baptized in the River Jordan).
On June 25, 1973, shortly after winning the state's pageant title, Thomas was invited to speak to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives about her platform issues and she was, subsequently, honored by them with a Citation, commending her talent, beauty and academic achievements. She also received a similar citation from the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Five days later, on June 30, Thomas was the official ribbon-cutter who opened the now world-famous Hershey's Chocolate World.
Thomas, who was accompanied by the Glenn Osser Orchestra, won the Preliminary Talent Award at the 47th Miss America pageant, held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which was presented by Terry Meeuwsen, Miss America 1973, as well as at every pageant she entered on her journey to Atlantic City.
Thomas's winning performance on the national stage showcased her vocal beauty when she sang the gospel masterpiece “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” written in 1932 by Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey. Rev. Dorsey, the "father of black gospel music," went on to write an article in Christian Life magazine "Jesus Took My Hand" (describing the experiences he went through prior to writing the song) where he mentioned Tina. He wrote, "And, it was the song that helped Tina Thomas, Miss Pennsylvania, win the Miss America talent competition." Additionally, Thomas won the swimsuit competition in each of her local and state contests.
Early in her pageant days Thomas was sought after to assist in raising awareness and funds for various causes, including arthritis, disadvantaged youth, retarded children, multiple sclerosis, Easter Seals and the Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center where she appeared on telethons and radio and television shows and commercials, performed at concerts on their behalf as well as led and participated in Bike Hikes, and Walk- and Run-A-Thons.
Throughout Thomas's pageant years, leading up to and including her run at Miss America, where she competed as the youngest contestant that year at the age of 18, her platform was against substance abuse and immorality. Her many actions were recognized when she became the recipient of the Red Rose City Outstanding Citizen Award on September 25, 1973.
Radio and TV personality Soupy Sales said that Thomas had been his choice for Miss America and complimented her beauty and talent on the show What's My Line. Additionally, legendary Paul Harvey praised Thomas's religious stance, as well as her talent, on his noon broadcast two days later, Sept 12, 1973.
Among the hundreds of appearances she made as Miss Pennsylvania, Thomas was invited, in February 1974, to appear at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, held in Washington, DC.
Thomas's vocal talent opened the door to many performance opportunities. Between 1972 and 1976, she shared the concert stage, many of which were televised, with Award-winning people and groups such as Oak Ridge Boys, Nathan DiGesare, Stephen Tavani, Bill Gaither Trio, The Happy Goodman Family, Dottie Rambo, Reba Rambo, The Imperials, Speer Family, The Cathedrals, the Kingsmen Quartet, the Jacobs Brothers, the Blue Ridge Quartet and the Couriers. As well, Thomas made two singing appearances on Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club. On her first engagement, in Aug 1977, she sang My Tribute, by Andrae Crouch and was interviewed by Dr. Pat Robertson and on her second, Sept 1978, she performed several songs from her album, Servant. At many of the concerts Tina was accompanied on the piano by William D. (Bill) Crabtree.
There were several concerts where Thomas either opened for or sang with author and singer Dale Evans Rogers, whom she had first met at a dinner in November 1972. Two of the most memorable performances were opening for Ms. Evans in July 1973 in Chautauqua, New York, when Thomas was accompanied by multi-award-winning jazz pianist George Shearing and at the historic Ocean Grove, NJ Great Auditorium, for the 50th Annual Convention of Men's Bible Classes weekend concert series, June 21–23, 1974. Prior to the 1975 Greater Mississippi Billy Graham Crusade held at Veteran's Memorial Stadium in Jackson, MS, Thomas performed and gave personal Testimony for the Crusade members.
In Jul 1973, shortly after winning the Miss Pennsylvania crown, Thomas was invited by the then-Pennsylvania Secretary of State, Delores Tucker, (the first African-American Secretary of State in the U.S.) to sing at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, where Governor Milton J. Shapp presented her with a Gubernatorial Commendation. Two months later Thomas appeared with Shapp and Tucker as a speaker and soloist for a civil rights event in Philadelphia, PA. She was also invited to perform at the Pennsylvania Governor's Prayer Breakfast in 1977.
The Aug 1974 issue of Christian Life magazine carried Thomas' personal written testimony under the banner heading "Beauty for the Lord," which was re-printed in May 1975 by Greek Youth Magazine for distribution in the U.S. and in Greece.
During December 1978, at the Fulton Opera House, Thomas starred as the leading lady where she sang and danced in the tribute performance "The Roger's and Hart Production," with Metropolitan Opera star John Darrenkamp. The final performance of the show was held New Year's Eve.
The Years following her Miss PA and Miss America days
Her elegant soprano voice, which Johnny Carson complimented very highly on The Tonight Show, ultimately led her to recording an album with Superior Records in 1976, Servant, a sacred music album produced by Wayne Hilton (who also played acoustic guitar) and engineered by Fred Cameron. The drummer on Servant was Fred Satterfield, who played drums for the Oak Ridge Boys, and who was also credited for the art, design and layout of the album. Other performers inlcude: BeeGee Cruser Adair keyboards, James "Duke" Dumas bass, Farrell Morris percussion, Cindy Reynolds harp, and Roger Bissell brass and string arrangements. Barry L. Spangler penned the copy for the album jacket. Her booking agent, at the time, was famed classic car auctioneer Russell Kruse, founder of Kruse International.
Although Thomas declined offers to pursue a singing career following the release of Servant, deciding, instead, to raise a family, she was active and contributed to the field by providing individual vocal lessons and coaching stage performers to aspiring singers and musicians.
Always one to enjoy the great outdoors and the many activities it offers, Thomas became a certified sailor, based on her ability to cruise safely in local and regional waters as both skipper and crew, in moderate winds and sea conditions and a certified scuba diver. Additionally, she was a contributing writer, and also served as an editor, for Wing Beat magazine, devoted to the sport of falconry.
Thomas has contributed to her community in many ways, including becoming certified to counsel at a domestic violence center and being both a certified classroom tutor and then supervisor, working with at-risk elementary school students and alternative education middle and high school students in a remedial reading program.
With her sons grown, Thomas has turned her exceptional energies back to music and writing.
Her versatile vocal range lends itself extremely well to jazz, country, R&B, pop, world, opera or sacred music, while her songwriting craft is, as well, all over the charts. Thomas has written over two dozen songs in various genres which will be marketed to top entertainers and is also considering singing her jazz and blues songs herself on an album.
Concurrently, Thomas is doing research for a book advocating a natural and organic lifestyle which she began following in 1992. The direction of her work will include all facets of life; food, home, garden, beauty products, and more.
Her eldest son, Austin, is an accomplished hip hop artist, as well as a professional glass blower and her youngest, Aaron, while also being an artist and musician, is a Personal Trainer and Licensed Nutitionist. Both live in Hawaii and are, as well, devoted to the holistic lifestyle.
Performed by Tina Louise Thomas
- Servant (Eileen)
- Sing/Simple Song (Joe Raposo) (Honeytree)
- Flesh Of My Flesh (Randy Matthews)
- He Is God (Lindstrom)
- Take My Hand, Precious Lord (Thomas A. Dorsey)
- I Am Your Servant (Larry Norman)
- Amazing Grace (Words: John Newton / Music: Samuel Stanley)
- Drinkin' (Honeytree)
- Ave Maria (Charles B. Marks)
- The Lord's Prayer (Albert Hay Malotte)
- Produced By Wayne Hilton
- Recorded at Superior Sound Studios, Hendersonville, Tennessee
- Engineer & Remix: Fred Cameron
- Keyboards: BeeGee Cruser Adair
- Bass: James “Duke” Dumas
- Drums: Fred Satterfield
- Acoustic Guitar: Wayne Hilton
- Percussion: Farrell Morris
- Harp: Cindy Reynolds
- Brass and string arrangements: Roger Bissell
- Backing Vocal: Tina Louise Thomas