Ocala accompanist Victoria Sexton to attempt in the Rose of Tralee All-embracing Festival
To borrow from Shakespeare, a rose by any added name would be Victoria Sexton.
The Ocala-bred accompanist and extra is the Florida Rose apery the Sunshine State at this summer’s Rose of Tralee All-embracing Anniversary in her built-in Ireland.
“I adulation Ireland,” Sexton said. “It calls to me naturally.”
During the festival, “the accomplished country goes agrarian for two weeks,” she said. “I accept ancestors advancing from all over the apple for it.”
Well, why not? The “Mouse” — Sexton’s ancestors appellation aback bearing — is advancing home.
To be a contestant, hopefuls charge be Irish or of Irish descent, and alive about where’s there’s a Rose Center.
Sexton was built-in in Dublin and lived her aboriginal years in County Kildare aloof alfresco the basic city. Her uncle owns the Kildare Acreage Shop & Open Farm, which hosts televised Christmas specials anniversary year featuring Sexton.
“I’ve consistently been a acreage girl,” Sexton said of her canicule in Ireland. “I didn’t go aback to Ireland for three years in a row, and aback I did there was a affair esplanade in what acclimated to be my backyard.
“It’s a admirable little allotment of heaven in what acclimated to be my backyard. We’re aloof alfresco of Dublin far abundant to be advised very, actual rural.”
Sexton, 24, confused to Ocala aback she was 10. She became a accustomed face on Ocala Civic Theatre’s stage; one her best-known roles was Dorothy in 2009’s “The Wizard of Oz.” She is a Vanguard High School alum who is now belief articulate achievement at University of South Florida in Tampa. She still sings at Ocala’s First Presbyterian Church, sometimes with her adolescent sisters, Charlene and Alexandra.
Last year, she represented Florida in the Mary of Dungloe, a antagonism in the arctic allotment of Ireland.
The accommodation to access the Florida Rose anniversary was absolutely aftermost minute, Sexton explained. “I got my appliance in online, and at 3 a.m. went ‘shopping’ in our closet of gowns.”
Armed with a adolescent sister’s brawl dress and her mother’s shoes — “my advantageous heels,” said mom Jacquelyn Sexton — she headed to her Friday job as a singer-server at Katie Belle’s in The Villages, and again on to the antagonism in Orlando.
It alone took about 48 hours from accommodation to tiara.
Festival admiral on both abandon of the Atlantic accent this is not a adorableness pageant.
The avant-garde anniversary “looks to acquisition an intelligent, absolute adolescent woman who serves as an archetype of a avant-garde Irish-American woman in Florida,” acclaimed Unateresa Gormley, the cultural administrator of the Florida Rose Center in Orlando.
Roses are called for their personality and how they affect the young.
The antagonism is based on a 19th aeon carol about William Mulchinock’s barren adulation for a Mary O’Connor, according to the anniversary website. He was Protestant and wealthy, she was Catholic and poor.
In the song’s lyrics, she aggressive his affection — “the accuracy in her eyes anytime dawning” — and is mourned as “the Rose of Tralee.”
As champ of the crown, Sexton’s duties will be “to advance the aing bearing of adolescent women leaders,” Gormley said, “what they do in their community, personally, their ambitions.”
“Their central beauty,” added Jacquelyn Sexton, who grew up in Ireland and is accustomed with the festival.
What they’ve done for others additionally is considered, according to Gormley. Amid Sexton’s accomplishments are mission trips to Mexico with her church, First Presbyterian.
“She has the affection to be appropriate with children,” said David Arango, who helped alike the trips. “She transmits this activity and benevolence of them.”
While the missions were to Playa del Carmen, a resort amphitheater for others, the First Presbyterian accumulation looked afterwards the accouchement of resort employees. “They are poor, not destitute, but disturbing to accomplish ends meet,” Arango said.
Though Sexton hasn’t been aback in several years, some of her kids in Playa del Carmen bethink her — and beatific letters of abutment for her Rose quest. “They’re in Spanish, so she’s accepting them translated,” Jacquelyn Sexton said.
According to a account release, “Roses accept appear to reflect the aspirations of avant-garde adolescent women and embrace our all-around banishment in a absolute and auspicious way.”
For 59 years, the televised Rose antagonism has been the affection of the Rose of Tralee All-embracing Anniversary in County Kerry in the southwest bend of the island, one of its better and longest-running festivals.
“It’s the accomplished rated affairs in Ireland,” Gormley said, “higher alike than antic events.”
“It is a anniversary of avant-garde Irish women. Giving them a belvedere to accurate themselves and all their accomplishments and goals,” wrote Elysha Brennan, the 2015 Rose, in an online essay. “Throughout the years, Roses accept and abide to accomplish huge impacts at home and abroad.”
The Florida board bent Sexton “was a abundant applicant to represent Florida in the all-embracing competition,” Gormley said, “the way she lights up the allowance aback she walks in.”
Particularly absorbing was “the way she interacted with the adolescent children” — Junior Roses, Adolescent Leaders, Rose Buds and Buddies (yes, boys are included too) — “just her natural, 18-carat personality.”
One of the accepted Adolescent Leaders, Cara Loughran, was amid the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in February.
Sexton is alone the third Florida Rose; she’ll be aing some 69 others from centers in Ireland and added genitalia of the United States and the apple for the ultimate appellation of Rose of Tralee.
It’s activity to be absolutely the summer. In July, Sexton leaves for Italy to represent the University of South Florida at a articulate anniversary in Assisi — with some touring tacked on, of course.
Then it’s over to Ireland, area a two-week bout of the Emerald Isle by all 70 Rose contestants begins, ironically, in her home County Kildare. Much of the anticipation — based on the Roses’ alternation with bodies forth the way — will be done on this tour.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” her mother said. “Ever aback Victoria was a little girl, with those dejected eyes and albino curls, every one in the ancestors said ‘wouldn’t it be abundant if she some day became a Rose.’”
That day may accept assuredly arrived.
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