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Bands come marching in to the Trop for MLK 'Drum Line For Justice'

Lariya Ross, 12, dances with the South Augusta Marching Unit of Augusta, Ga., during the 26th annual Martin Luther King National Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands and Drumline Extravaganza at Tropicana Field on Sunday.

KATHLEEN FLYNN | Times

Lariya Ross, 12, dances with the South Augusta Marching Unit of Augusta, Ga., during the 26th annual Martin Luther King National Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands and Drumline Extravaganza at Tropicana Field on Sunday.

ST. PETERSBURG — Fusillades of dance moves. Barrages of drumline bass. Flying flag flurries.

Tropicana Field was full of explosive rhythms Sunday night when 10 bands and drumlines from around Florida and Georgia came marching in.

The event was the 26th annual Martin Luther King National Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands, a perennial crowd-pleasing precursor to the city's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

While the stands at the Trop were less than a quarter full, the energy from the crowd and the announcer's greatest-show-on-Earth timbre filled the dome with toe-tapping sound as the bands rumbled.

St. Petersburg's Lakewood High School represented some of the local talent with a mash-up, including a rendition of Kanye West's Power.

Bethune-Cookman University's Marching Wildcats were scheduled to be the lone college marching band.

Dederick Woodard, one of the event organizers, summed up the rhyme and reason for the event with a single question and answer.

"I've got a trivia question for you: Why the drums?" Woodard asked. "Martin Luther King was a drum major."

The event's name takes after a drum-related quotation attributed to King.

"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness," King said at an Atlanta church in 1968.

Bands come marching in to the Trop for MLK 'Drum Line For Justice' 01/16/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 16, 2011 11:19pm]
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