Second Time Arounders prepare for millions of eyes to feast upon them

ST. PETERSBURG

They marched up First Street S. And down.

Musicians wearing blue waterproof coats, sassy white Aussie hats and white gloves. Majorettes, rifles, flag twirlers and dancers shimmering in red-accented outfits. They are part of the behemoth of a band with the equally expansive name: the Greater St. Petersburg Area Awesome Original Second Time Arounders.

On Saturday they gave family members and friends a preview of their Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade performance that will be seen by more than 50-million television viewers across the country.

"My eyes are leaking,'' a female onlooker said as the band finished its first run-through of the 90-second show that was being taped in front of the Mahaffey Theater for Macy's and NBC television officials.

The Second Time Arounders, made up of adults who performed in high school and college marching bands, had its genesis in 1983. Members travel from beyond the Tampa Bay area, even from New Jersey, Georgia and North Carolina, to perform with the band. Among them are doctors, teachers, lawyers and pastors, with current band members ranging in age from 18 to 84.

In April, they learned that they were one of 10 bands selected to perform in this year's Macy's parade.

"It's been a ball just anticipating it,'' said Dale Gunter, a drummer and owner of E. Dale Gunter Funeral Home in St. Petersburg.

As they got into formation for the 11 a.m. taping, director and co-founder Bill Findeison congratulated the group.

"I can't begin to tell you how great you guys look out there,'' said Findeison, who had emergency quadruple bypass surgery nine weeks ago.

Orlando Veras, a spokesman for the Macy's parade, said Saturday's taping, which was done by WTVT-Ch. 13, will be reviewed over the Columbus Day weekend. It will help to ensure that all goes smoothly for the show in front of Macy's at Herald Square, he said.

Veras thinks the Second Time Arounders will be a hit.

"We've had bands of this size, but it's not something that happens all the time,'' he said.

"This is the largest in a while.''

Lt. Brad Dykens of St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue joined families and friends — tagalongs in Second Time Arounders' parlance — on the Mahaffey Theater balcony to watch the group Saturday morning.

Dykens will travel to New York with his wife, Debbie, a majorette and administrative assistant to the middle school headmaster at Admiral Farragut Academy.

"This has been her lifetime dream, to be part of the Macy's parade,'' Dykens said.

As band members in winter uniforms under the Florida sun prepared for a third taping, a cry went out: "Somebody down.''

Dykens dashed off, but the interruption was brief. The waterfront block soon resonated with music for a Thanksgiving morning.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2283.

$1,199 cost of trip per person

300

musicians

110 twirling auxiliary members

300

"tagalongs"

102 letter and banner carriers, honor guard and national flag pageantry performers

330

hotel rooms

3

chartered planes

2½ miles



length of the parade route

Second Time Arounders prepare for millions of eyes to feast upon them 09/30/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 7:13pm]

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