The Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts, which is the official band of Tarpon Springs, Florida, is set to appear once again at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City after placing first at the Bands of America East Tennessee Regional competiton.
The now-legendary band competed this year against high school marching bands from six different states across the southeast. At the finals competition, they won the categories of Best Visual Performance and Best General Effect.
The band, which is part of the Greek enclave of Tarpon Springs, the site of the US’ iconic “Diving for the Cross” event every year at Pascha, finished in first place overall with a score of 91.50.
The Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts is comprised of students from the city and from greater Pinellas County, where students focus on leadership through performance. Once again they will soon be headed to the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City to represent the State of Florida.
The Tarpon Springs Band is no stranger to the Big Apple, having performed there at the Thanksgiving Day Parade several times in past years — or to big-time music competitions.
Three years ago, the Tarpon Springs Outdoor Performance Ensemble was crowned 2018 Division AA National Champions for the United States. That year’s Bands of America Grand National competition took place from November 8-10, 2018.
Along with this great accomplishment, the Tarpon Springs Outdoor Performance Ensemble also ranked in the top five high school marching bands in the country.
One hundred eight top high school marching bands from all over the U.S. competed at the Championships, which were held at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Only 37 bands advanced to the semifinals and the top twelve of that group advanced to the finals.
The Tarpon Springs Outdoor Performance Ensemble’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” completely captivated the audience.
NYC’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to normal in 2021
Last year, due to the coronavirus, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade parade was drastically scaled back for the first time in its history, with only one block of Manhattan setting the scene for the iconic giant balloons, high school marching bands and musical acts.
Going not the normal two miles, but just one city block, made it much different than the normal festive occasion for New Yorkers and those who often come from all over the world to witness the Thanksgiving spectacle, which ushers in the Christmas season.
Last year, the balloons were controlled by special vehicles, instead of armies of volunteers who walked underneath holding their guide wires, and there were no spectators allowed. Still, the scene of marching bands — albeit widely-spaced ones — looked fairly normal on television screens, providing a much-needed dose of normalcy in the middle of the pandemic.
In 2021, New York City is taking the bold step of staging the first normal parade in two years, returning to its original format.
The 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will wind through the streets of New York City beginning at 9 AM in all time zones on Thursday, November 25.
Tarpon Springs a magnet for Greek spongedivers
A public high school, Tarpon Springs graduated its first class of seniors in the year 1906. From the first years of its inception Tarpon Springs High School has earned the reputation of being an exceptional school. It is nationally known for its football program, music conservatory, culinary department, and veterinary academy.
The beautiful waterfront of Tarpon Springs was first explored by Greek sponge divers as far back as the early 1900’s. Divers immigrated from Greece after the discovery of natural sponge beds and settled in the area, founding the largest sponge businesses anywhere in the United States.
A visit to Tarpon Springs is much like a visit to a small, charming Greek seaside village, with its population comprising the largest Greek population per capita of any city in the country.