TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tarpon Springs Outdoor Performance Ensemble is one of 10 high school bands around the country that performed in the 96th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For band director Kevin Ford, it wasn’t his first miracle on 34th Street.
He took the Pinellas County band to the Big Apple back in 2013, something that inspired the look and performance this year.

“As I was going up the steps to the Macy’s headquarters, I started seeing pictures that really meant a lot to Macy’s,” he said. “I found a picture from the 1940s of the department store on Black Friday.”

It was an experience drum major Ethan Abercrombie has been preparing for since the band was originally chosen to perform in 2019.

“There has been some sort of adversity in the past few years, but I think what has been really cool is seeing everyone work past that, and we’ve actually taken that adversity and turned it into an opportunity for us to grow really strong as a band,” he said. “It’s just really cool to see how everyone has grown through that.”

“I’m super excited to share that experience with everyone,” he continued.

His parents got to see him do just that, cheering him on from the sidelines in New York City.

“It was incredible to be there, to be a part of it all, to see our son and his friends and the entire band and staff there representing Florida, said Ethan’s dad, Eric Abercrombie. “They were representing their school and representing their community.”

“It was something,” he continued. “I will say, a lot of work went into experiencing it this way.”

The band marched along the 2.5-mile parade route and performed holiday songs for about three hours.

“It was pretty incredible,” said Ethan’s mom, Melissa Abercrombie. “He actually made eye contact with us as he was marching, so that was pretty neat that we got to see him and he saw us watching as well.”