Do you dream of being able to march after drum corps or college, long into your golden years? Well, you can! The Second Time Arounders from St. Petersburg, Fla., turns this fantasy into a reality.
Photos by Lee Lafleur
Most marching musicians stop performing after they graduate from college or age out of drums corps. The select few that continue might participate in all-age corps through Drum Corps Associates. The Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band from St. Petersburg, Fla, is in a small unique category of permanent adult marching bands. This year, it celebrates its 30th anniversary.
For those who just can’t get enough of marching band and “dreamed of doing it one more time,” the Second Time Arounders allows marching alumni to continue to march … way beyond college. The participants range in age from 18 to 85. They practice on Tuesday evenings, perform at local events, have multiple socials and travel to a major parade or festival every few years. In the past, it has performed in Disney World, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Ireland, and the Calgary (Canada) Stampede.
Director and co-founder Bill Findeison discusses the origins and future of this 400-member group, which gives working adults a chance to feel like they are back in their youth again.
Halftime: Could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Findeison: Well, I have a master’s degree in music education from Florida State University. I had taught high school and junior high band for five years before I went into the music business. I had also marched throughout high school and college before teaching. Once I became involved exclusively with the music business, I stopped teaching.
Halftime: How did The Second Time Arounders get started?
Findeison: The band started about 30 years ago, and we started out as a small group and advertised in the local newspapers. It was a way to promote my music store, and we wanted to have a float in the local parade as well. I thought: “Why not start a marching band,” and I was itching to teach and direct again. In the advertisement we said we wanted to form this band and have people show up to this rehearsal. We had 75 people show up, which was a nice number to start with. We first marched in the local civic parade they had in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Halftime: Where did you get instruments to play with?
Findeison: We borrowed the instruments from local high schools and colleges. We managed to acquire mellophones and sousaphones along with the marching percussion instruments. Most people were able to bring their own instruments, which made it a little easier. For the people who may have sold their instruments or don’t have one, we have rentals that members can check out and return at the end of the season.
Halftime: Where has the band performed?
Findeison: Three years ago, we marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, with about 500 people. This past summer, we went to Calgary, [Canada], and we performed in the annual Calgary Stampede, and we played concerts and on a field. We didn’t compete, but we were one of the demonstration bands. We took about 300 people to that.
Halftime: What type of music do you play?
Findeison: Our job is to entertain the audience as we don’t compete like a lot of high school bands do today. High schools are typically playing to the judges, and at times it gets a little over the audience’s head. We don’t try to do that. We have fun and enjoy it, and I would describe the quality as a very good college band. We play a lot of stuff people will know and recognize like marches, popular songs and Broadway shows, pretty much anything that will get the crowd stomping their foot and such.
Halftime: What is the current state of the band?
Findeison: We technically have about 300 musicians and 100 in auxiliary such as flags, twirlers and a dance team. When we do a big parade like Macy’s, we usually have around 500 members because everyone wants to do the parade. The instrumentation of the band is very balanced as well. It always seems to work out with the numbers.
Halftime: How would someone join the band?
Findeison: It’s pretty simple enough: Just show up. We have no auditions, and we usually say just have experience playing the instrument you want to play. The same applies to the auxiliary although the dancers on our dance team may not have done it in a marching band setting, but nonetheless have dance experience. We accept everyone who is willing to put a commitment to attending the practices and sounding good as an ensemble.
About the Author
Jeremy Chen is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). He marched cymbals for two years at Rancho Cucamonga High School before playing bass drum and snare at Upland High School. He is currently a cymbal player and office staff member for the USC Trojan Marching Band. He aspires to one day become a correspondent for the BBC.