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Tarpon Springs marching band takes 'Hamilton' from the theater to the field

Posted at 11:11 AM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 05:23:37-05

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — The Tarpon Springs Marching Band usually performs every football game at half time and competes nationally at several events each year. Due to the pandemic, almost all of those performances were canceled in 2020. However, the band still wanted to put on a show no matter what.

That show not only consists of playing instruments, but it also adds singing, dancing and acting.

“Lets try something new, let’s be ahead of the curve, let’s be revolutionary, let’s take this opportunity, let’s make a positive situation out of it,” said drum major Ben Dunham.

Kevin Ford, director of the Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts, said his students have worked too hard and have too much talent to sit on the sidelines. They need to be seen, and they need to be heard.

“We’re all trying to figure out what can we do that’s meaningful, that’s rigorous, that’s going to stretch them and allow them to grow,” said Ford.

So Ford took the most popular musical in the world and added a drum major and football field to it. It’s called “The Hamilton Project.”

“And I actually have to rap and drum at the same time, which is a challenge, but it’s really, really, fun,” said James Devins III, who plays Hamilton.


Complete with a set that spans more than half the field and a stage right on the 50-yard-line, Tarpon Springs is making the most of their shot.

A typical marching band performance at half time of a football game is 10 minutes. “The Hamilton Project” is 40 minutes.

“I’m actually excited that this was my senior year because this is something no one else has ever done,” said Isabella Duncan, who plays the saxophone.

While so many events were canceled in 2020, Tarpon Springs can say they added something that the entire community can enjoy, conducting nine performances over the course of a month.

“That’s the reward after all the hard work you put in just getting to share our talent with people who appreciate it,” said Samantha Kopec, who plays the clarinet.

Students say this may even reverberate into a nationwide trend.

“I think this would be a really cool thing to start new competitions and new showcases of different musicals being done on a marching band level,” said Devins III.

The last show of the season is being performed Thursday, Dec. 17. Unfortunately, tickets are already sold out.

For more information on the show, go to