ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A cacophony of sound bounced off buildings in the staging area along First Street South at the 34th Annual St. Petersburg MLK Dream Big parade.

Musicians from multiple bands were tuning up and stretching out, preparing their instruments—and themselves—to march in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

After a year of silence thanks to the pandemic, it was back.

The first band in line—St. Pete’s Lakewood High School.

And at first, they played softly.

Then the horns turned on.

Super on.

And every other instrument too!

That’s when every single person within immediate sight of the band turned their head to listen.

Head nods evolved into shoulder sways.

And then, a woman flat-out danced right in the crosswalk of the closed off street—and she was not alone—on the ground or above.

A construction worker also danced—and sang—in one of the upper floors of an unfinished building while looking down on the bands.

Lakewood was lined up to follow right behind a fellow Spartan musician—Mayor Ken Welch.

The 1981 graduate was active in sports and music.

“Pinellas County Champs! I played football—left tackle. I also played in the band," said Welch. "That’s why the band is so important to me."

Welch met and took pictures with the band, including senior baritone player Sebastian Brown.

It was Brown’s first time marching in this event, the biggest MLK parade in the Tampa Bay area, with more than 100 entries—from advocacy groups to the fire department.

He hoped his performance would help the band honor the legacy of Dr. King.

And Brown also hoped for people to carry on a message of unity.

“I hope people just remember that we are trying to be equal here. We are trying to be a community here,” said Brown.

And in his first MLK parade, as St. Petersburg's first Black mayor, Welch also talked about unity.

“It’s so important for St. Pete in this juncture in our history as we’re in the middle of all this great development downtown. How do we make sure the progress is truly inclusive?”

January 15 is Dr. King's Birthday. He would have been 93.