MIAMI -- As thousands of runners from around the world crossed the Miami Marathon finish line Feb. 9, they were not only welcomed by a boisterous crowd, but also by tropical salsa beats coming from the Florida Guard's 13th Army Band salsa group on the main stage.For the second year in a row, the band's salsa group, Sintonía, provided musical entertainment for thousands of runners and visitors who filled Bayfront Park and the surrounding downtown Miami streets."We reached out to the 13th Army Band last year to participate in the Miami Marathon, and their performances were so well received that we asked them to come back this year," said Frankie Ruiz, co-founder of the marathon. "Their presence is important to us, because of the motivation they provide to the thousands of runners, and because it reminds the marathon's attendees of the sacrifices made by members of our military."The band's participation in events like the Miami Marathon is an important part of the Florida Army Guard's community outreach throughout the state. Traditionally, the band teams up with local schools to conduct educational outreach, support community concerts and participate in military ceremonies."We enjoyed playing the marathon in our hometown. There is so much energy in the park with this crowd," said Sgt. Walter Jones, Sintonía's lead vocalist. "We love the diversity of South Florida, and events like this one allow us to showcase the diversity of the Florida Guard to the community."Sintonía is one of several teams of Army musicians who deploy in small groups to provide music in multiple locations at the same time. Sintonía is uncommon because it is one of only a few groups in the Army Band's field that performs salsa music.Sgt. Richard Diaz, Sintonía's musical performance team leader, joined the 13th Army Band 17 years ago and was one of the first members of the salsa team. "We tend to surprise most crowds when we open our shows with a merengue or a salsa song," Diaz said, referring to two popular Caribbean rhythms from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, respectively. "We have traveled all the way to Europe with the 13th Army Band and everywhere we go, we bring a lot of intensity with our music."Last year, the 13th Army Band spent two weeks across the Atlantic, backfilling the U.S. Army Europe Band in Germany and strengthening Florida's State Partnership Program with the St. Kitts and Nevis Defense Force."We have a lot of flexibility in the 13th Army Band, thanks to the Florida National Guard's leadership, which helped us to fully embrace the Music Performance Team (MPT) concept," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Steve Rivero, commander of the 13th Army Band and bandmaster for Florida. "We can perform as a marching band, concert band or salsa MPT, and this is something that highlights our readiness level."