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Cabell Midland named champs of Tri-State Marching Festival

Oct. 13, 2013 @ 12:10 AM

HUNTINGTON - The Cabell Midland Marching Knights took top honors at Saturday's Tri-State Marching Festival at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The Marching Knights outperformed 25 other high school marching bands from all over the Tri-State to be named the Grand Champion as well as the overall winners in the music, marching and general effect categories in the annual competition hosted by Marshall University.

Marshall band director Steve Barnett said participation was slightly down this year with only 28 bands registering for the competition and 26 actually competing.

"We normally have 32 and have a cap on it with a waiting list, but this festival, because of our football schedule, we are actually having it a couple weeks earlier and there are several other festivals in the area," he said. "It's still the largest (band festival) that I'm aware of in this region. We've got a band here from Dayton. We've got from all over West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio."

Barnett said the festival is a great recruiting tool for the university as it allows high school students to spend a day on campus.

"Generally speaking, band students in high school are some of the top students in their schools and they're here with their parents, their family and friends so it's a real good showcase not only for the music program but for the university," he said. "We get them on campus and let them see the facilities. High school students are in awe of a big stadium like this. It's a big experience for them."

Barnett thanked Scott Morehouse, associate athletic director for facilities, and his staff for helping with this year's festival. He also extended gratitude to band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi.

"This is a big team effort from our band students and our band staff," he said. "Most marching festivals are run by high schools with band boosters and parents, but this is just us and it takes lots of folks. I'm very grateful and thankful for all the help that we do have."

By the end of the evening, Barnett estimated the crowd was anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 strong to see the Marshall University Marching Thunder.

Dana Spade, of Hurricane, was one of the parents who attended the festival. He was there to support his stepdaughter, Taylor Grimmett, who performed in the flag corps with the Hurricane High School Marching Band, which finished just behind Cabell Midland in the overall competition.

Spade said Grimmett had been practicing her routine since July.

"During the school week they would practice usually until 6 p.m. or 8 p.m.," he said, adding that she didn't seem nervous at all about performing in front of such a large crowd.