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Many West Virginians return from Myrtle Beach with a suntan. But a local high school band came back Nov. 2 with a busload of trophies from a South Carolina marching band competition.

The Cabell Midland High School Marching Knights were chosen as the Grand Champions over 16 other bands at a competition in Loris, S.C., as well as taking top honors in all categories including auxiliary, percussion, hornline and music.

More than 140 band members, their teachers and instructors from several families stayed in South Carolina for two nights, making time for a visit to the beach, even forming the outline of the state of West Virginia on the sand for a photo. The band's show for the competition, "Echoes From the Hills," was a musical and visual tribute to life in West Virginia, including the songs "West Virginia Hills," "16 Tons," "Amazing Grace" and "Appalachian Spring." The show was chosen by Director Timothy James to celebrate the state's Sesquicentennial anniversary.

"I've never been prouder in my life," James said. "My gosh, they did wonderful. Complete standing ovation from everyone."

The Marching Knights also were named Grand Champions at the recent Marshall University Tri-State Band Competition, as well as the West Virginia Invitational band competition in Charleston.