A local independent parent group held a Gala Art Auction and dinner Friday night to raise funds for the Norwalk High School marching band.
Marching Bears Inc., a non-profit organization run by parents and volunteers, joined Marlin Art Auctions to host Parents Night Out at American Legion Hall in Norwalk. The non-profit is independent of the Norwalk Board of Education and dedicated to financially supporting the Norwalk High School Band program. Organizers like Laraine Merh-Turlis tell us, since the traveling band does not receive enough money needed from the school system, fundraisers like these are necessary.
"Historically all the bands and all the musical arts programs are underfunded. Costs for our marching band, we have about 150 kids any given year in our band and guard program and it costs the marching band about $150,00 a year, of that the city only gives us $20,000 and that basically covers buses to get the kids to the competition, but there's so many other expenses involved."
Organizers say a percentage of the auction proceeds go to the band. Members of Marlin Art Auctions tell us they're supporting the band by opening their bids at 30-60 percent less than retail price.
"There's nothing like growing up, playing for these bands, it keeps you out of trouble."
The Norwalk Marching Bears won the Musical Arts Conference Championship in November and came in second in the New York State Field Band Conference.
"It's kind of a grueling schedule. They compete every weekend. Sometimes they have double headers. They'll do two on a Saturday or they'll do a Saturday or a Sunday."
"Music does take up a gigantic portion of my time, but you have to learn to manage your time or you'll drown in your work, but it's definitely worth if because of the bonds that you make, as corny as it sounds, you do make great friendships and it really is a band family."
The Organization is expecting about $5,000 in fundraising this year
For more information on the organization's fundraisers visit nhsband.com