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Norwalk High Band Hopes for Boost From Santa

Does the marching band come to mind when you think of the Norwalk High School music department? If so, you're not alone. But Chuck Goulart, president of the Marching Bears , says there is much more, including two color guards, the winter percussion group and the jazz orchestra.

Not to mention the work of teenagers, who park cars at the boat show or pick up trash at the oyster festival. Because the Board of Education contributes just $20,000 to the Marching Bears' annual budget of $150,000, the kids have to do a lot of fundraising. The monthly can and bottle collection nets $600 to $900, and there are raffles and a concession stand sales.

That is why Goulart and his kids are hoping to win the Santa's Wish List holiday promotion run by Main Street Connect. "It's made for us," Goulart said. He said the Norwalk High students play year round, which helps them stay sharp for competitions. Along the way, they learn about a lot more than music.

"It's kind of funny," he said. "Music is the benefit they get from this program at the end. What they get out of the program is a chance to be part of a family, which they may not have. They get an opportunity to learn teamwork; they have an opportunity to learn work ethic. They get an opportunity to learn what discipline and hard work is. They get an opportunity to see what it means to dedicate a lot of time for a cause. ... It's far greater than playing music. It is just the icing on the cake. It's not like they come here to play music and these other things are the benefits, it's kind of the other way around. These things are really the backbone of the program and music is the benefit."

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