If you want to be apart of this performing arts show, you need to pay to play.
"You get the number at the beginning of the year and it seems like a really big deal," said Norwalk student Mark Hill.
Karen O'Connor, a mother of two students on Norwalk's Percussion Ensemble added, “I knew there was a cost - I just didn’t know what the cost was."
Students at Norwalk High School are forking over more than a thousand dollars to be on the Winter Guard and Percussion Ensemble. The two performing art groups are nationally ranked and practice more than twenty hours a week. But, the school says they are extra curricular, and that leaves them with funding barely covering their high-priced performances.
“The top two groups – the percussion ensemble and open guard – both travel to Dayton, Ohio for the WGI Championships and that trip alone is thousands of dollars, the bus ride alone is eight thousand dollars – and we do that twice," explained Norwalk's Band Director Chris Rivera.
"I think it keeps people out of the program - especially the winter program - because it's just so costly," said O'Connor
And as a result, fundraisers are key.
"Everything you see here goes right back to the band, guard and percussion program, all the money from the hot dogs, t-shirts, program books - all come right back to the program," said Rivera.
"you have a lot of time to get the money, so it's not impossible definitely not impossible," said Hill.
The groups today hope to raise about five thousand dollars - and parents inside are selling everything from jewlery, snacks and even tickets just to attend the show.
"We're selling spirit wear," says O'Connor. "This is one of our many fundraisers."
But despite the high cost and extra work, parents and students agree - its worth it.
"You have to look at the bigger picture, you have to look at what you're working so hard for," said student Larry Weatherspoon.