This spring, the Champlain Valley Union High School Music Department is taking advantage of an excellent opportunity that has the potential to help their students grow as performers. Many of CVUs band students will be traveling to New York City in March to take part in the Heritage Music Festival, a learning experience that will greatly benefit these young musicians. One of many festivals being held in the coming months, Heritage allows for schools from all over the country to showcase their musical abilities, receive judging from professional musicians, and observe performances by other student groups. This year, Band II, Band III, and the Jazz Ensemble, directed by Andy Miskavage, will represent CVU on a playing field of over a thousand other student musicians, in hopes of gaining further insight into their overall level of performance. In the past, [CVU] has done very wellhopefully we can continue to do so,noted Miskavage, who heads the instrumental program at CVU, referring to prior festival experiences. However, the trip cannot be a success without support from the local communities. As the departure date for New York City draws ever closer, CVUs band students continually work to deter expenses from the overall festival cost. Over the course of the school year, fundraisers such as bottle drives, food sales, and providing labor at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company have kept students striving to lower the groups total payments. Thanks to the effort of many teenage musicians and adult supporters around the district, these past fundraisers have been quite successful, raising thousands of dollars towards their cause. As a final boost to benefit CVUs band students, two more fundraisers are scheduled in the approaching weeks. Swingin to NYC, an upcoming benefit event, will be held at the Elley Long Center in Colchester on March 3, from 7-10 p.m. A swing/ballroom dance and silent auction, Swingin to NYC will feature local businesses offering a wide variety of items for auction, while listening to the smooth sounds of jazz. Have any spare bottles and cans lying around? Mark the date-on Saturday, March 10, CVU Band will be running a bottle drive as its final fundraiser. Look for further information on time and location. During the school day, one can walk by the band room at CVU, and likely hear students preparing for the festival, as the date rapidly approaches. Yet without the people of the community lending a hand to the instrumentalists of their local school, these musicians would be playing a different tune. Consider stopping by one of these events, and supporting CVUs meaningful endeavor towards the Heritage Festival: the band students in your area will thank you. Whitney Lussier is a freelance writer and freshman at CVU.