SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The third time proved to be the charm for Wardlaw+Hartridge senior CJ Stueck.

Having twice qualified for the regional choir, the Scotch Plains resident was determined to take it one step higher and earn selection to the NJMEA All-State Choir and perform with the state’s finest singers. Mission accomplished.

CJ recently performed with the All-State Choir at two venues – the Atlantic City Convention Center and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

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“It was really cool,” said CJ, who was among 45 singers in the Tenor II section. “It was great standing next to these people who are striving to be music professionals.

I really wanted to make All-State to see if it was a different vibe. Of course, it’s a higher level and I wanted to see what it’s like.”

The All-State Choir held a summer rehearsal and met a few times in the fall before the performances. CJ gained confidence in his ability to perform at this level after a few rehearsals and continued work with his W+H music teacher, Sharon Byrne. He especially enjoyed singing Baba Yetu, a Swahili adaptation of the Lord’s Prayer.

“What makes this achievement really special is that I continued to work hard to reach it. It finally paid off and I got a spot,” CJ said. “I’m always going to put in the work to be a better singer and a better actor, but I don’t know where it’s going to take me at this point.”