MONTVILLE, NJ - Santina DiBenedetto and Raelle Lamela, two students from Robert R. Lazar Middle School, are among only 275 junior high students from across Northern New Jersey who were chosen to sing in the North Jersey School Music Association’s 2018 North Jersey Junior High School Regional Honors Chorus.

The two eighth grade students auditioned in February and had their first rehearsal on Thursday, March 1. Over 400 students from throughout Northern NJ competed for an opportunity to participate in the upcoming March 18 concert. 

“We are very proud of these students,” said music teacher Kathy Zajac. “The NJSMA Regional Honors Chorus is a prestigious performing group. Raelle and Santina are two of only 275 in the entire North Jersey Region chosen to participate. I am very proud of their accomplishments. To be chosen to participate in this chorus is not only an honor, it is an extraordinary experience.”

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To win a spot, both students prepared a memorized song and two scales.

“I screamed at the top of my lungs and had a mini dance party,” said Lamela about how excited she felt when she learned she had been awarded a spot in the NJSMA North Jersey Junior High School Regional Honors Chorus. “Music is a part of my life. I can depend on it. Music is a passion of mine.”

DiBenedetto’s reaction was slightly more subdued. “I was shocked,” she said. “Singing is something I do for me. It helps me to relax. I enjoy it. I love to sing.”

The NJSMA North Jersey Junior High School Regional Honors Chorus is scheduled to perform Sunday, March 18 at 3:00 PM at Kittatiny Regional High School in Newton, NJ.