Arts & Entertainment

In New Brunswick, Teens Play Concert Against Drug Abuse

New Jersey Shout Down Drugs concert host Bert Baron (L), third-place Jeffrey Toth, second-place Taylor Van Cleave, first-place winners Lindsay Masterson and Michelle Yu and director Angelo Valente. Credits: Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Who said music needs to be about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll?

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey hosted its 13th annual New Jersey Shout Down Drugs Prevention Concert on Friday, May 19 at Rutgers University’s Nicholas Music Center in New Brunswick.

The event drew 21 high-school students from across the state who performed 13 musical acts, according to the group. Three acts placed in the competition, which challenged teens to “create music with lyrics that contain powerful peer-to-peer drug prevention messages,” according to a press release.

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“These teenage finalists have shown their commitment to a healthy and drug-free lifestyle,” Angleo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said in a statement, “and we are proud of each and every one of them and impressed by their talents.”

Michelle Yu and Lindsay Masterson, two students from Northern Valley Regional High School in Bergen County, won first place for their song, “Into the Light.”

Taylor Van Cleave, also from North Jersey, took second place for his song, “Aftermath.” Jeffrey Toth, a student at Mainlands Regional High School in Atlantic County, placed third for his tune, “Today’s the Day You Walk Away.”

The winners received music contracts with the anti-drug group, who valued the offers at $10,000. Plus, the organization said, the winners will perform their songs at “statewide events.”

An online voting campaign that began in February and closed midnight May 18 drew nearly 70,000 ballots, according to the press release. Those votes counted toward each finalist’s total score.

Bert Baron, a talk radio DJ for 1450 AM, hosted the free concert.

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