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NJ.com - Salem High Senior Amanda Taylor Wins N.J. Shouts Down Drugs Music Competition

May 22, 2010


Published: Saturday, May 22, 2010, 5:01 PM     Updated: Friday, May 21, 2010, 5:09 PM

taylor.jpgSalem High School senior Amanda Taylor practices singing her song that won her first place in the 2010 New Jersey Shouts Down Drugs statewide music competition.
SALEM — Amanda Taylor still has a hard time believing she took first-place honors in the annual New Jersey Shouts Down Drugs music competition that was recently held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

The Salem High School senior is still processing the fact she beat out more than 35 high school students from 19 counties that performed their original music as finalists in the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s 6th annual Shouts Down Drugs music concert on May 13, a statewide drug prevention initiative.


Taylor claimed first place after performing her original song, “Wake Up.” 

“I saw everybody,” the 17-year-old recently said, adding that despite other performers telling her the dark theater would help calm her nerves, she was able to see everyone who was sitting in the large facility. “I would look people dead in the eyes, letting them know the message I was sending.”

Taylor said the time leading up to the competition was hectic, but fun, saying the finalists were given tours of the theater and dinner. She added that everybody really worked hard to get ready for the show, singing in the green room and rehearsing their performances.

Finalists also had a chance to mingle with each other, and Taylor said she had a good time talking and joking with the other contestants before she went on stage.

Taylor took the stage right after intermission, she said, adding she was the 15th person to perform.

“I was nervous to some extent because I hadn’t been on stage in a while,” she said, adding when they announced her as the winner, she was surprised and happy once the news sunk in.

“I was like, ‘wow,’” she said, adding she really didn’t have good or bad feelings while they were announcing the winners from third to first place.

The high school students were competing for music contracts to represent the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey at prevention events throughout the state.

The winners will sign a $5,000 (first place), $3,000 (second place) and $2,000 (third place) music contract with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

For the full story, read Sunday's edition of Today's Sunbeam.

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