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Alliance seeks talented teenagers to perform at music festival

HOWELL – Representatives of the Howell Municipal Alliance are signing up talented young people who want to perform in the “I Am Talented Teen Music Festival” during Howell Day on Sept. 21 at Solider Memorial Park, 793 Lakewood-Farmingdale Road, Howell.

The Howell alliance is part of the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse municipal alliance program for community-based substance abuse prevention strategies.

The alliance’s mission statement says it “collaborates across the community to prevent substance abuse, underage drinking, alcoholism, tobacco use, teen vaping and other at-risk behaviors through prevention awareness, education and programs. It also promotes mental well-being and reduction of the stigmas associated with substance use and mental health disorders. Alliance stakeholders include police officers, educators, town officials, businesses, local organizations and concerned citizens.”

Christa Riddle, who is the coordinator of the alliance, said teens are being asked to sign up for the music festival.

“Last year was our first (festival) and we played on a side stage. This year we were asked for the teenagers to play on the main stage,” Riddle said.

The Black Ties will headline the entertainment and perform music from the 1950s and 1960s.

“Before the Black Ties perform, we could have singing, solo performers, group performers … Everything will be on the main stage at Howell Day,” she said.

Riddle explained the idea behind the teen music festival, saying it is “a way for the alliance to recognize, and the whole community to recognize, our youth talent. Sometimes the kids who play sports or are academic get their awards or the focus (of attention), while the kids who are artistic or into the arts do not get recognition of their abilities and what they have to contribute.”

The alliance is coordinating the Howell Day teen music festival with Joe Cantaffa, who is an instructor in the entertainment technology program at Howell High School’s Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Cantaffa is a member of the New Jersey Music Educators’ Association Board of Directors and serves as the production manager and coordinating chairman for the association’s All-State chorus, orchestra and jazz programs.

“Mr. Cantaffa brings his students from the (entertainment technology) program and they help do everything with the sound, the production and the scheduling of the performers. They are out there all day donating their time as well,” Riddle said.

For more information about the teen music festival at Howell Day, contact Christa Riddle by email at criddle@twp.howell.nj.us or call 732-938-4500, ext. 4012.

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