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Singing Jersey's Praises

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Albright senior and her family composed a top song in the Stronger than the Storm campaign music contest

by Hilary Bentman

Listen to Laura Warren ’14 talk about the Jersey Shore and it’s clear she loves the place.

“It’s a home for me. It’s a community,” said the Pennsylvania native, who has spent nearly every summer in Ocean City.

But listen to Warren sing about the Shore, and you hear her passion reach new levels, the kind that transport audiences back to their own childhoods spent building sandcastles, riding boogie boards and savoring salt water taffy.

That’s what the song “The Jersey Shore” achieves in spades, and it comes as no surprise that the uplifting tune, featuring Warren on lead vocals, was voted a top submission in a recent contest to compose what could be the Garden State’s next summer anthem.

Competing against more than 230 entries, “The Jersey Shore,” created by Warren and her family, was a top three finalist in the Jersey Shore Soundoff, a competition sponsored by the Stronger than the Storm campaign. Local musicians were asked to record an original ode to the coastal communities.

 Ultimately, “The Jersey Shore” did not win. But Warren, a psychology and music business major, is proud to have participated in the contest. “We did it to show our support for the people, that we’re not forgetting you,” she said. “Seeing the local shops and businesses come back is great.”

The Stronger than the Storm campaign is New Jersey’s effort to raise awareness about the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The campaign already has a song, prominent in its ubiquitous ads. But spokeswoman Shannon Eis said, “We really wanted to give the people a chance to create an anthem that was special to them, something that embodied the spirit of New Jersey.”

Laura discovered the contest just days before the deadline, and she and her musical family swung into action. Her mother, Bonnie, was the song’s main writer and provided some vocal harmonies. Laura’s brother, Andrew, was the instrumentalist, recorded the song and also helped with the writing and vocal harmonies. Laura also contributed to the writing process.

“It was a collaborative effort. We sat down and thought of fond memories at the Shore,” said Warren, whose family’s Ocean City home sustained only negligible damage from Sandy.

Warren, who hosts the radio show CPR (Country, Pop and Rock) on Albright’s WXAC, said the goal was to create a song that was both uplifting and, like the Shore, not defined by the storm. The result is a stirring tribute to beaches, boardwalks, bike rides, fishing, music and food. Sung with a twang – Laura’s vocal style is country pop and R&B – “The Jersey Shore” features the catchy refrain “This place has it all. Got all you want and more, the Jersey Shore.”

Both the public and a panel of judges had a chance to vote on the entries. The winning song, “Jersey Strong,” by the group After the Reign, will perform at a concert in Asbury Park on Sept. 7. The event will be headlined by the Spin Doctors, whose lead singer is a Jersey native.

To hear the Warrens' song, "The Jersey Shore," visit http://summersoundoff.strongerthanthestorm.com/contests/showentry/1507435

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