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Issue #21                                                                                                                                                      Fall  2008

America's Got Talent

by Carol Taubl

Installment 3 Vegas Week Part A

(If you missed Installment 1, click here.                             If you missed Installment 2, click here.)

Could the experience that began in April, 2008 as a casual suggestion from a friend become the fabled 'dream come true' for the Taubl Family?  As you read in last week's installment, Piers Morgan was the final vote that kept the dream alive for the Taubls, and the next step was audition week in Las Vegas.

The ride home to Connecticut after the eventful day in New York City was an electric one.  It was Friday night, April 11, and all the kids were buzzing with creative energy and new ideas for music selections and style.  But there was one really tricky little detail.  All the contestants were sternly warned that they were not to tell anyone the results of their audition.  The acts that made it through were sent a contract (think mortgage application) to sign, and that included severe penalties for disclosing the results of the audition.  That sounds easy, but in reality, it was one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle!  How do you tell the boys' school that they would be missing a week in May without telling them why?  And how can you keep nine people from spilling the beans when this is the most exciting thing that ever happened to any of them!  John and I resorted to age old parenting wisdom - threatening them within an inch of their lives!  When they discovered that there were significant financial penalties listed in the contract (in the tens of thousands of dollars), they realized how serious it all was.  We did tell all the grandparents, and some dear friends.  I think we all neurotically avoided people to reduce temptation.

The trip to Las Vegas was to be the second week in May, and there was much to be done.  With very little information on what to expect, we had to prepare for almost anything.  We were told that it would only be necessary to prepare one song.  Everyone immediately agreed that the best choice would be 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.'  This song would give us a chance to show off Emily's beautiful voice and the family harmony that was our trademark, and it was so totally genuine in its message.  For everyone of us, this experience was a culmination of years of hard work, and it seemed only fitting to sing a song that reflected that.  As the month of May approached, we were all feeling pretty good about what was coming, but the unknown aspect of everything kept the butterflies alive in all of us.

On the morning of May 11, we were up with the chickens.  A 4am wake up call was needed to get us to the airport by 6:30.  There are so many of us, and we travel with 2 cellos that have seats purchased for them, so the list of possible complications is endless.  Rarely do you find an airline representative who knows what to do.  This time, however, we went through the line with absolutely no problem.  But by the time we arrived in Vegas, we were exhausted.  The producers had scheduled a late night meeting for all the acts.  For the kids, the combination of the early morning wake up, the time change from east coast to west, and the incredible nervous energy inherent in the situation, made for a level of exhaustion that was threatening to cripple us all.  The producers seemed to sense that, and sent the kids to bed leaving John and I to attend the meeting. 

It was strictly an informative one, but per their design, one that was intended to instill even more nervousness and fear. As we look back, it was clear that the purpose of Vegas week was to get some really good footage of contestants at their breaking points, all reaching for the same dream, and many knowing it would end there.  When we met up with the kids the following morning, we shared with them the information that we had received.  There was to be an elimination that morning, before anyone had a chance to perform, and then more eliminations as the week progressed.  It was certain to be a week of waiting and stress.  Thankfully, Annabelle's sense of humor and James' randomness kept us all smiling through most of it. 

And so it was that mid-morning on Monday, May 12, we were called to the performance hall in four groups.  It was very ominous and cameras were everywhere.  We were in Group A and were seated first so we watched with overactive imaginations as the other groups filed in, trying to figure which one had the most talent and which might be eliminated right there.  After what seemed like hours, the judges walked in and began the program.  David Hasselhoff stood up and looked at our group and very quickly said, "Group A, today you will be ..." Then he waited for at least five minutes while the cameras roamed the room, looking for a tear or a glance that might make good dramatic television.  Finally, he repeated "Group A, today you will be...staying in the competition!"  We all got up and screamed and hugged people we didn't even know.  It was crazy and wonderful and Hollywood all in one.  But the reality set in as we saw Group B sent home, and Groups C and D waiting, thinking that they were surely to be sent home as well.  As it turned out, Groups A, C and D made it through.  The relief was palpable, but all of us knew it was just the beginning.

As we filed out of the large hall, we were told by the producers that we would be performing later that day, so we rehearsed a little to help pass the time.  Mid-afternoon, they called us back down to the theater and took us back stage.  It is impossible to convey in a short piece like this the seemingly infinite waiting and the ever present nervousness that colored the experience.  It is a bit like television, when you see someone talk about going to another city, and in the next frame, they have arrived looking wonderful.  Same here - but this is real!

As we were waiting backstage, we tried to get a glimpse of the other acts, which only proved to make us more nervous.  When they called us into the wings as next in line to perform, our friend Jerry Springer was there waiting for us, and we again were calmed by his charming sense of humor and his genuine concern for the family.  We walked onto the stage, with no applauding crowd to help provide additional energy. and performed for an audience of three!  We began our song with an instrumental introduction, and when Emily began to sing, her microphone was not on!  She told us later that it was all she could to hold her shaky composure, but somehow she managed to and soon the mic popped on.  We could not hear ourselves at all on stage, but we had rehearsed so much that it was easy to stay together.  That is one of the advantages to performing together weekly for over ten years!  We practically know each other's thoughts.  So all in all, it went well.  The judges seemed to love it.  Piers said that we were even better than in New York.  But that was where they left it.  No decision.  Nothing solid.  Just more nerves and more waiting.

To read about the rest of Vegas week, check back on Monday, November 3.



Fall Ball for some

Last year, fall ball for the twins was quite exciting.  Their team was the league champs, and James and Jeremiah played incredibly well.  A lot has changed in 12 months!

The first and most obvious difference is that the boys are all now playing on a big field - no more Little League.  But a sadder and more upsetting turn of events happened on a slightly wet, Sunday evening bike ride.  James tried to come to a quick stop and did a slow-motion somersault over the handle bars.  Instinct took over, and he put out his left hand to catch himself.  That didn't go so well.  He sheepishly came home and told his dad that he thought he had broken his arm.  An emergency room visit confirmed the news.  James is now in a lovely cast for several weeks. 

Sam is playing on the Babe Ruth team again this year, but Jack is taking the season off.  He is putting all his extra time and energy into college applications!  Priorities!

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    Jack in Swaziland

 

When Emily decided that the Hartt School would be her choice for school this fall, she had her eye on

Other than preparing for his appearances on America's Got Talent, Jack was busy raising money and preparing programs for his trip to Swaziland. 

In mid July, a team of high school kids from Christian Heritage School left from Newark Airport on a journey that spanned 2 full days.  They spent a day in London sightseeing to fill the hours of the long layover at Heathrow, and then headed off for the African continent.  They ended the trip with a very exciting and often scary bus rise up to the mountains of Bolembu Swaziland.  The scenery was majestic, but the need there is great.  The destination was a school  with a vision for changing the lives of the next generation of children from Swaziland.  The hearts of these American kids were touched by the sweet simplicity of the children they were working with.  Jack purchased some new sunglasses for the trip, but when one little boy became fascinated with his reflection in Jack's glasses, the sunglasses became a gift. 

 

 

The days in Swaziland were spent doing all sorts of activities with the kids, and all sorts of help projects for the adults who run the school.  They worked hard, slept well, fought off sickness and exhaustion, and came home with a new perspective on what is important in life. 

 

Jack would like to personally thank all of you who sent contributions to help him go on this trip.  It was truly life changing, and he is forever grateful for your help.

 



You Tube 

One of the real perks of participating in America's Got Talent is the national exposure that we received.  The estimated audience for each of the live shows that we performed on was around 15 million people.  We have heard from so many of you, and that has been an amazing thing.  We also have our performances posted on YouTube, so you can share them with your friends, or just go watch them once more yourself.  So many of you have shared that the music is able to bring a smile to your face, even when you are feeling down.  That is a wonderful thing. So check out the videos, and let us hear from you soon!  

New York Audition - Sound of Music

 

 




Don't miss it! 

7th Annual Christmas at Mechanics Hall

December 20, 2008

Call Mechanics Hall Box Office today to get your tickets. 

508-752-0888 or visit www.MechanicsHall.org

 




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