America's Got Talent
by Carol Taubl
Installment 3 Vegas Week Part A
(If you missed Installment 1,
If you missed Installment 2,
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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
York Audition - Sound of Music
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