America's Got Talent
by Carol Taubl
Installment 4 Vegas Week Part B
If you missed Installment 1,
If you missed Installment 2,
If you missed
Last week we left off with the
performance in Las Vegas. Playing before an audience of three skeptical
judges was quite a challenge, and the lack of monitors on stage added to the
stress, but over all we were pleased with the performance and the judges seemed
to be too.
But it was still Monday, and a
long week was ahead of us. Or at least we hoped a long week was ahead of
us. The way it worked was that when you were eliminated, you were
immediately sent home. "Here's your hat, what's your hurry" kind of thing.
So the best case scenario for us was that we would indeed be staying until the
end of the week as our tickets promised. But we certainly weren't sure.
In fact, we weren't sure of anything. We were only given little snippets
of information each morning as we arrived in the holding room.
We were very
fortunate in Las Vegas to have John's mom and sister and our two nieces join us.
It was a touch of reality every evening to sit with them over dinner and share
the experiences of the day. Because they live in Arizona, it is not often
that we get to visit with them. One highlight and unforgettable memory involved
all 13 of us stuffed into a compact car trying to get from one side of Vegas to
the other! Most people aren't prepared to travel with a group the size of
the Taubl Family!
Tuesday, we met the wonderful ladies who were to be the boys' tutors. They
took the boys each day for a few hours into a room that they had set up for
school, and it gave the boys a merciful relief from the ever present tension.
It also gave them time to get to know some of the other kids who were
auditioning, and the beginnings of some wonderful friendships were formed that
By Wednesday, we were told that another
elimination was imminent, and so we waited in the holding room until they called
our name. Eventually we found ourselves in the lobby of the theater with
many other contestants, being called to judgment in groups. Soon, we were called
backstage along with the Wright Kids, a group of four young men called
Hellifiknow, and a group of Spanish musicians. They told us to walk on
stage and stand in clumps together, and we would be told what to do. When
we got on stage, the judges were seated in front of us in the audience looking
very grim, and they called the Wright Kids, Hiellifiknow, and the Taubl Family
to take a step forward. After what seemed a lifetime, they informed us
that we would be staying in the competition! But then they informed us
that there would be one more elimination on Friday. The tension was
endless and excruciating, but it was forgotten for a brief moment as we
celebrated on stage together.
Friday finally came and as we walked into the
holding room, the air was heavy with the ominous realization that today would be
the end of the road for many of us. Again, we were taken down to the
waiting area outside the theater. We had some really fun conversations
with other contestants, and at one point I looked over to see Jack with his
pocket New Testament reading to pass the time, and to be reassured that all
would be well no matter how this turned out. We waited nervously as groups
were called out, some coming back for their interviews screaming with delight,
some coming back to face the cameras with tears. And finally it was our
turn. They called our name, and we walked down the aisle of the theater,
all the way to the front, up some stairs and onto the stage. Our knees
were trembling and the theater was dark. I was really afraid I was going
to miss a step and fall, but I grabbed Jack's arm and he walked slowly with me.
When we finally made it up the steps, the judges
were seated on the stage this time, facing out and again, looking very grim.
We grouped together, partly because they told us to, and partly because we
needed to rely on each other for strength, and David Hasselhoff began to talk.
He started by reminding us that they were not there to make dreams come true. He
said that for many, this was the end of the dream. Sharon and Piers looked
sadly down at the table as David spoke. Our hearts were sinking.
Then David continued to share that many of these decisions had been extremely
difficult, and then he paused. "But for you guys, it was not difficult.
You guys are amazing! You are going to Hollywood!"
The relief was overwhelming and some of us
laughed and some of us cried. We thanked the judges, shaking their hands
and they were very gracious. Then as John passed by Sharon, she gave him a
little warning. She pointed to Piers as she said, "This is the one you
need to convince. He isn't sure about you!" John assured them both
that he would figure something out, and we left the stage celebrating.
Everyone was running out of excitement, and I was trying desperately to keep up
in that dark hall. And to make matters worse, my shoes were too big.
So as we were leaving the theater, I stumbled and fell down to my knees!
I was only hoping there were no cameras around. They seemed to be
On our last day in Las Vegas, our minds were
spinning with what song we should sing for the live show, and what we should
wear, and how we were going to handle being away from home for a month! It
was at this time that an exciting event occurred that gave all of the weary
contestants a little boost. All of our family was gathered in a circle of
chairs near the big glass doors that led to the hotel, and we noticed a bit of a
commotion in the group of people standing closer to the theater. That
caught our attention and then before we knew it, Simon Cowell was standing on
the steps just a few feet from us. We were all very star struck at that
moment, and when he opened his mouth to speak to the group, we listened
attentively. He gave us a bit of a pep talk, reminding us that this could
be the most important few weeks of our lives, and that we should give it all
we've got. We didn't really need the reminder, but it was such a wonderful
little boost to take with us as we left for a few months of home and sanity
before heading back to the left coast and the Hollywood hysteria!
To read about the rest of Vegas week, check back
on Monday, November 17.
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
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