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Issue #21                                                                                                                                                      Fall  2008

America's Got Talent

by Carol Taubl

Installment 5 LA Publicity!

If you missed Installment 1, click here.                             If you missed Installment 2, click here.                              If you missed Installment 3, click here.                              If you missed Installment 4, click here.

Getting through the Las Vegas week felt like a huge accomplishment and the long flight home was a joyful one.  We could hardly believe that we were actually going to be living this dream. 

Again, we had the really difficult job of keeping our amazing news to ourselves.  Of course we couldn't tell anyone that we had made it through Vegas, so we walked around with huge smiles on our faces and hinted that we just might not be around for the beginning of the school year in the fall!

When summer finally arrived, we officially started to worry.  The boys were out of school and the girls' schedules were freeing up, and the extra time on our hands enabled us the luxury of worrying about all the unknowns that were ahead.  But one thing became clear right away - the producers thought we needed a makeover!  They asked the boys to let their hair grow out over the summer, and asked us to send them photos of different looks that we liked.  So we began to consider what type of makeover we would want.  We felt like we were starting to get a handle on the look that we were going for, so we found something else to worry about!

The next big decision was song choice!  And this was a really big decision.  Our producer told us in one of our first conversations after we got home from Las Vegas that our first song would define forever how America viewed our family.  So it was absolutely critical to pick that song carefully.  That sent us all to therapy for sure - but again we put our heads together, and with lots of input from friends, we compiled a list of 20 songs that we thought would be good for our family. 

By this time, it was mid-July and we were getting anxious about not knowing our song choice.  Jack headed off to Africa and we knew that when he got back, we would be going to Los Angeles for our first meetings with producers and music people.  In the midst of all this, I got a phone call from our producer.  He had a tremulous tone to his voice as he spoke, and I wasn't sure what he was going to suggest, but he immediately told me that he had just come from a meeting with the executive producers about song choices.  He told me that Simon Cowell had requested we consider a pop song by the artist Rihanna.  The song was called 'Umbrella.' My only experience with that song was the hip-hop version and I couldn't imagine how that could be a Taubl Family tune!  But with Simon Cowell asking, who could say no?  So we told him we would think about it and get back to him. After we all recovered from the shock of the idea, it began to grow on us.  The lyrics were really appropriate for our family, and the song was quite beautiful.  So the day before we were scheduled to leave for Los Angeles to meet with producers and music arrangers, we agreed to sing 'Umbrella.' 

Our first trip to Los Angeles was for the purpose of publicity and preparation.  When we arrived, we were taken immediately to the set of CBS studios in Studio City, California, a very historic studio which had been the home of such famous sets as Gilligan's Island, Seinfeld, and CSI.  Our first appointment was with to fix our hair problems, and it was the first of many shockers!  We met Russell Latham, the head of the hair department for the show, and we had no idea what a wonderful friend he would become.  He quickly got to work on the boys, and before they knew what had happened, they were rock stars.  Sam was a body double for a much younger Rod Stewart, and the others were being compared to the Jonas Brothers.  As shocking as it was for John and me, we knew this was the right direction.  Then they started on the girls, and we got the glam treatment - hot curlers, teasing, and lots of hairspray.  We went in looking like the boring Taubl Family and came out Hollywood! 

Next stop was wardrobe.  We met our dear friends Katja and Joy for the first time, and began to experience their magical talents with putting together outfits that defined your act.  They and their assistants took endless measurements and told us to come back the next day.  When we did, there were some of the most beautiful clothes we had ever seen waiting for us.  What an incredible time we had trying on clothes and preparing for our style shots.  These are the ones that they showed before we performed each time, and the still shot is at the top of this article.  It was all great fun.

Once our makeover was complete, we were told that we had one hour before we were to meet with the music arranger, Nigel Wright.  They casually suggested that we come up with an arrangement before we met with him, and we all felt a great wave of panic as we realized that we had an hour to come up with a new and exciting arrangement of a very challenging song!  So we gathered together in the corner of the holding room, and began to work on our song.  Emily and Gretchen came up with the opening, and Annabelle added some ideas about the form that we should follow. Jack and Sam provided harmonic ideas, and the twins drove us all crazy!  But when the hour was up, we had a great foundation for the arrangement and went to meet with Nigel. The Taubl version of Umbrella was accepted by all, and we left Los Angeles feeling very good about what was ahead.  In three weeks we would be returning, but this time it would be the real thing - live television in front of millions of people.  That's enough to make anyone worry!

To read about the first live show, check back on Monday, December 15.

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!



    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


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