America's Got Talent
by Carol Taubl
Installment 5 LA Publicity!
If you missed Installment 1,
If you missed Installment 2,
If you missed
If you missed
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!
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
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
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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