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Issue #21                                                                                                                                                      Fall  2008

America's Got Talent

by Carol Taubl

It never ceases to amaze me how a casual comment from a friend can completely change the direction of your life.  In early April of this year, we received a suggestion to check out the website of a family band that had been involved in the NBC program, America' s Got Talent.   Obligingly, I took the bait and went to the website, and saw the reference to the TV show.  Having never heard of the show, I decided to look into it.  Providentially, the last of the Season 3 auditions was taking place the following Monday in New York City.  Was someone trying to tell us something?  Schedules were tight and life was busy, but auditions in the Big Apple were definitely a possibility. 

My first response was to call all the kids together, and ask their feelings on the subject.  Now at this point in our lives, having unanimous agreement on any subject is rare, but this was instantaneous and unanimous excitement.  Everyone thought it was a great idea.  So I filled out the audition form online, and sent it in.  Soon we received email confirmation that our audition day was Monday, April 7 at 10am.  All of us were picturing a large group of people, but we had no idea how large!  When we arrived at the Jacob Javitz Center on that fateful Monday morning, the crowd was overwhelming, not only because of its size but also its eccentricity.  There were a lot of Happy Meals that were coming up one short, and a lot of elevators that didn't go all the way to the top!  To use an Annabelle illustration, there were many that were one string short of a grand (a little harp humor!).  We waited in endless lines, the first one just to be allowed to enter the holding room.  An hour and a half later, we entered the dreaded room and waited for six hours with no food or water except what I had thankfully brought.  I have a new appreciation for cattle.  I truly can empathize with how they must feel.  The staff from the show were cranky and short tempered, unwilling to answer questions or offer help.  We were after all, lugging a rather large instrument around through the maze, along with 9 people! 

By about 5pm, we were starting to get cranky and were very tempted to leave.  Then finally, they called our number and we had the great privilege of standing in another line!  But things were soon to start getting exciting.  The rooms that the producers were hearing auditions in were separated by a large hallway where the different acts were warming up and rehearsing, nervously waiting for their 90 seconds of potential fame!  We followed suit, opened our cases, tuned up and started to rehearse.  A hush came over the hallway and all heads  turned to see where the music was coming from.  Then immediately one of the producers' assistants came out and rushed us to the front of the line.  We hadn't been very nervous before this, but now the knees were knocking.  We walked into a large room where a man sat behind a long table with cameras and equipment everywhere.  But this man was not at all what I had expected.  I was anticipating everyone to be as cranky and obnoxious as the crowd control people had been, but this man was warm and kind, with the most beautiful British accent you have ever heard.  He asked us to play, and we started our 90 second medley of The Sound of Music and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  When we finished, he just smiled and then asked us to play something else!  We hadn't planned on that!  We played a couple more things for him, and he simply smiled and said that he was impressed and wanted us to go across the hall and play for the next set of producers. 

We thought for sure that this must be a good thing, making it through the first audition room.  But when we entered the second room, there were no warm fuzzies.  These guys meant business and so we played our 90 second piece again.  They looked at each other and whispered among themselves for a bit, then gave us the good news!  We were to come back on Friday and play before a live audience and the three famous judges!  Suddenly we were surrounded by cameras and interviewers and we had to talk to the music department and the travel department.  What had started as an annoyingly slow moving day, was ending up in a frenzy.  My mind was spinning with all that we had to do.  In four days, on Friday April 11, we were to perform again. 

If you want to know the rest of the story, check back on Monday, October 13 for more pictures and the next installment of our exciting journey!

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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