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!
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
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
7th Annual Christmas at
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