Sunday, December 30, 2007

Aiken Fans Aid Flood Victims

MAKING A DIFFERENCE -- This beautiful graphic by Amazing_CA portrays scenes from UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken's special holiday trip through the devastating flood areas of Mexico.

UNICEF Update: $109,800

Mexico Total Passes $100K

While Clay Aiken and his family celebrated the Christmas holidays by visiting UNICEF projects in the flood-ravaged areas of Mexico, supporters have been busy answering the call to raise $100,000 by the close of 2007.

In the final day of the campaign, fans literally sent the gauge through the roof! At 4:45 p.m. EST on New Year's Eve, donations bypassed the original goal. By Jan. 2, the total had risen to $109,800 -- 110% of the target.

As with Clay's Afghanistan Challenge earlier this year, supporters are continuing to assist with the UNICEF fund-raising campaign in Mexico.

Fans can make a donation at this link, as well as keep tabs on the total funds raised. UNICEF will reward all 2007 donations of $50 and $1,000 with a photo album from Clay's Mexico trip, the latter being autographed.

The latest post in the Fieldnotes Blogs acknowledges the successful response to the Mexico appeal:

Clay Aiken's Year-End Appeal for the Children of Mexico

Hours to go until midnight, and already over $100,000 has been donated in response to Clay Aiken's appeal for the children of Mexico!

Thanks to everyone who's supported this campaign -- your generosity will help UNICEF save kids' lives.

Mass media outlets have funneled news of Clay's trip to Mexico throughout the globe. Posted here are snippets of two such articles, which can be read in their entirety at the links provided.

RALEIGH CHRONICLE: Clay Aiken Visits Mexico Over Holidays

CHIAPAS, MEXICO — Raleigh native and recording star Clay Aiken spent the holidays as a UNICEF ambassador visiting children in Mexico that were affected by recent floods.


During his trip, the Aiken said in his blog that the airlines were delayed and also lost his family's luggage, but that after visiting with the people in Mexico, his problems with the trip felt insignificant.

"They have lost so much (much more than a few suitcases) but they have an unbelievable spirit and contagious joy," said Aiken in a post from the field. "This is the holiday season and the spirit of family and giving is alive and well here."

AMERICAN IDOL NEWS: Clay Aiken Helps Out During the Holidays

Season 2 runner-up and UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken is spending time in Mexico to help raise funds for those affected by recent flooding, the most destructive in some regions in the past 50 years. UNICEF estimates that 70% of the schools and all of the crops in the city of Tabasco, where Clay will be spending much of his time, have been damaged by the recent disaster.

Clay and his family are foregoing their own holiday vacation to spend time with affected families in hopes of spreading some holiday cheer in the affected areas. As a UNICEF Ambassador, this international trip is not Clay’s first humanitarian effort.

Over the past three years, Clay has spent time in Afghanistan, Uganda, and Indonesia on behalf of the organization. With particular focus on families affected by respective situations in each country, Clay’s help and hands-on experiences within the regions has helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for humanitarian causes around the world.

UNICEF BLENDS: Several graphic artists have captured Clay's trip to Mexico by blending photos and screen caps from media reports. Featured are designs by CLAYPERFECT, 1; Amazing_CA,with photo by Tangerinee, 2; Fountaindawg, 3; Amazing_CA, 4; and MNmeesh, 5.

Montage Recaps 2007

Visual artists know how to keep hard drives smoking and fans forever on the lookout for more external memory. If you have not seen Suerue's montage, "2007 Year in Review," you are in for a special treat and a few surprises.

The montage recalls Clay's concerts, appearances, and humanitarian work for the past year. The screen cap below links to the video on YouTube. A Sendspace download is primed to add 54 megs to your hard drive.

Screen cap links to '2007 Year in Review'

To download the montage, here is a Sendspace wmv file: 2007 Year in Review.

Graphics Replay Holiday Tour

Want to relive Clay's recent Christmas in the Heartland Tour? Then you are in luck as Fountaindawg has provided just the ticket with her 26-graphic, show-by-show reminiscence at Clay Aiken Kids. You can view each graphic separately in album form or as a slide show.

These clickable examples are compilations of the tour's opening and closing concerts in Wichita, KS, and Merrillville, IN. Photography tags appear on the wallpapers.

Calendars for the New Year

Posting Cindilu2's monthly calendar has become a tradition for this journal. In the midst of designing Spamalot pins, she also created January 2008 with a photo by Ruffian5230.

Earlier this week Clayquebec1 shared a wall calendar with a desktop version in her OFC blog. Here are their January and 2008 wallpaper designs.

Many Thnx to You!

Thank you to the faithful readers who stop by this corner to read, visit, and leave thoughtful comments on the topics presented.

Special thnx to the talented visual artists who provide the handsome photos, graphics, and montages featured in this journal all year long.

Thank you to Clay Aiken, whose golden voice and charitable heart we celebrate every time out.

Clickable Kai & Friends

Thank you all for bearing with this first-time grandmother. As usual, I was planning to run a new photo of three-month-old Kai.

My good friend Sally surprised me by surrounding our family's newest arrival with friendly Disney characters. Above is her attractive graphic, to which I understand Kai has already given his own giggle of approval.

This is a clickable of Amazing_CA 's opening graphic:

Enjoy the celebrations bidding adieu to 2007 and greeting the novice 2008. Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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Thursday, December 27, 2007

'My Favorite Things' Recalls 2007

MY FAVORITE THINGS -- Twelve photo grids by SmartyPantsSuz capture memorable moments from Clay Aiken's calendar for 2007. The first recalls the singer's Valentine's Day visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live.

UNICEF Update: $79,275

Aiken Fans Laud 2007 Rewind

Traditionally, retrospective look backs fill the final week of a departing calendar year, and fans have SmartyPantsSuz to thank for the annual rewind of Clay Aiken's past 12 months with her latest montage, My Favorite Things (2007).

Opening with the Valentine's Day visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live, My Favorite Things 2007 and its 12 photo grids take fans on a romp through Clay's summer and holiday tours, TV appearances, UNICEF trips, fund-raising for The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, and the Holiday on Ice special.

YouTube and Sendspace video links, as well as the 12 photo grids, appear below; but, first, here are fund-raising and media updates on Clay's current UNICEF trip.

UNICEF Ambassador Tours Flood Areas

Clay, Family on UNICEF Mission

After completing the Merrillville Christmas in the Heartland Concert on Dec. 22, Clay and his family (Faye Parker, mother, and brother Brett) launched a UNICEF tour of Mexico's flood-ravaged states.

Several news stories about the project have been picked up by mass media, and a worldwide fundraising campaign is underway.

By making a donation, supporters can help Clay and UNICEF raise $100,000 before year's end. This same link keeps tabs on the total funds raised, which Sunday morning stood at $79,275 -- 79% of the target goal.

UNICEF will reward 2007 donations of $50 and $1,000 with a photo album from Clay's Mexico trip, the latter autographed.

Clickable screen caps -- Invisible926, CAP121

ET Reports Mexico Trip

Here is a Sendspace download of the Mexico trip coverage from Thursday's edition of Entertainment Tonight. Other media outlets have carried the story, and some are linked here.

Aiken Visits Flood Victims for UNICEF

CHIAPAS, Mexico, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Recording artist and UNICEF ambassador Clay Aiken spent Christmas with his mother and brother visiting flood victims in southeast Mexico.

UNICEF said Aiken participated in a gift exchange and sing-along with more than 300 children and their families at a camp erected for flood victims in the city of Ostuacan Tuesday.

Aiken, his mother and brother, a Marine on leave from Iraq, will also be part of a UNICEF delegation scheduled to visit the state of Tabasco this week.

Clickables from Christmas in Chiapas

For those who read Spanish, UNICEF Christmas Celebration in Ostuacan describes the music, dances, pinatas, and gifts that were part of the festivities in Chiapas.

The event also was attended by Hon. Isabel Aguilera de Sabines, First Lady of the state of Chiapas, pictured above.

Clay Aiken & Family Celebrate Christmas with Flood Survivors

CHIAPAS, Mexico, Dec. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- UNICEF Ambassador and critically acclaimed recording artist Clay Aiken today wrapped up the first leg of his trip to the flood affected areas of southeast Mexico by participating in a gift exchange and "sing along" with over 300 children and their families at a camp erected for flood victims.

"The situation in Chiapas and Tabasco has really become a forgotten emergency," said the U.S. pop star who became an ambassador for the children's agency in 2004. "Telling the story of these brave people, especially the children, to a U.S. audience is the reason that I am here. Sharing this experience with my family during this time of year makes it even more special."

A 19-photo slide show at Yahoo News shows the ravages of the flooding in Mexico. Clay's reports from the trip can be read in UNICEF's Fieldnotes Blogs.

Photo links to My Favorite Things (2007)

'Favorite Things' Now a Tradition

In her fourth "My Favorite Things" montage, SmartyPantsSuz captures the highlights of 2007. You are welcome to leave comments for SPS here and at YouTube where members can also rate the video.

While at YouTube, be sure to check out previous collections: My Favorite Things (SRHP), My Favorite Things (2006), and My Favorite Things (Original).

For those who want their own copy, downloads are available in two formats: MFT 2007 mpg Sendspace and MFT 2007 wmv Sendspace.

Thnx again to SPS for the latest compilation. Here are the 12 clickable photo grids from My Favorite Things (2007):

Singing from Hearts on JKL

Revelations with Mike & Juliet

Puppy Dog Eyes at Gala

All Done, Darlin'

Exceeding UNICEF Goals

Mighty Grand Entrance

Singing to His Claymates

Antics and Humor

Rewinds and Specials

30-Camp Win on '5th Grader'

Singing for Ice Special

Celebration on Ice Delights Fans

Like most CA fans, my priority for 3 - 5 p.m. Christmas Day was to watch the Capitol One Holiday Celebration on Ice special on NBC. During the commercials, I was all tied up with last-minute gift wrapping and, following the final skate-around, departed for a family gathering.

Wednesday night I enjoyed the two-hour special in a rerun on the Style Network. In some areas, the show will be televised by Style at 10 a.m. Sunday.

I have also read that fans are discovering local listings for the special on Fox; so if you missed the show, check out these possibilities in your TV schedule.

Photo-Op Skating Pix -- Sasha and Clay

Behind-the-scenes videos of the participants, as well as a segment in which Sasha Cohen "teaches" Clay to skate while he attempts to give her singing lessons, are located on the Ice Network. Registration is free but required to access the videos.

And as you can see, grandson Kai met Kermit for Christmas.

Best Buds Kai & Kermit
Photo edited by Sally

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Heartland Tour Ends in Merrillville

Holiday Greeting Card

FESTIVE CONCLUSION -- Memorable music and ovations of appreciate applause highlighted the final concert of Clay Aiken's Christmas in the Heartland Tour in Merrillville, IN, Saturday night. Photo by Invisible926.

UNICEF Update: $52,720

Memorable Concert Closes Tour

Surrounded by family on and off stage, Clay Aiken closed his fourth holiday tour -- Christmas in the Heartland -- with a memorable performance at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville Saturday night.

Accompanied by his mother and brother, Faye and Brett Parker, the singer departed Sunday for a special UNICEF tour through Mexico to survey the damage caused by the devastating floods in the Yucatan.

In final thank you's and introductions, Clay recognized the show's core musicians and backup singers, behind-the-scenes crew, as well as his immediate family members in the audience.

Brett, who was serving in Iraq last holiday season, was given a resounding standing ovation by the audience. After a few minutes, his older brother joked, "Okay, it's still my show! Look up this way!"

Warm Hugs Accompany DSIAFCD

Clay launched into a spectacular rendition of "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day" during which he put his arm around backup singer Angela Fisher for the crowd-pleasing lyric, "A hug is warmer when you're in it" lyric, immediately followed by the line that channels Elvis, "Oh, baby, that's a fact."

Quiana Parler, who will star in the Jan.12-20 Progress Energy "Dream Girls" production in Raleigh, also received a special hug in the middle of DSIAFCD.

To view tour introductions, Merrillville's DSIAFCD, and Clay's explanation of his family's holiday trip for UNICEF, Jojoct's video is provided in this Sendspace download here.

These three clickables by Toni7babe and Shamrock reenact the "warm hugs" for Angela, 1, and Quiana, 3, and the final concert's special introductions. Pictured in the center photo, left to right, are Jerome Bell, Jamie Braswell, and Mary Brennan, representing those who work behind the scenes.

Clay, Family on UNICEF Mission

During closing remarks, the UNICEF ambassador made the tour's one and only appeal for fund-raising assistance with projects launched to aid those affected by Mexico's worst floods in 50 years.

Destruction from Tropical Storm Noel was widespread and particularly difficult on children: 80% of the state of Tabasco was left underwater; approximately 70% of the schools were damaged; and 100% of the state crops were destroyed.

By making a donation, supporters can help Clay and UNICEF raise $100,000 before year's end. This same link keeps tabs on the total funds raised, which Thursday morning stood at $52,720 -- 53% of the target goal.

PRNewswire posted a Christmas Day story and photo of the UNCEF ambassador in Chiapas, Mexico: Clay Aiken & Family Celebrate with Survivors of Mexico's Floods.

Clay with children in Chiapas

During the Mexico trip, updates will be posted in UNICEF's Fieldnotes Blog. In the latest, Christmas Greetings From Clay Aiken in Mexico, the singer explains what he and his family have discovered on their mission, as well as some lost luggage woes.

UNICEF will reward 2007 donations of $50 and $1,000 with a photo album from his Mexico trip, the latter autographed.

Photo links to Merrillville CITH Slide Show

Clicking on the above picture by xxx4clay will link to a Merrillville CITH Photo Slide Show. Also capturing Saturday's concert are photos by StarFishy2000, FiveGoldens, Mom4Clay22, Invisible926, Shamrock, and Toni7babe.

Recaps Replay Merrillville Concert

Fans reading CA message boards afterwards could find wonderful recaps of Saturday night's concert. Below are highlights from two at Clayversity.

YAKNELLE: My husband loved the concert in Merrillville. He was sitting in a sea of women, who all were amazed that I didn't have to drag him there.

During dinner he asked me if after listening to the concert for 20 nights, I thought that it would be as good tonight? After one concert, he was a believer. He was blown away by the professional presentation, the arrangements, but most of all by Clay. He leaned over after "Mary Did You Know," and said, "I love that song."

A strong arm around me and a kiss during "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day, " coupled with squeezing my hand for the entire song, let me know this was no ordinary concert for him. He was into it, and he was moved.

Later he would say, "Anyone can sing Christmas songs, but this was so different. I really felt the words."

DEMETER: I knew something was up with "My Grown Up Christmas List" because after Quiana finished her song, Clay looked at her and whispered, "Are you ready?"

And then they did a beautiful rendition of "My Grown Up Christmas List."

The standing ovation for Brett was so incredible. When Clay was talking about going to Mexico with the family for UNICEF, I could just feel the total commitment to service of them all.

'Aunties' Keep Kai in Pictures

Grandson Kai is blessed with several artistically-talented "aunties" and a generous fairy godmother. Creative surprises from these gifted graphic artists arrive unexpectedly in his grandmother's email box.

In each, the photographer is Kai's mother; and in all but the fourth ("My First Christmas") photo, the editor is his fairy godmother, who will probably add finishing touches to my efforts on that one, too.

Thank you to Ashes for the "virtual bear" blend, Sally for the "sweet" bib edit, and Amazing_CA for the Christmas "wishes" blend.

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season!


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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Aiken's Holiday Tour Winds Down

MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH LOVE -- Graphic artist ABeautifulMind has created special season's greetings with a photo by FiveGoldens.

Clay & Co. in Final Concerts

Tour Plays to Enthusiastic Fans

NOTE: Clack from CITH concerts in Omaha and Minneapolis has been included.

Packed houses and appreciative audiences have greeted Clay Aiken & Co. on the final leg of the Christmas in the Heartland Tour with a performance at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, NE, Friday and consecutive concerts at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN, the previous two nights.

Present at all three shows was Faye Parker, Clay's mother, who, in addition to the concerts, reportedly enjoyed some holiday shopping at the famous Mall of America, this country's largest retail and entertainment complex.

Jaymes Foster-Levy, the singer's executive producer, joined Ms. Parker for Thursday's performance. According to Omaha concert recaps, Brett Parker, Clay's brother, will accompany his mother to Saturday's 8 p.m. show at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrilville, IN. The family will then depart for their Christmas UNICEF trip to Mexico. [More on this below.]

Final Concert Set in Merrillville

Philip Potempa's advance story from the Northwest Indiana Times can be read in its entirety. Here are the opening paragraphs for Clay It Again:

Singer Clay Aiken isn't worried about any shortage of holiday songs to perform for his Christmas show Saturday at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.

He has plenty of his own favorites to pick from to share with fans.His first Christmas album, "Merry Christmas with Love," came out on Nov. 16, 2004, and immediately was hailed as a new holiday classic.

Photo links to Omaha Slide Show

Clicking on the above picture by Toni7babe will link to an Omaha CITH Photo Slide Show. Concert photos by Invisible926 are also included in this slide show.

In his review, Omaha World-Herald staffer John Pitcher presumes that Clay wants to be the next great American Christmas crooner. The article contains props as well as digs:

The singer, who brought his "Christmas in the Heartland" tour to the Orpheum Theater on Friday night, has been making the holidays his specialty ever since his second-place finish in the 2003 "American Idol" competition.

In just four years, he's released a best-selling Christmas album ("Merry Christmas With Love"), starred in his own prime-time TV Christmas special and launched a series of successful live Christmas tours.


Musically, Aiken's show was sumptuously produced, nicely paced, professionally played (the Omaha Symphony proved to be an outstanding swing band) and mostly well sung.

Photo links to Minneapolis 2 Slide Show

Clicking on the above picture by Invisible926 will link to a Minneapolis 2 CITH Photo Slide Show. Also included from Thursday's concert are photos by FiveGoldens, LauraQ, and Toni7babe.

CITH Concert Stirs Emotions

Fan recaps complete the story for those around the globe "attending" via cellcert and clack downloads. Here is a sample of fan reports from Wednesday night's concert in Minneapolis:

MAD4CLAY: Clay sang beautifully and looked amazing. I took my mom and my son with me tonight. My mother was in tears most of the time, and she even did a little bit of a cellcert with a dear friend of hers that just loved what she heard.

The venue was well-packed with many men in attendance. I adore the jazzy medley and love the sentimental medley. MDYK and MCWL just melt my heart, WTOW was so reverent, MGUCL was as if he were talking to a friend in the beginning; then he pulled out his magic and soared to the end.

The four stories were both funny and heartbreaking. This show goes by much too fast. I'm so glad I get to see it one more time tomorrow.

THANKFUL4CLAY: The show needs to be experienced live. My mom is a casual Clay fan, and she was really impressed.As we were leaving, Faye was walking right past us and my mom stopped Faye and asked her if Clay's singing gave her goose bumps. Faye looked a bit surprised and then said, "Yes, it does."

CHRISTELKLEIN: I thought Clay made the readings fit very well into the concert. I loved the way he sang the songs as medleys. DSIAFCD was a smash, and AIW was delicious icing on a Wow Pow Christmas Cake.

Due to Carolina's basketball game on ESPNU, which is not included in my cable package, Wednesday's cellcert was an interesting exercise in multitasking.

Listening to the concert, I also read the accompanying thread on two boards and kept ESPNU's site open where the score and play-by-play action were constantly updated. The Tar Heels won, 88-78.

Photo links to Minneapolis 1 CITH Slide Show

Clicking on the above picture by FiveGoldens will link to a Minneapolis 1 CITH Photo Slide Show. Also capturing Wednesday's concert are photos by Invisible926, Lindspe, Lindylo, PinkCocoa, Clayla919, and Toni7babe.

Clay Plans UNICEF Trip to Mexico

Following the CITH Tour, Clay, his mother, and his brother will spend the holiday season traveling in Mexico to help more than one million people affected by the country's worst flooding in 50 years.

According to UNICEF, the destruction from Tropical Storm Noel was widespread and particularly difficult on children: 80% of the state of Tabasco was left underwater; approximately 70% of the schools were damaged; and 100% of the state crops were destroyed.

By making a donation, supporters can help Clay and UNICEF raise $100,000 before year's end to assist those affected by flooding in Mexico.

The same UNICEF link also keeps tabs on the total funds raised. Sunday afternoon donations stood at $30,625 -- 31% of the goal.

During the UNICEF trip, updates will be posted at the website's Fieldnotes Blog. In Packing My Bags for Mexico, Clay explains that UNICEF will reward 2007 donations of $50 and $1,000 with a photo album from his holiday trip, the latter autographed.

For more information on Clay's Christmas UNICEF trip, see Take a Clay Ride for Christmas, an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The story has been picked up by newspapers nationally and in many includes a 2006 snowflake lighting photo. For example, see The Charlotte Observer.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Graphics featuring fan tour photos are highlighted in this entry's clickable interlude. Visual artists represented include Amazing_CA, photos by ShineinNC, 1; Amazing_CA, photos by KarenEh, 2; ABeautifulMind, photo by SmartyPantsSuz, 3; Amazing_CA, photos by Riversend22, 4; and Ambassador of Love, photo by Toni7babe, 5.

Students Play to Packed House

Similarly, my music students presented the first of two holiday class concerts Tuesday afternoon to a living room packed with a friendly audience of receptive parents, siblings, and grandparents.

Every possible seat in my house was crowded into the "concert hall" for the occasion. Appropriately, an old stool once belonging to Mama Mac, our family's musical matriarch, was even called into service. Three students down, these audiences surely would have been swinging from the rafters had all been present.

Tuesday's recital featured the advanced class of violin and woodwind students performing solo literature from the Baroque Period, as well as several three-part Christmas carols. Our closing number was a special arrangement of the three tunes for "Away in a Manger."

This teacher is always pleased when musicality shines through; and, despite some nerves, dynamic differences, shadings, and echoes were present. High fives to Tori, Gloria, Zach, and Gracie!

Elementary Ensemble Grooves

Wednesday's program starred elementary violin/cello students, as well as a young pianist. Like the concert in Minneapolis, video clack began rolling on the downbeat.

Baroque solos, folk songs, and carols were performed. Younger students tend to stick with the melody, but much appreciation to Zach and Anna for sharing harmony lines. Other performers included Natalie, Maddie, and Matt with applause to all!

A very heartening note from this concert was that the young ensemble, playing together for the first time ever, sounded as if we had at least a week of intense rehearsals under our belts.

Our cellist, who studies with me in another city, was immediately welcomed as a member of the group. Music is indeed a universal language.

Other pianos students -- Jospeh, Layla, Emily -- presented holiday songs for audiences of parents, sibilings, and/or friends in their private lessons.

Special Effects Join Accompaniments

In my experience, preparation for these holiday events usually involves extra elbow grease in the housecleaning department, as well as a much-needed piano tuning. On Tuesday morning, my technician also was asked to fix a click in my damper pedal.

During a quick run-through of Tuesday's accompaniments, I realized the click was gone but had been replaced by a "chirp"; so I called the tuner, who suggested we slide a book under the pedal lyre until he could come back by.

My old "Teaching Brass Methods" didn't work, and the high-pitched sound was evident -- to me at least -- throughout Tuesday's performance but, for whatever reason, never appeared on Wednesday.

Bright and early Friday morning the technician stopped by and elimnated my piano's strange, unscheduled sound effects.

Arts Talent Skips Crafts

This week I learned that musical talent does not necessarily transfer to arts and crafts. Student holiday gift bags always include a sharpened pencil for the young musicians and a varied assortment of treats.

I thought decorating lunch bags with colorful ribbons, stickers, and bows would be a neat idea and a snap. LOL, I probably spent more time punching holes and making ribbon handles than I did dusting. Hopefully, the students enjoyed the thought and what was inside their amateurish gift bags!

Many miles away, but always in my heart, is my grandson Kai. Wearing one of the new Old Navy outfits sent by Grandma Caro, this is the next musician -- or basketball fan -- in our family.

Wingman Kai
Photo edited by Sally

Unusual Choir Croons 'Wonderland'

The Eighth Day website presents an unusual "choir," including this site's favorite singer, crooning "Winter Wonderland." Clay's line is "and pretend that he's a circus clown ... "

In order, choir members are Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, William Hung, The Partridge Family, Willie Nelson, Macy Gray, The Andrews Sisters, Stryper, Dean Martin, Manhattan Transfer, Barney, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, James Taylor, Clay Aiken, Jewel, Johnny Mathis Brian Setzer, Eurythmics, Tony Bennett, and Ringo Starr.

Several of these singers, including Clay, are featured on the "Crooner's Christmas" CD. Kai's great-grandmother will be 85 on Dec. 24; and I made sure she knew to open her birthday gift early. She's been listening to old -- and new -- favorites ever since.

Below is a clickable of ABeautifulMind's opening graphic:

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Clay Nation!


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