Saturday, December 15, 2007

Aiken's Tours A Holiday Tradition

SO THEY SAY -- According to graphic artist Cindilu2 and many Clay Aiken fans, girls do make passes at boys who wear glasses. Photo by Toni7babe.

Annual Holiday Tradition

Clay's Tours Ring in the Season

NOTE: Clack and info from CITH concerts in Cleveland, Erie, and Williamsport have been included.

Whether one is braving the wintry weather to attend a Christmas in the Heartland concert or rushing to finish dinner dishes to gather with other Internet friends to listen via cellstream, Clay Aiken's holiday tours have become a special part of ringing in the season.

Computer problems detoured my plans to tune into the Morristown cellstream, which many fans have proclaimed the best of the tour.

Reading through recaps and downloading clack by concertgoers practically transports one to the actual performance hall. Newly added are highlights from the Cleveland, Erie, and Williamsport concerts.

Photo links to Cleveland CITH Slide Show

Clicking on the above picture by Riversend22 will link to a Cleveland CITH Photo Slide Show. Also depicting Monday's concert are photos by DogGoneGirl, ClayIzzaQT, Claytopia, and Claygrl07.

Snow Storm Alters Erie Concert Plans

Although many fans opted not to chance the winter storm that struck Erie on concert weekend, approximately 1,700 gathered in the Tullio Arena for Sunday's CITH performance.

Crowd Braves Winds To Hear Aiken, Sarah Weber's story from the Erie Times-News, provides a synopsis:

It would have taken more than a winter storm to keep Sharon Seigworth from surprising her daughters with seats at "American Idol" star Clay Aiken's Tullio Arena concert Sunday night.

Though wind and snow whipped though the city, Seigworth and about 1,700 stubborn concertgoers huddled into the arena by the time the pop star bounced up to the microphone at 7:45 p.m.


Aiken greeted the audience saying, "Thank you so much for braving the weather to be here with us this evening."

Later he joked, "Thanks to the weather, we'll be here all week."

In truth, Dawn Betza of the Convention Center Authority said Aiken would be hitting the snowy roads after his set, heading out of town for a concert scheduled for today in Cleveland.

'O Holy Night' cap links to Scarlett's Erie video.

In the absence of backup singer Angela Fisher, who flew to California due to a death in the family, Erie vocals were rearranged, none more beautifully than "O Holy Night." Quiana Parler performed Angela's solo, "Who Would Imagine a King?"

Here are Sendspace downloads for video and audio files of Scarlett's OHN from the Erie concert.

Saturday's CITH concert in Williamsport, PA, is visually replayed in the photo slide show below.

Photo links to Williamsport CITH Slide Show

Clicking on the above picture by Farouche will link to a Williamsport CITH Photo Slide Show. Also depicting Saturday's concert are photos by Jtgranny, Dillonshane, AllAboutLove, and Gerwhisp.

Recaps Reveal Special Moments

These are excerpts from the many interesting reports about the Easton (PA) and Morristown (NJ) performances:

QUEENSMUM (Easton): The concert was spectacular! We laughed, we cried, we were in awe, we gasped, we hugged.

I think we even stopped breathing at times.Though he has seen Clay on TV and heard some of his recorded songs, my daughter's boyfriend had never seen him live, and he was MOST impressed with Clay's voice. He kept talking about how amazing the range is, how he can sing low notes and high notes with power and so clearly.

He also mentioned that Clay was so comfortable on the stage and that the show was so professional. Driving home, he said, "This is weird too say, but Clay's voice was giving me shivers up the back of my neck."

ANGELTY (Easton): While walking to the venue from dinner, we heard a lot of "OMG's" and squeals from some younger women. It seems someone in their group was surprising her, and she didn't know she was going to the concert until she saw the marquee. She kept saying, "OMG, He's my FAVORITE!"

We talked to her after the show, she said she knew he had a really great voice, but she was not at all prepared for the power and range she heard. She is a trained opera singer who lives in NYC and said she could really appreciate his voice. She was a lovely attractive young lady.

Clay Acknowledges Chelsea Musicians

SUE4ALLYOUDO (Morristown): Last night, before Clay sang DSIAFCD, he introduced the Chelsea Symphony for the final time of the tour. He sounded very disappointed as he said, "I'm losing these guys tonight." I got the feeling that he really loved having the Chelsea group accompany him several times the past two years.

The orchestra members stood and faced the audience after Clay talked about them, and we gave them a standing ovation. Then they turned to Clay and THEY all clapped, bowed their heads, and their smiles at him were from ear to ear! Truly, a very touching moment, one great set of professionals to another fellow professional!

LAKELADY (Morristown): I got chills from some of Clay's songs. His voice just was so strong. Every song was better than I have ever heard him sing it before. They did the whole light show, which I hadn't seen before. It was great! The whole concert was great. You really get your money's worth at a Clay concert.

First song we heard on the radio after getting in the car was "Silver Bells."

This Clayversity member's post is an excellent way to end this segment, similar to the CITH concert she attended earlier in the week:

MACDODI: Every Friday I volunteer to work at our church store. Often at Christmas I get the "urge" to sneak in Clay's music and have done so a few times.

Today, as he was singing "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day" and got to the glory note, all of the electricity blew in the whole area . . . not only the church but the neighborhood, too. I've heard remarks that he blows lids off of buildings . . . now, I believe it!!!

Photo links to Morristown CITH Slide Show

Clicking on the above picture by NJRP4Clay will link to a Morristown CITH Photo Slide Show. Also highlighting Thursday's concert are photos by Butterflyshine.

Still under construction, but an excellent gallery to watch is the 2007 CITH section at the Clay Aiken Kids site. Various photographers are featured, and the blends are the handiwork of Fountaindawg.

Media Promotes CITH Tour

In addition to remarkable radio interviews with Clay, the press for upcoming concerts has been outstanding. Some are highlighted below.

To listen to the radio interview promoting the Dec. 21 Omaha, NE, concert, click on this download link: Omaha Star 104.5. Lots of interesting discussion about holiday traditions, as well as the upcoming "Spamalot" role. So how many yawns did you count?

Snapshot paragraphs are included from advance articles for Williamsport and Minneapolis can be read in their entirety at the links provided.

WILLIAMSPORT SUN GAZETTE: Clay Aiken Returning to Community Arts Center

Although the holiday tour has a similar theme each year, Aiken said they try and alternate between a more relaxed and informal atmosphere and a classy one.

"This year it’s more of a classy version with the orchestras and that,” Aiken said. “You can expect to see me attempting to be classy.”


Clay Aiken is performing two holiday shows with the Minnesota Orchestra -- and taking his mom to the Mall of America.


Q What are your plans for Christmas?A My mother and I are going to do a UNICEF trip to Mexico in the aftermath of the flood. I've done UNICEF trips to Uganda, Indonesia and Afghanistan. Possibly my brother, too. We may all spend our family holiday on a UNICEF field visit in Mexico this year. It'll be the first time that we've not done the same old thing for the holidays.

For those who want to help, severe flooding in Tabasco, Mexico, has left thousands of children homeless and at risk of disease. To support UNICEF's relief work in Mexico, you can donate at the website here.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Images from the holiday tour are featured in this clickable interlude. Visual artists include Amazing_CA, photos by Toni7babe, 1; Cindilu2, photos by Toni7babe, 2; ABeautifulMind, photo by Fivegoldens, 3; Claysmelody, photo by Fivegoldens, 4; and Amazing_CA, photo by KarenEh, 5.

Software Snafu Snarls Cellcert Plans

In such a hectic week, I should not have been a bit surprised with the snafu that caused me to miss Thursday night's CITH cellcert from Morristown.

A week so frenzied that during Monday's 30-minute drive to teach lessons in High Point, I called my sister and asked her to look up phone numbers for my optometrist and dentist. The appointments were set for midweek, and I had to ask the receptionists to leave messages on my home phone since I couldn't write anything down.

For a month, I had planned to switch to a security suite before my spyware software's Dec. 17 expiration. Last week's email about a Trial Pay deal (purchase a certain amount at a partner store and receive the suite to boot) made a lot of sense. I registered, and Sunday night my daughter and I shopped "together" online for five new Kai outfits through Old Navy.

Verification for the protection suite arrived Thursday afternoon. When my last violin student had to cancel a makeup lesson, I figured I could have the program up and running long before the Morristown cellcert. Was I ever wrong!

LAP Takes Disliking to Suite

LAP loves the free firewall edition; but he couldn't abide the suite. Analyzing the surprise incompatibility, I made some message board rounds. At Clayversity, all seemed fine in the main thread. However, in the Paint Shop Pro Forum, I could not view one single clickable graphic! YIKES!!!

I opened both blog locations, and the only pictures I could see from the previous entry were the two of my daughter at the top and the bottom. No slide show, no clickable interlude -- YIKES again!!!

The software site has excellent technical support, but this was way past their business hours. According to customer service, I could expect assistance the next morning. Hardheaded as ever, I continued trying to figure where/why the firewall was not allowing streaming media.

Prior to the installation, I had deleted my spyware program. The suite was now in charge of spyware deterrence and anti-virus protection. After several hours of sheer torture, I finally reversed the whole shebang, deleting the suite and restoring spy sweeper. I contacted that company first thing this morning and paid my renewal fee three days early.

As far as not benefiting from the Trial Pay plan, that's no big deal. Kai received five much-needed winter outfits from his grandmother Friday morning. In one of my favorite photos, he is shown "reading" a brand new nursery rhyme book sent by a North Carolina friend.

Three-month-old Kai studies new nursery rhyme book.

Piano Tuner, Roomba Next on List

Besides the week's medical and computer maintenance, my piano tuner is scheduled bright and early Tuesday morning. Our informal holiday performances are a big occasion for both elementary and advanced classes. Each student will perform a current lit solo, and then the whole group will play several Christmas carols in three-part harmony.

Our advanced group's big arrangement this year is "Away in a Manger," featuring all three melodies of the carol. At any given time, two of the melodic versions overlap. It really is beautiful and -- thanks to my piano tuner -- pitch will now be at A-440.

My next assignment is to fire up the Roomba and clean the living room. I think we are drawing a crowd, though I'm not sure where all will sit. Students have dibs on my chairs. When I mentioned some pillows on the floor, one mother promptly told me she's bringing her own chair. This year's gatherings promise to be a mite snug.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. I mailed my out-of-town gifts Friday morning; and at 8:15 Sunday morning, I repaid my "appointments secretary" by performing with her church flute choir.

Below is a clickable of Cindilu2's opening graphic:

That's my whirlwind week in a nutshell. Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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