Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Possesses Aiken Sites


VINTAGE CLAY -- Bats and musical notation accompany "Count Clay" in this handsome Halloween graphic by ABeautifulMind, who also created the greeting at the end of this blog.

Halloween Greetings

Goblins Invade Clay Cyberspace

A brief tour of Clay Aiken blogs and fan websites reveals that ghosts and goblins are this Halloween Weekend possessing the Internet landscape as well as real life terrains.

The same talented graphic artists who treat fans to handsome designs year round have taken the lead in decorating Clay Cyberspace for Halloween 2008. Seasonal decor in Clay Land features creative banners, avatars, as well as graphic designs.

In my circle, music students have tried their hand at creating spooky compositions for their instrument. An excellent season for special effects, high tremolos abound in songs by violinists while pianists have utilized the lowest and highest ranges of the keyboard, minor modes, with generous helpings of the damper pedal.

Origin of Holiday Customs Varied

Ever wonder where this October celebration originated? The word Halloween comes from a contracted corruption of All Hollows Eve (or "All Saints Day"), a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. In 5th century BC Celtic Ireland, the holiday marking the official end of summer, Oct. 31, was called Samhain (sow-en), heralding the Celtic new year.

The Romans adopted Celtic practices as their own. In the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of other Roman traditions, among them their day honoring Pomona, Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which may be the precursor for the modern day Halloween tradition, bobbing for apples.

From Souling to Trick-Or-Treating

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated with a ninth-century European practice called souling. On Nov. 2, All Souls Day, early Christians walked from village to village begging for soul cakes. The more soul cakes the beggars received, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the donors' dead relatives.

From Irish folklore comes our Jack-O-Lantern custom. Jack, an evil, fun-loving man, made a deal with Satan that backfired; and when he died, he was denied access to both Heaven and Hell. To light his way through the frigid darkness, Jack was given a single ember, which was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip.

Though some cults have adopted Halloween as their favorite holiday, it is important to remember the tradition did not come from evil practices. Today many churches sponsor Halloween parties, traditional pumpkin patches, as well as pumpkin-carving events and "haunted houses."

Halloween is as evil or as festive as we choose to make it.


HALLOWEEN CELEBRATIONS: Selected for their spooky themes, these clickable graphics are just in time for this weekend's ghosts and goblins. Featured are designs by Claystruck, 1; Ashes, 2; Clayquebec1, 3; Amazing_CA, 4 and 5, photo by Tasapio.









Ghost Stories a Carolina Tradition

As a North Carolinian, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the plethora of famous Tar Heel ghost stories. Just the titles are scary: Blackbeard's Queen Anne Revenge; A Colonial Apparition; Buried Alive; The Scull Hangs High; Bells, Books, and Rafters; The Headless Haunt; The Peg-Legged Ghost; The Greensboro Hitchhiker, The Devil's Tramping Ground.



Clickable

For a Wilmington native, The Maco Light easily tops the list of favorite ghost tales. Visiting the Maco Light was the theme of many an autumn hayride of my youth. Maco is located in Brunswick County, 12 miles northwest of Wilmington and in the past was a stop along the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.

Briefly, in 1867 conductor Joe Baldwin was riding the last car of his train when it somehow became uncoupled from the engine. As he watched another train fast approaching his slowing car, Joe wildly waved his lantern back and forth in warning; but his efforts were in vain. The oncoming train barreled into the car, and Joe was decapitated in the accident.

Just seconds before the crash, Joe's lantern was hurled away by a mighty, unseen force, landing in an upright position. Shortly after the horrible accident, the Maco Light began appearing along the tracks. To this day, Joe's ghost appears swinging his lantern and searching for his head.

Tar Heel ghost stories have their own websites. For example, see The Maco Light and The Devil's Tramping Ground. Listen to, view, or read Ghost Stories of North Carolina here. For further spooky reading, see John Harden's books on Amazon.

Wishing you and yours a ...

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!

Caro

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Clay Aiken, Politics Face Off


MUSIC FOR A MONTAGE -- "Something About Us" from Clay Aiken's latest album, On My Way Here, is a popular accompaniment for fan montages. Graphic by Amazing_CA.

Campaign for Computer Space

Clay Aiken, Politics Face Off

Music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.

What an awesome thrill to cast my vote for a new president this past Friday evening!

Following an afternoon of teaching music lessons in a neighboring city, I chose a route home that would take me by an election center. To my surprise, there was a very short line of voters. From start to finish, I proceeded through check-in and seven pages of presidential, state, and local candidates in 15 minutes. I can't remember when I have been so elated.

You would think I could now turn off the non-stop news programs and battleground state TV ads. Political websites still beckon even as I begin to rebuild my CLAY AIKEN ONLY desktop.

As I write this blog, the windows in my laptop tray are evenly divided between Clay and the elections. Meanwhile, my television set has "met the press" and "faced the nation" almost every weekend in recent memory.

In honor of the Nov. 4 presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, here are montages set to songs from Clay's On My Way Here CD, "Something About Us" and "Ashes."

The blog will wend its way back to an all-Clay montage, "August's Rhapsody" by Aspiegirl. Perhaps my life will soon follow suit. Meanwhile, I have apparently become a news junkie like my favorite singer, LOL!


An Obama Love Story - Hotshortie

Since Hotshortie posted An Obama Love Story on YouTube on June 6, the montage has received 326,014 views and 357 comments. Here are three samples:

This is a beautiful song. Clay his a most unique voice, just beautiful. The words, pictures, the family, everything, we can't go wrong. This is real love.

Beautiful, just simply beautiful. Clay you've done it man.

"Honorary Soul Award," with love and respect. Thanks Clay. From a 70-year old Black man.



John McCain Tribute - Lacy704

Uploaded on July 9 by Lacy704, the montage John McCain Tribute: Rising from the Ashes has received 7,640 hits and 60 comments at YouTube, three of which are posted below. Lacy has also provided an mpg Sendspace download.
Thank you for your service to this country Senator McCain! Glad you were strong enough to rise up from those Ashes!

Very nice montage. It was great to see McCain's story in pictures. Very nicely done -- and I enjoyed the song very much. It fit the subject perfectly. Thanks for making it. Great job!

Wonderful montage, shows so much of the life of John McCain. The song Ashes sung by Clay Aiken is terrific and fits the montage so well. Great job.

Finding My Way Back

In the past two months, I have viewed enough political programs via TV or online stream that I could literally give all four major stump speeches.

An intervention won't be necessary, as a "mostly Clay" computer conversion is underway. Throughout all the campaign promises and pundit commentary, I have followed stage door recaps and saved photos. Good fan that I am, I even know Clay missed some shows due to an injury; but he returned in fine form Saturday night.


Clickble Clay at Roast
(Hamaraphotos)

On Friday, the singer joined a star-studded gathering for The Friar's Club Roast of Matt Lauer in The New York Hilton.

Among those present besides the honoree and Clay were Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Diane Sawyer, Joy Behar, Bob Saget, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vanessa Williams, Aretha Franklin, Eric McCormack, Tony Shaloub, Tiki Barber, Jerry Stiller, and Mario Lopez.

To view more pictures, see the Jamd and Hamaraphoto sites --
thumbnails and photos.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: These clickable graphics by Amazing_CA feature photos from the recent Champions of Change Gala, as well as her opening "Something About Us" blend. Photographers include KarenEh and Thankful4Clay, 1, and PermaSwooned, 3.





Rhapsody Traces Clay's Story

As a musician and a CA fan, I can't think of a more beautiful montage to close with than August's Rhapsody by Aspiegirl. Adapted from the movie, August Rush, the exquisite, artistist montage lives up to the definition of a rhapsody -- a dramatic, improvisatory musical composition.

You can view the video at YouTube and download August's Rhapsody with this Sendspace. The file is 99 MBs but well worth the wait.

Music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.


August's Rhapsody - Aspiegirl

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation -- and be sure to VOTE!

Caro


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bubel/Aiken Gala on Replay


THE VOICE -- Clay Aiken thrilled his fans with several songs at Saturday's Bubel/Aiken Foundation Gala. Graphic by Amazing_CA.

Lopez Pens Clay's Playbill Bio

Fan Boards Replay Aiken Gala

Fresh from last weekend's very successful Champions of Change Gala in Raleigh, Clay Aiken returned to the Great White Way as Sir Robin on the Spamalot stage Tuesday evening.

Like most memorable celebrations, the sixth annual Bubel/Aiken Foundation event remains in continuous replay on fan message boards via recaps and downloaded video/audio clack.

Tuesday
Broadway World posted an article about the winning fan biographer for Clay's blurb in the Spamalot Playbill. The story has been picked up by several other outlets, including People and Access Hollywood.


Clay Aiken as Sir Robin in Spamalot.


Clay Aiken, currently starring in Monty Python’s SPAMALOT, has announced the “Write Clay’s Playbill Biography Contest” winner. The contest offered members of his fan club the chance to write his official Playbill biography.

The contest winner is Jo-Anne Lopez [Claybella] of Carlsbad, CA. Her bio is currently appearing in the SPAMALOT Playbill at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street). Jo-Anne’s winning bio is below:

Clay Aiken was born southwest of Finland, in Raleigh, NC, a little more than 29 years ago. Although his younger years were spent belting out tunes from atop piles of Sears carpet samples, his mature teenage years saw him cast in musical theater roles such as Singer #2 in his high school production of The Music Man which was met with enough success not to get him cast in his final high school production.

His ego thus bolstered, he had more than enough incentive to audition for “American Idol” Season 2, the outcome of which (in the prophetic #2 spot) has made him arguably the most beloved and successful contestant ever to have irritated Simon Cowell.

A best-selling book, UNICEF Ambassadorship and multiple platinum recordings later, six or seven sold-out nationwide tours notwithstanding, and after a first very successful run in Spamalot early this year, Clay is currently finding his second grail, on Broadway, right here at the Shubert. For his next project, he plans to teach a modern Torah class.

LALATE: Sir Robin for Halloween!

Still don't have a Halloween costume? See LALATE for the necessary items to party as Sir Robin on Oct. 31. Complete with detail photos, the article starts like this:

Clay Aiken delivers an amazing Halloween idea for Spamalot fans. The Clay Aiken Halloween costume idea is relatively economical and funny.

You Need:

1. Hair
2. Glove
3. Rope
4. Belt
5. Rooster and makeup

Read the complete story here: Clay Aiken Halloween Costume.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: This clickable interlude features graphics by Amazing_CA recalling the Champions of Change Gala and Shubert Alley autograph sessions following Clay's Spamalot performances. Photographers include Toni7babe, 1; Dancerdad, 2; PA4clay, 4; and RhonnaR, 5.











Gala Recaps in Heavy Rotation

Whether tour concerts, Spamalot performances, TV shows, or other appearances, CA message boards thrive on recaps long after an actual event. Saturday's gala, therefore, remains in heavy rotation throughout Clay Cyberspace.

Karma4Clay, who decided to attend the gala two weeks prior to the event, penned a very special report that transports readers to the Saturday's session at the Marriott in Raleigh. Slightly edited, here is the performance part of her recap:

The speeches were incredibly moving, the auction was hilarious and fun, and the blackout and chatter during the reboot was priceless. There were so many great moments already at that point, and then Clay began to sing.

You can’t hear it on the clack, or see it. But the minute he started singing "When I See You Smile," some of us had tears streaming down our faces.

It was OUR Clay, singing to us again. The room seemed to expand with love and emotion in that moment and it never stopped until the last note.

If Clay ever had any doubt that his “reveal” would change our reactions to him, we vanquished that with the first growl of “well now” and the squeals that ensued. He was so ON ... so sexay!

The moments in "On My Way Here" were very emotional and of course by the time he had finished "Right Here Waiting" (the song whose status changed drastically for a lot of us), we were both exuberant and drained and oh so incredibly grateful.

I remember thinking over and over how fortunate I was to be there and literally said to myself after every song that that one alone had been worth the ticket price.

Special Meeting with Faye

The icing came for me when I realized that I’d left my jacket on my chair some good time later (nearly an hour or more I think—but it’s a bit fuzzy) and went back to retrieve it.

I ran into Faye coming out from somewhere, carrying some things and just started talking to her about the evening and how special it was. She then said to me:

“Y’all make him feel so special.”


I said something to the effect that I hoped so and something about all the emotion in the room and how fortunate I felt to have been there.

She talked about all the tears she’d seen (she looked a bit like she might have had a moment or two herself).

I verified that I’d experienced the same and then we smiled at each other for a second and said good night. It was the perfect thing to hear at the end of this incredible evening. “Y’all make him feel so special.

I hope so with all my heart. Because he is special, after all. So very special.


Miracle of the Moment - LovesClaysVoice

Link to the montage on YouTube here, and download Miracle of the Moment by LovesClaysVoice with this Sendspace.

Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA's opening graphic:

Have a great week, Clay Nation!

Caro


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gala a Reunion for Aiken, Fans


USING YOUR VOICE -- Clay Aiken, co-founder of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, honored the 2008 Champions of Change, participated in a very successful fund-raising auction, and entertained supporters at Saturday's TBAF Gala in Raleigh. Photo by SmartyPantsSuz.

A Memorable Evening in Raleigh

Gala a Reunion for Aiken, Fans

In addition to raising record funds ($207,000 before the silent auction) that support The Bubel/Aiken Foundation's projects of inclusion, the 2008 Champions of Change Gala was a glorious reunion for Clay Aiken and fans both at Raleigh's Marriott City Center, as well as those who participated via cellstream around the globe.

During the past five years, close friendships have developed among CA fan community, and the weekend's love fest included an opportunity for many to be together again.

In their joint recap, Flyingstarship and GrandmaJoan summarized a popular sentiment:


This was our first Gala, but it won't be our last! So many friends we have made this weekend, so many folks we have been wanting to meet!

The evening included dinner, a VIP reception, silent and live auctions, and entertainment by Clay, about which fans have posted excellent recaps, videos, and audio files. Adhering to the no-flash rule in average lighting, fan photographers have provided visual capsules of the special evening. This report will include examples of all.

Speeches by emcee Linda Loveland of WRAL, as well as TBAF co-founders Diane Bubel and Clay, celebrated the foundation's achievements of the past five years. The 2008 Champions of Change award recipients -- Rich Donovan, CVS Caremark, Dan Habib and Betsy McNamara -- were honored.

What an incredible, incredible experience. I am so thrilled that there is audio and video. Since Clay joked that this was being broadcast all over the message boards, I'm sure he doesn't mind us sharing. I was so proud to be a BAF supporter tonight. What amazing work they have been able to accomplish in just a short five years! -- PermaSwooned

These clickables by SmartyPantsSuz provide snapshots from the opening ceremonies.







Clay in Tune with Message Boards

Even those listening via cellstream picked up on the fact that their favorite singer has been reading the message boards more than anyone knew.

He brought out the green Wango Tango shirt, saying, "I know y'all call this ugly. Well -- not ugly -- but something that rhymes with ugly."

Actually, a certain green sweater inspires the "fugly" adjective, not the Wango Tango shirt. [grin]

Recaps by those in attendance describe the auction segment best. These are from posts by Hippoga and Brightstar:

The auction was a hoot! Clay did everything he could to raise the bids. He tried on the leather jacket and even got it zipped up! He made the Sir Robin bear dance.

He wore the blue "Someone Else's Star" shirt and serenaded the winning bidder. That rendition was so amazing, such a pure, powerful voice. He put an extra autograph on the stool. So much fun! --
Hippoga

Clay is exactly the same. The same funny, snarky, beautiful, compassionate, bossy, loving, take-charge, talented guy. His references to cell phones and message boards and videos that would be up in 30 minutes were hilarious and showed that he is quite tuned in to his fans on the boards. -- Brightstar

Photos from the lively "live auction" show Clay with the Wango Tango shirt, Broadway Bear, Jimmy Kimmel bust, Jukebox Tour jacket, and the "Someone Else's Star" shirt he wore during American Idol. Clickable photos are by Irishbookgal, 1, 2, and 5; and SmartyPantsSuz, 3 and 4.









A silent auction paralled the live event on Saturday. No doubt GrandmomJoan spoke for many in her post:

Some of us are going home with some really great things from the silent auction. I'm thinking about how darn happy my hubby is going to be when he sees the 2 foot by 3 foot framed and signed poster of Clay holding the "all done darlin" baby from Afghanistan, LOL!

Clay Delights Fans with Mini-Concert

Fan recaps, which provide wonderful insight into the entertainment segment, will be interspersed with concert videos taped by
LonelyNoMore44 -- Everything I Don't Need and Where I Draw the Line -- also posted at YouTube.

Special thanks to CA fans for the many audio files. This sampling can be downloaded via Sendspace at these links: Where I Draw the Line and Right Here Waiting, Farouche; and You Won't Succeed on Broadway and Where I See You Smile, Toni7babe.


Clay performs at Champions of Change Gala.
Photo by SmartyPantsSuz

His British accent easily in tow, Clay opened with a bit of "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" from Spamalot and a geography lesson. The mini-concert then proceeded through several fan favorites.

HIPPOGA: Clay killed time while the musicians got ready by finding out which fan had come the farthest. [Azerbaijan or The Philippines] After singing "You Won't Succeed On Broadway" to us -- in accent! -- he segued into "When I See You Smile." [I hope he could see the smiles on our faces] and "Where I Draw the Line."

Hearing On My Way Here songs in person! Clay is always so much better in person than his albums. "Everything I Don't Need" just about did us in. "On My Way Here" was so poignant with recent events. The crowd clapped a bit for "faith has conquered fear," and he had us sing that to him at the end.


Everything I Don't Need

CLANIAC24: Clay's singing was overwhelmingly phenomenal. Gorgeous! And he was so adorable all night. Every face in the room was smiling throughout his time on the stage until the last song, "Right Here Waiting." Then quite a few gals wound up crying.

It was such a touching version of the song. He told us that Jaymes suggested he add it. I felt strongly that he was talking to the fans who have left, that he was right here waiting for them to return. If they could have been there tonight, they couldn't have resisted returning.

FLYINGSTARSHIP/GRANDMAJOAN: The mini-concert was moving, exciting and a perfect way to end the evening. "Right Here Waiting" seemed like a lullaby to "us," so gentle and so emotional. You could feel the love in the audience and the feeling of "old times" again. I hope Clay misses being in concert as much as we miss him.

The Gala was well organized, and it reminded you of a ClayMate convention. We are so blessed to have Clay in our lives. We are so blessed to have each other, too.


Where I Draw the Line

BRIGHTSTAR: It felt so good to hear Clay sing again. Singing “his” songs live. His voice, after all these years, still blows me away. And what a perfectly perfect choice of songs to end the night, "Right Here Waiting."

It was very softly and intimately sung, so personal, so beautiful. It seemed as if he were singing to each of us individually—his heart wide open, singing to many whose hearts were also wide open, but also to those who may have closed themselves off to him just lately.

He was not only telling us how much he loved and appreciated us, but also seemed to be sending the reassurance that he would be there waiting for those who had “left” if they ever wanted to come back. I honestly don’t know of another man so generous and so loving. What an honor to be there! What a joy to be his fan!

Final word goes to my good friend xxx4clay:

This has been one of the best days of my life. I will never forget it. Ever. It will always make me smile. Big time.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!

Caro


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aiken Site Awards 08 Claymmys


FAN ART CLAYMMY AWARD -- Aspiegirl was presented the Claymmy and People's Choice Awards for her "All Is Well" drawing in the fan art category.

Interview Clay at Broadway.com

Aiken Site Awards 08 Claymmys

Congratulations to the Clay Aiken fans who this week were named 2008 Claymmy Award winners in 11 categories!

Sponsored by
It's All Bout Love, the sixth annual event honored participants in 11 classifications with People's Choice Awards presented in parallel events.

2008 Claymmy Awards

Avatars: Kim
Banners: 2005LovesClay
Blends: J4Clay
FanArt: Aspiegirl
Miscellaneous: Shari
Montage: MaryEllen
Poetry: Smittenwithclay
Stories: Shari
Wallpapers: Kim
Websites: The Ideal Idol

2008 People's Choice Awards

Avatar: Kim
Banners: Ambassador of Love
Blends: Betty Jean
Concert Pics: J4Clay
Fan Art: Aspiegirl
Miscellaneous: Kim
Montage: MrMontage
Poetry: KDee
Stories: Shari
Wallpaper: Ambassador Of Love
Websites: Taken With Aiken

Winning entries can be viewed at the sponsoring website. Below is the Claymmy Award-winning montage by LovesClaysVoice (Mary Ellen): The Real Me.


The Real Me by LovesClaysVoice

Congratulations to the talented CA fans honored with a Claymmy Award!

Ask the Star Online

The website
Broadway.com today is providing Spamalot fans an opportunity to interview Clay online. Here is the scoop:

When Clay Aiken made his Broadway debut last winter as Sir Robin in Spamalot, more than a few eyebrows went up. Could this big-voiced American Idol runner-up deliver a credible stage performance, in a Monty Python musical comedy, no less?

Aiken’s exuberant comic turn silenced the doubters and impressed Broadway’s tough critics—and he had such a good time in the process that he’s back for a return engagement on the Great White Way. Through January 4, fans can see Clay and his fellow knights onstage at the Shubert Theatre.

In the meantime, the super-popular star has agreed to take questions from Broadway.com readers! Want to get the lowdown on how this North Carolina native transformed himself into a Python-esque hero, complete with a British accent? Do it—ask Clay yourself!

Raleigh Prepares for 'Invasion'

Raleigh, NC, will become "Clay Aiken City" Saturday when fans converge on the singer's hometown for the 5th annual Champions of Change Gala, cardinal fundraising event of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

Celebrating inclusion by recognizing the 2008 CofC honorees, the event at Raleigh's Marriott City Center promises to amass major funds in support of the Foundation's mission of inclusion for all children.


JBT Jacket in Auction
Graphic by cindilu2,
Photo by Tasapio


Among the countless items in the gala auction, some available for online bidding, are a New York travel package (includes lots of goodies, including Spamalot tickets and dinner for two with Clay); luxury suite for 10 guests at the RBC Center for the Jan. 20, 2009, Celine Dion Concert with Clay and friends in attendance; autographed stool from the 2007 Soft Rock and Hard Place Tour; Clay's 2004 Wango Tango shirt; and the famous leather jacket worn the singer wore during the very popular 2005 Jukebox Tour.

Fans at home will receive reports throughout the weekend. Saturday's shindig should be a winner all the way around!

Below is a high resolution clickable of Aspiegirl's opening drawing:

Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!

Caro


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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Aiken, Fans Celebrate Inclusion


MAKING A DIFFERENCE -- Clay Aiken and hundereds of his fans will gather in Raleigh Oct. 18 for The Bubel/Aiken Foundation's 2008 Champions of Change Gala. Graphic by cindilu2.

Champions of Change Gala

Aiken, Fans Celebrate Inclusion

The place to be next weekend is Raleigh, NC, as hundreds of Clay Aiken fans gather to celebrate the inclusion of people of all abilities at The Bubel/Aiken Foundation's 2008 Champions of Change Gala on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The 5th annual
TBAF Gala at the Raleigh Marriott City Center will include dinner, silent/live auctions, and a program that will recognize this year's Champions of Change honorees and feature a special performance by Clay.

The evening will promote awareness of the benefits of inclusion and support The Bubel/Aiken Foundation’s programs which give children with disabilities the opportunity to experience life with their typical peers.

TBAF 2008 Champions of Change honorees include CVS Caremark, Dan Habib and Betsy McNamara, and Rich Donovan. Their contributions to inclusion are outlined at the Foundation's website.

Auction items, as well as guidelines for
online bidding, are previewed at this TBAF link.

Montage Accents Stage Door Meets

Because of the gala, Clay's understudy will handle Spamalot performances Oct. 18-19. Otherwise, huge crowds of longtime and new fans continue meeting the singer in Shubert Alley for autograph sessions following each show's final curtain.

What could be better than the late Eva Cassidy singing "Songbird" with video of these stage door gatherings? Here is a special
stage door montage by LovesClaysVoice:



Songbird by LovesClaysVoice

WIDTL Leads Top 11 Countdown

"Where I Draw the Line" is currently the #1 video in the
AOL Top 11 Countdown. Streaming the five On My Way Here Sessions performances is still in vogue with many Clay fans. If you would like to join, begin with Ashes and continue through "Everything I Don't Need," "WIDTL," "OMWH, and "Something About Us."

Don't forget the Q&A portion, one of which has been featured on AOL's front page and is on the video countdown, too. Check out
What is the difference between performing theatrically as opposed to performing in concert?

On My Way Here is the second most played song at AOL Music.

Kai Trains for Bottle Dance

In the Carolina and OFC blogs, my one-year-old grandson's "fan mail" has been running neck in neck with Clay's comments. We aim to please, so this section is for Kai's fans. Spoken like a grandmother, right?

As CA supporters know, one of the most strenuous aspects of Sir Robin's Spamalot role comes in the famous "Bottle Dance" scene.


Animation by ClaytonAikenFan86

Grandson Kai celebrated his first birthday on Sept. 17, and one of his favorite gifts was a LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table sent to him by his "fairy godmother" Sally.

Although his practice threads are a bit skimpy, Kai has been working on his own dance steps and just might be ready to sub for Sir Robin soon.

video
Kai's Bottle Dance Routine

For now, a birthday hat and snazzy red trousers make up his Bottle Dance wardrobe.

As shown in these clickables, Kai is still full of mischief, mugging for the birthday camera and climbing up on the dishwasher door to help his mother put up the dishes. LOL, so he says!

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!

Caro

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Aiken Inspires Aid for Children


STAGE DOOR CHEER -- Clay Aiken's stage door appearances in Carolina sweatshirts seem to be having a positive effect on Tar Heel collegiate and professional football teams. Graphic by Fountaindawg features photos by Dancerdad.

Fans Host Baby Showers

Aiken Inspires Aid for Children

Did you know that approximately 25,000 children die each day before their fifth birthday, largely due to preventable causes?

Thanks to organizations like UNICEF this number is getting smaller every day. Last year, the number of child deaths worldwide declined to about 9.2 million. In 1990, that number was 12.7 million. That's definite progress, but that number should be zero.

In a UNICEF Field Notes blog Tuesday, Clay Aiken asked supporters to join him in making a monthly pledge to help save the world's children from diseases like malaria, measles, and tetanus. As little as $5 a month (15 cents per day) would ensure that five children are protected from measles.

Supporters can join the UNICEF ambassador in making a tax-deductible donation at
Join With Clay on the organization's website.

Despite the current economic crisis, one of the best appeals to help save the world's children can be read in a comment at the Field Notes blog:

The economy could hardly be more uncertain for many of those of us here in the United States, but I have never been without food, shelter, education, safe water and medicine to avoid the catastrophic preventable illnesses.

In these troubled times, I appreciate the reminder that because of lack of access to these simple necessities, children die.

I am humbled to join with Clay Aiken and UNICEF to do my small part to reach ZERO, making sure that no child dies of preventable illness.

Clay's advocacy for children around the world is catching. Together, we will make a difference!

Trick-or-Treat Moves into 21st Century

While at the UNICEF site, I took a Halloween detour to
Trick or Treat for UNICEF, a project Clay has chaired in previous years. The digital initiatives and new fundraising techniques being incorporated with traditional door-to-door collections are truly amazing:

This October, Trick–or–Treat for UNICEF expands into the 21st century with digital initiatives, new technology–backed fundraising techniques and a college campus challenge.

What started 58 years ago as a simple door–to–door coin collection by a youth group in Philadelphia, has evolved to incorporate social media, mobile giving, partnerships with MLS W.O.R.K.S. and more.

Raising over $140 million to date, Trick–or–Treat for UNICEF continues to make Halloween by teaching children across the United States about the world beyond their backyards and the importance of global citizenship.

Check it out -- the options are extraordinary!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Featured in this clickable interlude are graphics/photos of Clay visiting with fans in Shubert Alley after "Spamalot" performances. They include Amazing_CA, photos by Toni7babe, 1 and 2; Fountaindawg, photos by AustenFan, Dianagreeneyes, and dancerdad, 3; Amazing_CA, photos by dancerdad, 4 and 5.









Baby Showers Benefit Others

Young Parker Foster Aiken has already inspired generosity among his father's fans with numerous baby showers in his honor but which are benefiting those in need.

According to Clayversity member dksfriend, a group of New England fans wanted to do something in honor of Parker's birth. "We figured he probably didn't need any booties or onesies, so we decided to have a baby shower in his honor and donate all the presents to a local program for pregnant teens, 15 - 20 years old."

Gifts were contributed by those attending the Oct. 5 party, as well as many who forwarded items.


Boston Baby Shower
Clickable by Sandy

"We had a great time watching clack, playing baby shower games, and then opening all the gifts. We collected over 70 items, mostly clothing but other baby accessories as well. I will deliver everything to the GED/counseling program next week," she added.

A Sept. 27 shower in Parker's honor provided an assortment of baby gifts that have been donated to the Maine Children's Home for Little Wanderers.

Back on Schedule - Finally!

It's great to be resuming a three-day blogging schedule. Last week's pesky income tax records were completed and mailed Monday, collegiate and professional Carolina football teams are on a roll, and life is back to normal -- juggling music lessons while keeping up with family, sports, and the US political scene.

One of those memorable moments that inspires teachers like nothing else occurred for me last Friday when a mother told me her son had declared he "would rather play the piano than be the ruler of the world."

After practicing a few minutes, he sought out his mother again with this addendum: "Besides, we already have a ruler of the world -- God!"

A wise young man of nine!

Below is a clickable of Fountaindawg's opening graphic:

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!

Caro


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