Saturday, August 28, 2010

Clay Aiken Joins UNICEF Appeal for Pakistan Aid

In a public service announcement, singer-songwriter and UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken calls for more help for children affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan.

Clay Aiken Speaks for Children

UNICEF Issues Pakistan Appeal

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken has joined the plea for aid for children affected by the catastrophic floods that began in Pakistan after heavy monsoon rains in late July, submerging thousands of villages and towns and killing over 1,500 people.

The United Nations immediately launched an appeal for $460 million to provide emergency relief to people affected by the deluge. That amount has not been met, and workers have been struggling to supply aid to the millions in relief camps and to reach the estimated 800,000 people still marooned in various locations.

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken

Learn more about UNICEF's emergency relief efforts for children in Pakistan. View Clay's PSA full screen and click on the DONATE button at UNICEFUSA on YouTube. There are currently four pages of comments by UNICEF supporters.

Below, a CNN video of July 31 leaves no doubt about the overwhelming devastation during the first three days of the Pakistan flood:

View CNN video full screen at YouTube.

Portions of UNICEF scrambles to save malnourished children in Pakistan, 8/28 news story in The Hindu, are quoted below:

The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF immediately needs 80 million dollars to provide emergency food supplements to over 272,000 malnourished Pakistani children displaced by the devastating floods, a UN official said on Saturday.

The worst floods in the country’s living memory displaced over 17 million people, including 2.1 million children under five. At least 13 per cent of them are suffering from severe or moderate malnutrition, the UN said.

"We have at least 72,000 under-five children suffering from severe malnutrition and over 200,000 suffering from moderate malnutrition among the flood-affected people," Dr Shahid Mehboob of UNICEF told the German Press Agency dpa.

"We need an additional $80 million to launch a special nutrition programme. Otherwise, these children may die of malnutrition or other diseases caused by it."

The latest plea for Pakistan assistance has been advertised this weekend on several websites, among them UNICEF Field Notes, Just Jared, and the Clay Aiken News Network.

Young Musicians Share Compositions

Longtime readers of the Carolina blog generally hear about my students around Christmas and spring recital times. Today I would like to share some of the creativity that is blossoming within our ranks. Music is a language, and these students are not only learning to perform it but also to write it.

In May, Joseph Held, now an eighth grade piano student at Wesleyan Christian Academy, performed "Le Pienture de Die" (God's Painting) on our spring recital. During June, Joseph spent the day with his musical brother-in-law, who helped him add a modern slant to his composition, the result being "Le Pienture de Die Remix."

Among this student's earlier compositions are "Coming Storm" and "Song of the Sea." To listen to Joseph's compositions, click on the player's start arrow, third button down.

Video Games Inspire Themes

Caleb Hernandez, seventh grade pianist at Penn-Griffin and a prolific composer, often finds inspiration for a musical theme or rhythm pattern in video games. Among his compositions are "Media Nox Marmor" (Midnight Sea), "The Jazz Dragon," "Arabian Nights," and "Vanderdecken's Curse."

Unfortunately, I don't have recordings of Caleb's music; but we are working on that. I can guarantee that he has kept his teacher challenged most of the summer helping him notate the rhythms he creates.

Jessicca Hayes, sixth grade student at Triad Baptist Christian Academy, also adds composition to her piano studies. She is currently completing a piece entitled "Clocks."

I am often the beneficiary of her creativity, which extends to art and poetry, as well. Below is "Even," a poem she wrote this summer.


Even when you're angry,
Even when you're mad
Even when you might lose everything you have.
Even in the darkness,
Even in the light,
Even in those times you feel you want to cry,
God still has a reason for every little thing.
It may be hard
It may be rough
It may bring joy
It may be tough.
But even still God loves you so.
So even in the times you feel you want to cry,
Jump up, praise God.
He loves to see your eyes!

Where Did 50 Years Go?

About a week ago, organizers for my high school class reunion located me and called. Having lived in Texas and Tennessee, I apparently have been in the "lost" column for quite a while. It was fun to hear the latest on many of my former classmates.

After recovering from the initial shock that next year the New Hanover High School Class of '61 will celebrate a 50th reunion, I was actually able to speak intelligently with a friend whom I remember from journalism class. Phyllis asked if she had caught me at a good time, and I assured her we were fine; my fall teaching schedule would begin the following Monday.

"YOU'RE STILL WORKING?!?!?!" was her immediate, unedited response. I laughed out loud and replied that I enjoy working with young students and the fees help pay the bills. I had a great-aunt who taught piano until she was 96, so maybe it's in the genes.

When I relayed the start of this conversation to my younger sister, who has also hit retirement age, we got tickled all over again. She and I both still play gigs and teach three days a week.

Click to enlarge 'The Painted Garden' design by Erin Houghton.

Reconnecting with Old Friends

An interesting by-product of "being found" is that I am now receiving updates on 1961 graduates, the latest being Erin "Neblett" Houghton, well-known California artist and a nine-year survivor of breast cancer.

At Erin's website, The Painted Garden, there are many interesting aspects of her whimsical impressionist style on display in links to her gallery, studio, the press she has received as an artist, and her blog, subtitled "Finding Inspiration Here, There, and Everywhere." Now, my students can relate to that!

Even though the numbers 1961 and 2011 actually do compute, it is still hard to believe almost 50 years have passed since high school graduation. Already reporting for the Wilmington Morning Star, I actually donned tassels and gown at the newspaper office.

Since then, I have raised a daughter, taught a lot of music students, played a lot of music, and written for newspapers in three states. An extraordinary week that has come full circle!

Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!


Thank you for your blog comments and props for the contributing artists. To leave a remark, scroll to the bottom of that section, click on the "Post a Comment" link, and write in the box provided. Many thnx for stopping by today! - Caro


Jan said...

I have so much respect for Clay Aiken's humanitarian endeavors. He is truly an entertainer who walks the walk as well as talking the talk.

I listened to "Le Pienture de Die Remix" and found it hauntingly lovely. I will come back another time and listen to the other compositions by Joseph Held. Thank you for sharing them.

jbc4clay said...

Thank you so much for the video. Clay Aiken never stops amazing me.
I love your recital.
You have some very talented students.

Anonymous said...

Enjoying Le Pienture - both versions. Very nice!


Anonymous said...

Hi Caro. Thank you for sharing Clay's humanitarian efforts for the children of Pakistan. I do hope they get all the relief aide they need. It is a very sad situation for all of them over in Pakistan.

OMG I really enjoyed listening to the song from your student. He is very talented. Maria enjoyed his performance too. I sure hope we get to hear more. The song is beautiful and the remix was put together really well.

Happy 50th anniversary. :) I am sure your teachers would be proud of the wonderful teacher that you became and a wonderful mom and a wonderful friend to many also.

Thanks again for such a great blog and looking forward to more "Caro's Kids Clack"



Anonymous said...

I loved Jessicca's poem. She writes very well.

I will also be looking forward to future "Caleb Clack" you know that I love my video games - I cant wait to see what Caleb has composed to his favorite games.

Boy Caro, your students are very talented. They have a wonderful teacher.

Speaking of their teacher---> I am still waiting for my "Caro Clack"

Heee. Love you Caro. ((HUGS))


kta said...

I am so glad Clay is working with UNICEF to help with the disaster in Pakistan. He really has such a good heart and soul.

Wonderful to hear bout your talented students too.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Caro,

So proud of Mr Clay Aiken, not only a wonderful singer, entertainer, and father but also a great humanitarian....He has it all!!

Joseph Held's compositions are wonderful, but then again he has had a WONDERFUL teacher. Jessica Hayes "Even" is amazing, I think I must copy in.....very inspirational. What talent, I am looking forward to hearing and reading more.

50 Years!!!! Caro, I'm right there with you, Class of 61!! I can not believe I have been out of school 50 years....I can't be that old!! lol Like you, I'm still working, would not have it any other way. It's going to keep you young....I HOPE!!

Have a great Sunday Caro.


MissSally said...

As a retired teacher myself, I can understand the joy and fulfillment you experience with these talented students. We give them what we have and then watch with delight as they find their own, unique voice.

Joseph Held"s - "Le Pienture de Die" - Is rich and complex, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it (more than once)!

Jessicca's "Even" poem is thoughtful, uplifting, and a lovely reminder of God's ever present love.

I am definitely looking forward to hearing Caleb's creations.

Thanks Caro, this was delightful!

50 years is impressive, but I can beat that! LOLOL

The Painted Garden said...


Thank you for your beautiful inspirational post. Clay Aiken is amazing and has a heart for others.
Thank you for sharing my blog with your readers.
Have a wonderful day.

LovesClaysVoice said...

I'm very proud of Clay and his work with UNICEF. The children of Pakistan need our help!

Kudos to your talented students! I'm sure you are very proud of them!

Lenette said...

I always feel so proud to watch a PSA and know that people can count on him to call us to issues that need serious attention and have not been receiving it either from the press or from the nation in general. I'm also happy to note that our church's entire offering today will be sent to Pakistani flood relief. Hopefully, more people will begin to listen, set aside differences and come together to provide the urgently needed help for the flood victims.

It must be true what Lauren and Clay said about the water in North Carolina! Being blessed with students like Joseph, Caleb and Jessicca must bring you such joy. It was fun to "discover" both versions of Joseph's songs and I see myself switching between them depending on my mood on a particular day. Will you be posting links to "Coming Storm" and "Song of the Sea" - these are themes that are dear to me so I'm eager to hear them soon. Caleb's titles call out to the SFF and video game player in me - so intruiging! I'm also interested in knowing which games Caleb plays -- sound like there are some new ones that I might want to try. Jessicca's poem shows such maturity at 6th grade that many adults are only beginning to grasp at 21 or more. I'm going to print out a copy of her poem because I want to remember this always. Thank you for sharing this, and to Jessica for writing such an insightful poem. I can only imagine what works she will create in the years to come! BTW, it might benefit your students to publish Creative Commons copyrights for their material because these are so good that others will want to share links and perhaps other artists will want to build upon them.

So you have a reunion coming up next year! I hope you have fun and that you blog about your experiences. Your classmate does beautiful work -- another time, when I'm not in the midst of getting tickets for a new tour I hope to revisit her pretty site and find a special item.

Thanks for an especially beautiful blog. This is going to be one of my favorites!!! Have a great week ahead!

Anonymous said...

I had my 50th Class reunion last year. It's always fun to see those faces from the past, but once it's over, they are forgotten again. You didn't say if you plan to attend.

Clay's at it again for Unicef. Good for him. Lois

SueReu said...

Caro, your students are amazingly talented! I absolutely loved "Le Pienture de Die Remix" - amazing! Wish I had 1/10th of that talent :D

I also loved the poem by Jessica - I particularly loved the line

"Jump up, praise God.
He loves to see your eyes!"

Just lovely!!!

and you know what I feel about Clay Aiken, he's a very special man - talented and caring.

Thanks so much!

katy said...

Clay Aiken has worked tirelessly to improve conditions for the children affected by disaster.

lulu said...

Excellent video. Clay Aiken has become a very articulate spokesman for UNICEF when these disasters occur.

tree ~ said...

Happy 50th Anniversary, Caro!

I noticed there are over 5,000 views of Clay's PSA on Youtube as of right now. If only half of those of us who viewed it donated/texted it would make a difference.

Lovely poem!