Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clay Aiken Closes Champions Gala with Special Song

BOTH SIDES NOW appropriate ending for 2010 inclusion Gala.
Singer Clay Aiken with Debra Leisey, signing, perform duet.

View video by Scarlett at YouTube.

'Both Sides Now' for Inclusion

Poignant Performance Ends Gala

Clay Aiken could not have chosen a more poignant way to end the 2010 Champions Gala celebrating inclusion than with the song "Both Sides Now."

The duet of Clay singing with Debra Leisey signing was an immediate hit with the attendees at the Raleigh Convention Center, as well as those listening via cellstream.

Clay sings 'Both Sides Now' to close Gala.
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.


Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at cloud that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things i would have done but clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real; I've looked at love that way.
But now it's just another show. you leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know, don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions i recall.
I really don't know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud to say "I love you" right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange.
They shake their heads, they say I've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all.

Reflective moment during the festivities .
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

In a post at her home board, lovethatguy, mother of a special son, shared her personal thoughts about the ways "Both Sides Now" fits the concepts of disability and inclusion. With her permission, here are her reflections:
I was incredibly moved by Clay's rendition of "Both Sides Now." But most especially with his choice of this song and its poignant lyrics at his Gala to celebrate inclusion.

Ever since Kevin entered my life, I have looked at life and love and, most assuredly, clouds from "both sides now." From his side and from mine. From up and down. His disability could be obstacles that turned clouds into something that blocked the sun and rained on everyone. Or it could be the joy of castles in the sky.

Dreams and schemes - are they real or just illusions for this child? And the concept of inclusion? My God, it is the bridge for unity between his world and my world. Or, because he is MY child, between your world and my world.

So listening to Clay sing that heartfelt song during the Gala was much more than just beautiful singing; it was the making of a special moment for me. I wanted to share how that felt with all of you. I struggled with the right words all day. Thank you Clay.

Fans Share Gala Video, Audio

Into the wee hours following the Gala, Clay Nation "clack goddesses" rendered audio and video files for fans back home. Scarlett uploaded five videos from the the evening's entertainment segment to the Ginger Scarlett YouTube Channel. Downloads of "Both Sides Now" are available at Clack Unlimited.

Here are Sendspace "Both Sides Now" downloads for audio files by
ficus (song only) and canfly (intro and song). Two video downloads include BSN by canfly and farouche's close-up version of singer and signer.

Graphic by Fountaindawg
Photos by Irishbookgal, farouche

During the Gala Weekend, three Champions of Change were honored: PepsiCo EnAble, I Am Norm, and 11 collegians friends who took their friend Darius Weems, a victim of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, on the adventure of lifetime.

In addition, special awards were presented to outstanding supporters; and major funds were raised via the live/silent auctions. Bios and videos of the honorees are included in the 10/9 Carolina entry.

Among the items naturally popular with the singer's fans were dinner for 10 with Clay; two front row seats (
hotel, backstage pass, M&G)
to the winner's choice of Winter Tour Tried & True concerts; a Spamalot poster; the platinum plaque for Measure of a Man CD; gold and black Hammer pants from the Timeless Tour.

Unofficially, $78,500 was raised during a Dutch auction in which members in the audience pledged multiples of $250, the cost for sending one child to a Let's ALL Play Camp.

SPAMALOT poster auctioned during Gala.
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

Clay implores supporters to raise a bid .
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

Clay donates RCA MOAM platinum plaque.
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

Inclusion Project Celebrates 7 Years

The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in July 2003 by Clay and Diane Bubel of Charlotte, mother of Michael, who has autism. Originally the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, the organization changed its name in 2009 to better reflect its mission.

A special contribution of art by Michael earned $2,200 for the foundation in Saturday night's auction.

Clay and Diane co-founded the National Inclusion Project in 2003.

Mother's Letter Affirms Inclusion

One of the evening's highlights was the reading of a testimony from a mother about the importance of inclusion. Her son had just attended his first Let's ALL Play Camp for children with and without disabilities. Parts of the letter are printed below:
For one week, Ted felt like every other adolescent. He slept out under the stars, he hiked, etc. And most of all, he laughed and laughed and laughed.

The staff at the camp appreciated him for where he is and who he is. I wish the world could be cloned from the camp.

Ted has never won anything. (He won the Heart Award.) Being overlooked is a way of life for him. I have never seen my son so sure of himself. He hugged people, and people hugged him back.

As Ted said goodbye to new friends, tears were streaming down my face. For the first time in his life, he did not want to come home. He never stopped talking during the two-hour drive home. Ted has a new confidence and even a swagger.

Please let them know from us how much the staff's hard work is appreciated. Ted will be back. I think he will count the days until next summer.

The world needs more programs like yours.

NIP Drops to #12, Recruits Votes

With many Clay Aiken fans on the road this weekend -- from the concert in Chicago Thursday to the Champions Gala in Raleigh Friday and Saturday -- supporters of the National Inclusion Project's October campaign for a Pepsi Refresh $50,000 grant are seeking additional daily voters.

By Sunday morning, the NIP had slipped from #8 to #12. The foundation must remain in the Top 10 to secure the monetary award this month. Be sure to register at the National Inclusion Project for a chance to win a new iPad. You can also vote via this link.

US residents 13 an older can vote three ways 10 times -- via the Pepsi site, Facebook, as well as mobile phone texts (
#102308 to #73774). That's three votes for the National Inclusion Project with the remaining 27 spread among the charity's voting alliances and partners from every eligible member in the household!

Replica of NIP Widget

The NIP voting widget, created by Scarlett and situated in the Carolina sidebar, contains voting links for all the latest NIP partner updates. Following the alliance list, select from Groups A, B, and/or C to complete your daily votes.

Be sure to copy/paste a message similar to the one below so the organizations will know the Inclusion Project is supporting their cause:
National Inclusion Project just voted for you. Text 102308.

Have a wonderful and productive weekend, Clay Nation!



gerra said...

From all accounts, the Gala this year was the best yet. I am so proud of the work that National Inclusion Project does. Clay really done good when he co-founded, with Diane Bubel, this organization.

Thanks for posting the photos and video. "Both Sides Now" is beyond beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Caro, Thank You for another wonderful and informative blog. The video of Clay Aiken with Debra Leisey, signing "Bothe Sides Now," is wonderful....just wish I were there in person to experience it live.

Clay and Diane must be so proud of the wonderful organization "NIP" they founded and all the wonderful things they have done for inclusion.

The photos of Clay are AWESOME and the letter from Ted's Mother is so heart warming!

We now have to get "Project's October campaign for a Pepsi Refresh" back up, and I know we can do it.

Have a great week Caro.....


LovesClaysVoice said...

I love Clay's performance last night of Both Sides Now! That seems to be the agreement within the Clay Nation today! Clay has a way of moving us with his song choices and this time was no exception! It was the perfect end to a perfect couple of days! I hope he doesn't go into seclusion now until the tour starts in February! He is missed already!

The NIP is a wonderful foundation and Clay and Diane should be very proud of what they have accomplished in the past 7 yrs. It sounded like they raised a lot of money last night! I'm anxious to hear the total! Now I just hope we can help them win the Pepsi Challenge!

Cindy said...

I was lucky enough to be there for this year's Gala (fourth and counting!) and Both Sides Now was an incredibly touching end to amazing days (starting in Chicago on Thursday ;-)

Clay's unparalleled voice and Debra's passionate delivery of the song combined to give us a truly special interpretation of this wonderful song. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and haunting song that is. The melody won't leave my head. As usual, Clay sang it to perfection, but what else is new.

Wonderful blog. Keep after us to vote. Lois

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, as always. Like the info and the video was nice to watch! Sounds like things went well for the gala, that is great! Thanks! Wi.

katy said...

Clay Aiken singing Both Sides Now was truly breathtakingly beautiful. Lovethatguy's post about Kevin is also very touching. Thanks for a wonderful blog.

lulu said...

Please, after watching Both Sides Now and other videos from the Gala & Chicago concert, vote at Pepsi Refresh for National Inclusion Project. Text 102308

Anonymous said...

dear Caro,
this is really a beatiful recap of what is happening in the gala. The value of the donation of that night worth million times when we know how it made a difference in a kid's life like explained by Kevin's mother. Following Clay's life through all the websites including your blog make me more aware, sensitive & appreciate the beauty & the uniqueness of each & every single person in the world. I can not explain more with my english word limitations .. it deflates my feeling, my emotions, etc. I can feel the true meaning of Both Sides Now (by the way everytime I watch it, I had tears in my eyes)Thank you very much Caro, thank you for helping me more appreciative to what God has given to us :)
***greetings from Indonesia - Puteri

MissSally said...

For me the "Both Sides Now" performance is one of the most enthralling, enchanting moments since Clay took AI and the US by storm. He sings it with just the right touch of tenderness; producing both tears and goosebumps in this listener.

Sandy said...

Loved hearing Clay sing "Both Sides Now". Watching him sing and Nick's mother sign was just beautiful and so touching!

So sad to hear that NIP has now fallen to 14th place in the Pepsi Challenge. I know it's not for lack of voting and pray that it can move up again and stay in the top 10.

Have a great day Caro!