The Official Taylor's Angels Weblog

Taylor Hicks Fans Taying it Forward One Soul At A Time

Seven Mile Breakdown

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Taylor Hicks Scores a Victory in Maryland!

"In the Game of Life, He Who Touches the Most Lives Wins."

Heartwarming stories about how Taylor Hicks has positively impacted the quality of life for many of us are abundant. Some share that they are enjoying a greater appreciation for music, but many run deeper and are more profound in their effects on the lives of others.

Recently, several touching stories about how Taylor Hicks has dramatically altered lives were shared with Taylor’s Angels by Mr. Bruce Torres. Mr. Torres is with Cabana Cove Concerts and was the promoter for Taylor’s July 6, 2007 Hagerstown, Maryland show. Mr. Torres is an avid fan of Taylor’s and worked diligently to promote the show not only to the general public but also by offering special opportunities to charitable organizations within the community, allowing them to enjoy the amazing artistry of Taylor Hicks as well. He worked closely with Taylor’s Angels and donated over 60 tickets to the Boys and Girls Club and Girls, Inc. in Hagerstown.

In an email, Mr. Torres relayed the following:

Greetings from Hagerstown,

I want to share two very special stories with you. We had a presale on April 14th so that local residents would have a chance to buy tickets to see Taylor before we put them out for general sale. There was a women standing on line with her 13 year old son and another son who was about 6 years old and had obvious emotional and physical disabilities. I talked with her and she told me that during Taylor’s performances during the AI season, her son would actually start sort of dancing and would be glued to the television. When Taylor's CD came out she bought it and told me his music is one of the only things that he responds to. She likes to put it on and dance with him. Amazing!!

The second story touched me even more. As I was standing outside the box office talking to people in line, an elderly man came out and said, “I understand that you are the person responsible for bringing Taylor Hicks to the Maryland Theatre". He shook my hand and proceeded to tell me this story. He woke up one morning and saw that his wife was sitting at the kitchen table crying. She is sick and he naturally thought something was wrong. He asked her if she was ok and all she could do was hand him the local paper with the article about Taylor coming to the Maryland Theatre on the front page. He told me that his wife is a huge Taylor fan but is not well enough to travel, even short distances, and knew she would not have the opportunity to see Taylor on tour. When she saw the paper, her tears were finally those of joy!!!

When the game of life is over, he who touches the most people wins. Score two for Taylor in Hagerstown.

Bruce Torres

In working with Mr. Torres and Cabana Cove Concerts through Taylor’s Angels, I became increasingly aware that this promoter was actually promoting Taylor Hicks, his artistry and his music and was focused on that aspect more so than the bottom dollar. His attention to every detail regarding Taylor’s visit to Hagerstown, Maryland was impeccably thought out. As a result, people in that small community camped out overnight to purchase tickets to this event. Although the temperature was 30 degrees that night, Mr. Torres stayed with them and offered them hot coffee and encouragement. At the day’s end, Taylor had set the one day sales record for tickets at the legendary Maryland Theatre, where his idol Ray Charles had once played.

As everyone is well aware by now, Taylor’s performance in Hagerstown was one of the best of the summer tour. All the fan sites were talking about his energy, passion and song selection. Of particular attention was Taylor’s dramatic encore, which included an acoustic version of “Happier With Him”. In my heart, I believe Taylor knew the passion with which this show was promoted and was touched by the love he felt in this small community.

Mr. Torres and his wife, Cassie, were speechless after reading some of the comments on the various fan sites regarding how well received Taylor’s concert was in their small hometown. They send their warmest thanks and wish to respond to Taylor’s fans in this manner:

" To all the fans who sent messages regarding the Hagerstown concert, my wife, Cassie, and I want to thank you for the kind words. It was our first concert production and we were honored to have Taylor Hicks as our guest. Those of you who were there know what a special night it was. For so many others who could not attend but got to listen in or see some of the video, I am sure you could feel it as well.

Being able to bring so many children to the show was as much a gift to us as it was to them. For one little girl who had recently revealed an unbearable past, it became a very special night. The only peace she has known over the last year has been his music. Her mother told me that looking up at the pictures of Taylor on her wall gave her something to smile about. She was the first person I brought in to meet Taylor during the meet and greet. Nothing will ever erase her horrible experiences, but in that one moment sitting next to Taylor Hicks, the world became a better place.

Taylor Hicks’ music is his vehicle, but his caring and compassionate nature is the "heart and soul" of the artist.

It was a pleasure to be a small part of the magic that is following him around. We hope to have him back in Hagerstown sometime, and we hope to see some of you again."

Bruce and Cassie Torres
Cabana Cove Concerts

Taylor Hicks did indeed score a big victory in Hagerstown, Maryland. He has unknowingly touched so many lives in immeasurable ways.

To view the media coverage of Taylor Hicks receiving a key to the city of Hagerstown, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link.

Written by Tina (DidNotExpectThat)

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Taylor Hicks Inspires Life Without Limits

A community is like a tapestry. The most beautiful tapestries have many hues, woven together to make unique textures and designs. A community includes many different people, people of different abilities as well as people of different cultures and backgrounds. Everyone deserves to be an integral part of the fabric of life and to have the opportunity to live life without limits.

The community of Taylor Hicks fans called the Soul Patrol is like any other community in which we live, work, develop friendships and find comfort and love in family. We must do everything possible to bring our community together for each individual, particularly those that need a helping hand.

Taylor Hicks has certainly displayed his desire to lead us all in these efforts. His never ending desire to please his loyal and devoted community is evident in all he says and does. But his compassionate spirit is never more evident than when he encounters people who have disabilities. I have read numerous articles on his interactions with them and how he goes the extra mile to accommodate their desires and wishes.

Most recently, I interviewed a fan who had witnessed a wonderfully inspiring encounter between Taylor and a young boy who had a disability. She relayed her story to me in this manner:

Everyone was waiting outside Taylor’s dressing room for him to sign autographs. When he came out, I was standing on the side of a little boy who was in a wheelchair and was accompanied by his father. Taylor came out and immediately went over to the little boy and signed the CD his dad was holding. Then Taylor said to the child, “Hey, buddy, how are doing? You know what? I have a present for you so hold on a second.” Taylor turned around and asked someone to get his harmonica. He signed it and gave it to the boy, then retrieved the case from his pocket. Taylor then said, “Here you go… here is the case so you can play it.” Both Taylor and the child were smiling. Taylor appeared to be very happy to have made that impression on the little boy.

I have read and heard many such accounts of Taylor’s compassion like the one described above and have also had the opportunity to personally witness this kindness on several occasions.

I work for an organization that serves children with disabilities and provides services to one little girl who is a huge fan of Taylor’s. At a meet and greet that I had won, I took her picture and showed it to Taylor while I told him about her disability and her love for him. He immediately responded by asking her name and personalizing the items I had brought for him to sign. Additionally, he said he wanted her to have a picture of him, so he walked into another room, obtained a photograph and also personalized a message to this five year old child. Needless to say, when I returned to work and presented her Taylor’s gift, she was overjoyed!

I have been at several concerts during which Taylor made a pointed effort to acknowledge those in attendance with disabilities. At an American Idol concert, there was a young man in a wheel chair who was paralyzed from the neck down and who also needed a respirator to breathe. Security pushed him close to the stage so he could better see. When Taylor spotted him from the stage, he immediately went over to him and pointed, smiled and sang to him for a few moments, giving him his own private mini-concert. Also, during Taylor’s solo tour at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia, the handicapped seating section was to the right of the stage. After performing and prior to leaving the stage, Taylor walked over to that section and made sure he shook everyone’s hand. Perhaps the most poignant moment for me occurred quite unexpectedly in Joliet, Illinois. Immediately after the final chord of the encore resounded, Taylor walked from the front of the stage directly into the audience and handed his harmonica to a small boy who had cerebral palsy and was seated in a wheelchair. I observed many people with tears in their eyes as they watched an American Idol acknowledge this precious child in such a manner. And then, once again at Birmingham’s Alabama Adventure in June, 2007, Taylor made a young woman in a wheelchair very happy when he again left the stage to hand her his harmonica. I observed that this woman required the assistance of a caregiver to eat or drink and spoke with the use of a communication device. Yet, though her lips were silent, the smile on her face spoke volumes.

Many people do not quite know how to interact with people with disabilities. Some speak loudly assuming they are hard of hearing while others simply look the other way. Taylor Hicks seems to have an innate ability to relate to them on a very personal level. In his book, Heart Full of Soul, Taylor talks openly of his troubled childhood and about his feeling of not fitting in, of feeling like an outsider and his feelings of being different. Those feelings led to loneliness and depression. Perhaps it is from those life experiences that Taylor Hicks has drawn character and pledged to give what he could to others that obviously feel “different”. Only Taylor knows the real inspiration behind why he treats those with disabilities so warmly and compassionately. But whatever the reasons, it is apparent that Taylor realizes these individuals have special gifts and deserve to be an integral part of the fabric of life.

Just as Taylor was given an opportunity of a lifetime through American Idol, an opportunity for which he longed for years, he knows that if given the right opportunity the struggles encountered by persons with disabilities become a limitless avenue by which their great abilities are revealed and the tapestry of our community invariably strengthened.

Taylor Hicks’ life has inspired others to dream of a life without limits. While his autobiography may be entitled “Heart Full of Soul”, Taylor’s life may also be characterized as a “Soul Full of Heart”. Indeed, his soul is filled with a heart of limitless compassion and caring for others.

Written by Tina (DidNotExpectThat)

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Acts Of Kindness and Thoughtfulness

Acts of kindness can be defined as being thoughtful, friendly/thinking
of others. We sometimes don't give either of these much thought
during our busy, hectic lives.

"I've learned that everyday you should reach out and touch someone, people love that human touch, holding hands, a warm hug or just a
friendly pat on the back or kind word."

It sometimes amazes me that we encounter so many people and
different situations in a given day and don't notice the life dramas that are going on all around us. There are so many who may be having any number of difficult times in their life and are feeling sad or lonely. Some may have family and friends to talk to and confide in and some people are all alone in the world and have no one to share their plight with. These may be people that we work with, they are those we see in a grocery store, restaurant, bank, nursing home, hospital etc. some are family or friends, even neighbors, who may feel too embarrassed to tell us that they are encountering difficult times and don't reach out for help. You can easily tell by someone's demeanor, the look in their eyes, the way they walk and talk and hardly ever smile or laugh. These are young and old alike, from children to the elderly.

You may have seen an elderly or disabled person who is having a difficult time trying to get to their car or across the street, or in any number of situations, and everyone just continues to walk by without asking if they would like help or assistance. These people are sometimes too proud to ask for help, but when offered you can see the smile in their eyes and on their face. I don't know if it is something that was inborn in me or the life experience when I was a teenager and helped take care of a grandmother who had broken her arm and wasn't able to do the daily tasks of life, that I am naturally there with a helping hand or a kind/thoughtful word to those in need.

There are the children who come from dysfunctional families and broken homes, or who have a life threatening illness. You can tell by the sadness in their eyes and the fact that they don't seem to be having any fun or playing and laughing like children should be doing and seem withdrawn. Sometimes these children probably wonder if they will ever have a happy home life like their friends or if ill, will they once again feel vibrant and healthy so that they can run and play and laugh and be happy. Children are resilient and do try to make the best of the life they have and in so doing are in their own way happy and endure.

The situations that we can utilize these acts of kindness and thoughtfulness are around us everyday and everywhere. Sometimes we instinctively know them when we come upon them and act immediately and other times we may have to analyze a situation for a few minutes before we do anything.

If you visit a hospital or nursing home or do volunteer work for these or any charity there will be many opportunities to show someone that you care

It only takes a minute to reach out to a child who is going through a troubled family life or medical crisis and give him or her a hug and say I care about you. Read a book or play a game with them, take them to a movie, tell them that you will be there to support them and can be counted on when needed. Visit a children's hospital or become a "Big Brother or Sister" and become a companion who visits them on a regular basis so they know you do care and will be their friend.

There are many people who live alone and have no one or who are hospitalized or in a nursing home with no family or friends to visit. As with the children, it only takes a few minutes of our time to visit these people and reach out to them to let them know someone cares. Hold their hand and look into their eyes and let them talk, give them a caring hug and as with the children, offer to read a book to them or just sit and spend time talking and offering companionship for a few minutes. Offer to write a letter or help in whatever small way you can. Offer a hug and a smile and let them know you care. I am currently visiting four elderly shuts ins once a week for a few minutes. Sometimes they are too ill or tired to talk for a long time, but their faces light up when they know that someone has to come visit and spend a few mintues to just listen and talk. It makes the 'soul' feel good to know that you can give a small measure of happiness to someone by offering "kindness and thoughtfulness".

Taylor has inspired us in so many ways by being kind and thoughtful through his words and deeds. He is always there to support charities, especially those that involve children and knows how to speak to them on their level. His willingness to reach out and touch people has been evidenced many times by his actions and good works with the charities that he does support, those that we have come to know in Birmingham and some that are in other areas of the country. He always has the time to be there and makes those with disabilities feel that they are important. He is a kind and gentle soul, which has been made evident by the way he is always sure to acknowledge those that he sees in a wheelchair at his concerts, or spotting a child in the audience and making sure to give the harmonica that he used during the concert to that child. I saw this up close at the concert in Portland, Or. in May. The boy that got that harmonica had the biggest smile on his face and the happiness that went along with it, was all because of Taylor's "act of kindness and thoughtfulness".

In an interview a few months ago Taylor said, "It's all about being nice and helping people and make the world a more humanistic place".

This is something that we can all do thru our 'acts of kindness and thoughtfulness' . .

Written by: Mary Ann (maryann1)

Tags: , , ,