Sunday, January 27, 2008
" If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives"
-- Robert Smith
The Soul Patrol is quite familiar with Taylor Hicks having a heart for the needy, especially children. During American Idol, he introduced us all to two local Birmingham charities which cater to chldren of various needs, Studio by the Tracks and KidOne transport. Since then, we have seen him branch out and show support for many other charities.
Almost two years ago, he associated himself by headlining and performing at such events such as the Benefit for the Charlize Africa Outreach Program, the New York Presbyterian Hospital Charity Event, and, as recently as this past weekend, The Family Center's Palm Night.
We have even seen Taylor enjoy himself and get lost in a game of golf, lest we not forget that these tournaments are indeed fundraisers. Twice now, Taylor has played in the Bob Hope Classic Golf Event-- a benefit that has raised funds funds for over 100 charities. And, this past May, Taylor could be seen playing a round of golf at the Regions Charity Golf Event.
Taylor has shown is support of our Country by playing at the Stadium of Fire as well as being a part of the USO tour on the USS Reagan.
In the spirit of supporting his community, Taylor took an unprecedented intermission at his Birmingham shows last March and encouraged his audience to take that time to donate to the Red Cross who was then helping the victims of Enterprise High School because it had just been struck by deadly tornadoes the previous week. He also endorsed a signed portrait to be auctioned on ebay and all proceeds went to Enterprise.
Additionally, Taylor has associated himself with numerous charities involving children. From his pronouncement of Studio by the Tracks and Kid One Transport, he has danced with patients from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, endorsed the Alabama Center for the book to promote literacy among children, and is scheduled to perform at a fundraiser for the Greenhills School in Addison, Texas this Spring.
Taylor's Angels has made sure to add Taylor's name to the Fan Club Donation list at St. Jude's Children's Hospital. For more information, please visit a nice write up on us at: Taylor Hicks My Idol
Clearly, instead of sitting back and enjoying some of the fruits of his celebrity, Taylor has used his celebrity to support causes that are important to him. What an incredible statement he has made and a testament to his good character.
As if this list isn't exhaustive enough, especially when you realize that these things have been accomplished only within the past 1 and 1/2 years and in between cutting albums and two nationwide tours, Taylor surprises us again and has now endorsed The Shriner's in this latest Public Service Announcement.
ShrinePSA2 from TH Community on Vimeo.
psa1 from TH Community on Vimeo.
For those of you not familiar with the Shriner's, their mission statement is clear: Dedication to fun and fellowship... but with a serious purpose. Through hard work and donations, they have 22 children's hospitals that are at the forefront of medical treatment and research in orthopaedic, burn and spinal cord injury cases in young children. You may learn more about them at http://www.shrinershq.org/.
Written and published by Leslie Mozingo
Photos taken by Tina Shaddix
Audio and Video PSA compliments of The Shriner's
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Being an avid golfer, Taylor Hicks enjoyed a few days in beautiful Palm Springs, California last week playing in the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament. Taylor’s Angels’ good friend, Pay the Devil, was fortunate enough to have attended this prestigious event and spent several days observing Taylor and his amazing impact on this Palm Springs community. She graciously offers her unique perspective on Taylor Hicks’ Blue Sky Holiday and shares that “no other celebrity received the amount of admiration and affection from the locals” as Taylor Hicks. Read and enjoy her first hand account, watch her exclusive video and feel the pride that surrounded Taylor last week in sunny California!
If you are a Taylor Hicks supporter/fan then over the last few weeks your Google Alerts inbox has been inundated with snarky comments from television pundits and people that sat too close to the television as children. Most comment on album sales and current television ratings, however many make personal attacks against Mr. Hicks.
I just don’t get it.
I watched every episode of American Idol Season Five. I watched each week in bars, hotels, and pubs across America. I saw it in Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles. I watched “In the Ghetto” in a small family-owned Vietnamese restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada.
“Hand to God” as my Pentecostal pastor aunt would say, at every stop Taylor had supporters. They didn’t refer to him by his last name, like some other contestants that season. He was always just “Taylor”.
If you read too many Google Alerts you begin to forget that “Taylor Hicks” is a television phenomenon. (For those of you camping at Area 51, I agree with you. It all can’t be a coincidence.) Taylor Hicks is a lightening rod for discussion and a true pop culture icon.
Consider these facts:
· In the last half hour of the finale of Season Five, 42.9 million people watched Taylor take the prize (Hollywood Reporter).
· The Season Five, 59-date cross-country tour was 2006’s 12th largest in box office gross, pulling in $35.2 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. Nearly 650,000 fans attended, filling 96% of available seats.
While the naysayers would suggest that the other eleven contestants had something to do with these successes, I would just add that the ratings went up after the other contestants left the show and Taylor garnered more air time.
Did I mention I was Taylor Hicks fan?
Needing a blue sky holiday, I headed over to Palm Springs last week to watch Taylor play in the Bob Hope Classic. After being admonished to wear sensible shoes and carry sunscreen, I headed out to links to catch some good golf and to do some serious celebrity watching. I was not disappointed.
Jimmy Fallon, George Lopez, Luke Wilson, Alice Cooper, and Meatloaf were just a few of the celebrities playing in the five-day tournament. While each celebrity team had their own trailing fans, it was Taylor that brought Palm Spring’s wealthiest out of their million dollar condos that lined the courses in hopes of getting an autograph. On the 6th Hole at PGA West, a doyenne of Palm Springs society was hosting a cocktail party on her patio that overlooked the course. When Taylor’s team started to tee-up, she and a server from her own patio party ran to the yellow ropes in hopes of getting a better look at Taylor. Both women, ages 20 and 65 blushed bright red when Taylor came over to the rope and signed their programs. I saw this scene repeated many times. A group of men representing the Ohio State Alumni Organization begged for a photograph and a ten year veteran of the tournament said she had never asked for an autograph before, but she would be honored if Taylor would sign a picture taken from last year. If this happened once or twice, most fans would beam with pride. The fact that there were public displays of adoration at EVERY hole and even afterwards while the golfers were turning in their score cards, was amazing. I was confounded and prideful that seemingly everyone in Palm Springs wanted to adopt Taylor Hicks or at least invite him in to have a drink and dinner. No other celebrity received this amount of admiration and affection from the locals, which are usually jaded (another Hand to Heaven moment). When you are used to seeing Arnold Palmer and US Presidents walking in your backyard, your skin gets a little thick.
So how was he you asked? What struck me immediately was Taylor’s light-hearted affability. He strode across the links like a 12 year-old boy with a pocket full of money headed to the candy store. His loose gait and relaxed demeanor provided a bit of an insight into Taylor away from the stage. He seemed to appreciate the fact that he was playing on some of the best courses in the country. He joked with everyone and was supportive of his other teammates. Gone was the weariness that eight months of touring brings. Unguarded and happy would best describe his disposition.
Cameras are expressly forbidden by the PGA unless you carry press credentials. One tournament marshal told someone standing next to me that she was breaking PGA law by taking a picture. I wanted to shout back, “So write her a PGA ticket”. I made the video below using images which I clandestinely captured, coupled with images that someone took using my camera and others from my friend Ken. Please enjoy the video and I hope you remember to do something today that makes you happy.
“I've always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn't have a chance to win.” Arnold Palmer
Written by Pay the Devil
Published by : Tina Shaddix
Pictures and video by Pay the Devil
Taylor's Angels offers our heartfelt thanks to Pay the Devil for sharing this uplifting account, complete with pictures and video, of Taylor's Blue Sky Holiday! We sincerely hope that you enjoyed her unique and often humerous insight!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Taylor's Angels is sponsoring a new award that will be given each month to one very special person in the Soul Patrol Community. Starting this month we will be accepting nominations for "Hero of the Month”. The nominees should be a fan or supporter of Taylor Hicks who has done something extraordinary to help and/or give support to someone in need within the Soul Patrol community.
We all know someone who has offered words of encouragement during difficult circumstances or started a project to help lessen life's burdens. We all have been touched by acts of kindness inspired by Taylor Hicks, so we want to recognize those special people in a unique way.
One winner will be selected each month and will receive a beautiful bracelet designed especially for them. Additionally, Taylor's Angels will feature the winner and why they were selected as the "Hero of the Month" in our weekly blog.
Debbie ( alagirl77)
Debbie belongs to a board called "The Right Place". A member of her board called "TurtleHeart" told the board about a little girl named Mallorie. Turtleheart let them know about a very sick little girl, who was a huge fan of Taylor Hicks. The little girl’s dream was to one day go to a concert and meet Taylor. The wonderful members of "The Right Place" took Mallorie's family under their wing and began to send her letters and Taylor things. Debbie started communicating with Renee( Mallorie's) mother and finding out what her needs were. She became her friend knowing the hardship she was facing with a sick child, she became someone to lean on. Debbie wrote a letter to Taylor's Angels and asked for tickets to a concert so this child's dream could come true. We told her we would work on it and got them tickets to the Orange Beach concert. In the end it all worked out for them and Mallorie's wish of meeting Taylor was granted by a very special promoter. Debbie not only wrote to us about Mallorie, she became a friend of Taylor’s Angels. She kept us updated on Mallorie's condition weekly. She helped the family with her kind words of encouragement and friendship. She encouraged the Soul Patrol, along with "TurtleHeart" to reach out to this family.
We chose Debbie because she went beyond the call of duty to help this family. She became their friend -someone they could count on. She has a beautiful heart. Her joy came from knowing that Mallorie's dream had come true. We asked Debbie to share a little about herself with the Soul Patrol and as you will read she has her own "claim to fame" in Taylor world!
TA: Tell us about yourself.
Debbie: I live in Alabaster, Al. very near Birmingham. I grew up in Southeastern Ohio in the small town of Chesapeake. I enjoy life and all it has to offer me each day. I value my family and friends for they add much joy to my life. I am about to start a new venture in my life. I am starting school this month to be an Esthetician, which I am looking forward to. I love challenges and rise to the occasion when it is needed.
TA: How did you become interested in Taylor? What inspired you about his music?
Debbie: I saw Taylor on AI season 5 and had never heard of him until then. My son and I were watching the show and when they said "Taylor Hicks from Birmingham" we were both glued to the television. From that point on, nothing could tear us away from AI each week. His voice and moves floored me and I was hooked. His personality came through on each and every show and I knew this guy’s was going places. I could feel the soulful talent that came within him, his music and talent was something that grabbed me and has never let go. Taylor brought me back to music, music I had been missing for such a long time.
TA: How many shows have you been to?
Debbie: I have attended 3 shows - not enough but I am thankful I was able to see those. I have seen him in other settings- but only 3 concerts.
TA: What is your favorite Taylor tune?
Debbie: From his debut album, I have to say "The Maze". That song and it's tempo moves me. From his concerts- I would have to say "Don't Let Me Down", that is an all time favorite of mine. It's had to pick one favorite. Anything and everything Taylor does "Wows" me.
TA: Share with us your favorite "Taylor Moment".
Debbie: It has to be the day I recorded his "hole in one" at the golf tournament. Getting to meet him and talk to him one on one. I was so nervous, but it's a day I will never forget. Also, getting to see Taylor at Alabama Adventure with LMBO was a treat. He was so in his element that night and talking to him briefly after the show was a moment to treasure.
TA: Tell us the story about the famous "Hole in One" you recorded.
Debbie: I watched Taylor practice his driving before he hit the greens. I had a moment to speak to him and get his autograph. We all began to follow the guys around the course. When we got to backside of the course we had a huge hill to climb. One of the men working there told us that it may be better to head to the bottom where the green was and wait there, so we did. I took a seat on the grass waiting on Taylor to drive. He made a perfect drive, right onto the green. As Taylor came down the hill and approached the green - something told me to pick up my camera and capture the shot. He took his time and aimed. Perfect putt and the ball went. Taylor did his happy dance and we were all on our feet screaming our hearts out for him. When he walked off the green he said, “If anyone got that video I will pay them!" and laughed. I yelled over to him that I had captured it. He said to me, "You got that?". I told him yes- I got it. He once again said, "You got that?” "You really got that shot?” I said “Yes Taylor, I got it!". He seemed to be in disbelief that it had been captured. He walked over to me and talked for a bit. Thanked me for getting the shot on video and asked if I could send it to him. He then asked if I would like a picture with him and at that point I totally went into the "Taylor Zone". That was a moment in time I will never forget as a Taylor Hicks fan! I made a DVD of his magical moment, along with pictures I had taken and sent it to him. I received a wonderful letter from his father thanking me.
TA: How did you meet Renee and Mallorie? What inspired you to contact us to help them?
Debbie: A dear Soul Patrol member, Turtleheart, brought a post from Renee on the AI boards over to us and it touched my heart. Reading what a mother wrote, such a heartfelt message for her sick little girl that is such a huge Taylor Hicks fan, to somehow see him in concert got my wheels turning. I contacted those that had connections by email or PM that could maybe help in making Mallorie's wish come true. I knew of Taylor's Angels and had read the blog many times. Someone on the boards suggested contacting Taylor's Angels. God and my heart led me to request this for Renee and her dear daughter. Taylor's Angels made that magical wish come true for Mallorie and I am so thankful to all of you. I thank God each day for the Sullivan family in my life. They have added much joy and love to my life.
We know that by now you have already thought of someone to nominate, so please email us at :firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a nomination form. You will be asked to answer a few short questions describing what the nominee has done to enhance the life of another and why they are deserving of the award.
Taylor’s Angels thanks each of you for your support this past year and we look forward to recognizing some outstanding Soul Patrollers during 2008!
Published by: Teri (cydter)
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Taylor's Angels is priviledged to share with you the story of this courageous boy, his fight for life and his "journey just to dance with Taylor Hicks". His mother penned these words:
Prior to Evan’s illness, our family watched American Idol religiously. By Season 5, Evan was old enough to understand what was going on and really got into the show. We were very excited to see Taylor Hicks, a Birmingham native, make it to Hollywood and were sold on his ingenuity and uniqueness from the beginning. We spent every week watching the show and rooting Taylor on. We were all very excited when he won!
Life has been rough for our little guy. He has endured more than any one person should have to endure, but he has done it with such grace and flair. He has lived life and continues to live life to the absolute fullest and has taken advantage of any moment, any place, and any person to spread his joy of living through his incredible personality and his undying energy and love. I believe that God places people in our paths to be an example for others – a shining star. I am blessed that one of these people that God has placed in my path is my own flesh and blood, my own shining star - my son.
Taylor Hicks- Liberty Bowl Halftime Show from edjorg on Vimeo.
A WORD ABOUT ST. JUDE AND HOW YOU CAN HELP:
St. Jude is unlike any other pediatric treatment and research facility anywhere. Discoveries made there have completely changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
They are where some of today's most gifted researchers are able to do more science, more quickly. Where doctors across the world send their toughest cases and most vulnerable patients. Where no one pays for treatment beyond what is covered by insurance, and those without insurance are never asked to pay. They've built America's 3rd-largest health-care charity, with a model that keeps the costs down and the funds flowing, so the science never stops.
All patients accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family's ability to pay.
Taylor's Angels wishes to unite with the Soul Patrol in donating to St. Jude's Hospital in Taylor's name. An account is being set up so that the Soul Patrol can donate. The link is : Fans Care For St. Judes Kids
Taylor's name will appear within the next few days. Your donation will be greatly appreciated. Evan is proof of the help they provide!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Happy New Year, Soul Patrol!!! In the spirit of the holiday season, you have all joined us as we reminisced 2007. On behalf of all Taylor's Angels, I want to thank each of you for enjoying our thoughts, our guests' thoughts, and for supporting us in our cause to Tay-It-Forward.
Less than a year ago we formed only because we were fans of Taylor Hicks and we wanted to help one person join his official website. To say that that one act of kindness mushroomed into something none of us ever imagined would be an understatement. With your help, and ONLY with your help, we all sent over 400 people who could not afford to go to Taylor's concerts, we have given back to our troops, we have discovered and supported new charities, and, most recently, we all came together to help out one of our favorite promoters of Taylor's show when he and his family lost everything. When I look back on 2007, the profound generosity of so many people who I only know through my computer just floors me. And when I remember that all of this came about for one reason: because we all share respect, admiration, and love for the music of Taylor Hicks.
Because of our belief in his music, we have each been inspired to come together and to do so much good work. We have been inspired to travel places we might not have otherwise visited and to become friends with people on the other side of your state, your country, our globe.
This very day one year ago, I didn't know the significance that 2007 would have for me. I had no idea there would be a second Birmingham show, much less that it would be the show that made 2500 people cry during Taylor's encore song and that it would be the last one of a week of Taylor shows that I'd share with a wonderful woman from Canada who I had never met until then. I also had no inkling that I would be flying next to and staring in awe at the magnificent Mt. Hood as my plane was descending into Portland; or that I would visit the beautiful venue formerly known as Woodstock in the breathtaking range of the Catskills; hadn't dreamed I'd learn how to play video poker in Vicksburg or that I would even visit the battleground there alone with a fabulous woman I had just met the night before, and I certainly didn't think that I would be able to hug for the first time someone I was about to grow close to over the internet and the phone; didn't have a clue some awesome chick from California would rope me into a killer game of "Name That Tune" somewhere and everywhere between Biloxi and New Orleans; I had never heard of a "HOB" but I was in for a real treat at the one in New Orleans. And Taylor's Angels wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eyes. Not only did I have no idea what was in store for me, but, every bit of it was inspired and driven by an appreciation of man and his music. Slowly but certainly, going to a new location became more than just catching Taylor in concert, it has become a chance to see a different part of our big and wonderful world, and, most importantly, a time to reconnect with my new friends and to embrace even newer ones. That is the true spirit I take with me when I go to a new city to see one of Taylor's shows. The concert is the icing on the cake.
So, what do I resolve to do (or not do) in 2008? I don't know. I wish I could have 2007 again. That much I do know. But, as the saying goes, I will not cry because it is over, but I will smile because it happened.
With so many surprises that last year held for me, I hesitate to even try to make any New Year's resolutions for 2008. I don't want to be so rigid that I don't have room for more surprises. None of us knows what 2008 holds for us, but my wish to each of you is that your year is as full of the gifts, happy times, and new friendships as mine was last year. My committment to each of you and to myself is to continue helping all of you spread the goodwill that we all accomplished in 2007.
So, instead of coming up with a list of resolutions, I will make a committment. A committment to the Soul Patrol, on behalf of the man who inspired me in so many ways. And I can't think of a better way to begin that commitment than with some words from Taylor himself. So, in appreciation to each of you for the good work that you did last year through Taylor's Angels, we would like to help you start the year off right and re-committing yourself to the Soul Patrol by bringing to each of you an interview we had with Taylor Hicks, the man and the reason we have all been inspired in so many ways. We would also like to share with you some exclusive and never-before seen pictures of Taylor taken by our own Tina-- I think you'll find them as fabulous as we do. Enjoy the interview and pictures and have a fabulous New Year!!! I hope to see each of you in 2008-- I just don't know where yet!
TA: Who is your hero living or dead? What is it about his person that makes them your hero?
Taylor Hicks: I have many heros. Ray Charles is the first that comes to mind. He was definitely my biggest musical inspiration growing up. Ray Charles defined rhythm & blues, soul, and authentic rock 'n' roll. I respected the genius.
TA: What else about him aside from his music, has been an inspiration and motivated you to keep on with your ultimate life goal.
Taylor Hicks: His drive. With so many hardships in his life it would have been easy to give up but instead he pushed himself to do more and achieved greatness!
TA: Taylor , what do you consider to be your greatest strength, and what is the source of the strength of your character?
Taylor Hicks: Perseverance and Self Confidence. You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. Confidence comes with proper preparation; everything else is beyond your control. I once heard that a successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. I definitely apply that to my own life and use every experience as a learning opportunity.
TA: It is perhaps three important attributes personified in you that have endeared you to your fans. In your book, Heart Full of Soul, you elaborate in detail on two of these including your passion for music and your perseverance against all odds. However, the third attribute that you consistently display is one of a caring and compassionate spirit combined with humility. Can you elaborate on these qualities and the experiences in your life that have helped shape your views and actions, which in turn has touched so many, particularly children and those less fortunate, in immeasurable ways.
Taylor Hicks: Being humble is so important. It is so easy to loose sight of the things that got you to where you are. I strive on staying grounded and not get “blinded by the light”. You also have to be selfless in your actions. I believe that actions speak louder than words. Give and you shall receive.
TA: If you had children, what would be the most important things you would want to instill in them?
Taylor Hicks: I would tell them to always be giving, loving, kind, and most importantly respectful. And always say yes when their parents ask them to do something!
TA: Do you have a favorite or daily mantra? If so, what is it, when did you adopt it and what does it mean to you?
Taylor Hicks: I don’t have a mantra, however, every morning I start my day with breakfast. To me, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it provides the energy I need to start my day off right!
Written and Published by Leslie Mozingo
All photos taken by Tina Shaddix
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels