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Soul on the Shelves and Kodak Moments
Topic Started: Jan 31 2008, 01:28 PM (611 Views)
Taymanfan

posted at the Whomp Swamp by mouser


SOUL ON THE SHELVES AND KODAK MOMENTS


Source: Nashua Telegraph
Date Published: April 01, 2007



Reigning 'Idol' Hicks brings Southern soul to New England
By Betsy Pickle



If Taylor Hicks’ fans imitate his concert-going pattern, he’ll be playing to empty houses on his current tour. Hicks didn’t get to attend many shows while he was growing up in Alabama.

"I think my first concert was Lionel Richie and Tina Turner, which was cool," the 2006 "American Idol" winner says. "That was a nice starting point.

"When I turned 18, I started performing music, and I’ve been performing music ever since – writing it, touring it. I’ve probably caught 10 shows in the last eight years."

Hicks learned his stage moves from his heroes, but not from seeing them perform live.

"Van Morrison and Ray Charles and Bob Seger and Joe Cocker – I used to watch video footage of those guys," says Hicks. "I would study all their movements and stuff. Sly Stone, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding – all those people I would get video footage on and listen to ‘em and watch ‘em."

If he could have seen any of his idols play live, he would have wanted it to be "Jackie Wilson – and I would have liked to have seen Marvin Gaye," he says.

Hicks, 30, was nearly 5 when MTV debuted.

"I was on a musical journey then," he says by phone from Los Angeles. "I was just starting out listening to music. I’d been listening to oldies and stuff.

"I kind of had the same mentality then as I do now: I keep an eye on pop culture, but I also have an eye for vintage music as well. Each eye is doing a different thing, you know."

During his run on "American Idol," Hicks stayed in his vintage comfort zone, performing songs by Redding, Cocker, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, John Denver, the Doobie Brothers, the Commodores, Wild Cherry, James Ingram, Bruce Springsteen and Queen. The only cover from the current century that he performed was "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne.

Hicks, whose fans are known as the Soul Patrol, was crowned the winner of "Idol’s" fifth season last May. While he was the first "Idol" champ to come into the contest as a working musician, he sees nothing wrong with singers arriving with little to no experience.

"That show is about the voice and the entertaining ability," he says. "And if you can put those two together, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a musician or not. I really think that that show allows you to blossom as a vocalist and an entertainer."

Hicks, who auditioned in Las Vegas after Memphis, Tenn., auditions were canceled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, describes his stint on "Idol" as "fun work."

"We had some good times together," he says of the other contestants. "We all got along pretty well. . . . It was really cool; it was OK."

The sense of competition was "always there," he says. Now, however, he isn’t worried about his album sales being measured against his Season Five peers such as Katharine McPhee or Chris Daughtry or earlier "Idol" winners such as Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino or Carrie Underwood.

"It’s there for others to create a storyline with, but not for me," he says.

Hicks’ first post-"Idol" single, "Do I Make You Proud," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Before appearing on "Idol," he’d self-released two albums, but his first major-label album, "Taylor Hicks," was released in December. It debuted at No. 2 on the charts and was certified platinum within five weeks.

On his tour, which runs through May 12, his set list won’t be limited to "Taylor Hicks" tracks.

"I’m playing some stuff that’s on my previous works and a few really cool covers," he says.


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Source: The Birmingham News
Date Published: April 05, 2007


Hicks will tee it up with senior pros
By Jon Solomon




As a child, Taylor Hicks got kicked out of a hospitality tent at the Regions Charity Classic for not having proper credentials. Next month, the 2006 "American Idol" winner headlines the tournament's Charter Telephone Pro-Am.

Sports personalities attending the May 17 pro-am at Ross Bridge include Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson, Phil Niekro, Tommy Tuberville, Steve Spurrier, Bobby Bowden, Neil Callaway, Jeff Lebo, Mark Gottfried, Bruce Pearl and Mike Anderson. Tournament officials are finalizing details with Alabama football coach Nick Saban to participate.

Among entertainers, singer Randy Owen ("Alabama") and actor Lucas Black ("Sling Blade" and "Friday Night Lights"), who was born in Decatur and went to Speake High School, will also attend.

Gene Hallman, the tournament organizer for the Bruno Event Team, learned Hicks played golf after seeing a photo of the singer at the Bob Hope Classic in January. Hicks played there with a 17 handicap.

"Taylor will attract a whole new segment of fans that maybe we've never had out to the golf tournament," Hallman said. "Him playing the week before the `American Idol' final will add an extra dimension to his popularity."

Two children's charities - Kid One Transport and Studio By The Tracks - will receive $7,500 each in Hicks' name from tournament proceeds.

Hicks, a Hoover native, used to attend the event as a child. Hallman said Hicks told him one of his biggest thrills was getting Lee Trevino's autograph.

Golfers expected to play in the Regions Charity Classic include Hale Irwin, Jay Haas, Nick Price, Loren Roberts, Ben Crenshaw, Hubert Green, Jerry Pate and Trevino.

Tickets are $15, and children under 15 get in free. Discounted tickets are available at any Bruno's grocery store or Food World.

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Taymanfan

Source: Hagerstown Morning Herald
Date Published: April 05, 2007


Taylor Hicks coming to Maryland Theatre
Erin Julius


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
American Idol 2006 Taylor Hicks is coming to Hagerstown.


Hicks will perform July 6 at The Maryland Theatre, and the theater's director said Thursday that fans might want to line up the night before tickets go on sale at the theater's box office next weekend.


Tickets for the Friday night show go on sale April 14 at 8 a.m. Tickets will be available only at the box office that day to give local residents the first chance to buy them, according to Bruce Torres, president of Cabana Cove Concerts.


Tickets are expected to sell "very, very quickly," Torres said Thursday afternoon.


"He's one of the hottest things in music right now," said Torres, who called Hicks' live performances "amazing."


"He throws some jazz and blues in the middle of a mix of songs," Torres said.


Hicks' music is "bluesy and soulful" and he connects with the audience at his mostly standing-room-only concerts, Torres said.


The Hagerstown concert date was the most recent addition to Hicks' 56-city tour, Torres said.


Hicks' tour focuses on smaller venues like The Maryland Theatre, Torres said.


"It's a grass-roots tour for him,"Torres said.


Hicks is the first of many big names who Executive Director Brian Sullivan hopes will perform at the theatre, he said.


The Maryland Theatre seats 1,300 people, and 95 percent of those seats will be available for the concert, Sullivan said.


Tickets will be available at the theater's box office at 27 S. Potomac St. from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 14.


Beginning the morning of April 16, tickets will be available online at www.mdtheatre.org or by calling the box office at 301-790-2000, Sullivan said.

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Source: www.news10now.com
Date Published: April 11, 2007


Taylor Hicks to perform at DPAO summer concert



The winner of last year's American Idol will perform this summer in Watertown. Taylor Hicks will be part of this year's Disabled Persons Action Organization's Summer Concert Series. Hicks will play at the Watertown Fairgrounds Ice Arena on August 9th.

His performances include a variety of blues and soul music.

"Most of the shows he has are pretty much sold out. We're very pleased to get him. Knowing the popularity of the Idol show, we think there's going to be a pretty good turnout," DPAO Executive Director Joe Rich said.

Proceeds from the concert series will go to the DPAO Snoezelen Room, which helps children with a variety of spectrum disorders such as autism.

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Source: The Birmingham News
Date Published: May 18, 2007


A perfect day to see the stars at Charity Classic
Twice the crowd for Hicks, Saban, Tuberville, others
By Ray Melick




By noon, Gene Hallman knew this wasn't going to be just another day at the golf course.

"We had already parked more cars than we did all day Thursday last year," said Hallman, executive director of the Regions Charity Classic.

When it was over, an estimated crowd of 16,750 showed up at Ross Bridge on a picture-perfect day for the Regions Charity Classic Charter Telephone Pro-Am to see any number of American idols - including the current American Idol, Birmingham native Taylor Hicks.

It was hard to tell who most fans came to see. From 8 a.m., when a group including Bo Jackson, Stan White and Cornelius Bennett made its way to the first tee, until about 12:30 when Hicks' group teed off, it was standing room only with people packed five and six deep along most of the first fairway.

In between was a group that included a head-to-head match between Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier (won by Spurrier), followed by a fivesome that included new Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

"He's shorter than I thought," seemed to be the general reaction from fans getting their first close-up look at college football's $4 million man.

According to Hicks, who pulled a harmonica out of his pocket and played a quick tune after his thunderous first tee reception, hitting that first shot of the day was more nerve-wracking than his next big gig, appearing on the season finale of "American Idol" Tuesday.

"That No. 1 tee shot is tough," Hicks said. "That's a lot more pressure than going back to the 'American Idol' stage."

For the record, Hicks' first shot was a beauty, right down the middle and just short of the tee shot hit by touring pro Jay Haas.

It is hard to say whose gallery was larger, since Tuberville-Spurrier and Saban went off one right after the other.

And three hours later, when it was Hicks' turn to go, the crowd looked like it might have been the biggest of the day. A Hoover policeman who has worked security for the tournament for years said it was the largest gallery for a single person since Joe Namath played two years ago.

"Last year, we estimated 8,200 here for Thursday," Hallman said. "This year, we more than doubled that."

Because there are no turnstiles, crowd estimates are made by counting the cars in all the tournament parking lots.

Tuberville and Spurrier appeared serious about their match, wired for sound and followed by cameras from Fox Sports for a future feature story. While Tuberville signed autographs and posed for pictures sporadically between holes, Spurrier was adamant about not doing anything until the round was over.

So serious was Spurrier about winning that, as he came up the 18th green after securing the win by taking his sixth hole with four to play, the South Carolina coach was heard to say to no one in particular, "I should have doubled him (Tuberville)."

Saban clearly signed the most autographs of any of the coaches. While he rarely ventured near the fans, he had an aide, Cedric Burns, go to the ropes between every shot and collect as many items as he could carry, and then bring them to Saban, who would sign as much as he could until it was time to attempt another shot.

Unless he was talking on the cell phone. According to one person who followed Saban the entire round, his longest single conversation with anyone Thursday was on the phone, to a recruit.

"I've been on the road for 15 of the 20 days we're allowed to have contact," said Saban, who left immediately after his round for the airport to get back on the road recruiting.

Saban did have some interaction with the gallery, however.

On the seventh hole, Saban's tee shot strayed to the edge of the yard of a house along the fairway. Before he could get to the ball, the lady of the house came out to stand over his ball, wearing a Miami Dolphins' shirt.

"I yelled, 'Somebody get the police,'" said Alabama fan Lyndsey Woodall, recognizing Saban's former team and the animosity among some Dolphin fans for the way Saban left.

"But the lady said, 'No, I love him,' and Saban laughed and had his picture made with her."

Later, on the 15th hole, Saban's second shot strayed up onto a hillside overlooking the green, plunking Jerry Harrson of Gardendale in the ribs.

"I didn't even see it coming," said Harrson, who was wearing a University of South Alabama shirt in honor of his grandson, Brent Culpepper, who has signed to play basketball for the Jaguars.

"Coach Saban came over and hugged me, let me get a picture with him. He was great."

But it was Hicks who seemed to have the most fun, finding himself featured in a tournament that he'd had to sneak in to watch just two years ago.

"The thing about being inside the ropes is to try to make a positive impact on people," he said. "I got that chance when I gave my harmonica to a child out there with cancer. I signed it and gave it to him, and he asked me what it was. I told him to blow into it, and when he did, you should have seen his eyes light up.

"Who knows what that could lead to? But that's when you realize the impact you can have on people."

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Taymanfan

Source: PR.com
Date Published: May 27, 2007


American Troops Are Remembered with Gifts of Music
US troops are remembered this Memorial Day weekend.



North Haven, CT, May 27, 2007 --(PR.com)-- This Memorial Day weekend, our American troops will be remembered in many special ways. They were remembered today as it was announced that Redstone Properties, at http://www.theoaks-gpi.com/home/, has donated 1,000 Taylor Hicks CD’s to the Proud Of Our Troops drive. The Proud Of Our Troops drive is an ongoing drive sponsored by Jewelry Sprout, which sends Taylor Hicks CD’s to our men and women all over the world who are serving our country.

The Proud Of Our Troops Drive began in June, 2006, and in 21 weeks, 3,157 copies of Hicks’ debut single, "Do I Make You Proud" were sent to American soldiers overseas! The goal for Part 2 of the drive is 10,000 copies of Taylor's new CD, titled "Taylor Hicks.”

Organizers of the drive are asking you to join them in showing your support and thanks to our troops by sending them a gift that will provide them not only with music, but a reminder that they are in the thoughts of everyone back home. Sadly, some of our soldiers do not receive any letters or care packages.

Please remember our troops. On this Memorial Day weekend, send a “Taylor Hicks” CD to the troops and thank them for the brave work they do. All information on the Proud Of Our Troops drive can be found at http://www.jewelrysprout.com/taylor-hicks-cd-drive.html.

----------------------------------------------




Source: The Birmingham News
Date Published: June 2, 2007


Hicks show packs in energy, hometown appeal
By Mary Colurso


The star: Taylor Hicks, Hoover native, 2006 "American Idol" winner and gray-haired soul singer.

The backing group: The Little Memphis Blues Orchestra, Hicks' Birmingham bandmates. It included Brian Less on keyboards, Mitch Jones on bass, Zippy Dieterich on drums and Jeff Lopez on saxophone. A guest guitarist stood in for an absent Sam Gunderson.

The place: Alabama Adventure in Bessemer.

The set-up: This amusement park isn't the greatest place to see a concert.

The stage looked cramped, jammed with equipment and VIP seating that placed Hicks' guests in the spotlight. The general-admission crowd was oddly situated, extending in front and in back of the stage. But the sound was decent, which is a major improvement from some of the concerts last year.

The mood: Casual and relaxed, with a packed-in audience standing down front and others scattered on a sloping lawn, using lawn chairs and blankets.

The time: 8 p.m. Hicks played for about an hour, plus encore. That's slightly shorter than the performances he's been doing in theaters across the country, with a different touring band.

The set list: A mix of Hicks originals ("In Your Time," "Soul Thing"), tracks from his Arista debut disc ("Gonna Move") and covers he usually does with his touring band or Little Memphis ("Hey Pocky Way," "Badge," "Feelin' Alright").

The performance: Energetic, as always, with lots of hometown appeal. Not quite as polished as Hicks' April concerts at the Alabama Theatre, but that wasn't to be expected at the outdoor venue.

The Kodak moment: Hicks, who'd been sweating profusely throughout the show, changed his shirt backstage before the encore. He bounded out to sing a huge crowd-pleaser, "Sweet Home Alabama," with the buttons done up crooked. Fans received a teasing glimpse of Hicks' chest as he redid the buttons, tucked the microphone under his chin and kept on singing.

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Source: BuddyTV
Date Published: June 8, 2007


American Idol: Taylor Hicks' memoir gets release date
By Oscar Dahl




Taylor Hicks, the winner of American Idol's fifth season, has found a release date for his upcoming memoir. The book is entitled "Heart Full of Soul" and will be released to the public on Tuesday, July 10. The book will be released by Random House Publishing.

Taylor Hicks memoir is an "inspirational memoir about finding your voice and finding your way." Fair enough. The silver haired blues singer has found mild success since winning Idol, but has been overshadowed a few fellow members of season 5. Chris Daughtry, the fourth place finisher, has especially taken the world by storm, selling over two million records. Katherine McPhee and Elliot Yamin haven't had Daughtry level sales, but both have done quite well. Hicks, however, is the first to write a book.

He didn't write it alone, however. "Heart Full of Soul" was ghost-written by former Rolling Stone scribe David Wild. It's been reported that Taylor received a hefty $750,000 advance to write the memoirs, which does seem a bit high. It's unclear how well American Idol fame will translate into book sales, but Hicks and company seem optimistic.

The book is 272 pages long. There is no word on font size (as of yet; we'll keep you updated). You can pre-order it anywhere you would normally pre-order a book.

Taylor Hicks has been unfairly chastised for his lack of post-Idol success, and there are a significant portion of Idol fans who don't believe he deserved to win the whole thing. His performance during the Idol finale, however, was the type of thing that reminds everyone just how good he can be. He's a unique dude with a style on his own, and there's no shame in feeling good about him and his Idol victory.

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Taymanfan

Source: The Charlottesville Daily Progress
Date Published: June 29, 2007


Soul man
Since adding 'Idol' title to his resume, Taylor Hicks pens book, counts blessings By Jane Dunlap Norris




Sometimes, a little bit of soul just isn't enough. It's a good thing, then, that Taylor Hicks has a whole evening of music planned for Thursday at the Paramount Theater.

If you're a member of Hicks's faithful Soul Patrol fan base, you probably already have your tickets, but if you're just discovering the 30-year-old singer from Birmingham, Ala., there's still time to save one of a few remaining seats.

The winner of the fifth season of "American Idol'' has a platinum-selling eponymous album, an in-demand summer tour and even a memoir slated to hit shelves just days after his performance at the Paramount, which is presented by Starr Hill.

Ask him what has changed in the past year since he captured the "Idol'' crown, and it's clear how he stays grounded.

"The surroundings have, the energy level has, but the people I surround myself with haven't,'' Hicks said. "The grounding influence has been the experience of working ten years in clubs, dreaming about a dream I had an idea about.''

Unlike many of his fellow "Idol'' contestants, Hicks had been a professional musician for years, belting out soul, blues and rhythm and blues music. He released his first independent CD, "In Your Time,'' while studying at Auburn University and a second, "Under the Radar,'' in 2005 before he auditioned for the reality television competition.

Hicks had no illusions entering the contest that a life in music would be a breeze. That's why he has been savoring the delightful moments, such as getting opportunities to perform with idols Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers.

"These kinds of things just don't happen,'' Hicks said. "I've been so blessed.''

So who else is on Hicks's collaboration wish list? "Paul Simon,'' Hicks said. "He's one of my favorites.''

Hicks said audiences have been responding to what he calls "a modern approach to soul music'' on his current tour. He enjoys seeing a wide range of ages in the audience - "from 7 to 70,'' he said.

Heading back to the "American Idol'' finale in May - this time as a champion with a year of national exposure under his belt - was a satisfying experience.

"I was very happy I could sing and perform and see all this year's contestants,'' Hicks said.

The baritone soon will be juggling his busy touring schedule with book signings. "Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way'' will be released July 10. Hicks worked with writer David Wild, who has written for Rolling Stone, said he enjoys "any kind of writing'' and found penning the book to be "therapeutic.''

"It's a good summer read,'' Hicks said.

In the book, Hicks relates "the trials of the road'' - some of the challenges life has tossed his way - and explains how he responded to them and how they influenced him. He addresses his parents' divorce, his struggle to make a name for himself in endless nightclub gigs and the death of a close friend - and how all those events helped shape his resilient philosophy.

"My situation has been that if you keep working on something, the work and the self-confidence lead to an opportunity,'' Hicks said. Of self-confidence, he said, "I think it's the most important. I think faith, and determination.

"Believe in a higher power, and believe you can make it.''

The process of writing the book helped Hicks gain new perspectives on many of the events he wrote about.

"I think I laugh at my stories now,'' he said. "I think it's been therapeutic.''

As much as he enjoys writing, Hicks isn't likely to find a lot of time to craft new songs on the road. "This is a pretty grueling summer tour,'' he said. "The way I write, I like to be in one place.''

If you missed all the "Idol'' hoopla last year and aren't familiar with Hicks's sound, there's plenty of time to pick up a copy of "Taylor Hicks'' and savor some blue-eyed soul from a brown-eyed singer with a ruggedly been-there tone.

"Heaven Knows,'' the latest single, was released May 28. Another track on the CD has a sentimental tie. "The Right Place,'' penned by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, had been written for the late Ray Charles. For Hicks, whose combination of prematurely silver hair and soulful style earned him the nickname "Gray Charles'' from some fans, recording a song meant for Charles was an honor.

Tour dates and book signings will be keeping Hicks busy, but he hopes to have time to think about the future at some point. One thing he'd like to do is help other folks with musical dreams get a foot in the door. "I understand what it's like to not have a break,'' he said.

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Source: Library Journal
Date Published: July 01, 2007



Xpress Reviews—First Look at New Books




Hicks, Taylor with David Wild. Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way. Crown. Jul. 2007. c.288p. photogs. index. ISBN 978-0-307-38243-6. $24.95. MUSIC

Hicks, the winner of the fifth season of American Idol last year, is the first idol to publish a memoir. As a child in Alabama, he got his first listen to soul music by way of an Otis Redding record and "a new soulful world opened up." In prose both humble and self-promotional, Hicks writes of the obstacles he faced having a band and being on the road; but rather than see road blocks, he used the difficulties he encountered and his weaknesses to his advantage. He attributes his success to thinking ahead, self-confidence, determination, and using his imperfections, like gray hair at an early age, to help him stand out. Amidst the life lessons, Hicks shares inspirational advice and music recommendations, which make his book enjoyable even for those who didn't see him on TV. Good for young adults and older; recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/06.]—Lani Smith, Boston

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Taymanfan

Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Date Published: June 24, 2007


Red, white and soul
By Chris Shipman




Fans will come from across the country to see "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks at the Spartanburg Community College Foundation's Red, White & Boom celebration Friday. People from 25 states have purchased tickets, and the Marriott has already booked the block of rooms set aside for Red, White & Boom attendees.

"We have people coming from as far away as California, Washington state and New York," said Nancy Dickson, executive director of the SCC Foundation.

"We do this as a fundraiser to raise scholarships to support students who come to the college," Dickson said.

Dickson said that in the past couple of years, organizers have tried to appeal to the age group they serve at the college.

Last year's concert with singer Miranda Lambert, the Academy of Country Music's Best New Female Artist for 2007, filled the park to capacity.

"Taylor Hicks is that type of person," Dickson said. "He appeals to a broad range of people, and our sponsors feel comfortable with a nationally recognized name."

Hicks draws crowds of fans from all over the country, many who follow him from show to show.

"He's nothing like 'American Idol,' " said Donna Bristow, a 46-year-old sales representative from Anderson County. "You can't describe him unless you see him live. He's so magnetic. He puts his whole heart and soul in it."

"I know women who have cashed in 401(k)s to follow him," Bristow said.

Bristow has friends coming in from Naples, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn. She knows women who have seen him more than 20 times.

"I attended two of Taylor's concerts in Tennessee this winter and was thrilled to learn that he would be performing within driving distance this summer," said Millie Wilson, a retired English teacher who lives about 150 miles away in Kingsport, Tenn.

She said she was struck by Hicks the first time she saw him perform on "American Idol."

"No two Taylor Hicks concerts are the same. He has a vast storehouse of music to draw from. He has been compared to a walking iPod," Wilson said.

"He's one great-looking fellow, too," she added jokingly, "and that's worth about 50 miles of driving."

The Spartanburg Community Band will play at 6 p.m. in support of the Blue Star Mothers, moms of active-duty troops. They will collect goods to send to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

People are encouraged to bring items such as 100 percent cotton T-shirts and socks, sunscreen, Chapstick, non-aerosol foot-care items, individually packaged snacks, prepaid global phone cards, letters of support and homemade cards addressed to Any Soldier.

Hicks will take the stage around 8 p.m. A 25-minute fireworks display starts at about 9:30.

Concert-goers can bring blankets and lawn chairs, but no picnic baskets, alcohol, pets or coolers. Vendors won't accept cash; you must buy food tickets to get food at the park. There will also be children's games.

Tickets are available in all price ranges. General-admission tickets will be sold until the park fills up.

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Source: Leesburg Today
Date Published: July 06, 2007


Taylor Hicks' Concert To Benefit Local Toddler
By Catherine McKinney



Sunday's Loudoun Summer Music Fest concert will highlight a tale of two Taylor's. One is a grown man, with a sultry smile and salt-and-pepper hair who wowed television audiences with his smooth voice. American Idol winner Taylor Hicks will perform on the Belmont stage Sunday night. The other Taylor is a 2-year-old from Loudoun County. She's not a celebrity, nor does she have the voice that would make others swoon except for those whose lives are sweetened by the sound of a child's innocence.

Every day of a child's life is a blessing to all parents, but for Taylor Love's parents, every moment of time spent with their daughter is a miracle.

Taylor Love was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer last December. She just turned two years old last month, and already she has undergone more hardship and suffering than most can attest to in a lifetime. Her story has touched many in the community, including The Loudoun Foundation President and LSMF founder Tracey Parent, who read Taylor's story in the newspapers last week and was compelled to do something to help her.

In honor of little Taylor, the Loudoun Summer Music Fest will hold a special raffle at its July 8 concert. Concertgoers can purchase $5 tickets for the opportunity to meet Taylor Hicks in person.

"There are certain things that grab a hold of me and I can't stop thinking about them," Parent said, reflecting on her involvement in several grassroots community projects. Parent founded the LSMF to provide a musical outlet for teens while raising money for local charities. She also established the annual Loudoun All-Star Battle Of The Bands for high school students. In other efforts, she traveled to the Gulf region after Hurricane Katrina to get her hands dirty helping the victims rebuild their lives, all the while rallying community members on the home front to donate thousands of dollars for hurricane relief.

"I just felt like it was God tapping me on the shoulder again, so I called the family and asked them if they were interested in our help," Parent said. "This is just such a rough hand that [Taylor's] been dealt, but I believe that God has a reason for everything, and this little girl who is carrying this horrible burden, her disease will not be in vain."

Parent said she recently had a conversation with Taylor's mother, Aimee, who told her that she learns day after day how little the world knows about this rare form of cancer. Aimee Love told Parent that Taylor was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer after they took her to the doctor to look at a bruise on her head that wouldn't heal. Investigation of that bruise led to the doctors' discovery of the cancer in Taylor's arms, legs and head.

"What if Taylor's gift to the world is to bring the disease to people's attention?" Parent said. "I believe everyone has a purpose, some are obviously more painful to bear, but I really hope that a lot of good comes out of this little girl. And, I hope that by exposing this form of cancer, other people know better and know more so they can get it diagnosed earlier."

Parent had planned to be on vacation when she read the articles about little Taylor, LSMF spokeswoman Miriam Nasuti said.

"She gets this idea, and she realizes she only has a week to put it together, so that's why she figured the raffle was something she could do," Nasuti said. "She never relaxes. It's just who she is."

"There are certain things that jump out at me, I don't know why, but I just go with it. I don't ever question," Parent said.

Once presented with the idea, Nasuti said Hicks was "willing and happy to do it."

During the concert, a tent will be set up next to the stage, where concertgoers can purchase tickets from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The raffle winner will be announced at the end of the concert. The winner will be invited backstage to meet Hicks after the show.

Additional raffle prizes are being donated by local businesses. Any business owners who want to donate a prize to be raffled off can call Nasuti at 703-771-8893.

Nasuti said all of the money raised by the raffle will be delivered to the Love family after the concert, which will help them pay some of Taylor's medical bills.

"Everyone in the community is so excited [about the concert]," Nasuti said. "American Idol is an icon show, and so many young people we're talking to, and even the moms, can't wait. We're hearing from a lot of 12-year-old girls. People are just excited. It's just going to be such a great show."

Since its inception in 2004, the Loudoun Summer Music Fest has attracted tens of thousands of residents and out-of-towners to the county for a line-up of nationally known bands and musicians over 12 consecutive Sundays, with a special Saturday night concert featuring The Wailers on Aug. 11.

All concerts are held at the Belmont Country Club in Ashburn. Gates to the concert open at 5 p.m. The concert begins at 6 p.m. with the opening act. Taylor Hicks goes onstage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for Sunday's show are $17 in advance and $20 at the gate, with kids ages 6 and under admitted free. Parking is free.

Proceeds from the concert benefit The Loudoun Foundation, Special Love, Inc.-a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering special activities for children with cancer and their siblings-and Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers, which helps frail and elderly adults maintain independence and quality of life.

Advance tickets and additional information, including a complete lineup of the remaining Loudoun Summer Music Fest concerts, are available online at www.liveatbelmont.com.
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Taymanfan

Source: Loudoun Connection
Date Published: July 11, 2007

Love for Two Taylors
Taylor Hicks concert raffle helps raise money for 2-year-old Ashburn resident Taylor Love. By Erika Jacobson




Loudoun Foundation president Tracey Parent does not believe in coincidences. So when she read about Taylor Love of Ashburn, a 2-year-old who has neuroblastoma, a cancer that occurs in the sympathetic nervous system, she knew she had to act.
"I felt compelled to do something," Parent said.
And do something she did.

Just nine days after reading about Taylor, Parent helped organize a fund-raising event for the Love family at the Loudoun Summer Music Fest’s Taylor Hicks concert. She was also able to introduce the Love family to David Smith, CEO of Special Love, a nonprofit that supports children with cancer and their families.

"I love making these connections," Parent said. "Taylor with Taylor; the Love family with Special Love." Smith said it can sometimes be difficult for Special Love to reach new families, like the Loves who had not previously known about the organization, because of privacy restrictions.

"It’s either word of mouth or someone tells us we have to meet a family," he said. "And this is a case in point."

TO HELP RAISE money for the Love family, Parent organized a raffle to be held during the event, where the winner would be able to meet Taylor Hicks after the show.

"Taylor Hick’s people were very supportive," she said. "And all the money goes to the family."
In addition, family friends Jennifer Hubacker and Lara Bryson set up a table where they sold the bracelets they designed specifically for Taylor. The Love family helped make about 80 bracelets for the event.
"My friends have been very supportive," Aimee Love, Taylor’s mother, said Sunday night.
"We wanted to raise money in a way that did not interfere with our other charities," Parent said. Nonprofits Special Love and Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers receive a portion of the Loudoun Summer Music Fest’s proceeds to help support their programs.
By 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 8, members of the 3,500-person audience lined up along the booth and the raffle tickets were selling fast.
"People are being so generous," Hubacker said. "They are selling like hotcakes."
With the support of Taylor Hicks, more than $3,500 was raised for the Love family.
"It was so nice that they thought of the raffle because it’s so simple and yet so successful," Hubacker said.

SHORTLY BEFORE HICKS took the stage the two Taylors came together in a backstage trailer. Crouching on the ground, Hicks spoke with Taylor, even helping her search through the drink bin for ice. The Love family also presented Hicks with a special bracelet made for him the evening before. Using navy beads and silver, the bracelet spelled out their shared name.
"It’s all so overwhelming," Aimee Love said of the outpouring of support. "We really didn’t know what to think when we got the call. It’s very exciting for us, while we are still trying to focus on what’s most important."
It was less than 10 days ago that Taylor was allowed to come home from the hospital. She arrived home the evening of June 27, her second birthday.
"She’s been home for eight days, which has been wonderful," Aimee Love said. "She’s been so happy."

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Source: PR.com
Date Published: July 17, 2007


U.S. Troops to Receive Heart Full of Soul
U.S. Troops will receive copies of the Taylor Hicks book titled "Heart Full Of Soul" in Part 3 of the Proud Of Our Troops drive.




North Haven, CT, July 17, 2007 --(PR.com)-- Jewelry Sprout is sponsoring the Proud Of Our Troops drive. They are asking everyone to please support and uplift U.S. troops by sending them the inspirational book from American Idol winner Taylor Hicks. The book is titled "Heart Full Of Soul." Jewelry Sprout is accepting both the hardcover and the audio versions of the book. Show your love and thanks to our troops and give them something that will lift their spirits and give them enjoyment during their off time.

The Proud Of Our Troops drive started on June 26, 2006. Part 1 of the drive ran for 21 weeks. 3,157 "Do I Make You Proud" CD's by Taylor Hicks were sent to our men and women overseas. Part 2 of the drive ran for 27 weeks. 2,751 Taylor Hicks CD's were sent to U.S. troops.

Soldiers' Angels, at www.soldiersangels.org, will be distributing the books to U.S. soldiers in each branch of the Armed Forces who are overseas. Our troops are not only in Iraq, but in many other places around the world. Soldiers' Angels will also be distributing the books to soldiers who were wounded in active duty and are recuperating in hospitals. Some of our troops do not receive any mail. It is very sad. Please show you care and join in Jewelry Sprout's drive. All information on the Proud Of Our Troops drive can be found at http://www.jewelrysprout.com/taylor-hicks-cd-drive.html

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