ldyjocelyn

Wichita, KS -- Nov. 26, 2007

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BW, as a heathen, I did not take one bit of exception. And really, Clay creates a concert, everybody is free to go or not go, it is not required attendance.

Two years ago, someone who does not like the religious songs triumphantly brought up a family that attended his Christmas concert and were dismayed by the religious songs, it was said that Clay should put a warning label on the poster or something.

Really, IMO, we have not prepaid Clay, under contract, to produce music to order. All other artists I know of pretty much present their act and people either like and support it, or move on to someone they like better, this being severely disappointed in his choices, and hoping he somehow changes, seems unworkable to me. Especially this late in the game. He is how he is.

Please put your recap back!

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That makes me sad BW, I loved your recap and thought it was spot on. Why does someone who criticizes get to win while the rest of us are just left to accept it and move on. I just don't get it but your choice.

Outta here. Have a great concert to those that want one.

No one wins when someone feels they can't speak their mind.

BW, I too am sorry you deleted ANYTHING. You have the right to say what you feel. And NO ONE should make you feel you can't. If I made you feel that way, I am deeply sorry.

But anytime anyone expresses an opinion about anything - either here or in real life - you have to expect that someone will disagree with you. You need to stand by your beliefs. Never forget, your opinions are every bit as valuable as anyone elses and they deserve to be heard.

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Bookwhore I hope you put your recap back, I was really looking forward to reading it. :F_05BL17blowkiss:

Kim

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Well I'm disappointed that BW removed her post because I enjoyed reading it.

Toots, I wasn't trying to soften anything. It's what I felt. I think you also need to understand that people will have different interpretations and they are genuine. I don't want to be patted on the head and humored either and you telling me I'm softening MY interpretation isn't right. I also accpeted that your interpretation was just different and there was nothing I could do about it nor would I want to. But in a community you also have to accept that perhaps no one was intentionally out to cause you pain either...that's where the benefit of the doubt comes in.

I hope she puts it back.

ETA: I need one of Clay's confused emoticons.

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Didn't get a chance to read BW's recap before she deleted it - from what I'm reading, I'd have to agree that I'm sorry she did so. Maybe mine will help a little, cause I'm not deleting a thing, and I'm blowing sunshine all over the place with this one :)

It was great to meet Gibby last night! Your video is great!

Pins arrived today Couchie - I'll have one on in Omaha!

Want another Wichita recap?

Clay.Aiken.Is.Glorious!

How's that?

and for anyone that likes details, here are a few hundred <g>

Mucho rambling sunshine ahead - sorry, can't help myself - I love this man!

As mentioned by Clay during the M&G yesterday, he wanted this concert to be reverent and it was exactly that. The setting contributed, although I noticed they had removed the religious banners that normally line the walls - but more than that, it was Clay's demeanor that set the tone from the beginning and the fact that he opened with OCOCE. He reminded me that performing these songs, conveying these messages, is really important to him during this time of year - perhaps a renewal of sorts. He seemed in a good place - very much at peace and comfortable with this show. I agree with those that have said that this seemed to be more rehearsed and polished.

Venue was 3/4's full and very receptive - lots of men! I sat next to a 6 year old girl who was at her first Clay Aiken concert - I told her dad he needed to make sure she went to many more - he promised <g>. Lots of families, young kids, and older couples. A couple that attended our pre-party was only going to go to one Christmas concert this year and they chose Wichita. . . btw, they came all the way from Denmark.

The man is gorgeous beyond words - they utilized one boom and one floor camera (to the chagrin of some in the front row when it blocked their view) and we had some jumbotron footage that would easily put every major network to shame. The man is beautiful. My seat mate, KSChristian4Clay, was backing up CV's cert, and I nearly knocked the phone to the floor countless times when I kept smacking her in the leg. She's going to have some amazing pics to share with everyone at CV later today - gahhh

Jesse has completely outdone himself with these arrangements. Everything flowed beautifully - the orchestrations might have been a little overpowering at times - at times very strong, but beautiful oboe (we know the man loves his french horns and oboes) and flute - but not once did I feel distracted from the VOX by them. I loved walking in and seeing that baby grand front and center - striking!

I never felt the show drag - the medleys had a lot to do with the quicker pace. It was very much a no-frills concert - the VOX was definitely front and center. I remember being surprised with the suddenness of the intermission - no announcement from Clay - he just finished WTOW, turned around, walked down the steps and the lights came up. The audience was caught up in the song and just sat there for a bit - possibly just the effect he was going for - again, different from the showman concerts of the summer.

I have known one of the storytellers for several years (frito) and had met a second the night before the concert, so I really enjoyed that part of it, on a personal level. The 2nd story was so touching - we ran into her after the show, she seemed truly humbled by the many wonderful comments and support she was receiving from everyone. What a strong lady, to stand up in front of so many and share such a personal story. There was so much heart, not sadness, in that venue last night. I hung on SmartyPantsSuz' story more than the others - loved meeting you Suz! Still want to know what was in the 4th box - it inspired some hilarious not-a-busline discussions, as did bus driver #2's headwear. <g>

Loved Q & A's solos - hadn't heard A's before - a friend told me Whitney sang it in "The Preacher's Wife" - loved hearing him sing IBHFC - A's entrance on AIAM kicked off my screech-meter and kinda skeered me <g>

Loved the hair, the suit, the fingers - I found myself focusing over and over on a highlighted thatch of hair just to the side of his right eyebrow . . . I tell ya, the jumbotron close-ups were heaven! The girls dresses were strikingly big <g> reminded me of the gathered summer skirts he bought for them that we saw in Houston, Tulsa, etc - only with many more, and bigger layers. A little too much cake-topper for my taste, but the girls did look pretty from the waist up. <g>

So cute when he told us it was okay to scream in a church - I think he missed feeling the love. Loved it when he finally moved a little - took the mic from the stand and acted like he SO wanted to walk but couldn't without falling off the platform. Big ovation at the end of DSIAFCD (partial standing-O during the glory note). AIW was rough in spots - it looked like he was struggling - I was surprised to see him turn very quickly after and leave the stage - thought he'd take a bow. Again, a very big audience ovation.

Angela was nice and came out to talk to fans at the buses - stayed out for quite awhile. I talked to one of the security after the concert and he commented that there was a lot of extra security brought in - for every entrance - so we weren't surprised there wasn't a busline. I do hope he does it at other venues though - he's spoiled us.

I think last night's show was just what Clay wanted it to be - traditional, reverent, and heartfelt - and good for him to do a 180 from SRHP - to do the season the way he wants to do it. I'm anxious to listen to tonight's cert and see how much a part the church setting may have played. From the sound of his blog I think it will be - perhaps he chose the church setting for the tour opener for the very purpose of helping to set the tone for the tour.

This was my first 'first' concert and the entire night's memories, from the pre-party through the frozen toes at midnight, to seeing Clay friends after 3 years apart and picking right up where we left off, are firmly saved away. Met a lot of new friends too. You can never have too many Clay friends.

I have to disagree with him though when he said it was a Christmas card from us, to us. It is definitely from him, to him - we are just lucky enough to have been invited along for the joyous ride.

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thank you! that was lovely..and I have a feeling Ansa will be bugging you to post that one at FCA. heee

CG I think maybe it was more reverent without all the staring up my nose and this is a family show banter. Without the break in the action everything just flows together more and creates more of that mood. No laughing into and out of songs.. I can see how the entire atmosphere will feel different. And I think one thing we can all agree on is the way he sings his Jesus songs. And I think that's what people are trying to say..it's not in the number of religious vs secular - but he's just created something totally different from last year.

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Ok fine. Sigh. You win. I deleted the whole damn thing. I should have known better.

oh please put it back I haven;t read it yet...

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ETA....FYI I will NOT be deleting anything. Fire away.

eta2 ... I will, however be editing for spelling and clarity as per usual...hee.

---

Christmas is an inherently Christian holiday. Clay has made no secret of the fact that he is a Christian. If you are at all put off by Clay (or anyone else) singing about the birth of Jesus Christ, this may not be the show for you. I don't think Clay owes it to anyone to do a more secular show. That is on the individual. Whose behavior can you change?

---

More than anything else...I thought the show was beautifully done. Well thought out, tight with only a few minor glitches of the first show variety. I thought the stories worked.

I appreciated the venue because it was a nice place to hear Clay sing. It was comfortable, not at all "historic" *g* and the acoustics were first rate. I also appreciated the prayer to begin the concert. I pray. If you are the type of person who is offended by prayer this may not have been the concert for you.

I thought when the girls came out in their "prom dresses" that the first half would be the classy half of the show. When they all returned for the second half of the show without a change of clothes I knew, before Clay even had to tell me, that this would be the tone of the concert. I don't think the shows are going to "loosen up" later on. I got the impression that he intends to put on his idea of a classy, serious Christmas concert. If you are expecting something else...this may not be the show for you.

Highlights for me....I loved that he opened with Emmanuel. It is so beautiful.

I loved the jazzy medley. It was so put together.

I thought he looked great....natch.

I adore DSIAFCD. :wub: It's like "our" song. *sigh*

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Christmas is an inherently Christian holiday. Clay has made no secret of the fact that he is a Christian. If you are at all put off by Clay (or anyone else) singing about the birth of Jesus Christ, this may not be the show for you.

Agreed

I don't think Clay owes it to anyone to do a more secular show. That is on the individual. Whose behavior can you change?

Just to clarify, I never said Clay "owed" us a more secular show. It was just my hope.

I also appreciated the prayer to begin the concert. I pray. If you are the type of person who is offended by prayer this may not have been the concert for you.

Agreed, which is why I didn't go, or listen to the cellcert and why I will not download any clack. Too bad from what I have read about this particular church that many of their actions are quite un-christian-like.

Glad you loved concert, jamar! That's how it should be.

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:lol:

Well lucky you (and me) I mean't the collective "our" as in us, the fans and Clay's.

---

CG...I think in every belief system there is a point of intolerance that often is met with a matching level of intolerance. I could tell you all about how the Lutheran Church was instrumental in helping the Ku Klux Klan run Catholic families out of small Minnesota towns if your interested. Or how as a divorced women I have been made to feel that I have no home in the Catholic church. Organized religions (of all ilks) lend themselves to that sort of thing. As do politcal parties. FWIW the Mormons I know neither practice or sanction polygamy. Nor do the Muslims I know study to fly airplanes into buildings. I even know gay people that consider themselves *gasp* born again Christians. Go figure. But for myself, I try not to make judgements about who is and is not acting in a Christlike manner. I don't think that is my place.

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BW :affection: Please put your post back. It was very well written and expressed your point of view. Some agreed some didn't -- SO WHAT! We all want you to repost it. Please?

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CG...I think in every belief system there is a point of intolerance that often is met with a matching level of intolerance. I could tell you all about how the Lutheran Church was instrumental in helping the Ku Klux Klan run Catholic families out of small Minnesota towns if your interested. Or how as a divorced women I have been made to feel that I have no home in the Catholic church. Organized religions (of all ilks) lend themselves to that sort of thing. As do politcal parties. FWIW the Mormons I know neither practice or sanction polygamy. Nor do the Muslims I know study to fly airplanes into buildings. I even know gay people that consider themselves *gasp* born again Christians. Go figure. But for myself, I try not to make judgements about who is and is not acting in a Christlike manner. I don't think that is my place.

very wise post.

I don't like to discuss religion because it's such a personal thing. Being a preacher's kid I spent a lot of time in churches as a youngster. There are hypocrites but mostly I've found good people. So I don't judge them by church doctrine because it's my experience that most people don't believe everything in the church doctrine or at least follow it to the letter. They are there because they believe in god or love the social and belonging apsect. And some people coughmydadcoughcough had what I felt to be very archiac and old fashioned ideas which I rejected especially when it come to gender roles. And he could find a scripture to back up every single one LOL. Others think of politics when they think of religion but that is a foreign concept to me. It is totally NOT my experience. Politics are just not preached from the pulpits of most black churces or organized in any way (probably a pity LOL). Anyway, enough of that.

eeek sorry for going so off topic... the concert the concert the concert

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SmartyPants Suz's recap.

We were asked to be at the venue at 4:45. The readers all gathered in the foyer area and got to know each other a little while we waited. Jamie came out, went through the other three and knew or guessed who they were. She got to me and asked who I was. I told her “Suzanne.” She looked at the list and said, “We don’t have you on the list.” I told her they should, because I got an e-mail, then she said, “Oh! You’re SmartyPants!” hysterical.gif She took my full name, which was good, or Clay would have been thanking SmartyPants at the end of the show and that would have confused the non-regulars in the audience.

Jamie told us they were still rehearsing and that it would be a few minutes and went back in. I don’t remember the first song they were doing when we got there, but after that we heard parts of DSIAFCD and "All Is Well". Both sounded glorious! We ended up waiting for 30 minutes or so, before Jaime came and told us they were ready for us.

We went upstairs to the main floor of the auditorium. Jesse, Mary and Fern were there. No Clay in sight, but that wasn’t surprising because the letter had said we would get to say hello to him after the show (implying that we wouldn’t see him before). They showed us where we would wait in the hallway until Jamie cued us in. We were to walk along the edge of the stage to the microphone and read our story. The main purpose of the rehearsal was to let Jesse play while we were reading so he had an idea how long he would need to play.

They told us our order and that two would be during the first half and two during the second half. I was listed as the second reader in the second half. The other second-half reader and I took seats in the auditorium and listened to the first two. They did well and got some short feedback from Jesse, Mary and Jamie. Then it was time for us to do our run-throughs. I told Mary that I tended to talk fast (an understatement, I know), told her that I was going to try to slow down, but asked that they give me some feedback if I got too fast. The reader with the Afghanistan story went first and did great. Then it was my turn. I got up to the mic and started reading. Jamie was down in front of me, and I probably didn’t get out more than a sentence or two when she said, “You need to slow down.” So I tried to slow down as I continued. Again, she motioned to me to slow down. I wasn’t breathing really well either, as my asthma meds have been changed lately and the new stuff isn’t doing as well as the old stuff. Breaths just don’t go as far into my lungs as they used to.

So I’m talking to fast, and breathing shallow, when I feel an arm around my back, and that familiar southern drawl telling me to breathe and talk slower. I turned to my right and found Clay’s face about 6 inches from mine. He looked fantastic! His hair looked natural and feathered. He smelled VERY nice – a faint smell of cologne, I’d guess, and was wearing a white fleece pullover that said “Canada” on the front.

If I didn’t shout “HOLY CRAP” out loud, I know I did in my head. He told me not to be nervous and I told him it wasn’t nerves, that I always talked this fast. He was in teacher/director mode – giving me pointers and advice. I told him I was trying to slow down and that I would try harder. He looked right at me and said, “YOU cannot talk too slow. No matter how slow YOU try to talk, YOU cannot talk too slow.” hysterical.gif I think I called him a brat. giggle.gif Then I think he went over by Jesse and I finished reading (it was a bit of a blur at that point). When I was done, he emphasized the phrasing he wanted on the last sentence, told me he would put in some pause marks on my story, and said, “You’ll be fine, Suz.” wub.gif

I was so appreciative of his efforts to make sure the story was just right for the concert. He was never short or condescending with me. He lovingly and patiently gave advice and pointers and showed confidence in me, guiding me to the result that he needed. For a brief moment there, I experienced the loving attention and guidance that he must have given the children that were blessed to be in his classes.

We had an hour and a half or so until the show, so I went back and practiced over and over with a couple of people who would let me know any time I sped up. I said a quick prayer and we headed to the venue. I enjoyed the first half of the show and then went out with the other second-half reader to wait in the hall. I had my inhaler with me, but it continued to be about as uneffective as possible. I paced quite a bit waiting for my turn and also edited my story just a bit, especially places where I knew I tended to speed up. Clay and team hadn’t gotten around to putting in the pause marks they said they would, so I put in a few of my own. Finally Jamie came out and told me it was my turn. I went out, tried to talk as slowly as possible, and prayed I wouldn’t screw up.

After the show, Jamie gathered us together and brought us back. While we were waiting for Clay, Angela came out and chatted with us. I asked her who designed the gowns, because they were gorgeous. She wasn’t sure who designed them, but she said Clay picked them out. The man definitely has some fashion sense!

Then Clay came out of some near-by offices. He was still in his very fine concert attire. I’ve loved that long coat since 2005. He was carrying nicely-printed versions of our stories that he had signed. He talked to each of us in the order that we read our stories during the show. He told us why he had picked each of our stories. He selected mine, because Mary is from Alaska. When he got to me, he told me I’d been perfect! Although, he followed up that with the comment that if he could have just gotten me to breathe, that would have been good, (I reminded him about the asthma) but he was happy that I had slowed down. He told me he wished I’d seen his face while I was reading because he had this big grin on his face when he realized I was actually reading slower than during rehearsal. I told him I’d be able to see it, because there would be video of his face. He responded that there wouldn’t be, because he was in the dark. I assured him that if anyone could get video of him in the dark, our Clack gatherers could. (IF ANYONE KNOWS OF CLACK THAT DOES SHOW HIS FACE WHILE I’M READING, PLEASE POINT ME TO IT! EmoticonPrayer.gif) Jamie took a picture of each of us with Clay and said they would be e-mailing them to us.

After talking to each of us, he talked with the group for a few more minutes. He told us that they still hadn’t notified the Waukegan or Kalamazoo winners yet. He also talked a little about reading all the stories, about how each spot in the show will have a simlarly-themed story (light hearted, Mother/Son, etc.) and about how he really keyed into whether the first and/or last few sentences grabbed his attention when deciding whether or not they were to be considered for inclusion in the show. He may have said more, but that’s all that I can remember at this point. I’ll blame anything I’ve forgotten on the Aiken Fog. He told us he needed to go get changed and took off. Jamie showed us the way out and we were on our way.

It was definitely a night I will never forget! wub.gif

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