Inclusion Means Participation

“This event, for us, is about raising awareness just as much as raising funds.” With this statement, Clay Aiken expressed his feelings about the Golfing For Inclusion Event that took place on Monday, January 26, 2009.

Clay spoke with emotion to a room filled with interested participants. The audience, a mix of both golfers and fans, listened as they were thanked for being passionate and supportive of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation’s mission. They learned that the Bubel/Aiken Foundation is currently active in 17 states. The goal is to see the program working in all 50 states.

The full day activities started early with a brunch followed by an interactive golf lesson with Wayne Player. After a bit of warm-up, the golfers had the opportunity to play 18 holes on the beautiful and challenging Mirasol course.

The evening activities included a buffet dinner, an auction, a thank you from the founders and a short concert by Clay Aiken.

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken

The auction was spirited as Clay encouraged the participants to bid just a bit more. The highlight of the auction was a dinner for 4 with Clay and his bodyguard/friend, Jerome. The high bid for the dinner was $35,000. As the auction came to an end, approximately $60,000 was raised.

Clay started the entertainment by introducing Ben Cohn, his pianist for the evening. Ben currently works as the assistant conductor and first keyboardist on Wicked in New York. He received his Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College where he studied piano and voice.

The two musicians presented a program of five popular songs, which included I Don’t Have The Heart To Hurt You. Two songs from Clay’s second album, A Thousand Different Ways were featured, along with Proud of Your Boy from the movie Aladdin. A special moment was the performance of This Is the Moment from the musical Jekyll and Hyde. Clay said, before singing, that he had not performed the song since he was in high school and hoped he would remember the lyrics.

The Golfing For Inclusion event was well-received by all that were involved. Because of the generous participation of the golfers, their guests and the dinner participants, the foundation was able to raise both needed funds and awareness of the goals and ideals of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. Clay, again thanked the participants by saying: “During tough economic times, it is very heart warming to see people filling the seats. It shows that people have compassion and are passionate about TBAF.”

Oh yes…….for those interested, there were many “clack gatherers” in attendance so there will be many pictures and videos for fans all over the world.

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
video by Goldarngirl

This is the Moment
video by Scarlett

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6 thoughts on “Inclusion Means Participation

  1. MusicFan – thank you for such a well written piece and for getting the video clips up so quickly. It sounds as if the whole event went extremely well and the dinner went for $35,000 – just WOW!!

    Cant wait to see if any other pics or videos surface, so will keep posted over here!

  2. Thank you for puttint the audio and clips in so quickly! I woke up thinking I was going to have to spend time getting the clips before I had a chance to hear what happened at the benefit last night and I woke up and VIOLA there they were! I could hug you all!!

  3. I just read the post to go with the videos. (Yes, I admit I had to check out the audio and video before I read). It’s nice to see you give credit to the pianist that night! I hope to see the Bubel/Aiken foundation in all 50 states also and the barriers to to being included in activities for those with special needs brought down at last everywhere.


    This is such a wonderful place to read what happened and what is going on…Just lovely.

    Everything is here that you need and done beautifully…I really don’t know what to say, other than it is a pleasure to come here and read what actually went on, and of course, it never hurts to be able to have pics of Clay and listen to him…. I so appreciate everything… Great job.

  5. Thanks for posting some videos from last night’s GFI to benefit the Bubel Aiken Foundation. It provides very needed services. He has such a great voice.

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