Clay Aiken – Special Memories and Renewed Strength

I am in my hotel room at the Marriott – Charlotte, North Carolina.  I am sitting here in awe of the amazing Gala program Saturday night.  A huge congratulations to the entire group for putting together such a beautiful event.

Each honoree was special in so many ways and the Gala was all about them (as it should be)

There were lots of tears because of the touching presentations from all the speakers. Each one showed what inclusion is about. It was also wonderful that so much money was raised by the National Inclusion Project.

These are just a few observations from the evening:

1.  The theatre was a beautiful place.  The size was perfect for the program and it was almost full.

2.  The young people from the Foundation For Respect Ability who opened the program were awesome.  Each one seemed to be having a great time, each in their own way.  Props to their adult leaders who are teaching them about so much more than music.

3.  Diane, Clay,and Jerry each spoke with dedication to the purpose and goals of The National Inclusion Project.  Each one adds so much to the organizations and their love and  respect for each other shines brightly.

4.  Father and Son, Keith and Tim Harris were excited to be at the Gala.  Tim is an amazing young man who can’t help but make you smile.  Tim owns his own restaurant and offers free hugs on his menu.

5. The entire Long family showed that love and family and important and that with determination you can reach your goals.

6.  It was amazing to see the film about Habitat International.  This company provides jobs for hard-to-place workers.  75% of their workers have physical or mental disabilities.

7.  Dwayne Ballen gave a emotional talk about being a parent to his son, Julian who has high functioning autism.  I want to get his book.

8.  Keala Settle looked beautiful in a bright red dress.  She sang beautifully and certainly helped Clay with the JukeBox bidding and raffle.  The jukebox sold for $12,000.

9.  The duet from Clay and Keala was a real treat.  I hope they have the opportunity to sing together again sometime.

10. Clay’s last song, You Are The Song, was a masterpiece.  The setting of  just one spotlight on Clay added to Clay’s beautiful voice and very touching lyrics made this moment very special.

Again, it is a late night so I am sure I will think of many more memories.  I feel so fortunate that I was a part of the celebration.  It’s all  about the kids!  Thank you to Clay and Diane for teaching me so much about Inclusion!

I travel back to California tomorrow filled with special memories and a renewed strength to do whatever I can to support The National Inclusion Project.

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9 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Special Memories and Renewed Strength

  1. That sounds like a beautiful night. I’m glad for an evening to celebrate NIP and all the wonderful people involved with inclusion for all kids.

  2. Thank you Musicfan for the news on the Gala, so happy that it was such a great success, many of us who could not be there were there in our thoughts.

  3. Thank you Musicfan for the wonderful news of the Gala and that it was such a great success, many of us who could not be there were there in our thoughts.

  4. music fan i wish i could have been there with you thank you for telling me everything that went on i apresheate your observations i hope you had a amazing time and learnd alot and to hear clay sing again with his amazing voice oh i see clay did a duet with keala intresting well music fan thanks again

  5. Thanks so much for this recap. So happy to hear that is was a huge success!! Would have loved hearing that last song!! Also sorry I missed the duet with Keala–loved her in Joseph.

  6. I just arrived home here in Ohio a few hours ago. You did a spectacular job of outlining the Gala
    evening, Musicfan. It was a magnificent evening both nights – the VIP reception and also the Gala
    itself. I can't for get the "Silent Auction" – that was great also with so many nice things and a very full room. I met so many people – wonderful fans- got many hugs and one of the first ones from Mr. Tim Harris as he arrived just about the time we did at at the Marriott – all he kept saying was "I am so excited." And well he should be – he is such an amazing and happy young man! NIP did good selecting him to be one of this years honorees! All the rest were equally grand!!! I had such
    an exciting weekend – and HI! to Susan Livesay – loved meeting you!!!!!! 🙂 <3

  7. I am so glad I got to meet Marlene and so many others! Clay and Diane were so nice. I met Clays mom and Uncle Jerry. I got to thank Clay for everything he does and his mom for making Brett and Clay. she said I dont think I did it all by myself.did you notice the beautiful NC sunset on Thursday night? Ribbons of pink against a clear blue sky. God was honoring breast cancer survivors.AND DID ANYBODY HAVE KRISPY KREME BREAD PUDDING?I felt like a scared rabbit when I met Clay. I wish I could have met you Musicfan!maybe we passed each other like 2 shios in the night. AND I GOT A HUG FROM TIM AND MIKE!

  8. Thank you so much for your comments on the Gala. I am so glad to hear that many are benefiting from the foundations help. I have never had the opportunity to meet Clay but I did shake his hand after a show once and that left me speechless, so maybe it's a good thing.LOL

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