David Archuleta Sings Somebody out there.
Stacey Tookey and Shaun Perry dance.
The children dancing are originally from leprosy colonies in India



Credit: dougamigo

Chennai Hotels Express Their Spirit to Serve

To commemorate World Leprosy day on January 31st, 2011, Kancheepuram based NGO, Rising Star Outreach and Courtyard by Marriott hotel hosted a charity dinner for the guests and Rising Star Outreach students. To support this noble cause, renowned celebrities and personalities from the U.S.A volunteered to spread the “Spirit to Serve” initiative of Marriott among the social circuit. The program included an evening of performances by the artists followed by a sumptuous Italian buffet dinner designed by our Executive Chef Suresh Thampy at one of the top Chennai restaurants.

The fun packed evening began with the dance performance in the Chennai banquet halls by the Rising Star Outreach students. They were formally trained under a veteran artist from Broadway to the Metropolitan Opera from New York — none other than Shaun Parry. Shaun was all excited and encouraged the children to perform at their best levels and set the stage on fire. Ingenious choreographer, from the “So You Think You Can Dance” fame – Stacy Tookey also joined Shaun Parry and put up a spectacular show.

The highlight of the show was the 20 year old American Idol sensation and the first runner-up of Season 7 – David Archuleta, who drew the crowd swaying with his popular musical notes. David also supports Path of Hope launched by Angels for a Cause (fans of American Idol finalist, David Archuleta) to raise funds needed to furnish a new school being built on the property of Rising Star Outreach in India.

Becky Douglas, Founder of Rising Star Outreach (RSO) was very happy to address everyone at the Chennai airport hotel for the kind contribution and support people have shown towards this noble cause. The initiative – “Spirit to serve philosophy” has been an eye-opener for many across the world and has genuinely helped to better the lives of the children whose parents have been affected by leprosy.

Full article

Hi everyone! This is the first time I’m writing a recap of any sort so I apologise in advance for any inconvenience while reading it lol.

Saturday, 29th Jan 2011 was certainly an amazing day for me! Because I went to the RSO fundraiser event in Chennai, India in which David performed!! It was an incredible experience for me and more so because it was the first time in my life that I got to watch and listen to David perform LIVE, and meet him! I actually live in New Zealand and for more than 2 years, I’ve been longing and hoping to see David in person and experience his concert someday. But I didn’t keep my hopes up too high either and at times I thought it was impossible to see him as I live on the other corner of the world. Then I jumbled upon an unexpected trip to India. I decided to visit some of my family who live there as it had been a long time since I was last there. And inspired by David, I also thought it would be great to help other people there. So I went to spend time with people at assisted living homes and helped out the temples to provide food for people who weren’t able to afford it.

Later on, I found out that David was coming to India with RSO to visit and spend time with the families in the leprosy colonies. I honestly had no idea that David would be coming to India during the same time I’m there! :D I was so excited and so happy that he’s coming especially for a cause that means so much to him. Then I was wondering if I could see him while he’s in town. I thought I could welcome him at the airport but I didn’t know when he’d be arriving. Also, I didn’t want to visit him at his hotel as it might seem creepy/ stalkerish lol. I wanted to see him, but I really didn’t want it to be at the cost of disrespecting the main reason he was actually coming to India for. So I thought maybe it wasn’t my time yet, maybe I’ll get to see him possibly in NZ someday. At one point, I even thought I didn’t deserve to see him. But I was praying for some kind of sign or answer, and I kept telling myself that if it was really meant to be, I will get to see him sometime.

Then one day, I got an email from some wonderful David fans saying that there was going to be a fundraiser for RSO on 29th January at the hotel in Chennai that David was staying, and that David was going to perform!!! :D An awesome David fan, Sharaniya, asked me if I was willing to buy a ticket and go along with her to the event, and I immediately accepted!! I remember being completely overwhelmed with joy. The Lord answered my prayers. I couldn’t sleep properly for the few days before the event as I kept anticipating what was to come. I couldn’t even think straight! Lol.

Then it was the 29th… the day my hopes and dreams came alive. I woke up to Larissa_SG’s phone call all the way from Australia. She said she was so happy for me. It was so sweet of her to call me up, and I had so much fun talking with her! For some reason, the time was just flying that day lol. Before I knew, it was already 5:45 PM and I started to leave for the event. Sharaniya and I were supposed to meet up at the hotel at 6:15 PM and just hang around there until the show starts at 7 PM. But then later, I found myself stuck in a huge traffic jam and I became a bit paranoid about reaching late to the venue. Fortunately, the traffic started to clear up and I reached the hotel at 6:40.Whew! I felt bad that Sharan had to wait alone at the hotel for a while lol. Both of us were waiting at the reception until it was time to enter into the function room. Then, they allowed us to enter! We found seats in the 3rd row, in front of where the key board and sound system was set up…so we guessed that’s where the performance was to take place. The show didn’t start for a while so there was just music playing in the background. We were just sitting there and watching all the people come in. We were totally freaking out (quietly of course) and I kept constantly fiddling with my phone and camera. There were quite a lot of other Archie fans there too and we were quite surprised! Really cool. Meanwhile, there was a slide show of pictures showing David’s trip to the RSO campus along with his Mom, meeting all the kids of RSO and walking the Pathway of Hope. I was almost in tears seeing all those pictures and the joy in David and the kids. David is such an amazing inspiration to his fans and the Pathway of Hope showcases that! Then they announced that David and Mama Lupe were in the room!! So awesome. We saw that Lupe was sitting right across us! She is really really gorgeous. And the show was also starting! I could feel the butterflies!!

First up, the amazing children of RSO performed their song Rising Star. It was really heart warming and such a great performance!! They showed an awesome video clip of RSO and then, Stacey Tookey from the show “So You Think You Can Dance” performed. She danced to the song Hallelujah and her every move was so graceful. Then, Broadway performer Shaun Parry danced to a cool and energetic number. Really got all of us pumped up! And then it was time for David to come on!! We were so ecstatic and when he came on, we let out loud cheers, claps and “woohoo”-s. It was such an amazing feeling, seeing David come on to the stage and flashing his hearty and compassionate smile for everyone. He looked awesomely awesome in his white shirt, black pants and striped tie! He gave a very sweet and touching intro about his trip. He thanked everyone for coming to the fundraiser and he was so happy! He talked about the kids and said that even though they went through hardship, there’s a light in their eyes. He also said the cutest “Vanakkam” ever, which means “Hello” or “Welcome” in Tamil – the native language of Chennai. And of course he talked about how he loves Indian food! He then, gave a familiar intro to a song, saying something like, during dark times, there’s always someone protecting and watching over us…I could recognise it, and immediately knew what song it was…ANGELS!!!! OMG. I simply couldn’t believe that I was right there, watching and listening to him sing. It was phenomenal, breathtaking and beyond anything ever imaginable. I was completely blown away and I felt chills all around! Sharan and I were just holding on to each other’s hands throughout. After he finished singing, he was about to leave the stage until people started yelling “One more, one more!” so he graciously came back and he sat behind the keyboard again…He commented on how the keyboard was small lol, then he decided to sing CRUSH!!! :D :D It was so so AWESOMEAGE guys!!!! I couldn’t help but sing along (quietly though haha). When it was over, David smiled and waved to everyone, and left the stage. Then Shaun Parry came out and spoke a few words on his involvement with RSO, and Becky Douglas of RSO came on and talked about the services they do for the people there. It was great to know all the wonderful things they’re doing for them…from education and recognising their various amazing talents, to just being there for them and supporting them. Even though the people have been affected with leprosy, they sure have some incredible talent in art, crafts and there are a lot of really intelligent kids there. This really shows their determination to move forward. They’re great people. I was really touched and inspired by all the presentations and clips.

After that, David, Stacey, Shaun, and all the kids of RSO came on for another performance!! This time they all performed together while David sang SOMEBODY OUT THERE!!! It was hauntingly beautiful. I was so moved when I saw the video on the RSO website of the children singing Somebody Out There. And at the event, to listen to David sing along with the kids, and to watch the kids dance to it was just an amazing experience on its own. There is definitely nothing like the emotion that David puts in a song. I became a bit emotional during the song and David looked over at me a few times haha. But I couldn’t help it. Even his eyes were sparkly! I could see it in his eyes that he really felt it; how much the song means to him, and how much it means to those children and the cause itself. It was certainly a special moment to experience. “Somebody Out There” really helped me get through some rough times and watching him sing it that night was exceptionally moving. Shaun Parry and Stacey Tookey had arranged a beautiful choreography for the song and it was great seeing them dance with all the kids! After the performance, they all bowed sweetly and we all cheered. I was so happy, touched and my heart was full.

David, Stacey, Shaun and the hotel manager then went to take a group picture. The place was packed with everyone trying to get to David. Sharan and I were trying to get through the crowd somehow and before we knew it, we were standing right in front of David himself! Sharan talked to David first and I’m so happy for her because he remembered her and her sister (also Aishwarya) from when they saw him in Singapore! David has an amazing memory. Then I got to talk to him!! I told him my name and that I’m from New Zealand. He was like “Wow! That’s cool!” and he also commented on how common my name is in India. Haha. The people started to crowd around so I told David the first thing that came to my mind at that moment. I told him “David, I just wanted to say thanks for standing up for those kids and their families, and giving them hope and encouragement. He said “Awww thank you! They’re amazing” and then I said “I’m sure they were really happy to see you” and he said “Aww thanks. Thanks for coming and supporting!”. I also got to take a quick picture with him, and so did Sharan! Then we came out of the crowd of people, and then I realised that I forgot to give David some gifts I got for him! So I went back again and it was crazy getting through all the people again! I was a bit nervous lol. But I quickly managed to give him the gift bag and then he asked “So where did you say you’re from?” I said New Zealand and he said “Awww you came all the way!” He’s always so caring <3 I think I got less than a minute with him but nonetheless, I’m so grateful to get to talk to him even for those few seconds. David is always so gracious and kind to everyone. His one-of-a-kind personality totally rocks. Then after, I got to say Hi to Mama Lupe! She is even more beautiful in person and the sweetest!

The hotel had an Italian buffet, so me and Sharan went to have some food. We didn’t eat much since we weren’t hungry after the show lol but it was good. And I finally got to complete David’s task of eating food of a different nationality! Haha.

I just couldn’t process everything that happened. Writing this recap itself feels so awesome. I used to think I wouldn’t get to see David perform LIVE, let alone talk to him. But not only did I get to experience his singing and meet him, I also got to be a part of a wonderful cause that is so dear to his heart. It was such an incredible and unforgettable experience!!! I had an awesome time with Sharaniya too! I never imagined it would all happen!! And all of this was just 2 days before my 20th birthday. It feels so surreal to me and I am so thankful for everything. David is such a great person and he is making a huge difference in the lives of the people. David was born to give hope and those people will definitely have a bright future ahead of them. Thanks for all that you are, David!

That day was truly meant to be, and it will remain as an imprint in my heart for life.

To see Aishwarya’s pictures from the event, go HERE. Thank you for the lovely, so well-written recap, Aish!!! :D

Beyond dance

Excited squeals and giggles fill the air followed by shouts of “Once Again”. When the performance starts, there’s silence all around — just smiling faces and gleaming eyes taking in the goings-on on stage in rapt attention. While all this happens at Rhapsody at the Courtyard by Marriott, an equally large and enthusiastic crowd has gathered outside too.

In spite of being denied entry, they (mostly young girls), wait outside clapping and straining their ears to hear the latest poster boy of the music world, David Archuleta, sing. But what they miss out on is Shaun Parry and Stacey Tookey’s (choreographer of ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’) dance performance. And most importantly, the show put together by the children of Rising Star Outreach.

The kids sing along with David and also match steps with Shaun, a professional singer, dancer and Broadway artist from New York. “It took us two weeks to practise. I gave the kids very difficult moves, but they were brilliant,” says Shaun, who choreographed the show.

Full article: The Hindu

David Archuleta has been volunteering with Rising Star since Friday. He was nice enough to agree to perform with some of the Children, Shaun Perry, and Stacey Tookey (a judge and choreographer from “So You Think You Can Dance”) at the Marriott Saturday night.

Full article: Where in the World is Audrey

Many of you have said you cannot access Aishwarya’s Facebook so here are all the photos!

More photos of Aish with David and Lupe:

From @TheNZArchAngel:

David sang SOT with the kids from RSO..hauntingly beautiful. I became emotional and he looked at me a few times. His eyes were sparkly too!

@AnnieDAFG Annie Thanks so much!! It was the most amazing time ever!! Also I told D that I’m from NZ and he was like “Wow! Cool!” haha

Videos and Pics from the event courtesy @sharaniya



Somebody Out There (Partial)

David being adorable

Thanks a ton Sharan and @TheNZArchAngel!!:)

See more pics on @TheNZArchAngel’s Facebook, like this:

Update: He sang ‘Somebody Out There’ too! There were a lot of fans – more than 20 of them!

From @sharaniya:

There are a LOT of @DavidArchie fans here.. Im shocked!

He sang Angels and Crush!!!!:-)

@DavidArchie actually complained that the keyboard was pretty small and so he didn’t know what song to do! – that was just before Crush

@Salamahafifi yep! he did! before even i cud say Hi! he said “hey i remember you!” <3<3<3

@McEra04_B1 We talked a lil bit! took a pic too:) @DavidArchie remembered me from Spore! WOOT WOOT!!!

From @sjtookey:

So far in India I have visited the people in a Leprosy colony, read books to the children in the school…

and performed with David Archuleta and the life dance troupe of kids from the leprosy colony who now attend Rising Start school.

I feel my life changing…even if I had a cold bucket shower this morning :)

From @TheNZArchAngel:

Last night at the RSO event was all kinds of amazing and so so so incredible!!!!

I’m so thankful i got to talk to david too!! i said thanks to him for standing up for & giving hope to all those kids & their families

When @DavidArchie was singing Angels, @sharaniya and I just clutched on to each other’s hands and sang along.. Chills all around! haha. <3

From @dezzyporterx:

@davidarchie yay! we’re staying at your hotel right now(: it was awesome meeting you!<3 http://twitpic.com/3ujfuq

@Vanessachann yes I did:) he asked where we were from and we’re from Singapore and he’s like oh cool, hey mom they’re from Singapore! :D

From @mikekmusic:

@zerogravity1 David told me yesterday the kids absolutely love singing Somebody Out There, makes me smile.

Invitation from Courtyard Marriott to those lucky duckies:

Dear …,

Greetings from Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai!

Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai is closely associated with Rising Star Outreach, an Organization that founded and started a school called “Marriott Home” which helps educate, feed and lodge children of leprosy affected parents in Chengelpet.

As 31 January, 2011 is  world leprosy day, we are hosting a fund raiser dinner on 29 January, 2011- Saturday to help raise funds to buy  books, stationary, uniforms and provide good health care to the children and their parents who are affected with leprosy.

American Idol David Archuleta, Broadway dancer Shaun Parry and choreographer from So You Think You Can Dance?  Stacey Tookey will be performing at the fund raiser dinner. This will be followed by a sumptuous Italian buffet and a variety of beverages. Donor passes are priced at Rs. 5000/- per couple.

Your support and contribution will help educate and change the life of 150 children who have most often been shunned by society.

Please find attached the email invite. We look forward to meeting you at the charity dinner. Please send us your contact number.

Thanking you in advance,

Warm Regards,


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