Activities Director Mary Brewer leads the “Harmony in the Woods” choir through “My Country Tis of Thee” Thursday during a Fourth of July-themed family night at Covenant Woods in Gardendale. It was the first performance for the residents-only group.

By Adam Smith

The North Jefferson News

Friends and family members of residents at the Covenant Woods facility in Gardendale showed their patriotic pride Thursday evening.

In honor of the Fourth of July holiday, the family and dining area of the facility was decorated in red, white and blue streamers and flags.

Residents and family members dined on traditional Fourth favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon and homemade ice cream.

During dinner, Ann Carroll and Wes Smith from the Grantswood Baptist Church in Birmingham, played guitar and sang classic country and 1950s rock songs.

Some of the residents were moved to get up and dance with family and Covenant staff members who were more than happy to cut the rug.

The celebration was topped off by two special treats for those in attendance.

Ronnie Foster, from the American Legion, Post 113 in Tarrant, presented Covenant Woods with their very own flag. The presentation of the flag was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Following the flag ceremony, Activities Director Mary Brewer gathered 20 to 25 residents together for a special performance.

The “Harmony in the Woods” choir, as Brewer referred to them, sang patriotic songs for family members and staff.

Brewer led the group through spirited renditions of “My Country Tis of Thee,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

The performance was even more special because it was the first one for the choir.

Brewer said the group had been working on learning the songs for about a month.

“They love it,” Brewer said. “Singing is their way of expressing happiness.”

The facility caters to patients who have dementia-related problems. Brewer said the task of learning the songs was a “day by day” process, but said residents respond well to music-related activities.

“Music just gets inside of them and opens their minds,” she said. “Even though they are sick, they still enjoy music and dancing.”

Brewer said she and fellow Activities Coordinator Temmie Geralds make an effort to celebrate special occasions at the facility.

“We honor every kind of holiday,” she said.

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