Lakeside Hospice hosting free event on Alzheimer’s, dementia on June 25


Presented by Lakeside Hospice

CEPA • Saturday, June 25 • Free

Informational Displays open at 3 p.m.

Remembrance Walk at 6 p.m.

Screenings of “I’ll Be Me,” the Glen Campbell story at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The story of Glen Campbell's farewell tour following his Alzheimer's diagnosis, "I'll Be Me," will show twice at CEPA on Saturday, June 25.

The story of Glen Campbell’s farewell tour following his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, “I’ll Be Me,” will show twice at CEPA on Saturday, June 25.

Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are foes that many in the U.S. have faced, be it by watching friends, neighbors and loved ones struggle to overcome or by taking it on themselves.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the country. Those helping in the fight have contributed an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care.

But some see a glimmer of hope.

Recently, Lakeside Hospice’s Teresa Carden visited with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients at a nearby facility. Typically, she sings to patients, but this particular afternoon she simply took a stereo and played a selection of hymns.

She watched the faces of those in the room and chose to sit with a woman who hadn’t spoken a word or moved a muscle during any of her visits. Carden said she was holding the woman’s hand as the last song began to play.

“I was amazed at what I was seeing,” Carden said. “Moments ago, this woman was non-responsive. Suddenly, she got out of her chair and began to move around the room, pointing her toes and twirling to the music. She was doing ballet.”

“Were you a dancer,” Carden asked.

“Yes,” the woman replied, the first word Carden ever heard her say.

Coming Saturday, June 25 to the Pell City Center for Education and the Performing Arts (CEPA), Lakeside Hospice will present ALZ Hearts Remember, an Alzheimer’s educational event that will feature a documentary presentation, a renowned speaker on the subject and a remembrance walk at the facility. The goal of the event, Carden said, is to provide a place to network and learn for friends, family, caregivers and patients coping with the disease.

The point of the program is to understand how closely connected the human mind is to music and art, and to learn from others who have used it in battling fading memories.

I’ll Be Me RemembranceWalk

ALZ Hearts Remember will include a two showings of “I’ll Be Me,” a documentary made about country music star Glen Campbell following his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease.


Dr. Daniel C. Potts

In addition, neurologist Dr. Daniel C. Potts, a national spokesperson on dementia and Alzheimer’s, will present the story of his own father, who transformed from a saw miller to watercolorist as he fought the disease.

The event will also an information fair for patients and caregivers throughout, and a Remembrance Walk will take place in front of the CEPA building.

The first showing of “I’ll Be Me” will take place at 4 p.m., and a second screening will be held at 7 p.m. The Remembrance Walk will be held at 6 p.m.

For more information, contact CEPA at (205) 338-1974 or by emailing You can also find more information by contacting Carden or Bit Thomason at Lakeside Hospice at (205) 884-1111 or by visiting

More on Glen Campbell and “I’ll Be Me”

In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. They thought it would last 5 weeks instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half across America.

What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, Glen and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced that he and his family would set out on a “Goodbye Tour.”

The film documents this amazing journey as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice.

Special appearances include Bruce Springsteen, The Edge, Paul McCartney, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Steve Martin, Chad Smith and Bill Clinton among many others.

More on Dr. Daniel C. Potts

Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN is a noted neurologist, author, educator, and champion of those with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. He was chosen by the American Academy of Neurology as the 2008 Donald M. Palatucci Advocate of the Year, serves as an AAN national media spokesperson for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and is a faculty member at both medical schools in his home state of Alabama.

Inspired by his father’s transformation from saw miller to watercolor artist in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Potts formed Cognitive Dynamics, a foundation dedicated to quality of life improvement through the arts. Dr. Potts has co-authored A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer’s Care Giver with his wife, and fellow Architect of Change Ellen W. Potts, MBA; Treasure for Alzheimer’s with Richard L. Morgan, PhD; and Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers with Architect of Change, Marie Marley, PhD.

I’ll Be Me RemembranceWalk


Wonder what it’s like to be a kid? Hear hilarious lessons this week at CEPA

CEPA Summer Drama Camp - Eat Like a Child Promo

Students attending the 2016 CEPA Summer Drama Camp got into character this week in anticipation of their performance of “How to Eat Like a Child” on Friday, June 24 at CEPA.


How to Eat Like a Child – And Other Lessons in Not Being a Grown Up

2016 CEPA Sumer Drama Camp Finale

Friday, June 24 • 6 p.m.

Doors at 5:30 p.m. • Entry $5

Coming this Friday to the Pell City Center for Education and the Performing Arts (CEPA) stage is a play featuring some of the county’s finest kid actors doing what they do best – acting like kids.

“How to Eat Like a Child – And Other Lessons in Not Being a Grown Up” is a play that will see the members of this year’s CEPA Summer Drama Camp teaching lessons to each other – and the audience – about understanding the nuances of kid behavior.

So, for example if you ever wondered what it’s like to be a kid at bedtime (“I hate going to bed,” they say) or what kids do at school all day (“I put my head down and take a nap,” they add), these actors are ready to show you.

“It’s lessons like “How to Ride in a Car” that really crack us up,” said Ginger McCurry, Pell City High School’s drama teacher and instructor for CEPA’s Summer Camp. “When one child, pretending to be a parent, tells another to ‘draw an imaginary line’ and don’t cross it, adults get to see what they look like from their kids’ perspectives.”

The full-length musical comedy is abased on a book written by Delia Ephron, and in the the 1980s it was adapted into a TV movie starring Dick Van Dyke.

“How to Eat like a Child” will feature 18 local actors performing on the CEPA stage on Friday, June 24 at 6 p.m. The theater opens at 5:30 p.m., and the cost is $5 at the door.

For more, call CEPA at (205) 338-1974 or email


How CEPA Drama Camp changed the direction of one St. Clair student’s life

One year ago, Odenville student Maci Johnsey was heading into ninth grade at St. Clair County High School when she realized something – some day, she wanted to be on Broadway.

Click here to download the 2016 CEPA Drama Camp Registration Form

Pell City High School student Maci Johnsey changed schools last year to continue her drama education, a path she discovered through attending the CEPA Summer Drama Camp. Photos courtesy of Maci Johnsey.

Pell City High School student Maci Johnsey changed schools last year to continue her drama education, a path she discovered through attending the CEPA Summer Drama Camp. Photos courtesy of Maci Johnsey.

She had always been a singer, and she loved the stage. But after attending CEPA Summer Drama Camp two years in a row, she learned something else. She wasn’t just a singer.

“In the first two weeks, I learned in Drama Camp how to expand my ability,” Maci said. “I felt like through theater I could be so much better than I was with just a microphone.”

With that in mind heading into her ninth grade year, Maci made a choice. Many of her Drama Camp friends attended Pell City High School and participated in its drama program. If she wanted to keep going, she had to leave her Odenville friends behind.

“Although I didn’t know anyone at Pell City High School really, I was attached to the kids I spent the summer with,” Maci said. “I decided it was worth it, so I requested to change schools.”
So she did, and it seems to have paid off.

As only a freshman in 2015, Maci performed with the PCHS Drama Department at State Competition at Troy University. She was an assistant stage manager for The Addams Family, she ran special effects for Hiram: The Story of a Young Hank Williams, and she played three parts in the Department’s spring production, Shrek the Musical.

“Through all of this, I still managed to make it back to my old middle school and help with two productions,” Maci said. “Being 14 I could not drive, but my friends and family made it possible for me to eat and get home when I had theatre until 8 at night.”

Maci said that’s what she really received from Drama Camp in those first two years – unbreakable bonds.
“We are a great big family, and I have surely made many life long friends,” Maci said. “You can be yourself – be as different as you want to be – and everyone is is so warm and accepting.”

In 2016, Maci’s role with CEPA’s Drama Camp will change from student to teacher, as she now has the opportunity to impart some of her wisdom on to students who are in in the same position she was just a few years ago. In addition, she gets to work further with PCHS Drama Teacher Ginger McCurry, someone Maci said has an unparalleled level of compassion for both the program and the students who participate.

“Ginger McCurry is a great theatre teacher, and she makes it so easily possible for everyone that has a passion for theatre,” Maci said. “I could not be more proud to be her student. She is our teacher, our friend, our therapist, and our mom when we need her to be. She cares about us as much as she cares about her own children.”

This year, the camp will be open to students age 6-18 and will last two weeks, from June 13-24. McCurry, who has performed with a professional theatre company and taught music and theatre in the school, returns in 2016 to lead campers through improvisational games and a hands-on experience with technical aspects of producing a play.

Although mainly, CEPA Summer Drama Camp provides students with an opportunity to take the stage, as they will rehearse their lines in anticipation of the camp’s final performance on June 24 of “How to Eat Like a Child.” McCurry said the production is a collection of hilarious, family-friendly skits that campers will love to perform and that’s sure to entertain the audience.

Download registration information today at Cost to participate is $200 for an individual student or $385 for two students. The fee not only includes daily snacks and a camp T-shirt but also access to a wonderful summer experience.

The 2016 CEPA Summer Drama Camp
Ages 6-10: Daily, June 13-24, from 9 a.m.-noon
Ages 11-18: Daily, June 13-24, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
“How to Eat Like a Child:” Performed Friday night, June 24 at 6 p.m.

Click here to download the 2016 CEPA Drama Camp Registration Form

Contact Jeff Thompson, Executive Director
256-466-0715 •


CEPA names executive director

Jeff ThompsonThe Board of Directors for the Pell City Center for Education and the Performing Arts (CEPA) announces the hiring of the center’s new executive director, Jeff Thompson, who will begin the role Friday, May 20.

Thompson has served as editor and general manager of the Pell City-based media company, St. Clair News-Aegis, since January 2015. In that capacity, he successfully organized and implemented a complete restructuring of the operation that resulted in a return to profit for the publication.

“Since the day I began work in Pell City, I have regarded the Center for Education and the Performing Arts as a community asset with almost limitless potential,” Thompson said. “I am humbled by the opportunity offered by the Board to guide it through the growth its members have planned for the coming years.”

Thompson holds a degree in Journalism from Auburn University. Prior to working for the News-Aegis, Thompson served as executive editor at Starnes Publishing, a Birmingham-based publication company, and managing editor at The Tuskegee News in Tuskegee. Numerous editorial and administrative awards and achievements are credited to him during tenures at these companies.

“As I step into the role, I anticipate Pell City and the surrounding St. Clair County communities will see an immediate increase in availability of new and more frequent programming options at CEPA,” Thompson said. “I am eager to begin meeting with community stakeholders and look forward to discussions about possibilities for the Center.”

Carol Pappas, CEPA Board president, said the immediate goals and objectives will be to build on the Center’s strong foundation and fulfilling the original vision of the facility when the city, school system and community came together to build it.

The CEPA Board plans to bring in more noted acts of regional and national stature, lectures, special events and engaging programs that will benefit Pell City and St. Clair County’s citizens and schools.

“We are really looking forward to a future we think is bright because of CEPA’s vast potential as an event center,” Pappas said. “There is really nothing like it in this state. Owned by the City of Pell City and the Pell City School System, this facility – a 400-seat state-of-the-art theater, a 2,500-seat sports arena and a grand lobby – has great potential to be a destination point not only for cultural arts and sports but for a diverse array of events that will add to the quality of life found in our city.”

In addition to the five-member CEPA board, which includes Pappas, Matthew Pope, Bob Barnett, Henry Fisher and Randy Mason, an advisory council is being tapped to provide greater input on planning for programming and the operation of CEPA going forward.

“We were fortunate to have a large number of applicants, and our top tier of candidates was especially strong. The board agreed that Jeff’s management, print and digital marketing, communication, budget and planning experience, his involvement in communities across St. Clair County and his vision for CEPA were deciding factors in his selection,” Pappas said.

Thompson is a member of Leadership St. Clair County 2016 and marketing and communications volunteer for the Pell City Chamber. Through his work, he has been involved with the Odenville Area Business Association, various civic clubs, City of Pell City, Pell City School System and was a member of the Moody and Leeds chambers.