Students Bring Special Birthday Greetings to Palace at Coral Gables Residents

Palace at Coral Gables resident Doris Kushman tunes into watch her birthday “shout out” from Heart Stings

Birthdays have become even more special for residents at The Palace at Coral Gables thanks to Westminster Christian School’s “Heart Strings” delivering a sweet note – literally!

The group, comprised of very talented string musicians, plays “Happy Birthday” to each resident on their big day, with the video airing on The Palace’s in-house television. A personalized birthday greeting from the group’s leader Alan Stech is included. Students then launch into the famous birthday melody which is considered the most recognized song in the English language.

“Before COVID-19, we traveled to perform for older adults and those in nursing homes, but the pandemic ended these opportunities,” explained Stech. “But a positive outcome from the pandemic is we find we’re making more of an impacting people virtually. The video is more personal and we appear more frequently. It’s a good feeling letting people know we’re praying for them on their special day.”

Alan prerecords the birthday greeting with the celebrant’s name and The Palace Coral Gables’ Social Director Pamela Parker has provided a list of upcoming birthdays.

“The video greeting is merged with the students’ performance,” explained Stech. “They are playing separately, but at the same speed so it appears they are playing together.”

The first virtual video “shout out” was delivered on Sunday, October 18 to Doris Kushman, who celebrated her 97th birthday.

The birthday greetings are not only a hit with the celebrant but the entire community as well. Everyone enjoys watching the gifted performers show off their skills.

The students range from an 8th-grade student to sophomores, juniors and seniors and have played together since school resumed.

Stech said he came up with the idea when he watched a video of a professional orchestra playing together during the pandemic and thought he could adapt this to his group.

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