Fortune-Williams Music Festival singers brighten Augusta Medical Center patients' day

By Cindy Corell/staff

September 29, 2007

FISHERSVILLE If they were able, patients rolled, walked or limped out of their hospital rooms Friday morning at Augusta Medical Center. Judging by their smiles, it was worth the trip.

"They asked me if I wanted to get out of bed for a while, and I said, 'sure,'" said Elizabeth Hartman of Verona. Hospitalized the day before for surgery, Friday was an even tougher day for Hartman, her 33rd anniversary. Her husband Kenneth was busy working, but the trip to the lobby meant a surprise.

Jimmy Fortune sang his award-winning song, "Elizabeth" just for her. Fortune and Robin and Linda Williams kicked off their fifth annual Fortune-Williams Music Festival with a trip to AMC to sing to patients and staff. Visitors, patients, doctors, therapists and nurses filled nearly every bit of the wide lobby for the half-hour show.

"I think the crowd gets a little bigger every year," Fortune said. This is the third year the performers have made the AMC visit.

Linda Williams opened the show with "America the Beautiful," inviting the audience to chime in. That was to be repeated as the atrium filled with the sounds of "Amazing Grace," "Back Home Again" and "The Old Rugged Cross."

By the time they sang a medley of "I'll Fly Away" and "I Saw the Light," just about everyone was singing.

Long-time Statler fan Loyce Price had a front row seat in her hospital recliner. She said her husband, Arthur, who died in November 2004, was an avid fan. "He'd have a fit if he knew I was here," she said. "But he's gone now."