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Posted by James Grande
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When I Realized The Power Of Music

One of the first memories of music I have was when my Nana used to tune in to Lawrence Welk. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she moved in with my family. As sad as the disease was we were fortunate that she was always in great spirits and singing. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, we would always find a way to smile at the things she would do and say. 

She would wake up at 5am to go to the Alzheimer’s Center where she would spend time with many others who had the disease. She’d be showered and ready to go even though we weren’t supposed to leave for hours. As a kid I’d be in bed and hear her singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” or “It Had To Be You” first thing in the morning, swearing that there was a parade outside the window playing that tune. She’d look out the window with a big smile on her face singing at the top of her lungs (and waking up the whole house). I’m pretty sure that hearing my Nana sing at such a young age inspired me to give singing a shot.

When we’d take her to the Alzheimer’s Center I would do volunteer work there during the summer. We’d pull in and she’d see the sign “Louis Feinsten’s Alzheimer’s Center”. Every day she’d see it and say “ooooh dear those poor people inside!”. I would see some very sad cases and felt blessed that my Nana never got angry or depressed with her disease. She always remembered who we were and would just say silly things to make us laugh (like when when we’d leave she’d complain that everyone in the center would repeat themselves).

Anyways – We had this tape of Lawrence Welk’s show back when VCR’s were being used. We’d literally put the same tape in every night before she went to bed and she’d watch and sing along thinking it was a new episode. So of course I had to take a photo of the Lawrence Welk star when I spotted it in Hollywood.

Right before she passed I had asked her what her favorite song was. She told me “It Had To Be You”. Even though I was still young I realized quickly the immense power of music. I witnessed someone in the final stages of Alzheimer’s remember the words, melody, and tune of her favorite song.

Music is an extraordinary thing. Cherish it forever folks.

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