“He was fun-loving, singing. Every occasion he would come out with a song.”
This is how Henry’s daughter remembers her dad.
After his Alzheimer’s rendered him unable to recognize his daughter, Henry had to be checked into a nursing home. He later began to have seizures and was barely able to answer “yes” or “no” questions.
As part of “Alive Inside,” a 2012 documentary that looks at how Alzheimer’s patients “awaken” after listening to music from their past, Henry was played songs with which he had an emotional connection. He immediately brightened up and recalled some of his favorite musical memories.
“I’m crazy about music, and you played beautiful music, beautiful sounds,” he said. “Cab Calloway was my number one band—guy I liked,” he recalls, before breaking into “I’ll be Home For Christmas.”
Dr. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist who was involved with the documentary, discussed music’s power on the human mind.
“Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience,” he said. “Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory. Music brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”
For Henry, music has without a doubt had that effect.
“It gives me the feeling of love, romance! …The Lord came to me and he made me a holy man, so he gave me these sounds,” he said.