Woman with dementia lights up dance floor at Halifax singing event

Woman with dementia lights up dance floor at Halifax singing event

When a choir of perfect strangers gathers every second Monday at a Halifax bar, there's one woman throwing her arms in the air as she dances with abandon and sings her heart out.

Her name is Lynn Davidson and since January her friend, Kathy Greenwood, has been bringing her to The Big Sing, a popular drop-in signing event at The Company House for anyone willing to lend their vocal chords to a pop-up choir.

"Whenever you're with Lynn, she's either beating on a table … or beating on her lap or beating her thighs or dancing or singing," said Greenwood. "There's always a musical energy coming from Lynn."

What many people don't know about Davidson is she has dementia.

Part of the family

Greenwood met Davidson, 59, about seven months ago at Arborstone Enhanced Care home in Halifax.

Greenwood's sister, who had multiple sclerosis, was in the bed next to Davidson. Greenwood said Davidson became part of her family during that time.

They would sing together, talk and laugh.

"Lynn made our visits with my sister a lot more cheery," Greenwood said.

When Greenwood's sister died in October, Davidson told her she was afraid she would never see Greenwood or her family again.

Greenwood promised that would never happen.

'She's a musician, and she's a lot of things'

They've remained in close contact. Another of Greenwood's sisters had told her about The Big Sing, and she knew she had to bring Davidson.

"She said it has to do with a choir, and everyone's invited and you don't need to know how to sing to attend," Davidson said. "So I was in."

As Davidson watched a video recently of one of the Big Sing performances, she tapped her leg in time to the music.

"I thought that was great," Davidson said. "It's like love, more than anything."

Artistic background

Davidson used to take bongo drumming, Greenwood said. She has a degree in jewelry making and sculpting, Greenwood said, and had a successful upholstery business in the Annapolis Valley where she made curtains.

The Big Sing is important for Greenwood and Davidson, but also for Davidson's family.

"She doesn't get out that much and I think her family is really excited and happy to see joy in Lynn."