A 92-year-old woman with dementia has recently gone viral on TikTok with a performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Video from 2019 shows Elaine Lebar saying “I don’t know it,” before belying her words as she turns to the keyboard to play the third movement from Beethoven’s famous work. Lebar was playing at a senior living community in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.
“After moving her to this facility almost three years ago, I began recording her playing piano so I would have these memories for the future,” Randi Lebar, Elaine’s daughter, told Storyful.
Due to coronavirus, Lebar said she was unable to visit her mother for several months this year. When she was finally able to visit again, she posted a video to TikTok of Elaine’s playing, “with the goal of raising awareness about Alzheimer’s dementia and the effect of the pandemic restrictions on this population and their families.”
Soon, Lebar said requests were coming in. One was for the Moonlight Sonata, which she remembered she’d recorded in 2019. “I went through my files and found this video,” she told Storyful.
“I did not anticipate that it would go viral but here we are,” she said. “My mom, a professional musician, has significant dementia, but life makes sense to her at the piano.” Credit: Randi Lebar via Storyful