Skip to content

A musician, a guitar and a dying man's wish

'Music is one of those things where as soon as someone has a similar interest, you become instant friends'

Gary Davison enjoys giving back. 

For a while now, the musician has volunteered his time playing music at the Nipissing Serenity Hospice in North Bay. 

While Davison played music for many, it was 66-year-old Michael Fielding who Davison will likely never ever forget. 

"Michael was there for a long time," said Davison comparing to some of the other hospice patients. 

"It is just a place that patients go and they know why they are there. I played for him five or six times as he was there for about two months." 

Davison says Fielding's favourite song that he played was "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin. 

"As time went on and it was more one on one time with him, I always played songs for him which he loved but we ended up talking more about things in general and his outlook on life was so moving," recalls Davison. 

"Our connection was music, he was 66 years old, when he passed last Friday, but we were cut from the same cloth when I'm talking about music and all our favourite bands and artists."

However, as Fielding's health was failing, he leaned on Davison. 

"I was asked to go to the hospice a little bit earlier last Friday, and I knew because I had not been there in a couple of weeks and he was getting towards the end of his life so I played some songs. Then his wishes were that I get his guitar and donate it to some kids who would benefit from it. He wanted kids to learn music. He thought, like I do, that music is an important part of life.," he explained. 

Fielding told Davison music just brought him so much joy. 

"His words were, 'I have been on this earth nearly three-quarters of a century, a lot of people cannot say that. and I am just enjoying every day that I am here,'" said Davison. 

"You have friends for 20 years but I did not think you could get that close to someone in such a short time."  

After Fielding's passing, Davison told his wife he had an idea and some musical connections locally to grant him his dying wish. 

Davison reached out to Brian Overholt, a longtime music teacher at St. Joseph-Scollard Hall. Overholt was thrilled to hear about Davison's donation idea. 

"Gary had called me and told me about his friendship with Michael at the hospice. He mentioned that Michael wanted to continue his musical legacy and have his guitar donated to some students," recalls Overholt. 

"We are always happy to accept instrument donations in our program as any program would."

Despite being emotional, Davison agreed to tell the story to the students. 

"He told Michael's story to the students in our senior guitar class and it was very heartwarming just to hear the musical relationship between Gary and Michael, and inspiring, he wanted his legacy to be continued through his instrument," said Overholt. 

Davison was thrilled to be able to come through for his friend. The inspired musician made sure young musicians would not forget his friend as he put a sticker on the guitar with Fielding's name on it.   

"It was a strange feeling. I walked into the hospice with my guitar and I walked out with two guitars. That was emotional," said Davison.  

"Then today I walked in with his guitar almost a week later and I walked out without his guitar and that was emotional too." 

Both Davison and Overholt agree that sometimes when words don't speak, music does. 

"Music is one of those things where as soon as someone has a similar interest, you become instant friends," said Overholt. 

"That was the case with Gary and Michael. It seemed like a perfect time just before Michael's passing."  

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
Read more

Reader Feedback