The History of Swan Songs
by Christine Albert – Founder and President
In 1992, I was asked to sing at a small gathering of friends and family as a formerly vibrant 40-year-old man faced an early death from a terminal illness.
Months later I sang in the hospital room of a cancer patient who loved my French songs. He died a week later. The honor of being invited to sing at these powerful moments in people’s lives was humbling and inspiring. Because Austin is the “live music capital of the world,” I knew that there had to be many other Austinites facing the end of their life who could no longer go out into the community to hear their favorite performers.
At the same time my good friend, Gaea Logan, a gifted Austin psychotherapist, was supporting a friend through his final transition and she recognized the compelling need to make music more available to patients in hospice care. The idea was born to create an organization to act as a liaison between the healthcare community and the music community.
That initial project was called MusicAid and over the next several years a number of concerts were organized and provided. Gaea kept the idea alive while I went off and embraced other life changes and challenges (thank you Gaea). Special thanks also to Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare for their assistance during this time.
Fast forward a few years to 1998.
I had begun singing in nursing homes and assisted living centers and was reminded again how powerful music can be outside of the typical “entertainment” venue. I wanted to recommit to the concept and the name Swan Songs appeared out of nowhere, complete with goose bumps! That first gathering I played in 1992 was for John Swann. I researched the swan and the phrase “swan song”, and I knew it was the right name. (See Swan Mythology)
Finally in 2005 we dove in whole heartedly and created Swan Songs. A supportive group of like minded individuals fell into place to join the board, the corporate paperwork was completed and at the end of 2005 we received our 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
Today, there are many of us diligently working to make Swan Songs a lasting and valuable part of the Austin community.
Thank you to everyone that helps Swan Songs give the gift of music.
Who We Are >> Our History