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Swan Songs Reveals More On Virtual 2020 SWAN SONGS SERENADE

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This year's Swan Songs Serenade will take place virtually on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. CST.

Swan Songs Reveals More On Virtual 2020 SWAN SONGS SERENADE

Austin music nonprofit Swan Songs announces today more details on their 10th Annual Swan Songs Serenade gala, as well as event sponsors. This year's Swan Songs Serenade will take place virtually on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. CST, and will be hosted by Judy Maggio, Host of ATX Together at Austin PBS. The event will also feature online auctions and a performance by Robert Earl Keen.

Local artists are set to make appearances throughout the gala, speaking on their Swan Songs experiences, including Ray Benson, Eliza Gilkyson and Monte Warden. Event-goers are encouraged to tune in early for the Serenade Happy Hour, taking place at 6:30 p.m. CST, with special messages from Swan Songs sponsors, memories of past Serenades, and much more fun features to gear up for the event. Tickets are available now at

Swan Songs is an Austin-based music nonprofit dedicated to fulfilling musical last wishes by organizing personalized concerts for individuals nearing the end of life. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swan Songs team has successfully pivoted to virtual delivery of their program, and as such, have transformed their fundraising event to a virtual setting as well. In addition to the online auctions and music from Robert Earl Keen, the 2020 Serenade will include stories and music from local musicians who have performed Swan Songs concerts, interviews with family members and informative vignettes designed to illustrate the impact of Swan Songs, its history and how this organization helps the community.

Proceeds from the Swan Songs Serenade benefit Swan Songs in their mission to fulfill musical last wishes and support the music community. For more information on Swan Songs, see here.

Swan Songs celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and in this uncertain time, the organization aims to continue to bring the comfort of music. Musicians have been able to utilize technology such as Zoom to live stream and provide pre-recorded virtual concerts to recipients. Watch Swan Songs compelling virtual concerts here. Swan Songs' move to digital methods was also recently featured on KLRU's Decibel, which can be viewed here.

"During this challenging time, the value of Swan Songs has only been amplified," said Christine Albert, Swan Songs Founder & CEO. "When our musicians were no longer able to perform for recipients in person, we shifted to a virtual model. The comfort and joy inspired by hearing your loved one's favorite music at such a tender time is no less powerful."

Swan Songs works with individuals who are terminally ill or nearing the end of life to bring comfort, joy and a respite from illness through music by organizing personalized concerts during this emotional and difficult time. The organization's core program is the fulfillment of musical last wishes. Swan Songs fulfills recipients' requests for a certain style of music or a specific musician to perform for them and their loved ones in a very intimate concert setting. The concerts are 30-40 minutes in length, are typically unplugged and provide an opportunity for a gathering with a focus on the music instead of the illness. These experiences are offered at no charge to the patient or family. The organization has temporarily shifted to virtual performances or outdoor concerts, due to social distancing restrictions.

Swan Songs recognizes that the talent and expertise of the participating musicians are an invaluable part of their success and, therefore, musicians are offered an honorarium for their time. In this way, Swan Songs fulfills its secondary mission - to support the health of the Austin area music community. With the vast diversity of requests from recipients, Swan Songs is fortunate to have access to the talented, professional, and experienced musicians of the "Live Music Capital of the World" to fulfill even the most specialized musical last wish.

Swan Songs was officially established in 2005 as an Austin, Texas-based 501(c)(3) organization, although the concept was born in the early '90s when Austin musician Christine Albert (Swan Songs Founder & CEO) was asked to sing for a dying fan. The idea to bring music directly to someone facing the end of life resonated with Austin psychotherapist Gaea Logan (Swan Songs co-founder), and the two women began informally organizing the bedside concerts. The organization is committed to utilizing professional musicians whose expertise and experience are central to the success of the program. They recognize the importance of compensating these artists, therefore a nonprofit was created to raise the necessary funds to offer an honorarium, with no financial obligation on the part of the recipient or their family. The name Swan Songs was chosen, inspired in part by John Swann - the terminally ill man Christine first sang for in 1992.

Swan Songs has grown steadily and thoughtfully. The board of directors has expanded from the original six to the current 12 members. The concert number has grown from three in 2006 to an average of six requests per week, before the current in person restrictions were put in place. Swan Songs has worked with dozens of regional hospices and care facilities in a nine-county area, with a handful of concerts organized in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Outreach efforts were always carefully matched with the infrastructure in place at a particular time, so as not to overextend. The Swan Songs staff is gracefully managing the many changes to the program and working remotely.

As the program evolved, it became apparent that there was a more compelling desire to request a certain style of music than a specific artist, although some regional artists have been requested by name (Guy Forsyth, Eliza Gilkyson, Ruthie Foster, Jimmy LaFave, Bob Schneider, Ray Benson, Carolyn Wonderland, The Flatlanders and more).

Swan Songs works diligently to match the style of music requested with the appropriate musician(s). The variety of requests over the years reflects how deep an individual's connection with music can be - based on a lifetime of memories, culture, heritage and geography. Whatever connects the recipient to those memories, their family, their joy - that is what Swan Songs brings.

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