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Swan Songs is thrilled to announce the 2017 Swan Songs Serenade benefit concert and gala featuring musical treasure Ruthie Foster on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Riverbend Centre for the Arts located at 4214 N Capital of Texas Highway, Austin, Texas 78746. The organization serves as a healing platform for terminally ill patients to share an intimate musical experience with their loved ones. The annual Swan Songs Serenade event is the signature fundraiser for this treasured Austin area nonprofit. Doors are at 6 p.m. Presale tickets at $200 each are available for purchase Aug. 1, and $150 tickets will be available for purchase beginning Aug. 15. All tickets include silent and live auctions, cocktails, a seated dinner and live concert. For up-to-date information on sponsorships opportunities, auction items and more, please see swansongs.org. Click here to see a slideshow of concert images to learn more.
"Each year, the Serenade is more than simply an opportunity to raise funds needed to execute our mission; it is a celebration of our growth, the recipients who trust us with their final musical wishes, the musicians whose artistry and professionalism fulfill those wishes so beautifully, the many volunteers who give so much of themselves, and the community at large that supports Swan Songs year-round," said long-time Austin musician and Swan Songs Founder & CEO, Christine Albert. "Ruthie Foster's generosity of spirit, soulful music, big heart and Texas roots make her the perfect artist to bring our 2017 celebration to life."
Swan Songs' core program is the fulfillment of musical last wishes. Recipients may request 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. There is no charge to the patient or family for this service. 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.
The diversity of requests is stunning, including everything from Mariachi to blues, bagpipes to Irish songs, Frank Sinatra to Hank Williams, Lithuanian accordion to classical bassoon. In the "Live Music Capital of the World" Swan Songs is fortunate to have access to talented, professional, experienced musicians to fulfill the most specialized request.
ABOUT SWAN SONGS: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 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 138 in 2017, year-to-date. Swan Songs has worked with dozens of regional hospices and care facilities in a 6-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 current staff was ready to handle the increased requests. 2016 saw the establishment of the first Swan Songs office, creating even more efficiency and strengthening its presence in the community.
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 (Eliza Gilkyson, Jimmy LaFave, Bob Schneider, Ray Benson, Carolyn Wonderland, The Flatlanders - to name a few).
The diversity of requests has been surprising, and the rich Austin music community has been able to deliver every time. Requests range from country music to Irish songs, Cherokee music to Zydeco, Supertramp to Japanese songs. Whatever speaks to the recipient and connects them to their life, their family and their joy ... that is what Swan Songs brings.
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