Texas Essentials: Musician Christine Albert, Swan Songs Founder 

by Lisa Davis on October 15, 2019 in Entertainment, Music, Lifestyle, Living Texas, Austin, Nonprofit,

Swan Songs gives the gift of music to terminally ill Texans as a final farewell before transitioning.

Austin-based musician Christine Albert has made a living  for more than four decades as a singer and songwriter, but it’s her philanthropic work with Swan Songs that is at the core of who she is as a person.

Swan Songs had a request for heavy metal music but were unable to find a band available to do it. The recipient passed before it was scheduled, but Swan Songs provided that same music for the recipient’s Celebration of Life. Photo courtesy Swan Songs

In 2005, Albert founded Swan Songs, a nonprofit bringing last musical wishes to people with terminal illnesses. Receiving around one or two requests daily for private performances, Swan Songs has fulfilled over 1,000 unique requests for music at the end of life. 

Albert began using her natural talent in 1992 to bring musical wishes to those facing the end of their lives. It wasn’t until years later that Albert and her friend Gaea Logan, an Austin psychotherapist, recognized the benefit of making music more available to patients in hospice care by merging the healthcare and music communities.

“Music can connect us to the deepest part of ourselves, our history, our family culture. When it is difficult to articulate emotions, music speaks volumes for everyone present,” says Christine Albert.
Photo courtesy Christine Albert

From Japanese songs to Mariachi, classical cello to Texas blues and the most unusual, Lithuanian accordion music, no genre is off-limits at Swan Songs. 

“Because Austin is the ‘live music capital of the world,’ I knew that there had to be many Austinites facing the end of their life who could no longer go out into the community to hear their favorite performers,” says Christine Albert.

In addition to her work with Swan Songs, Albert has appeared on Austin City Limits, been awarded “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the Kerrville Folk Festival Music Awards and “Superstar of Austin Music” for her community service work and was inducted into the 2018 Texas Music Hall of Fame by The Austin Songwriters Group. 

Austin icon Marcia Ball is the featured musician at the 2019 Swan Songs Serenade annual fundraiser.
Photo courtesy Marcia Ball

We wanted to know what this talented musician and philanthropist never leaves home without — also known as her Texas Essentials.

Christine Albert’s Grammy logo notebook is especially meaningful because of her many years of service on that Board of Trustees. It’s special because it was given to her by a dear friend and colleague, Theresa Jenkins, who passed away August 27th. Photo courtesy Christine Albert

Swan Songs Brochure & Business Card

Spreading the word about Swan Songs happens organically everywhere I go. So I always have brochures and business cards in my purse, my car, my guitar case.

Sunglasses

My blue eyes are very sensitive to the light, so I need my shades whether it’s sunny or overcast!

iPhone & Grammy Journal

Although I make notes on my iPhone these days, I still carry a small notebook in my purse for taking notes on phone calls, jotting down song ideas, tearing out a page to leave a note for someone. My GRAMMY logo notebook is especially meaningful because of my many years of service on that Board of Trustees, and because it was given to me by my dear friend and colleague, Theresa Jenkins, who passed away August 27.

Mother’s Memorial Card

My mother died October 15, 2018 and the laminated card is from her memorial. Seeing her smile every time I open my wallet keeps me grounded in her love and reminds me to stay true to my roots.

The 2019 Swan Songs Serenade with Marcia Ball & Friends is October 20, 6-10:00 pm.


Cover: Christine Albert, courtesy photo

Lisa Davis lives in Austin and is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.