Swan Songs performers get a gift-card bonus from Strait Music

2/8/08 - Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN -  Joel Porter, left, hugs Van Wilks after private concert by the Van Wilks Trio at the Hole in the Wall on Friday Feb. 8, 2008.  The show was made possible by Swan Songs, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to arranging private performances for people with terminal illnesses.

Joel Porter, left, hugs musician Van Wilks after a Swan Songs concert by the Van Wilks Trio at Hole in the Wall in 2008. Photo by Jay Janner/American-Statesman

Like a local Make-A-Wish Foundation tailored specifically for those who love music, Swan Songs has helped organize concerts for people with terminal illnesses since 2005. It’s a remarkable program that presents these events at no cost to those who request them.

The recipients themselves choose the performer or genre, and the musicians are compensated for their work through sponsors and from donations gathered largely at fundraising events. (The next one, on Oct. 20 at Riverbend Centre for the Arts, features live music from the Bellamy Brothers.)

Now there’s a bonus for the musicians. In addition to the honorarium from Swan Songs, Strait Music Company is providing a $75 gift card to those who perform at these events. Strait Music’s gift-card grant totals $7,500, which will cover 100 performers in the Swan Songs program.

“It is an incredible honor to serve the Austin area community with a mission focused on creating a beautiful end-of-life transition, turning sorrow into joy,” Swan Songs founder Christine Albert said in a statement announcing the Strait grant. “We feel so privileged to share this with a partner like Strait Music that also is committed to supporting local musicians.”

Strait Music, with locations in north and south Austin, has been serving the community since 1963. “These musicians make a personal commitment when they perform at a Swan Songs concert, and I want to thank them,” Strait Music president Robert Strait noted in the statement.

Further details on donating to the nonprofit, performing at a Swan Songs concert, or requesting a concert for a terminally ill individual are available at the swansongs.org website.

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