The Swansong Project

The Swan Song Project Logo

“In a song there is a soul that is eternal.”

Ben Buddy Slack watched his grandmother Teresa (my aunt) deteriorate due to Alzheimer’s.

“Towards the end me and my uncle sang her favourite songs to her. She was pretty unresponsive because she had Alzheimer’s – but when we began to sing she kind of lit up and started tapping her fingers.

I’ll always remember how powerful that was. With her Alzheimer’s the music memory seemed to stay longer than anything else. She’d forget lots of things, but you’d start singing an old song to her and she’d remember all the lyrics and knew them straight away.

Then I thought how nice it would be to have a recording of her singing with us, because she’d always loved music – and that made me think I could do this with more people in hospices.”

Thus the seeds of  The Swan Song Project  were sown…

In May 2017, Ben began visiting Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford, England.

He has worked with Alan Livett who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2012, to create a “Song for Ginny.” Alan’s swansong recounts their meeting and falling in love, the birth of their 3 children in 1989, 1992 and 1997, early morning starts, football and making a home…

The chorus of Alan’s song is “We can do this.”

Alan & Ben-10

Alan Livett and Ben “Buddy” Slack

Maureen Baron has incurable breast cancer and her swansong is called “No fears, no worries.” She was featured on BBC Look North on 11th October which you can view HERE


Maureen Baron with Ben

Ben says “Lots of the songs are very emotive, but its all positive. A lot of them are about people’s strengths and kindnesses…”

You can listen to both Alan and Maureen’s swansongs HERE, together with 9 others. I guarantee they will touch your heart.

“Hospice Family” was written by Victoria Kent, Kathy Roebuck and Ben.

You can listen to “Hospice Family” performed live at the hospice on 14th October 2017 at

I wish Ben and all those who participate in The Swan Song Project continued joy and healing in their musical endeavours.

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.


  1. The Swansong Project is a beautiful idea and how lovely to have a recording of your loved one to remember them by. I imagine it would be very moving. Thank you for,sharing this, Brigid.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This post is quite poignant as we have just returned from seeing my husband’s parents who both have Alzheimer’s. Leaving them was tough. In some ways, we are living and seeing the world as who knows what’s around the corner!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful piece, Brigid, and so personal since it started with your aunt. I love the work Ben is doing and the “No fears, no worries” song is so moving. Music is a language that reaches us in ways words cannot. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This is a beautful idea. I have heard before that people With Alzheimer’s can be so lost to everything and everyone else but respond well to musical memories. Music is so very powerful and can take us back to long-forgotten times, events and even people we once knew. I wish everyone involved all the best with their project. 💜

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  5. Lovely! I listened to “No Fears, No Worries,” and “Pass On A Smile For Me.” 👏 to the “The Swan Song Project.” As a Reminiscence Coach, I work with groups of wonderful folks who love ❤️ 🎶. If you stay in their lane, they can sing 🎤 every lyric you present. What a joy it is to see their lips moving, and when they sing out, maybe even sway, my heart swells to capacity. It’s failure-free and full of glee. Thanks for sharing Brigid. My foot went to tapping as well.

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  6. What a beautiful project – just lovely. Life is fragile and when we leave expectedly or unexpectedly it is often music that touched us that in turn touches others triggering memories of how things were. To be able to lay down some music for that searing limbo that those we leave behind will suffer is surely a marvellous gift. And what a wonderful play on words.

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  7. WOW!!!! This is a beautiful project, Brigid. Thank you for sharing it. God, it’s so inspiring to see what one person can do when they are touched and share their heart!!!! Thanks for including the video too – makes it come more alive. I love love love this! Blessings to you, and love Brigid – Debbie

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Heartwarming, Brigid. Sharing on Pinterest and will go back to add a link here from a couple of my past articles on the power of music for minds that have begun to let go of life. Watch for pings.

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What a beautiful idea Brigid– my mother-in-law has dementia, and my father-in-law wakes her up i the mornings singing a hymn– and she often joins in. She still has a sweet voice. Thanks for sharing this… hugs hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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