My name is Jackie Criswell and I am the founder of Sing Out Loud. My Dad, in perfect health, had a stroke out of the blue that took his ability to talk and swallow. After much speech therapy, he was able to talk again but during this time I discovered that while he couldn’t speak to me, he could sing hundreds of songs. This was before music therapy was widely known and it was a revelation to both of us. We sang musicals, hymns, and popular songs and felt like we were communicating with each other. Singing when he could not talk also lifted his spirits and gave us many joyous moments.
Later, when he suffered from dementia, his speech began to fail and singing was everything. When we were apart, we talked every day on the phone even though we were not talking but singing together. It felt the same.
My goal was to start a singing program for seniors, as well as those who lost their speech from strokes or dementia, and when my Dad passed away Sing Out Loud was born.