Meet the team
Ben Buddy Slack
Founder & Creative Director
Ben is an award winning songwriter and community musician. He has released albums as a solo artist, with his band (The Blind Dead McJones Band) and as a duo with Siobhan Donnelly. His community music work has involved delivering songwriting workshops and courses in a variety of community settings, mental health facilities and prisons. He was inspired to start The Swan Song Project after losing his Grandma and regretting not recording her singing with him.
Gemma has extensive experience in the charity sector and has successfully worked in fundraising roles at national and local charities often with a health/end of life care focus. She has always had a keen interest in The Swan Song Project. This was fuelled further by witnessing a gentleman perform his Swan Song in a hospice setting. In her spare time Gemma is an avid supporter of the local music scene.
Sam Hodgson / Samh
Lisa Marie Glover
Jess Baker / Kaninchen
Jess is a community musician based in Huddersfield. She runs community choirs and singing workshops, specialising in harmony singing for mental health and wellbeing. Jess performs in several bands and performs as a solo artist under the name Kaninchen using voice and loop pedal.
“Ric has extensive experience as a songwriter and musical director. He has released several solo albums and worked on a range of shows. Two of Rics songs made the top ten of the UK Songwriting Contest in 2013 and he has lectured on songwriting for over ten years in the UK and overseas.” www.ricneale.com
Anthony is the Project Director at Participate Projects, responsible for Social Venture support projects and employee volunteering across Leeds City Region. He has personal experience of the value of music at the end of life and believes everyone should have the opportunity to write their Swan Song.
Steph is Deputy CEO at Leeds Community Foundation and Director of GiveBradford. She has worked in the charity and public sectors for 20 years, focused on changing the systems that drive inequality and centring the value of lived experience. She has a strong understanding of governance, business development and fundraising, strategy and impact. Steph is passionate about the transformative power of singing on mental health and has extensive voluntary experience related to Swan Song’s mission: most recently as one of the volunteers starting up the UK’s first palliative care service for people living on the streets. Steph is a qualified careers adviser and youth worker, has an MBA, and is a fellow of Windsor Leadership.
Jeannie is a qualified social worker and a life-long fan of all kinds of music. From personal and professional experiences, she’s aware of how music touches peoples’ lives and their deaths, and believes that Swan Song is a great way to give and receive memories of a precious life.
Fran is the CEO of Purple Patch Arts, a charity that provides innovative, inclusive, creative learning experiences for adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults across Yorkshire. She is passionate about the power of music and believes that Swan Song provides a beautiful and unique opportunity to process, express and remember.