When Tressler attorney Jacqueline Criswell is not busy with the practice of law, she devotes her time to sharing the joy of singing and developing friendships with seniors. Jackie is the Founder and President of Sing Out Loud Seniors, a 501(c) nonprofit dedicated to spreading happiness through music. We interviewed Jackie about her amazing organization below.
How and when did you become involved with Sing Out Loud Seniors?
I started Sing Out Loud five years ago as a result of taking care of my Dad after he had a stroke and couldn’t talk. I discovered that while he couldn't speak to me, he could still sing hundreds of songs. He eventually got his speech back but later on his speech began to worsen again due to dementia. We communicated by singing with each other. When he died I started Sing Out Loud, which became my calling. We provide our program to six assisted living and memory care facilities. We don’t provide the residents the words or music. Instead, we draw out the songs from their memories.
Jackie and her dad.
What impact does singing and music have on seniors in the facilities you visit?
Singing together not only lifts their spirits but is a way for them to get to know each other. We have a team of young singers and pianists and the residents have taught us so much. They tell us about where they were when they first sang a certain song and share their life experiences, which brings us closer. Most surprising for me was to see family members who thought their loved ones could not or would not talk, realize that they can sing. This has given them a way to communicate. The program brings happiness to the residents and is a happy experience for the team.
Do you have a background in music?
Although I ended up becoming an attorney, I was a voice major/violin minor at Wheaton College in the conservatory in Wheaton Illinois.
How can we support Sing Out Loud Seniors?
We survive primarily through donations. If you want to learn more or would like to donate, our website is singoutloudseniors.org. Tressler attorney James K. Borcia is also on our Board.
Jackie and her team.
About Jacqueline Criswell
Jacqueline Criswell leads the firm’s Intellectual Property group and has been a commercial litigator for more than 28 years. She practices in all aspects of intellectual property law, including trademarks, trade dress, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyrights, e-commerce and false advertising matters. Jackie acted as lead trial counsel in cases involving novel issues, including the interplay of permissible parody and the First Amendment, functionality of product designs, copyright protection for useful articles and Digital Millennium Copyright Act damages. She also litigates claims for misappropriation of trade secrets against former employees and competitors, as well as piracy and economic espionage. She is a frequent lecturer on these issues and also provides counseling on software licensing, web hosting and technology transfer agreements. Jackie is the editor of the firm’s Internet and Intellectual Property Law Update, a quarterly newsletter.