By Jessica Hoefer
If you could hear a loved one’s voice just one more time who’s would it be?
When we are missing someone the world seems such an expansive place, but with today’s technology the world grows infinitely smaller, and whoever we are missing seems a little bit closer. Social media and smart phones with cameras have all but ensured the chronicling of generations going forward, but what about those we have already lost? To quote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The human voice is the organ of the soul.” Being able to hear a loved one’s voice, whether they have passed away or are oceans apart, can do wonders for the psyche. Simply put, hearing the voice of a loved one signals the portion of the brain that promotes creativity and memory allowing our brains to draw a vivid picture in our minds eye. With images and memories flooding back, this voice becomes a catalyst combating loneliness or grief.
In 2008 a cluster of events drove Margo Brandano to tears wanting desperately to hear the voices of her deceased parents, from that despair the seed for a voice archiving service was firmly planted. Upon looking into the concept Al and Margo Brandano discovered that no telephone based voice archive service existed. The Brandano’s set out to create a service that would preserve voices forever. The final product, The Voice Library (TVL), is a cross-generational, simple to use, service which allows for users to have private access to verbal family trees, personal stories, and, even, community historical records.
As Al likes to say, “We want to be the most trusted place where your invaluable memories are stored and accessible to the whole family.” Unlike social media outlets like YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, with TVL the subscriber will always own and control their own content, pictures, and intellectual property. TVL gives subscribers the ability to preserve stories, poetry, and history in their own voices with easy, secure, and private digital recordings that will comfort, entertain, teach, and inspire listeners for generations. It’s as easy as downloading an app, logging in with your personal ID and pin, and following the step-by-step instructions to record, transfer, listen, or share your stories. TVL is manageable at any age or stage of technical knowledge, and is a trusted place to capture and archive audio legacies. Simply put, TVL has made storytelling cool again.
TVL, a Ken Burns-esque experience, as Al describes it, partners with and has affiliations with many organizations. Some of TVL’s projects include the Military Families Story Project in which TVL raises sponsorships and collects donations for military families. TVL is, also, working with the WWII Foundation Project, they are the first group to provide a school-based Alzheimer’s awareness program, Let Me Be Your Memory, and Author Your Own Audio Book, which allows subscribers to record their audio book and invite friends to login and listen. TVL’s newest, soon to be released, program is Grandma’s Kitchen Table which will provide uplifting and inspirational stories, along with sage advice from grandmothers. Suffice it to say, TVL has brought back the oral tradition of storytelling in a new and exciting way.