FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Songwriting retreat for veterans expands reach,
is subject of July 4 TV documentary
SongwritingWith:Soldiers continues to broaden impact with East Coast retreat
RENSSELAERVILLE, N.Y.– The groundbreaking SongwritingWith:Soldiers program that pairs 10-12 active duty and veteran military service members with professional songwriters for weekend retreats will be the featured story in a prime time TV special at 7 p.m. EST Thursday, July 4 on the cable network HLN, affiliated with CNN. Robin Meade’s Stories of Courage: Soldiers’ Songs will re-broadcast at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7.
Initiated to provide stress relief and deeper connections primarily for returning U.S. service members of Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries, SongwritingWith:Soldiers has held prior retreats near Fort Hood, Texas. The first East Coast retreat will take place at the Carey Center for Global Good in Rensselaerville, N.Y., August 23-25, 2013.
Music is a universal language, and we are honored to collaborate with SongwritingWith:Soldiers and use our rural landscape for this restorative gathering of those who have given so valiantly for our country,” says Carol Ash, president of the Carey Center for Global Good. “Our mission and the mission of SongwritingWith:Soldiers is so compatible: to bring dynamic people together to tackle the pressing challenges that face us today.”
SongwritingWith:Soldiers Executive Director Mary Judd, a resident of New York’s capital region, says, "Our Texas retreats have been life changing for everyone involved -- from the soldiers to the songwriters, to the staff and volunteers. I am excited to bring this program to the East Coast, and to host it in New York State."
Program creator and Austin-based songwriter Darden Smith, along with professional songwriters Gary Nicholson, Annie Roboff and Beth Nielsen Chapman will be paired with military members in the retreat setting to write songs based on their combat experience and its effect on them since returning home. "Using my craft in the service of these men and women is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done,” says Smith.
More about the SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreats:
Support for SongwritingWith:Soldiers is made possible in part by a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which provides resources and support to injured service members, veterans, and their families so they can have successful futures. For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, visit www.ReMIND.org.
Additional Key Funding partners for SongwritingWith:Soldiers include ASCAP Foundation, Lockheed Martin, Veteran’s United Foundation, The Mayerson Foundation and an award from Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
“As the number of military suicides rises -- up to 22 per day -- we are more determined than ever to reach more service men and women with our program,” says SongwritingWith:Soldiers Executive Director Mary Judd. “One of our goals is to develop materials to help replicate the program on a broad scale. We have seen the healing effects. More service men and women need this opportunity. More songwriters need this opportunity, too."
Judd and Smith were childhood friends in Texas, fell out of contact for many years and reconnected through similar work interests. They joined forces to launch the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program in 2012 out of Smith’s Be An Artist Program..
Additional veterans in attendance will include award-winning combat photographers Andy Dunaway and Stacy Pearsall (recently honored as a White House Champion of Change), and combat veteran and videographer James Monk with Mercy Lamp Productions. More retreats are planned for 2013.
Songs from the two previous retreats are available for download:
For more information about the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program and retreats, visit www.songwritingwithsoldiers.org.
SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a program created by Darden Smith that pairs professional songwriters with soldiers and veterans to relieve stress and build community by writing songs based on stories of combat and returning home. This unique process provides a lasting document of the veterans’ story, in song form, that they can have and share. SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a part of Be An Artist, Inc., a non-profit organization that focuses on songwriting to bring arts and creativity into a variety of educational settings.
Other programs sponsored by Be An Artist, Inc. include The Be An Artist Program, bringing creativity workshops based on songwriting to schools across the U.S. and Europe; SongwritingWith: CovenantHouse, working within a shelter for homeless youth in Newark, N.J. to help the residents tell their stories through song; and SongwritingWith:Africa, working within communities of Botswana and South Africa to help relate the effects of HIV and AIDS.
About the Bob Woodruff Foundation
Helping heroes on the homefront
The Bob Woodruff Foundation is the nonprofit dedicated to ensuring injured service members and their families are thriving long after they return home. A national organization with grassroots reach, the Bob Woodruff Foundation complements the work of the federal government —diligently navigating the maze of more than 40,000 nonprofits providing services to veterans—finds, funds and shapes innovative programs, and holds them accountable for results. To date, we have invested more than $15 million in public education and solutions, reaching more than a million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by award-winning anchor Bob Woodruff and his family, whose own experiences inspired them to help make sure our nation’s heroes have access to the high level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it. For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, please visit www.bobwoodrufffoundation.org.
About The ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs for songwriters, composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 120,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.
About Charleston Center for Photography
The Charleston Center for Photography is owned by Stacy Pearsall and Andy Dunaway, both award-winning combat photographers, whose works -- and awards - reach far beyond the battlefield. The Center offers classes, printing services, studio rentals, special events and much more. Many of the photos on SWS website, press materials, and gift books were taken by Stacy and Andy. www.ccforp.org
About the Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation –
The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation (www.mayersonfoundation.org) is dedicated to creating communities that are just, caring and respectful – communities in which marginalized populations are empowered and all people have opportunities to seek their highest aspirations. In making funding decisions, the Directors of the Foundation are responsive to sound strategic planning, organizational stability, leadership, creativity, entrepreneurial visioning, leveraging of resources, collaboration and empowerment of people. Additionally, there is a focus on providing funding to worthy efforts that otherwise struggle to find vital support. In short, the Foundation is interested in projects that figure out how to make an impact and do it broadly with an efficient use of resources. And, it likes to see its funding and involvement serve a catalytic role in turning possibilities into reality. In keeping with its entrepreneurial spirit, the Foundation has been instrumental in creating a number of new programs and non-profits organizations, including the VIA Institute on Character, a non-profit that advances the science and practice of character strengths to improve people’s lives and society at large.
About Veterans United Foundation
Veterans United Foundation, driven exclusively by Veterans United Home Loans and its employees, is committed to enhancing the lives of veterans and military families nationwide by supporting nonprofit organizations that strengthen local communities and honor the sacrifices of those who served. It also provides individual donations to current and former military members in need. Since its founding in November 2011, more than $6.2 million has been pledged and donated to the foundation by Veterans United Home Loans and its employees. Learn more at EnhanceLives.com.
About the Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance was created to support and stimulate cultural activity in communities throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Based in the heartland, M-AAA now creates and manages regional, multi-regional, national, and international programs including traveling exhibitions, performing arts touring, and professional and community development. Countless stories can be told about arts experiences in the communities that Mid-America Arts Alliance serves with performances, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, master classes, school tours, radio broadcasts, artist residencies, community projects, and lectures. For these communities the arts truly are a source of lifelong learning and renewal.
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