I am standing here today because of SongwritingWith:Soldiers. – Sgt. Nikki Shaw

What We Do
In workshop and retreat settings, veterans work collaboratively with professional songwriters to transform their experiences of combat and the transition home into songs. We supplement these sessions with creativity workshops—on photography, videography, cooking, and more—designed to nurture strengths and skills, as well as forge community. Our unique approach sparks individual renewal on multiple fronts. All songs are professionally recorded on-site and participants are registered as co-writers with ASCAP (Association of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). The songs are available for download on our site.

After retreats, SW:S participants receive lyric books, DVDs and CDs of their songs. These lasting artifacts serve as a source of pride and a means of reconnecting with family, friends, and communities. Our program sustains post-retreat growth with a private online SW:S forum and a quarterly teleclass (Creativity Calling) featuring songwriters, visual artists, chefs, and other special guests. Many participants return to volunteer at future events. The healing ripples outward.

The program covers all expenses for participants. Please help more military members transform their stories into songs and connect with others at our retreats. Donate now.

To think that I sat down with a perfect stranger and told him some of the worst things I have ever been through and now I have a beautiful song that I can share. That blows my mind. – Retreat participant

Recent events

Earlier in 2016

  • Sept 11-12 – Group Songwriting Sessions at Boulder Crest Retreat, Bluemont, VA.
  • Sept 12 – Darden Smith, Mary Gauthier, and James House participated in the Science of Song Symposium, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
  • May 11 – “The Power of Story,” with Darden Smith, Mary Judd, documentary filmmaker John Siskel, SW:S veteran Sgt Rob Spohr, and SW:S singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier at the Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, NY.
  • May 13-15 – SW:S Retreat for Veterans at the Edith Macy Conference Center, Briarcliff, NY.
  • May 17-18 – Group Songwriting Sessions at Boulder Crest Retreat, Bluemont, VA.
  • April 11-12 – Group Songwriting Sessions at Boulder Crest Retreat, Bluemont, VA.
  • April 7 – Darden Smith and Mary Judd present “SongwritingWith:Soldiers – Conscience, Collaboration, and Change,” the Southern States Communications Conference  Austin, TX.
  • April 1-3 – Retreat for Military Couples at Boulder Crest Retreat, Bluemont, VA.
  • March 14-15 – Group Songwriting Sessions at Boulder Crest Retreat, Bluemont, VA.
  • March 8-9 – SW:S participates in Amplify Austin, Austin, TX.
  • February 22-23 – Group Songwriting Sessions at Boulder Crest Retreat, Bluemont, VA.
  • February 5-7 – SW:S Retreat for Veterans at Cedarbrake Retreat Center, Belton, TX.
  • January 21 – Darden Smith and Mary Judd present “SongwritingWith:Soldiers – The Civil War Diaries of Our Time” at John Jay Homestead, Rye, NY.
  • January 12-13 – Group Songwriting Sessions at Boulder Crest Retreat, Bluemont, VA.

Events in 2015:

Events in 2014: