Program helps veterans, active duty service members crafts songs about military experience

On this Veterans Day, we salute a program called SongwritingWith:Soldiers; the program pairs veterans and active duty service members with professional songwriters to craft songs about their military experience.

Josh Geartz served in the army in Kosovo and Iraq from 1999 to 2004 and going on a SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreat three years ago saved his life.

“I was ready to kill myself, I had already tried twice,” Geartz told PIX11. “But going on that first retreat taught me to trust people. Singing gave me a little hope. It changed something in me."

“It’s an unbelievable program,” Lisa Geartz, Josh’s wife and a veteran herself, told PIX11. “It’s hard to put into words. You have to physically be there to see it, how people change, how it help.”

SongwritingWith:Soldiers has worked with 400 veterans during 35 retreats over the past six years all over the country and it has been a learning experience for all involved.

“There’s a real important mission in writing these songs,” Mary Judd, the co-founder of SongwritingWith:Soldiers, told PIX11. “Everyone feels they are involved in something important and meaningful.”

For professional songwriters and veterans it’s a collaboration they’ll never forget.

“You can’t imagine some of the trauma they’ve been through,” James House, a professional songwriter, told PIX11. “As a songwriter, it’s my job to listen.”

Three veterans and professional songwriters will be performing on Monday, Nov. 12, at New York City Winery.

For more information, you can go to their website: songwritingwithsoldiers.org.

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