Soldier Songs & Voices helps veterans through music

Published: May. 7, 2023 at 10:22 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Creating art is what happens at Soldier Songs and Voices, a non-profit that provides free music and songwriting lessons to those who served our country.

“We don’t look at it like come in and heal. We look at it as come in, write songs, be in community. Be creative, feel safe, and then whatever healing takes place because of that will occur organically,” said Soldiers Songs and Voices Upstate Chapter Master Neil Sondov.

It starts with a note or phrase.

“It helped with my PTSD,” said Phillip Schwartz.

A Vietnam veteran, Schwartz didn’t share his story until he attended the free songwriting workshops four years ago.

“Brings a lot of emotions out of me, but at the end, the therapeutic value is. That’s just priceless,” he said.

Kenny Wise was at one of the workshops for the first time on Sunday.

“I realize that I was having a conversation with myself, and I realized that I have never done that before,” he said.

The Marine Corps veteran began playing the guitar about 18 months ago, which he says has made a big impact on his life.

“My hope is to change the world,” he said.

The Upstate chapter of Soldier Songs & Voices started in late 2019 but quickly turned virtual with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now three years later, the group is back to having in-person workshops.

“You’re truly not alone. It’s inspirational when people want to do, want to engage in a conversation that is progressive, and want to grow,” said Wise.

The group meets the first Sunday of the month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rupert Huse Veteran Center in Greenville.

It is open to veterans, military-active duty persons, active and retired first responders, and their families.

“It is cathartic for the artist and it connects. People go yeah I know what that means or yeah I’ve been there. I felt that,” said Sondov.