Time & Location
About the Event
No one knows the power of music better than the people who create it.
One very special group of these people not only recognized the healing properties of music, they channeled it into an experience that brings comfort and inspiration to people who have experienced some of humanity’s worst traumas. In 2012, singer-songwriter Darden Smith and Mary Judd created SongwritingWith:Soldiers (songwritingwithsildiers.org). SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a non-profit 510c(3) that uses collaborative songwriting to build creativity, connections and strengths. SW:S pairs professional songwriters with veterans and service members on active duty. Many of these men and women suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other wounds that endure long after service. In an intense, creative, collaborative process forged on trust, talent, and trauma, the pairs write songs about the pain of war and life at home afterward. In less than ten years, SW:S has held over 35 songwriting retreats, and its participants have created over 400 songs – each one an expression of both past tragedy and present triumph. (SW:S provides its programs free of charge to its participants.
Thanks to the ingenuity and hard work of Dr. Donna Mayerson, a longtime ally and donor to OIP, and the generous support from individual and foundation donors, OIP was able to engage with SW:S in a new pilot program that brought the healing of SW:S to the Ohio Innocence Project’s freed clients, who also suffer from PTSD.
In February 2019, the songwriters and SW:S team joined Dr. Mayerson and some of OIP’s clients and family members at a holistic retreat at beautiful Bellwether Farm in Wakeman, OH.
In the span of a weekend, five of OIP’s freed clients and three of their partners worked with the talented and thoughtful songwriters to create ten songs. Each one of those songs is a reflection of an experience that they hope that no one else will ever have to endure. The songs are not ballads of pain that speak only to the past or the suffering of the present. They are testaments to the hopes and dreams of a remarkable group of people - people who will inspire others.