Concert Provides Musical Therapy for Soldiers With PTSD - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Concert Provides Musical Therapy for Soldiers With PTSD

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by Emily Luxen           

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Veteran's Day weekend in Clarksville kicked off with an emotional concert, as some local soldiers took the stage for a little musical therapy.

The special event at Austin Peay State University highlighted a new program called Songwriters for Soldiers, designed to help active and former military members cope with PTSD.

The program was coordinated by the new non-profit group The Beat of Life. 

"Music is a great healer," said Jeff Jacob, Director of Events and Strategic Alliances for The Beat of Life. "It is a great unifier.  It is a way people can express themselves."

The "Singing Their Stories" concert showcased the music that was created during a retreat for program participants in September in Lyles, Tennessee.  During the weekend trip, active duty soldiers, veterans, and their families teamed up with local songwriters to put their life experiences to music.

"On day one, you could feel a big divide between the soldiers and songwriters," said David Bradley, a song writer who participated in the event. "By the following afternoon, we were talking and laughing.  To hear the stories these guys have locked inside of them is humbling."

Many of the soldiers went on stage while their songs were performed.  Family members and friends looked on from the audience.  Tissues were even given to people as they walked in the door, in anticipation of an emotional night.

"These are songs that have come from warriors and fighters," said Bradley.  "It doesn't matter what you do, hope exists and these songs help bring it out.  I wouldn't have believed it, but it really has helped."

"Music brings it all together," said Josh Johnson, a soldier and participant in the program.  "It is the best way to put your feelings out there, and everyone understands it that way."

All of the proceeds from the concert benefit Soldiers and Families Embraced (SAFE) which provides free counseling to anyone connected to the military.  A benefit CD will also be created featuring the night's performances.

This was the first year The Beat of Life has coordinated the songwriting retreat and concert.  Organizers said plans are in the works to make it an annual event.


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