“Soldier Songs and Voices” holds first fundraiser in Upstate

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate non-profit, which helps veterans heal through music, held a fundraiser Saturday night.

The money raised pays for instruments and lesson to teach Veterans how to write songs.

Rich Owen served in the Airforce for 20 years, but now he spends his time writing country music and performing across the country.

The country music star’s guitar is a gift form his wife and it didn’t take him long to fall in love with song-writing.

“I think people are happiest are happiest when they are creative,” said Owen.

Owen learned about “Soldier Songs and Voices” through his recording label. The non-profit also gives free music lessons. Experts view it as a form of post-conflict care.

“The whole purpose is to use music as a form of therapy, to get over things, or to move on,” said Owen. “Just to give them something else in their life that is creative.”

Owen told 7News he didn’t think twice when he was asked to jumpstart the Greenville chapter of “Soldier Songs and Voices”.

The music is a much-needed outlet for veterans, according to therapist and co-founder Neil Sondov.

“Something as simple and yet as profound as music, neuroscience shows that the art of songwriting works with the synapsis that have been damaged by PTSD,” said Sondov.

The group held Saturday’s fundraiser at the Firmament in Greenville. Several bands performed. The money raised pays for instruments. In addition to the free instruments, co-founder Charles Hedgepath said the veterans will also get a chance to learn from artists they admire.

“I want the veterans and the people that show up to be able to write with people they want to write with,” said Hedgepath. “So it might be a country person one month; everything from hip hop, jazz it doesn’t matter, because it’s all music.”
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The first workshop is Sunday, October 6th from 4 to 6 p.m. It’s at Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe in downtown Greenville.

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