Veterans and musicians will team up at Sam's Burger Joint and Music Hall
for free guitar and songwriting lessons beginning Sept. 9.

Music heals.

Ask the lovestruck teenager who has Adele playing on an endless loop on her iPod. Or the scorned woman who takes strength from Alanis Morissette. No matter the emotion. No matter the genre of the music. No matter the age, sex or background of the listener, music has the almost-magical ability to transcend space and time, to make all things better, to show you that yes indeed, someone else does understand what you're going through.

And if just listening to music helps a person heal, imagine the power of writing and creating music. To put the anguish into words and the pain into notes…imagine how good that must feel.

There’s an organization making its debut in San Antonio next month that aims to foster that cathartic environment for our nation’s veterans. That’s the goal of SoldierSongs and Voices.

The premise is simple. Bring musicians together with veterans. Teach veterans how to play the guitar, whether they’re experienced or novice. Help them get their emotions out by putting pen to paper.

The best part of this deal – it’s free. And it’s open to veterans of all ages and any conflicts.

Another cool benefit of this program is that SoldierSongs and Voices lets veterans borrow guitars if they don’t have one of their own. When they’ve written their first song, the guitar is theirs to keep.

San Antonio is just the latest Texas city to start a chapter of this nonprofit organization. The workshops will take place at Sam’s Burger Joint and Music Hall the second and fourth Sundays of every month, BEGINNING SEPT. 9, from 1-3 p.m.

So how can you help? I’m glad you asked.

If you’re a veteran and you would like to participate, please email and provide us with your name, phone number and military affiliation. We want to be sure we have enough mentors available at these workshops.

If you’re a musician and you would like to volunteer your time and talents, please email and provide us with your name and phone number. If you have a preference in what you would like to teach, let us know.

And if you are one of those well-intentioned people who bought a guitar years ago with dreams of becoming the next Eddie Van Halen but your career never went anywhere … in other words, if you own “that guitar in the closet,” email and let us know if you would like to donate your guitar for the cause. We’ll make arrangements with you to pick up the guitar and give it a good home…and fix it if it needs some work.

Charlie Gallagher, president of the board of directors of SoldierSongs and Voices, is excited about branching out to the Alamo City.

“We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of support for our other Texas chapters in Austin, Houston and San Marcos,” said Charlie. “Next Sunday (August 12) we’ll inaugurate our workshop in La Grange. With San Antonio’s reputation for being ‘Military City, USA,’ I knew we could do great things here if we had the right people at the helm.”

The first musicians on board to volunteer in San Antonio will be Jimmy Spacek, Michael “Maestro” Aurora and Patrick Sigel. Helping coordinate the workshops and publicity and otherwise herding cats will be yours truly, The Groovy Gringa. All four of us behind this initial effort also happen to be veterans, so we definitely have a special place in our hearts for this organization.

So, to wrap things up:

Veterans, musicians and owners of dusty guitars – please email us at with your information.

Make plans now to be at Sam’s Burger Joint and Music Hall at the corner of Grayson and Broadway on Sunday, Sept. 9, from 1-3 p.m.

For more information, please visit or

Peace out.


Leftcoast said…
This is a great endeavor! I challenge all my guitarist friends to get behind this!
Unknown said…
Yes, it is an amazing program that resonates and heals the soul of our veterans one song at a time!

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