WCTE PBS collaborates to film ‘Songwriting With Soldiers’

WCTE offers free tickets for military personnel.

COOKEVILLE – “Songwriting With Soldiers” is a unique, fiercely dedicated collaborative of professional artists dedicated to working with our returning veterans to salve the wounds of war. This one-hour concert special speaks to the power of art and music to heal and to bring diverse people together. 

We encourage any military, active or retired, to please join us for this event. Military personnel will receive up to six complimentary tickets with Military ID. Please use code: SWSMIL. To purchase tickets to this event, go to wcte.org.

Illuminating a powerful process, “Songwriting With Soldiers” celebrates songs born of hard truths, shared by PBS via national broadcast, by deeper digital platforms, and by local PBS station community engagement with potential pledge components. Partnering with communications and positive psychology/educational programming expert Mary Judd, Darden Smith brought SongwritingWith: Soldiers (SW:S) to life. Since 2012, the program has shared the stories of these servicewomen and men—often for the first time—through collaborative writing with highly acclaimed musicians.  

In a tranquil retreat setting, SW:S pairs professional songwriters with both active-duty soldiers and returning veterans. The songwriters mine each individual’s story, utilizing direct words and phrases of their veteran partners, composing songs with input from their soldier co-writers; songs of combat, suicide, resilience, fear, rations, the pride of soldiering and sadness of transitioning out.

In Nashville we just call it, “Three chords and the truth.”

The songs for this special will be pulled from the catalogue of compositions gathered over time from the “Songwriting With Soldiers”program. The songwriters are some of America’s best and their soldier/collaborators are totally diverse in gender, geographic, ethnic and economic backgrounds. A truly fine example of this collaborative spirit is here in “No Me Preguntes,” a Radney Foster co-write with veterans Mario Candela, Erminio (Manny) Orona, and Jimmy Perez. Listen here: https://songwritingwithsoldiers.bandcamp.com/track/no-me-preguntes.

This “Songwriting With Soldiers” special will be taped before a live audience in SW:S’s home in Nashville, the perfect venue for this project, the Tennessee War Memorial Auditorium located at 301 Sixth Ave North, Nashville. 

Built of classic design, adjacent to the Tennessee State Capitol in 1925, this stately auditorium was created to memorialize the lives lost in World War I, commonly referred to at the time as, the “war to end all wars.” For a time, this 2,000-seat venue was home to the Grand Ole Opry. 

Fort Campbell Army base, home of the 101st“Screaming Eagles” Airborne Division, is located just north of Nashville; we expect great number of service members stationed there to be in our audience.

WCTE has served the Upper Cumberland for more than 40 years as the regions premier storyteller and is the only television station in a 75-mile radius of Cookeville, making it a strategic partner in education, health services, government, arts and music. WCTE is a 501(c) 3 and is owned and operated by the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council. WCTE is one of only 350 PBS member stations nationwide.

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