- What is Voices of Valor?
Voices of Valor is an eight-session program (once or twice a week depending on the group) that brings together small groups of veterans who talk about music, their challenges, their experiences, and things that are important to them. Over the course of eight weeks the group writes the lyric and music, with help from two professional leaders, and records their original group song in a studio. One song is completed during each eight-session cycle. At the end of the project, Voices of Valor has a CD Release Party for the veterans and their invited guests. Each participant receives a copy of the CD.
- How much does it cost to participate in Voices of Valor?
Voices of Valor is 100% free to all veteran participants! Music For All Seasons raises all the money to bring this program to you. We receive grants from foundations, corporations, and individuals who are committed to providing this service to our veterans.
- I have no musical experience. Can I still sign up?
YES. If you are a veteran, that’s all the experience you need to participate in the program!
- Have you heard my voice? I only sing in the shower, and my dog howls!
It doesn’t matter if your voice is good or not. Everyone has something to say, or sing, and we want your voice to be heard.
- Are you really gonna make me sing?
We don’t force you to do anything, except have a good time! This program is fun and meaningful. We have had participants who sing, speak, or rap their lines. We’ve had some who design the CD cover. We’ve had some who are just happy to be in the room listening.
- I play guitar, piano, flute, drums. Can I be on the CD?
If a participant is able to play without additional coaching, it is sometimes possible to play on the CD. We can’t guarantee this, as the focus is on the group’s creation of the music and lyrics.
- What if I sign up and hate it?
We invite anyone who is interested to attend the first session, no obligation. If you like it, come back for the remaining sessions. Your actual commitment to the program begins in Session 2.
- Who leads the groups?
We have a roster of distinguished professional musicians. Each group has two leaders. Among our musicians are such notable names as Julio Fernandez, 19-time Grammy-nominated songwriter and guitarist for more than 20 years with Spyro Gyra; singer/actress Jennifer Lampert, who has performed all over the world and served as Miss USO of 2001; internationally-renowned singer/songwriter and actor Lou Watson; Benny Harrison, pianist, guitarist, and songwriter who has worked with the likes of Corey Glover, Peter Criss, Phoebe Snow, and Oscar Hernandez; international recording artist, composer, and Blues Hall of Famer, Kirsten Thien; bass guitarist/composer Sky Dietrich; bass guitarist Pascale Jean-Louis, singer-songwriter and the lead singer in the all-female indie rock trio, The Shook Ones; and poet/singer Gwyn English Nielson. These musician/facilitators are empathetic and professional, able to make all participants feel equally heard and respected, and are songwriters with the ability to write, interpret, and create original songs in any style that the participants choose,
- Is this therapy?
It’s not therapy, but the goal is for you to do something you are proud of, and to have a good time. Most of the participants feel better in Session 8 than they did in Session 1, and they have achieved something many of them had no idea they were capable of.
- What if I’m terrible at it and people make fun of my efforts?
That won’t happen. It’s the process that’s important. Everyone is respectful of all the participants, and your work is valued.
- Should I discuss this with my therapist?
Yes, a good idea. We have a psychology mentor who attends the sessions and can help if any concerns arise during a session. Your therapist is also welcome to ask us questions about the program.
- Can I sell the finished song?
Music For All Seasons/Voices of Valor retains the copyright, for the protection of all the participants. We are a not-for-profit (501c3) organization, and this is not a commercial venture. We make the songs available through our website, and we sometimes present them at concerts and fundraisers. We want your friends and family, and other veterans, to hear these songs.
- Where can I sign up?
If you live in central New Jersey, Manhattan, or Orange County, CA, and if you are a veteran, you can participate. Please let us know you are interested firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be in touch to let you know what session is coming up soon. Keep checking with us as the program is growing and expanding to other geographical areas.
- What do I have to sign?
We ask for a one-page form that includes your contact information (strictly confidential so we can reach you), a photo release (optional) so we can take pictures of you in the recording session, and a copyright acknowledgement.