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Soldiers Songs and Voices




Soldier Songs and Voices (SSV) offers a "creative arts for recovery" program for US military veterans, as a form of post-conflict care. They provide free music lessons, instruments and songwriting workshops for any veteran, of any branch of service and any era. Along with the other SSV chapters, they contribute to the research on the effect of music on the brain and how music can be used to address military trauma.

SSV was founded as a 501(c)(3) public charity in 2011 by Dustin Welch in Austin, TX.  Since that time the organization has grown to eight chapters, including four in Texas and one each in Florida, Oregon, Arkansas and New Mexico. Additionally, SSV hosts an annual, week-long songwriting retreat for veterans on a south Texas cattle ranch.

SSV Santa Fe was founded in 2017 by Daniel Johnsen and currently offers four workshops a month, focused on music instruction, group play and songwriting.  In 2019, they plan to host several songwriting intensive workshops, led by professional singer/songwriters who work regularly with other SSV chapters.

While music has long been believed to have therapeutic power, recent advances in neuroscience allow researchers to map the effects of music on the brain (see link below). SSV is contributing to the growing body of research that indicates music is not a supplement to therapy, but is in itself a proven method to retrain and re-educate the brain.

One day at a time, one veteran at a time, one song at a time...

The Festival will not only celebrate The Candyman’s 50th year of making lives better through music, but its mission is to also raise much needed funds for two deserving beneficiaries, The Candyman Scholarship Fund, supporting and assisting lower-income music students with access to musical programs, and Soldiers Songs and Voices, a local non-profit serving US military veterans and their families through a creative arts for recovery program, as a form of post-conflict care.

The festival is totally free to get in to, but we hope everyone in attendance will throw some love in the donation jars. Afterall, it isn't about giving, its about making a difference, ya dig?

The Candyman Scholarship Fund


Music education is a priority for us and we want to do our part to help keep music a viable part of every child’s education. As you surely know, a struggling economy and budget cuts have affected the funding of arts and music programs in nearly every school in our area and around the nation. With our nationally acclaimed Summer Rock Camp, Rock School and private lesson programs, we have picked up where the schools have struggled to provide, especially in the creation and performance of music relevant and resonant to students’ lives. We have raised and contributed almost $40,000 for our scholarship fund while building community support to assist lower-income students who might not otherwise be able to attend one of our programs.

We believe music to be of the utmost importance in the well-being of all, especially kids, and want to assist as many as possible in the joys, challenges and community-building that music-making entails!  We feel this festival event, The Candyman Salutes 1969, will not only bring awareness to music education but will also make it possible to support and help assist lower-income music students.

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