NORFOLK -- After all that men and women in uniform have done for this country since 9/11, a group of professional singer-songwriters is doing its part to help them. And they'll be doing it this weekend in Hampton Roads.

It's a non-profit organization called Songwriting With: Soldiers. Formed in 2008, the ten musicians work with returning military veterans, wounded warriors and disabled vets. The idea is to help them heal from wounds of war by expressing themselves through song.

'They've seen the highest and the lowest of the human condition,' said founding member and creative director Darden Smith. 'For the soldiers that we work with, they've had the traumas they dealt with in combat or returning home. And we write a song about that issue. It's like they have a piece of tar in their heart. We reach in and pull it out.'

The Texas native explained that writing songs helps vets to open up about what they've experienced.

The process, he says, can help them heal. 'When you're writing a deep, personal song, you're taking a part of your life and putting it into a melody. there's something very magical about pairing words and melody when you're actually writing it and creating it.'

Smith will lead a workshop with veterans Friday at the School of Rock in Norfolk. Then, at 8 p.m., he'll headline a concert featuring the soldiers' songs at Nauticus Theater.

The event is free to all active-duty military personnel and veterans. Organizers are asking a $10 donation from the general public.

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