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CAMMO Workshop SAW Serves Outreach

03/19/2019 10:59 AM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

SAW Serves is one of the great parts of SAW. We are blessed as an organization to be able to give back in many meaningful ways. As the newest president of SAW, I have been searching for more and better things to do in serving the community.

A few months ago, I was contacted by Cathie Lechareas of CAMMO (Center for American Military Music Opportunities). Mike Jaworek of the Birchmere had recommended me to be a songwriting instructor for their outreach to military families, especially those in extended stay or long term treatment situations.

I was proud to volunteer and also happy that most of SAW’s AV club -- Steve Pendlebury, Kelly Diamond, AJ Janitschek, Jim Davis, Brian Foster, Jeff Gormley -- agreed to videotape the story of this day. SAW luminary, Bill Mulroney, gave a talk on the legal aspect of the music business and Jim Thorne participated in the workshop.

The task before us was to break into small groups based on previous musical experience and write a complete song in one day and then perform it at the event culminating show that evening. If that idea doesn’t scare you, you never wrote a song.

There were two things that made this task possible. First, the support and assistance of an amazing group of musical military folks who give their time and considerable talent to this effort. Need a piano player to tease out the chords on piano to the song you are just humming? They had just the man in Ron Demetrius Henry.  Need to develop some harmony layers to flesh out a chorus? Done! A group of retired and active military musicians with incredible voices were there and incredible layered harmonies were yours.

We met and worked all morning, took a break and got back to it. The AV club was there interviewing the subjects and recording the process so we will share a few links here to give you an idea. 

By the end of a rewarding and exhausting day, we had done more than I thought possible and created some truly inspirational songs. The ones that were finished enough were presented at the show that night and the result has change the lives of everyone involved. Especially me.

But enough talk about what we did. Thanks to the AV club you can see much of it. Steve Pendlebury is still editing parts but here are some samples.

If you are interested in getting involved in the AV club, contact me at

Jay Keating

Songwriters' Association of Washington is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


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