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Songs from the Heart cancer event set for Sept. 26

August 27, 2015 | Dagny Stuart

Cancer affects many families, and patients and their relatives often struggle with an effective way to describe their feelings about the illness and its aftermath.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and Gilda’s Club Nashville give these individuals and their health care providers an opportunity to express themselves in song through the annual Songs from the Heart event.

Patients, family members and health care workers who care for cancer patients are encouraged to write their own song lyrics during a two-night workshop Tuesday, Sept. 15, and Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Gilda’s Club Nashville, 1707 Division Street. Workshop leader and professional singer/songwriters Stephen Salyers, Alissa Moreno, Morgan Myles and Jesse Lee will guide participants through the songwriting process, even if they have no musical background.

Salyers has worked as a session vocalist, songwriter and entertainer, opening for acts like The Doobie Brothers, Little Big Town and Wynonna Judd.

Moreno is a Grammy-nominated songwriter who has written songs for television shows including “Army Wives,” “Laguna Beach,” and “Hope and Faith.”

Myles is a multi-faceted artist who has opened for singer Reba McEntire and performed during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Lee is a singer/songwriter who has released hit singles “It’s a Girl Thing” and “Like My Mother Does” and has written for singer Kelsea Ballerini.

“I have experienced first-hand the power that music has on people; how it heals, how it engages feelings and emotions we didn’t even know existed in us, because of the melody or lyrics,” Salyers said. “Being able to help create these opportunities, creating songs with an open heart has exerted an immeasurable force that’s created miracles in my own life and created an impact for audiences around me.”

The lyrics written during the workshop will be set to music and performed by the professional musicians at the 9th Annual Songs from the Heart concert Saturday, Sept. 26, at Vanderbilt Blair School of Music, Turner Hall, 2400 Blakemore Ave. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and under. All proceeds benefit the VICC Caring Hearts Fund, which provides financial support for cancer patients undergoing active treatment.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert starts at 7 p.m., with a reception immediately after the event. Free parking is available in the West Garage directly across from the Blair School of Music main entrance on Children’s Way.

VICC social worker and Songs from the Heart organizer Cindy Tinker said the concerts are entertaining events that elicit laughter as well as tears.

“This is one of the most emotional and fulfilling nights of the year for our families and those of us who care for cancer patients,” Tinker said. “The songwriters have a chance to share the deep emotions that cancer evokes in a truly compelling and fulfilling manner.”

Seating for the songwriting workshop is limited and participants need to reserve a slot in advance. For more details, visit www.vuconnect.com/sfth2015 or call 615-322-7459.

For highlights from past Songs from the Heart concerts, see www.vicc.org/songs-heart/.