Skip to main content

My Story, My Song Workshop Series

Dates: May 14, 21, and 28 (9 AM - 12 PM with a break)

Location: Zoom Video Conferencing Platform

Registration: Participation is completely FREE, and is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Simply register via Eventbrite! A total of ten spots are available, and a waitlist will be enabled if capacity is reached.



Texas Folklife’s Stories for Creative Forces is excited to present the 2022 virtual “My Story, My Song” workshop series for women veterans! Join facilitators Kelley McRae and Terry Pierce in this songwriting workshop designed to bring healing and hope to participants through the power of storytelling and music. This three-part course will take place virtually via Zoom across three consecutive Saturdays -- May 14, 21, 28 -- from 9 AM to 12 PM CST each Saturday.


View the workshop flyer here.


Participation is completely FREE, and is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Simply register via Eventbrite! A total of ten spots are available, and a waitlist will be enabled if capacity is reached.

Any and all registrations must be submitted by May 9th at 4:30 PM (CST).


The experience begins with an interactive program focused on self-compassion, empathy, vulnerability, and shame, which draws on the work of Brené Brown and Dr. Kristen Neff. These sessions will be led by Terry Pierce, whose qualifications are elaborated upon below, and will help us connect with ourselves and one another.

You will then have the opportunity to work with Kelley McRae to transform your stories into song. As a group, we will learn the basics of songwriting: song structure, finding inspiration, lyrics, musical patterns, etc. From there, through writing exercises and discussion, you will be led in a step by step process to transform your effort from song seed to finished lyrics. At this point, each participant will have the opportunity to work one-on-one to put those words to music. For those that are comfortable writing melodies or playing an instrument, they are free to write their own music! For those that want help, they can work with Kelley to find the musical world that best fits their own vision. You do not need to play an instrument, sing, or be a songwriter to be a part of this workshop. You just need to be comfortable on a computer and with Zoom. Each participant will learn how to use the online recording software Soundtrap, in order to record their songs. Four songs from the program will be then be professionally recorded. For an example of a song that resulted from Texas Folklife's own Judith Estrada Garcia's own experience with this process, view this video.


Please note that consent and confidentiality will be respected throughout this process. Our goal is to create a safe space for you to be with your story, and if you choose to, share it with others, whether in whole or part. Only those aspects you grant permission for will be considered for any public sharing or broadcast.

While this workshop is designed for women military veterans (including those who are LGBTQ+), we may also welcome other women with other military-connections, such as active duty members, spouses, and caretakers. If any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

More About the Facilitators

Over the past two decades, Kelley McRae has dedicated her life to the craft of songwriting. As a professional musician, she has toured the US and Europe, released six albums, and been featured on NPR, Billboard, and Paste Magazine. As a teacher, she has taught hundreds of students from all over the world and developed a serious songwriting curriculum. Kelley is the Songwriting Program Director at Impact Art's Texas Arts Project in Austin, Texas, and the Music Program Director for the School of Creative and Performing Arts in NYC, where her songwriting curriculum was approved for college credit in 2017. Kelley is the founder and Executive Director of Song Rise Arts, a nonprofit that brings the healing power of songwriting to underserved communities in the Austin area.

The Reverend Terry Pierce is an Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Texas where she serves as pastor of St. James' Episcopal Church in Taylor. Terry teaches and mentors priests as part of the Iona Collaborative of Seminary of the Southwest and worked for several years as a hospital chaplain. She is a member of the Diocesan Commission on Recovery Ministries and the Clergy Wellness Taskforce. Terry has been active in twelve-step Recovery programs for more than twenty years. Terry has a Master's Degree in Spiritual Formation and a Master's Degree in Divinity from Seminary of the Southwest. She was ordained in January 2015. Terry also has university training in social work and accounting and completed a year-long residency in Clinical Pastoral Education in the Seton Hospital System.


Thank you to Our Sponsors

This program is supported in part by the Grant for Technology Opportunities (GTOPS) program from the City of Austin Telecommunications Department. We are grateful for their support as well as that of our board members and other individual supporters, whose contributions make our work possible.

Initial support for Texas Folklife's programming for veterans and My Story, My Song was provided in part by Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and the state and local arts agencies. The initiative seeks to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Administrative support for the initiative is provided by Americans for the Arts, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, and Mid-America Arts Alliance.