Monday, July 27, 2009

Girls Rock Denver is kicking off it's first annual camp this week. I'm volunteering as a band manager and will be sporking about it here all week. Girls Rock is all about empowering girls thru music. For one week, girls 8-18 will gather, learn to play instruments, form bands and will write a song to be performed at the end of camp. (Saturday, Aug.1 at 3 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe)

Sunday, July 26. Volunteer Meeting.
It's nice to finally meet the girls who are going to help run this camp. Bryce, from my favorite local band Everything Absent or Distorted, is one of the only male volunteers in the organization. He's 'allowed' to schlep equipment around and it was good to see him there organizing all the donated musical paraphernalia. All the female volunteers were so cool and the camp kids are so lucky to be guided by such a talented and enthusiastic group who are passionate about girls and Rock! In most non-profit event settings, it always seems so damn unorganized in the beginning. But after awhile, the volunteers were working together, getting shit done and by the end of the day everything was several steps closer to becoming a truly organized event. The week-long Girls Rock Camp is being held in a quaint little church not far from Twist & Shout and thanks to Universal, ADA and WEA, we had plenty of posters and swag to make the place look more like a music venue. We have Girls Rock t-shirts and Girls Rock pins to wear, we now know our roles and we're all pretty excited to get this party started! Um, what? Did you say I need to be there tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.? Until 6 p.m. Every day this week? Awesome. Bring on the Girls!

Monday, July 27. First day at Girls Rock Camp.
The girls started trickling in at 8 a.m. today. Some were dressed like rock stars. Some had rock star attitudes. Some of them were nervous. And others were just waiting for their moment to shine. After being checked in, we all gathered in the main room to introduce ourselves to each other. The girls were instructed to say their names, age, experience with their chosen instruments and why they wanted to be here at Rock Camp. Most answered that last bit with "it seemed fun," but one actually said "cuz i wanna be a Rock Star!" We all cheered and applauded. Good answer!

Instrument instructors came in after that to teach the girls the basics on the instruments they were playing. It was so great to see girls everywhere learning drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and learning how to sing into a microphone. Afterwards, we gathered to talk about music genres. Each girl was to go to the area that indicated a certain genre. I could have predicted that most would choose Rock and Pop, but I was surprised that there were no Hip-Hop takers. We asked them to pick a second choice and some switched from Pop to Rock or Hardcore to Punk. One girl started in Metal and stayed in Metal! In the end, girls found their ways to what they needed in their half-formed bands and most set out immediately to talk about their music. I gravitated to a group of five girls who didn't have a volunteer with them. They were in the Pop category and were in the midst of naming the band. Chocolate something. All they knew is that they wanted it to have Chocolate in there. Come to find out, after a vote only a couple girls wanted that in the name. After a few more ideas were thrown out, they came up with Trouble at Midnight. Cool, right? And to see them work through it without much bickering was pretty impressive. Most of the girls are 8 or 9 years old and they are so respectful. I feel so proud to have such a great group.

After lunch (spaghetti & salad from Noodles & Co.), Trouble at Midnight met outside with our band coach, Seth. Her job is to guide the songwriting process. Not an easy job, in my opinion. But she did a great job directing the girls toward a particular topic and mood of the song. All five of the girls agreed that they wanted the song's topic to be about identity. Oh, I'm tearing up now. How very adult of them. So we started talking about lyrics and came up with 'what we were and what we've become.' Then someone threw out milk and cheese..........was milk, now cheese. Somehow they got hooked on that and the keyboardist fell in love with it. But not everyone was convinced. It was funny to see her afterwards trying to gain alliances, talking to each one separately about whether they liked the milk and cheese theme. She wasn't going to let that go.

During the songwriting workshop, the managers and coaches got together and talked about any problems we were having. We chose 5 girls who got a special I Rock button to reward them for doing great things that day. Then it was time for Trouble at Midnight's loud practice. We got to strap them in with instruments and guide them through the practice. I took Zoe, the vocalist, outside to work through lyrics with her and then she went to the stage to see what the girls were working on. I'm so impressed with the process of it all. Just 7 hours ago, the girls were learning how to hold their instruments. Now they were working through chords and playing on stage with each other.

So, that's where it ended. What a day. Full of nervousness, new friends, punk rock cheerleading and ideas for songs, lyrics and logos. I'll introduce my band in an upcoming blog. I'm so tired I may have to call a cab to come take me home! But damn, color me proud. To watch these girls come out of their shell and become more confident with each passing hour is what it's all about! Rawr!

1 comment:

Jason said...

That is a crazy story - hard to imagine the energy it takes to help out a bunch of screaming, giggling girls! How cool is this idea though? This has got to help out a ton with confidence and self-esteem. Great work - looking forward to another story.