The Telegram (St. John's)
Girls Rock NL is making noise
Camp wraps up its second year today
In 2001, Girls Rock camps, beginning in Portland, spread across the United States and Canada, with one opening in St. John’s last summer.
During the one-week summer camp, 15 girls age 8-16 — and youth who identify as female or non-binary — are divided into three bands, and are given traditional rock music instruments such as electric guitars, bass guitars, drums and keyboards, on which they have semi-private lessons and create original music.
Campers also learn about movement, comedy and other genres of music.
Each band works together to write at least one song which they will perform at their final showcase today.
It’s about “empowering girls using rock music as a framework,” says program director Joanna Barker.
Being in a band teaches girls important lessons about collaboration, creativity and hard work, and that sometimes it can be really good to make a lot of noise.
During the first Girls Rock NL camp in 2016, there were few applicants, and all of them were accepted. For this second year of camp, the number of applicants more than doubled, and campers were
admitted via a lottery system.
The high demand has led Girls Rock NL to make plans to look into expanding the program to offer more camps,
school programs and condensed weekend camps.
“It really hammers home that it’s not lack of wanting, lack of skill or lack of ability that girls don’t play rock music, it’s lack of opportunity,” Barker said, after explaining that the instrument most in demand at this year’s camp was the drums.
Girls Rock NL is a nonprofit, and as such operates on a sliding-scale registration where campers accepted through the lottery process pay between $0-$200, depending on their ability. In doing so, Girls Rock NL has ensured no one is denied participation due to financial means.
The girls, some of whom were nervous to see their parents leave on Monday morning, have, by mid-week, formed fast and close friendships connected by their shared music and experience.
Some of the bands from Girls Rock NL 2016 have continued to practice and play together throughout the year, and even performed at some Girls Rock NL events.
The final performance of Girls Rock NL 2017 will take place at The Lantern (35 Barnes Rd. in St. John’s). Doors open at 5:30 p.m., but anyone hoping to see the show should come early because seating capacity is limited. Entrance is by bringing a nonperishable food item for the Gathering Place or making a donation to Girls Rock NL.