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Saturday, December 2

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Event Mon Jun 28 2010

Girls Rock! Chicago End-Of-June Camp Extravaganza @ Metro


campers take the stage at the Girls Rock! Chicago end of June camp extravaganza on Saturday, photo by J.H. Palmer

The Metro was a hive of activity on Saturday afternoon as Girls Rock! Chicago presented their end of session extravaganza. Due to increased demand, there will be two camp sessions this year: one that ended last week, and a second session that will take place in August. In all, 17 bands performed on Saturday afternoon to an audience of parents, grandparents, and siblings who mingled with GR!C counselors and Metro staff.

Downstairs in the green room, campers and counselors prepared for the show. I caught up with the members of Bling, comprised of: guitarist Ciara Butler, age 13; drummer MacKenna Butler, age 11; guitarist Jesse Osborne, age 13; and bassist Tafari (Taffy) Rhodes, age 11. This is the second year that Ciara and MacKenna have attended the music camp, the first for Jesse, and the fourth for Taffy.

"Girls Rock proves that just because we are girls doesn't mean we can't rock out," Taffy said when I asked what the camp meant to her, "it teaches us that just because we're girls doesn't mean we can't do things." She furthered her point by invoking the story of Amelia Earhart, "which proves a girl can do anything." "When it's all girls you can express yourself fully," Ciara added.


members of the Girls Rock! Chicago inspired group Bling prepare for their set, photo by J.H. Palmer

"I can't stop talking about it," said Cassandra O'Keefe, the mother of two campers, Shélan and Xenia. "I just went across the street to Starbucks, got in a conversation about what we were doing here, and ended up giving away tickets for the show to the baristas." Shélan has been a camper at GR!C for four summers, played guitar for the first three, and this summer learned to play the drums. Cassandra says that the experience has broadened her daughter's musical horizons, sense of empowerment, and self-esteem.

Self-esteem ruled the day as 17 bands took the stage, one right after another. The Ladies of Horror came onstage made up to look like they had black eyes, and performed the eerily haunting, catchy tune I'm the ghost with the one black eye; The XX Eyes started with an energetic "count us off Tara," directed at the young camper sitting behind a drum kit, who obliged with a hearty "five, six, seven, eight;" and the Shadow Wolfs were all about stage moves, the bassist flopping onto the stage and pushing herself backwards with her feet, all the while playing an instrument that was about the same size as she was.

No kittens or rainbows were invoked in the band names, these campers are serious about rocking out. In order of stage appearance, Saturday's lineup included: The Evil Minions; Bling; The Gall; Skeleton Key; Malevolent Misses; Ladies of Horror; Un Sub; Wave Scream; Secrets of Discipline; The X'd Out Zebras; Angels Blown to Pieces; The XX Eyes; Turquoise Tigers; Shadow Wolfs; Raising Robots; Flo; and Oceans of Air.

It warmed my heart to see such young girls take charge and rock out on stage, made me wish there was a camp like that for me -- and then quickly realized that there is one. Ladies Rock, run by GR!C is a weekend long camp for women that acts as a fundraiser for the girls' camp -- tuition from Ladies Rock goes directly to Girls Rock. It takes place every year over Memorial Day weekend, and ends with a show at Schubas. The girls' camp, which is staffed entirely by volunteers, won't turn anyone away due to lack of funds. Tuition is charged on a sliding scale.


Mackenna Butler, age 11, learned to play drums at Girls Rock! Chicago, photo by J.H. Palmer

When the last band had finished their set, the board chair for GR!C, Kate Walsh, came onstage to thank the audience for their support. "It's about feeling good about yourself and going out into the world to do great things," she said of the camp. GR!C has been around since 2005, and I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from them. Keep an eye out for their August end of session extravaganza. For more information call 773-289-2670 or visit Girls Rock! Chicago.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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