Ladies, grab your instruments and put on your hottest Annie Lennox ensemble. Girls Rock Dallas foundation has announced its first year of Ladies Rock Camp, featuring area band The Chloes. They will be hosting a weekend-long day camp and fundraising event held February 22 to 24, which ends with a showcase concert February 24 at 5 p.m. at Three Links.
This camp is open to women ages 18 and up who are ready for a rock star education, and no experience is required. This is also a fundraiser for the Girls Rock Dallas summer camp program. "Each person attending will essentially be equivalent to one member for the summer program," says Rachel Michaud, Executive Director of Girls Rock Dallas. "We have twenty spots available and we are sitting on seven or eight ladies now, so there is still plenty of room for people to sign up."
"The main idea about being around all females is that it creates an open environment allowing them to feel free of judgment," says Michaud. "It removes the whole gender side of things and helps them to really focus on the music they are creating. I have done workshops in the past that were open to the public, and whenever the males would come out playing their instruments the girls tended to become more reserved and self conscious. You don't have to be a man to play an instrument, and being in an all female environment helps them to let go of all those insecurities and really appreciate the program."
The Girls Rock program originally started in 2001 in Oregon and has since spread all over. There are 40 camps in U.S. and Europe, and now local here in Dallas. "I attended one of the camps a few years ago, and was drawn to the whole idea of empowering girls," says Michaud. "After that I decided I had to get involved. We officially launched in 2011 and the first camp was this past summer."
The Ladies Rock Camp will have the give an opportunity for females to learn a new instrument, improve existing skills, collaborate, write songs, attend music workshops and network with other women musicians. "This year will be a small group of seven teachers total," Michaud says. "There are two girls from the Houston band Vanilla Sugar to help out with keyboard and guitar, and Leila, from Dallas band The Chloes, will be our drummer instructor."
During the camp the ladies will start a band and perform in the end of camp performance to showcase their new rock 'n' roll skills. "Ladies who are at camp will have an informal meet and greet where they can get an idea of who they would like to pick for their band, and who they would work best with," says Michaud. "Then we will step in and help out by making the groups even."
Ladies Rock Camp will also be bringing in someone to teach specific workshops focusing on the ins and outs of being a lady rocker. "We are bringing in someone to teach a songwriting class, and there will be a session on band 101 basics," explains Michaud. "This is essentially a how to on all the little things that one needs to know when they are starting a career in music. Some specifics are what a PA is, what a monitor is, and how to run smoothly with stage presence."
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Michaud says that all of the volunteers involved in the program are local musicians. "We do this because we would like the bands to keep pursuing a career after our camp," Michaud says. "It would be great if they continued writing, performing shows, and working on music."
"It's never too late to be a rocker," Michaud expresses. "We even have someone in her 50's and are so excited to have her. I didn't have this kind of opportunity when I was growing up, and I think it's important to know if you want it you can have it, and nothing can get in your way."