These Girls Will Rock MKE This Weekend

Girls Rock participants learn about playing music and the business of music.

Girls Rock MKE, a camp where girls ages 8 to 16 can learn musical, along with interpersonal, skills, promotes empowerment, diversity and inclusiveness.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Turner Hall will be presenting the Girls Rock Milwaukee Showcase performances of original songs by 10 bands, each consisting of five Girls Rock participants, and one performance by a Girls Rock band coach. The show is free with a suggested $10 donation.

Girls Rock MKE was founded by Valeri Lucks, owner of Bay View restaurant Honeypie, and Ashley Smith, owner of vintage clothing store Alive and Fine. Inspired by a Girls Rock performance in Chicago, Lucks joined up with Smith to start a similar camp in Milwaukee. Girls Rock MKE is now celebrating its seventh summer. The camp is affiliated with the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international organization based in Seattle, Washington.

Besides learning how to play instruments such as guitar, bass and drums, Girls Rock participants learn about other facets of the music business. Located at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd., the camp offers daily workshops on a variety of topics related to the music industry. Campers learn about history of women in music, how to make band flyers, stage and merchandise design, and how to communicate with band members effectively. Band coaches help provide encouragement for campers and keep them motivated, and dozens of volunteers help ensure that the camps run smoothly.

Girls Rock MKE is held for two five-day sessions in June and August. Tuition is $300 per participant, with financial aid options available.

“There’s a lot of different elements to being in a band that people don’t consider. We try to touch on those,” said camp director Arielle Mayer. She added that Girls Rock MKE campers, as well as volunteers, have many different interests and come from all walks of life. “You don’t necessarily need a music background,” Mayer noted.

Many Girls Rock campers, such as the teen punk rock group Negative/Positive, a band which has garnered a good amount of local media attention this last year, and Cherry Punch, a group which recently performed at Bay View’s Chill on the Hill, are veteran participants.

“We get a lot of repeat campers,” Mayer said.

The annual Girls Rock showcase has been held at Turner Hall for the last seven years. The spacious venue has proven ideal for the camp. “They’ve been really supportive,” Mayer said.

A nonprofit organization, Girls Rock MKE is always seeking volunteers interested in donating their time and talent. Click here  for more details.

Event Details

What: Girls Rock MKE
When: Sunday, August 11 at 2 p.m.
Where: Turner Hall, 1040 Vel R. Phillips Ave