Girls Rock Camp

Girls Rock Camp Vancouver 2013

Young performers at Girls Rock Camp Fundraiser, WISE Hall, Vancouver, April 7 2011. Photo credit: Ashley Tanasiychuk.

Talk about up-and-coming talent.

Participants in the latest edition of Girls Rock Camp, a mentorship program for girls aged 8-17, will show off skills acquired as recently as the week leading up to a showcase Friday July 13 at the Rio Theatre.

According to the Girls Rock Camp Vancouver website, the camp aims to “teach young women to pick up their instruments and make noise.”

The idea originated in Portland, OR eight years ago. The first Vancouver Rock Camp For Girls was held in 2009. Now in its 5th year, the camp provides 30 girls with opportunities to explore their musicality. Participants in the week-long camp learn an instrument and receive coaching from established local female musicians, such as singer/songwriter Lisa Joyce (who records and plays under the name Joyce Island).

Girls Rock Camp Vancouver 2013

Lisa Joyce, aka Joyce Island, one of the mentors at Girls Rock Camp Vancouver 2013. Joyce plays the Railway Club Sunday July 14. Photo credit: Natasha Ali.

“I think it’s an incredible idea,” Joyce told Inside Vancouver on Tuesday, when she was on her way to Girls Rock Camp headquarters. “It basically empowers girls through music creation.”

Campers learn to play with others, the basics of songwriting and silkscreening and even such self-empowering subjects as self-defense, image and identity.

This is Joyce’s first year mentoring in Vancouver. But last year she mentored in New York as part of the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.

“I’m teaching the lead singers, which is a blast,” said the singer/songwriter, who plays a solo show this Sunday July 14 at 9 p.m. at the Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir St.). “I’m also serving as a band coach, and facilitating the songwriting process. I’m there to give advice, help them re-string guitars, whatever they need.”

Joyce said the girls are writing about subjects like standing up to bullies. “It blew me away what they’ve been talking about and what they want to sing about,” she said.

Something like Girls Rock Camp would have helped her considerably, Joyce says. “Oh my gosh. It would’ve been a game-changer for sure. I didn’t really have any direct female musical mentors. I had influences but I didn’t have anyone I could go to. It would’ve helped me find my musical bearings a lot sooner, and to cultivate my confidence to step into that role.”

The young aspiring musicians’ tastes run the gamut, from Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato to classic rock to ’90s Riot Grrrl acts like Bikini Kill.

So will we see any of these young ladies on bigger stages in a few years? “Yes,” Joyce said.  “My mind was blown by the talent I saw. They’re all really gifted. To voluntarily sign up and attend you have to be pretty stoked to begin with. I can definitely foresee many of them up on stages in a couple of years if they decided that’s what they want to do. They’re incredibly gifted.”

You can see the results of Girls Rock Camp Vancouver 2013 at the showcase concert this Saturday night, July 13 at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway).
Doors 6:30pm, Show at 7pm SHARP!
All Ages – $10
Free if you’re 8 or under!
Tickets at the door,Red CatZulu and Audiopile

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