ACT News

Girls embrace their inner rock stars for grand finale

An intensive week of musical practice and creative workshops ended on a high note as the different bands formed during the inaugural Girls Rock! Canberra camp took to the stage for their showcase.

Each of the groups had a chance to shine in the spotlight, presenting the songs they had written, refined and rehearsed in the lead-up to the grand finale.

Jesus and the Virgin Mary band members Izy Hewitt, Amy Menzies, May Johnson, Robyn Dadds and Lizzie Tooth take part in ...
Jesus and the Virgin Mary band members Izy Hewitt, Amy Menzies, May Johnson, Robyn Dadds and Lizzie Tooth take part in the show case event for Girls Rock, Canberra. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

GR!C founder Chiara Grassia​ said the experience had been "ridiculously good" and provided "closure" on her teenage self.

"It's just unfolded so well," she said of the initiative, which ran from January 11 to 16 at the Ainslie Arts Centre.

The writer, musician and events producer described the thrill of her year-long abstract idea becoming a reality, calling the concept and the space "addictive, inspiring and invigorating".

She travelled to the United States last year to help out and observe at three different camps.

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When she returned, she shaped an Australian version that would use music as the medium for social change in a male-dominated industry.

More than 40 participants, aged from 10 to 17, were put into nine separate groups and allocated a role: singing, drumming or playing the guitar.

Some had never picked up an instrument while others were building on experience.

All were assigned a mentor or band coach and given the chance to learn to write songs with professionals like Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher.

Ms Grassia was happy to see how confident the girls were and glad they were "not putting themselves down".

She was also impressed with the quality and quantity of knowledge being shared at the event.

"It's been fun, meeting real girls who are actually so psyched and motivated."

Becki Whitton

The backbone of the immersive camp was the team of passionate and hardworking volunteers who gave their time and skills.

For vocals instructor and sound manager, Becki Whitton, the event was even more positive than she expected.

"It's been fun, meeting real girls who are actually so psyched and motivated," she said.

"The older girls have been quite nurturing and it's amazing and cool to be part of that."

Adelaide Rief​, the resident creative producer of the Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, was pleased to be supporting Ms Grassia as she worked to get the project off the ground.

"It's important to create alternative spaces for young people to express themselves outside of school and with other female role models," she said.

"We're all wishing we had an opportunity like this when we were teenagers."