On Wednesday 19 of August 2009, we had a great experience visiting the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, a non-profit organization that brings together girls and women from diverse communities encouraging them to explore self-expression through music. It is hosted at the Urban Assembly School for Music and Art in downtown Brooklyn, New York.
It is very common to see people walking the streets with their i-Pod while waiting for the bus or train, listening to their favorites music. Sometimes people are making some movements with their hands, head, or foot when a sound is really powerful or when they really feel the music. For me, it was like that at Willie Mae Rock Camp, andÂ I did not have to use an i-Pod, just my camera and recording equipment. I was ready for the show. The recordings started at 9:00 am and by that time, I had already listened a lot of sounds: girls with their guitars or drums, playing and singing and composing music. Everyone was preparing for the big event: a performance at a professional rock venue!
Being in the school was like being in a different world. For a while I forgot I was working, feeling the energy of the girls, volunteers, and teachers working to organize different activities for the summer camp was just amazing.
During lunchtime there was a concert, wow! I could really not believe this was a workday! We enjoyed the music and meeting new people. Participants ranged in ages and roles at Rock Camp while each sharing their love for music, people, and the empowerment these summer sessions provide. Camp Director Karla Schickele described her passion about working with girls and helping them to express themselves by teaching music.
Volunteers Courtney Gillett and Rachel Rubino have been working with Rock Camp since it opened in 2004 and spoke about music, life, concerts and their expectations of life once they joined the camp. Next summer I plan to join the adult version of summer camp, Ladies Rock Camp, and hope to share some of the memorable experiences we saw and heard.