Saskatoon music camp teaches new instruments, gender empowerment
A group of young musicians, creators and performers capped off a week-long camp with performances at the Broadway theatre on Saturday.
Girls Rock Saskatoon is a chance for kids aged 9 to 14 to learn a completely new instrument, form a band, and write a song to perform at the end of the week.
Camp director Alison Whelan started Girls Rock Saskatoon in 2014 with a focus on gender empowerment, awareness and acceptance, and says the kids needed this interaction after the pandemic.
“It was pure excitement and happiness that we can just gather kids and adults again in this way to be really supportive and encouraging after so much time of isolation and being apart,” said Whelan, who added that the response from the kids to trying a new skill and improving their awareness of others has been rewarding.
“It’s been intense, in a very positive way. I think the kids have been really ready to do something like this. to do something creative, to do something collaboratively that's not really through a screen probably for the first time in quite a few years.”
A member of the newly formed band “The Crows,” Autumn says taking on the challenge of a new instrument and making a band seemed impossible on the first day.
“At the beginning, I was like how is this possible? How are we going to master this instrument and a whole song in a few days?” she wondered. “But we actually did it and it worked out really well.”
Fellow “The Crows” band member Georgia says she had been waiting for the chance to come to Girls Rock Camp for over two years.
“I signed in two years ago, but COVID happened,” said Georgia. “Then I didn’t go for a year, so I’ve been waiting for two years and I was super excited.”
For Riel, who played drums for the first time this week, anything is possible when you set your mind to it.
“I just learned the drums really quite quickly, and in my opinion, it’s pretty easy,” said Riel, who admitted being hesitant to come to camp because it was in the last weeks of summer.
“I thought I wouldn’t want to come to camp, but in the end, I’m really glad I did.”
Whelan said the dream is to bottle that energy and positivity from Girls Rock Camp and share it with even more people.
“It’s acceptance, and meeting people where they’re at, and it always warms my heart,” said Whelan.
“And I wish we could take the Girls Rock Camp pedagogy and spread it further into the community and reach more adults also because the message that these kids have is always overwhelmingly positive.”
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