On Monday, you learned about what went into putting together the first Annual Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles in Part I of this III Part series (click here to read Part I). On Tuesday, you learned more about the actual camp week and activities that occurred during each camp day in Part II of this III Part series (click here to read Part II). Today, in this final Part (III of III), you will learn about the first Annual Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Showcase and a little about what comes next for this organization.
As the clock marked the not so rock ‘n’ roll noon-time hour, an eclectic group of women– outfitted in easily identifiable bright teal official 2010 Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles t-shirts, began to trickle into the Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd. A music venue that has housed many musical performances from a who’s who of legendary rock outfits as well as singer/songwriters that include most of today’s hottest indie bands to rock ‘n’ roll royalty such as Elton John, Joni Mitchell, and Bruce Springsteen to name a few. These women were all camp and showcase volunteers who in just a few hours would be witnesses and participants in the history that once again was about to be made in this venue, in the form of the first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles Camper Showcase.
About an hour later, excited campers would be arriving. Each of them ready to rock, and to show the local community what it was that they’d been learning and working on all week. Decked out in their screen printed t-shirts, with their band names emblazoned on the fronts and customized to fit each of their personalities, they were a mixture of nervousness and excitement. Upon arrival, each band of campers was met by their volunteer band coaches and counselors, who were at the ready to help calm their nerves, psych them up, and prepare them for their performances.
For many of the volunteers and campers alike this was what they’d all been waiting for. The much anticipated moment where the campers would take the stage and show what they’d learned in just a week.
A veteran four-time (by way of the Portland Camp) Camp Volunteer, April Buker, intimated, “My favorite part of camp is the showcase. It is the culmination of the week’s activities. You get to see everyone showing off what they’ve learned, and everyone supporting the camp as a whole.”
As the volunteers continued to set-up for the showcase and prep the venue. They excitedly tried to predict how the showcase would go
Reflecting on the first days of the camp, Silverlake-based Pediatric Surgery Fellowship Coordinator and Volunteer Band Coach, Natasha Tavakoli shared, “The campers were initially nervous and shy, but as the week progressed they bloomed into energetic, unafraid, supportive, and empowered young girls. It was inspirational for the volunteers to see this transformation and we were positively affected by the camp as much as the campers.”
As show time approached, the volunteers continued to think about how they themselves had been affected by the camp and by the campers.
Volunteer Keyboard Instructor and Band Coach for the camper band Trouble in Training, singer/songwriter Melineh Kurian commented on both her transformation during the week, her fellow volunteers, and regarding the campers she instructed as they worked towards getting ready for the showcase, “I knew that it would be a transformative experience for me as a female musician, and that I would be profoundly touched. However, the connections I made as a mentor and volunteer were far beyond what I could have imagined. I also wondered at first how easy or difficult it would be to teach keyboards to a group of girls with varying skill levels. My fellow teachers made it so easy to both have fun with our students, and to show them the skills they needed to be a powerful addition to their rock band.”
The time had come to see if the campers would be able to bring together everything they’d learned throughout the week to their performances on the Troubadour stage that afternoon. This was the opportunity for the parents and relatives of the campers as well as the local community to show up to see what the camp was all about firsthand—and show up they did, packing the Troubadour on that Saturday afternoon for a chance to witness history in the making.
Quite atypical of the usual jaded “too-cool-for-school” L.A. concert-goer crowd, the parents as well as relatives of the campers along with the general audience members vied for the optimum show watching positions in the front rows as the local news station cameras set up on stage.
Anticipating the camper’s musical debuts, Jodie Schell (singer for L.A. based band The Shakers), recalled her first experience performing in front of a crowd, “I vividly remember what it was like to step in front of an audience for the first time. I was 9, and I sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (dedicating it to my uncle who at that time was in the Persian Gulf war). Singing was something I LOVED to do, but I was so scared that I stared at the weaving of the microphone the whole time,” laughing Schell continued, “I think I sang the verses out of order. Those first steps as a musician are so scary and awkward, but they’re so important. We’ve all been there. It takes so much courage just to step under those lights and try, and that alone deserves a standing ovation.”
The volunteers and the courageous campers stood near the stage ready to support their “camp week comrade’s” performances, waiting for their own turns to shine.
They didn’t have to wait long as emcee (and Camp co-founder) Mona Tavakoli took the stage ready to get the show underway.
The showcase opened up with the camp volunteer led Punk Rock Aerobics, not unlike how the campers would start off each camp morning, which was promptly followed by the camp theme song “We Rock L.A.” performed by the campers.
(click on images to enlarge) Punk Rock Aerobics (pictured left) and Camp Theme Song Performance (pictured right)
photos provided by Beth Schore and Becky Gebhardt
Here is footage taken by a showcase audience member of the campers’ initial “We Rock L.A.” camp theme song:
Without missing a beat and with the professionalism and confidence that comes with having played at the very least a dozen shows and several months spent rehearsing together, the campers took the stage. One band after the other, with only one full showcase rehearsal under their belts, catching the audience off guard with their performances after being announced onto the stage by the highly-energetic Tavakoli (pictured right – photo provided by Bella Monge) with formidable introductions such as “This band goes way back, they’ve been together since Monday!” or crowd favorites like “This band has been touring all week– from the drum room to the guitar room to the bass guitar room!”
Undaunted by the flashes of the cameras going off and the video cameras in their faces (more…)