Andrew Monro is Apt613’s correspondent at Impact Hub Ottawa, writing about the many innovators that call Hub home. Hub is a co-working space at 71 Bank Street for projects with a positive local and global impact.
“Everyone deserves music and can make music. At the same time, music is better when there are different perspectives influencing its creation.”
Tiffanie Tri is the vice-chair of Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls. There are likely few people in Ottawa more enthusiastic about giving girls and women, traditionally underrepresented in popular music bands and groups, opportunities to express themselves through rhythm and melody.
Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls (ORC4G) is a grassroots organization focused on providing music-based programs for self-identified girls, ages 13–17, to teach and inspire new musicians, promote a safe and inclusive environment, and support their growth as empowered, engaged individuals. Made up of a small army of volunteers, generally music educators or musicians themselves, and run by a board of volunteers, the Camp prides itself on being both educational, and a lot of fun.
ORC4G’s flagship program is their annual rock camp, which usually runs on a weekend late in the year (most recently the weekend of November 4th, 2016). The three-day event brings together young girls (including those who identify as girls or non-binary) to learn different instruments, with the goal of performing at a showcase at the end of the weekend.
Tiffanie explains how many girls are told they can’t play music, or can’t play certain instruments, for a perceived lack of innate ability or because certain instruments, like drums, are “something that boys play.” ORC4G is good at breaking down these assumptions in the participants’ minds, promoting the music they make, and has an emphasis on creating a community of girl musicians. On the last point, Tiffanie points out that many of the participants make friends over a common interest in music, keep in touch and even make music together after the camp.
ORC4G has seen many recent successes that, if they are any indication, forecast a phenomenal year ahead for the organization. They are one of the newest participants of Impact Hub Ottawa’s social entrepreneurial boot camp, Impact Academy. As well, they were recently the recipient of three grants: the Ottawa Music Micro-Grant, a JustChange Ottawa Grant, and a MusiCounts TD Community Music Program Grant, all aimed to support the expansion and enhancement of their program offerings. This includes their new Drop-In Jam Sessions at the Capital Rehearsal Studios, and Gig Planning 101 Workshop for Girls+, where girls get together and plan music events, which has led to an event this Friday March 10, See It and Be It, which is open for the public to see a showcase some of Ottawa’s best up-and-coming youth musicians. Doors open at 6:30pm, and the show starts at 7pm.
Tiffanie talks about all the help they have received that has helped make this amazing work possible, including support from Capital Rehearsal Studios, Ottawa 2017, the JUNO Host Committee, the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition, the YMCA/YWCA, the grant organizations that have supported them, the multitude of volunteers that make ORC4G possible, and the Ottawa community, including various individuals, organizations, and bands that have donated instruments or supported ORC4G.
They hope to continue to find support in the community, and are interested in talking to anyone who has intersecting work with underrepresented populations, especially girls, youth, or are involved in art, music, or dance. ORC4G are currently looking for a partner that specializes in the care and maintenance of musical instruments.