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Photos: Hannah Manning/Apt613

Young musicians take to the stage at Rock Camp for Girls+

By Hannah Manning on November 5, 2018

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Think back on your weekend. Maybe you ran some errands, did some laundry, and met up with friends. Maybe you went for a stroll along the canal or enjoyed a new movie.

Elsewhere in the city, Girls+ Rock Ottawa’s annual Rock Camp for Girls+ brought together participants to learn an instrument, become part of a band and then showcase what they learned at a concert at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage. Pretty impressive, right?

According to the Ottawa Music Strategy, only 37% of respondents see Ottawa’s music scene as diverse and inclusive. Girls+ Rock Ottawa is working to change that. As a volunteer-run community organization, they provide music-based programming to foster empowerment, inclusivity and community to girls, women, femmes, non-binary, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming folk (GWFNB2SGNC+), all while having fun.

Their work in the community has been recognized by United Way Ottawa with a Community Builder award, and they have an impressive roster of volunteer musicians, mentors, and music lovers who help make all their events a success. This weekend’s Rock Camp for Girls+ had 20 campers and just as many teachers, leading to lots of one-on-one time. In addition to learning an instrument, campers attended workshops on song writing, gig planning, sound tech, and safer spaces with Hollaback Ottawa. With a sliding scale tuition, no camper is ever turned away for financial reasons. This means the weekend rock camp is just as inclusive as the community they’re working to promote.

Rock Camp for Girls+ is their flagship event, but they also host monthly jam sessions, workshops, and more. Some of their upcoming events include:

  • Initiation à l’organisation d’un concert on Saturday November 10 from 1:30-4:40pm at the Cumberland branch of the Ottawa Public Library.
  • Songwriting 101 on Saturday November 17 from 1-4pm at the Beaverbook branch of the Ottawa Public Library.
  • Jam Session on Saturday November 17 from 1-5pm at Capital Rehearsal Studios (250 City Centre Avenue #202).
  • Pantayo Workshop and Live Show on Saturday November 17, with the workshop from 7-8pm and the show from 8:30-10:30pm at General Assembly (5 Fairmont Avenue).
  • Vocal 101 Workshop with Kind Space on Saturday November 24 from 1-4pm at Kind Space (222 Somerset Street West).
  • Jam Session on Saturday December 15 from 1-5pm at Capital Rehearsal Studios (250 City Centre Avenue #202).

With a room full of proud family and friends watching the extraordinary artistry on display, you know that this won’t be the last time on stage for these talented musicians.


Got a spare instrument at home you want to donate? Looking to share your skills? Visit the Girls+ Rock Ottawa webpage for information on how to get involved. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @girlsrockottawa for more.