Striking Chords

It’s been a long, hard ride to this moment, peppered along the way with fundraising concerts and pleas for equipment donations, but Denver’s first Girls Rock Camp, inspired by the original in Portland (and the subsequent documentary) finally got off the ground this week: 25 girls – give or take – between the ages of eight and eighteen gathered for instruction in the finer skills of rock and roll, including learning to play a basic rock instrument, writing an original song and forming a band, all firsts for some of the young participants. They were even treated to concerts by local bands, including Hemi Cuda, Furnace, Dangerous Nonsense, Emily Frembgen and others, while munching their lunches and received a good dose of self-esteem building along the way.

“We hope to give them more self-confidence and provide better role models and images of what girls can do, as opposed to what girls are told they’re supposed to do,” says Monique Bourdage, who founded and directed the local camp. “It’s hard to play rock music and not get sweaty and dirty. And it’s okay to open up.”

Now it’s time for them to show their stuff. Six new bands formed during camp will perform the songs they wrote at the Girls Rock Denver Camper Showcase, today at 3 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe. And not only do these kids deserve a big hand from a screaming audience, but the $5 admission fee goes to help fund next year’s camp. That’s right: next year’s camp. It’s coming back, say Bourdage and her stalwart volunteer staff, who hope to eventually expand the program.

The Merc is at 2199 California Street; go to or call 303-294-9281. For more about Girls Rock Denver, visit
Sat., Aug. 1, 2009

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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