Custer girls rock out at ‘Girls Rock’

Nathan Steele

Girls Rock. That’s not only the name of the camp that returned to Custer for the first time in several years, but it’s also just a true statement, as several Custer girls demonstrated at their live performance at the high school theater Saturday.
Girls Rock Custer gives young girls in the area the opportunity to learn an instrument, form a band, write original music, record vocals in a recording studio and then perform it for a live audience. Girls Rock Custer is designed to shape confidence, creativity, self-esteem and self-expression.
This year’s group of girls formed four bands: Electric Sunrise (Talia Brown, Maggie Lewison, Lila Moore and Addi Kainz), the Alley Cats (Katelyn Brown and Audrey Vershure), the Flaming BEGLs (Bailey Rozma, Emery Gosser, Grace Snyder and Lili Perez) and the Divine Divas (Myca Hegerfeld, Noelle Russell, Sylvan Svoboda and Taylor Willaby).
The camp began on Monday of last week and by Friday each band had written a performance-ready song to record in a studio at Flat Iron Recording in Rapid City. Some of them began the camp with no prior musical training, which proved to be a fun challenge. In fact, some of the girls enjoyed it so much, they plan on joining band class at school or keeping the bands they formed at camp going into the future.
“Its very fun to be singing and playing something that didn’t even exist a few days ago,” said Moore, the guitarist for Electric Sunrise.
“We want to stay a band after this when we all get instruments” said Lewison, Electric Sunrise’s drummer. Lewison signed up for the camp because she already played the snare drum, but wanted to learn how to play a whole drum set.
“And now [she] totally can,” said Lily Fridell, the group’s “band manager” who helped them through the week.
The drum set she learned on was donated to the camp by Flat Iron Recording. As the camp continues to grow, it hopes to expand the number of instruments available. Most of them used in the camp were loaned by instructors and band managers. Eventually, camp officials would also like to send campers home with instruments.
“I hope Girls Rock Custer becomes an annual tradition in our community, but I also think it has a lot of potential to grow and evolve, said Hanna Honors, one of the camp organizers.   
“Perhaps we can grow to have a variety of rock camp options. I think the more that young people are involved in music and the arts, the better,” said Honors.
“I really wanted to learn how to play an instrument, and I was really excited to do songwriting and perform because I’ve never really done that before,” said Russell, the guitarist of the Divine Divas.
Many campers couldn’t recommend the camp enough and encourage others to be part of it in the future.
“Not only is it fun, but it’s a way to boost your creativity. Whoever is reading this and thinking about doing [Girls Rock] should do it,” said Hegerfeld, keyboardist for the Divine Divas.
“Right before we went onstage for our final performance, I asked all the girls what they loved about the past week. Many of them said they loved learning a new instrument, or recording in the studio, but the overwhelming answer I heard was that they loved making new friends and having this experience with each other,” said Honors.


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