For over a decade, Girls Rock NC has been empowering girls, teens, women, and gender nonconforming youth and adults through music. During its annual weeklong summer camps, kids convene to form rock bands. They learn how to play instruments and write songs, but more important, they learn how to be creative and collaborate, which all serves to boost self-esteem and build young leaders.
This summer, though, Girls Rock NC has teamed up with another local nonprofit to build upon its programming. It's joined forces with the Hillsborough-based Music Maker Relief Foundation, which helps elderly blues and roots musicians maintain a living. Three of its associated artists—Lena Mae Perry, Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen, and Pat Wilder—will each serve three-day residencies at camps this summer. Perry has co-led the Johnston County gospel group The Branchettes for more than twenty years, Cohen sang the blues in New Orleans for two decades, and Wilder has been playing blues guitar for thirty years.
Their appearances include teaching workshops, performing for campers at lunch, and enriching their musical educations. They'll be a great reminder of the many futures these campers can have with their music—who knows, maybe they'll inspire the next Shemekia Copeland or Bonnie Raitt?