By Sarah Ellis
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
Ten-year-old Skyler Huneycutt tapped her drumsticks three times and counted off the beat as her band, The Royal Hello Kitties, launched into another practice run of their original song Thursday afternoon.
“You’ll run; I’ll jump. You’ll sing; I’ll listen. You’re going to sound amazing. So let’s all sing.”
A confident and perky Aiyo Price, 9, sang the lyrics as she strummed her electric guitar, a hand-drawn “Girl Power” banner taped to the wall behind her.
Beside her, 10-year-old Sabrina Drayton plinked the keys of an electric keyboard and with her soft voice sang the repetitive chorus: “School’s out. It’s summertime.”
Sabrina is the mastermind behind the lyrics. She’s had a lot of practice writing songs, which she does often in her diary whenever inspiration hits her, she said.
The squeal of electric guitars and the thump of drums could be heard echoing through the halls, but what happens inside the band practice rooms at the Girls Rock Columbia camp goes way beyond music.
Female empowerment is the pervading melody at the week-long rockband camp, where preteens and teens are not only learning how to play rock-and-roll instruments, but, more importantly, how to encourage one another, work as a team and feel confident in themselves.
“There are so many things about … playing music in a group of people who haven’t played music before that teach you compromise and creative problem-solving and active listening and creativity,” said Kristin Morris, one of the camp’s organizers.
“Those are the things that are most important to us. If it sounds off-key at the showcase, none of us are going to scream any quieter.”
In its second year, the camp has more than doubled in attendance, from 17 rockers last year to 40 this week.