ladies rock milwaukee 2015

My musical experience is about as deep as a puddle. Though I participated in choirs and musical theater throughout middle and high school, I never properly learned to read music or any kind of music theory. I got as far as playing “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” on the piano before quitting, and when my parents got me a guitar, I proceeded to teach myself how to play it…upside-down.

And yet, last night I played bass for a song I wrote in front of a packed house at the Riverwest Public House and, if I do say so myself, pretty much rocked it out. How is this possible, you may ask? Ladies Rock Milwaukee.

Over the course of 2.5 days, 16 women in 4 bands learned to play an instrument (many of which having their first experience with their instrument of choice), wrote a song, and performed it. It was intense. It was creatively draining. It was so much fun. I was nervous about the weekend from the beginning, given my absolute lack of musical pedigree, and it only got worse when I came down with an absolutely beastly cold the week of camp. I was definitely not on my A-game when camp started, but I’m really glad that I soldiered through.

To the untrained eye, it may have looked like I spent my weekend (Friday – Sunday) at UW-Milwaukee’s Helene Zelazo Center of the Performing Arts, but I was actually in a whole new world. A world of workshops and music lessons, of women supporting each other and growing together; a world where any utterance of the word “sorry” is met with a vehement “You’re not sorry, you rock!”

I was a Girl Scout growing up, and I went to day camp every summer. I even went to sleepaway camp once. But I never felt like I had that iconic camp experience. It took me until my mid-20s, but I feel it now. Spending the weekend in a safe, creative space with other awesome ladies was really amazing, and I highly recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in being a rockstar (and really…who doesn’t daydream about that?) By the time I was actually getting up on stage last night, my nerves had faded. I felt confident in what I had learned and so excited for my band (UNISCORN) to show everyone what we’d created together.

I don’t know if I’m going to keep playing the bass (I’ve definitely done some furtive googling), but I know that this is an experience that will stay with me. Because it’s true: I’m not sorry. I rock.

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