Time to Rock: Developing Young & Female Musical Talent

Haley Wright

Adelyn Strei
Adelyn Strei

On Oct. 27, the Girls Rock Band Experience will debut. The Experience is the result of collaboration between the Eau Claire School of Music and Sawdust City Limits (which organizes concerts to showcase local bands) to support, educate, and promote individuals who identify as female, trans, and gender nonconforming as musicians in what has been a traditionally male-dominated field.

Participants will work with the support of three accomplished local female musicians for two days to prepare for a concert on Saturday night. Their performance is part of Sawdust City Limits #5: Women and Girls Rock at 7pm at The Metro, 201 E. Lake St. Both days of the Experience will include group rehearsals, breakout sessions on specific topics, and time for the participants to get to know each other and develop as a team. This year, organizers sought applicants in sixth through 12th grades who were confident playing their instruments or singing since there won't be enough time for teachers to work on musical fundamentals.

Jill Heinke-Moen
Jill Heinke-Moen

“If an applicant can play an entire song, keeping a steady beat – it is likely that they would be ready to be in the program,” said Nick Poss, owner of the Eau Claire Music School.

Three woman musicians will lead the girls through the Experience: Deirdre Jenkins of Squirrel Talk is a voice, piano, and songwriting instructor at the Eau Claire Music School. UW-Eau Claire graduate Adelyn Strei will travel from the Twin Cities, where she leads the band Adelyn Rose, to share her knowledge with participants. Jill Heinke-Moen, a world-class flute player, bassist, and member of Orchid Eaton, will bring previous rock band instruction experience to the table.

For a long time, local musician Jon Olstadt has wanted to put the spotlight on female musicians in town and to inspire young girls to pursue music, and feels the timing is now right. “I wanted to create something that celebrates the voices and accomplishments of our talented local women artists and hopefully inspires these girls to express themselves through this experience and through music as a lifelong pursuit,” he said. “As a father of two daughters, I wanted them to see what is possible and hope they form bands of their own someday.”

Deirdre Jenkins
Deirdre Jenkins

He says he feels the Experience will empower and inspire the girls who participate and provide an enjoyable experience for the community.

Organizers would like to see the Experience continue to expand. Olstadt said Sawdust City Limits plans to use the proceeds from the show to jumpstart a larger, ongoing Girls Rock Experience with an annual show.

Sawdust City Limits 5: Women and Girls Rock! • featuring LASKA, Adelyn Rose, and Jerrika Mighelle with special guests: The graduates of our first ever Girls Rock Band Experience! • Saturday, Oct. 27, 7pm • The Metro, 201 E. Lake St., Eau Claire • $10 • volumeonetickets.org

Women in the Lead is sponsored by: