frog's blog

Anuran, n. an amphibian of the order Salientia (formerly Anura or Batrachia), which includes the frogs and toads

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dad's Day at the Girls Rock & Roll Camp

Dad joined daughter at summer camp today-- and it was way cooler than I could have ever expected.

When I first heard the Indigo Girls "Closer to Fine," I was instantly moved. That was 1989, and I was 21. But I never thought I'd hear the song quite like I heard it this morning--with a small crowd of truly unique teenagers & college students.

Back then, I never imagined being the father of a dedicated 11-year-old artist. And I certainly could not fathom that young person--already so interested in reading, drawing, & dance--being an aspiring drummer at the Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp (on the campus of MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tennessee).

Always passionate for the kind of politically & spiritually-charged folk ballads that the Indigo Girls have made their living from, the chills, goosebumps, & tears still took me by surprise this morning.

But what moved me even more than the four song-set by Amy Ray & Emily Saliers were their words without guitars, the passion in their eyes, their obviously sincere & strong commitment to inspiring & empowering the next generation of grrrl warriors. And they inspired--not just with music, but with their independence from corporate clone music culture & their queer, feminist, youth, environmental, & peace activism.

That Ruby wasn't a drummer or a rocker--until yesterday--and is now filled with energy & enthusiasm--testifies to the down-to-earth, supportive community cultivated at rock camp. The volunteers & campers combine in creating the scene with a full day of learning & fun grounded in fierce DIY ethics--to make it the kind of place one camper has described as her "tribe."

On the campus where I've been a graduate student in English, adjunct professor in gender/Women's Studies, & an anti-war activist, dozens of creative & rebellious young women are converging to change the world one song, one riff, one patch, & one 'zine at a time. And this makes my now permanent southern home--at times alienating to this now middle-aged motor-city boy--feel much more like home.

All props to the many visionary organizers & volunteers I know & admire, some as former students & all as fellow revolutionaries. Thanks! Courtney, Kelley, Anna, Sean, Sarah, Liz, Kelly for all you are doing this week for Ruby & the other rockers.


At 4:38 PM, Blogger sunshine of your love said...

i also got goosebumps & almost cried a little. in such a short amount of time, the camp has grown so much. i know this even though it is my first year volunteering. to think that kelley felt moved to try and start this thing and found help and now only three years later, the indigo girls are taking notice- it's just amazing & inspiring. i think some of the campers were too young to think much of it, but i think for the indigo girls to think enough of the camp and care enough about the campers to come in the morning to only play four songs, that speaks volumes. their music speaks to my heart and soul and is comforting & inspiring no matter what the mood. it was the best morning i've had in awhile. and to listen and watch the campers is a great experience as well. these young girls are so intelligent, curious, confident, daring, and inspiring themselves. they make me proud of today's youth. and of course...they also make me feel old. :)~ sarah


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