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'Rockshops' Mentor Louisville's Girls in Rocking Out

Drum beats, blasting vocals and shredding guitars rhythmically permeated the hallways of Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School.Jinxed to Death was preparing Sunday for its first performance. The five band members—all girls under 14—have only known each other for two days and were still in the midst of polishing song lyrics, a combination of wailing alternative rock and rap.MaryLiz Guillemi and Lacey Guthrie of the Louisville band Twin Limb looked on. They served as mentors and teachers, offering tech support, musical instruction and advice on how to hold drumsticks while wearing fingerless fishnet gloves. Before breaking for their final song run-through, Guillemi gathers the girls into a tight circle, a “band huddle.”“Jinxed to Death on three—one, two, three!” The girls, all dressed in black, threw their hands in the air and squeal, before grabbing their bags to head off for their very first rock show together.These girls were five of 40 registered for the Rockshops for Girls, the educational arm of the new all-women’s Louisville music festival, Outskirts.Festival co-founders Carrie Neumayer and Stephanie Gary  were inspired by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls Alliance out of Portland, Oregon.During the Rockshops, girls aged 10-18 were given the opportunity over the weekend to gain basic familiarity with a chosen instrument—guitar, bass, drums, keys or vocals—then form a band and write a song to perform for a private audience of friends and family at Dreamland, a NuLu performing and visual arts space. The workshops and bands rehearsals were led by experienced female musician mentors.“I had a chance this morning to go into the different workshops, and there are girls who got here yesterday who were anxious and they were shy, and today they are belting out lyrics," Gary said. "They are cranking up their guitars, beats are happening on their drums. I think this whole thing is important because girls are often put into boxes where they are taught to compete with one another, and that’s what we want to help change.”With an emphasis on respect, creativity and self-expression, the Rockshops were popular with the attendees.

Abigail Carney and Stella Vanover, both 10, are the vocalist and drummer, respectively, for Jinxed to Death. The workshops appealed to them for a variety of reasons.“My favorite parts were probably working with the band, and making up songs, and getting new friends,” Carney said.Vanover said: “My favorite part was probably being creative and making up different songs and writing stuff and also dressing up to fit your ideas, like in black.”Here's the band practicing over the weekend:Jinxed to DeathBoth said they would return if the Rockshops were offered again.

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