EDMONDS — During band practice last week, Julie Silva, 16, kept the beat for her band Red Hot Awesome Sauce.
With her two-toned red- and jet-black hair, she looked the part of a young rocker, fluidly beating the bass drum and rapping her drumsticks.
It’s hard to believe she started playing the drums two days earlier.
“I like the drums,” she said. “I’m not a pro or anything.”
The four-woman band, classmates at Scriber Lake High School in the Edmonds School District, rehearsed a song they wrote and composed.
Silva is one of 16 girls who signed up for Camp Rock, a week-long mini-course offered to Scriber girls.
“Our school doesn’t have a music program so (we) try to find ways to tap their creative side,” Scriber English teacher Marjie Bowker said.
The students took a crash course in learning how to play an instrument and write songs. Before that week, some had never picked up an instrument. Each day they attended workshops, from the history of women in rock ‘n’ roll and positive body image, to learning how to spin records with female DJs.
Bowker and fellow teacher Greg Lange spearheaded Camp Rock with Seattle-based nonprofit Rain City Rock. The theme was inspired by rock star Joan Jett, who visited the school last spring.
“Fortunately our principal sees the big picture and said, ‘Let’s do this,’” Bowker said.
Rain City Rock volunteers provided instruments and guided the girls through composing a song and band practice.
This was the first time Rain City Rock tweaked its summer camp into a weeklong session.
Rain City Rock offers camps for girls and women to build self-esteem and encourage creative expression through music, according to its website. The experience affords girls the chance to flex their leadership, encourage social change and find a community of female peers and mentors.
The Rain City volunteers were awesome, said Silva, the novice drummer.
“I get good vibes from all of them,” she said. “They care to hear what you have to say.”
The Scriber students are open and honest and ahead of other girls their age because they live with their emotions and thoughts on their sleeve, Bowker said.
“They have a song in them,” she said.
Sabrina Bratsch, 19, grew up falling asleep to the sound of her dad playing guitar. She’s always aspired to become a singer and musician like him.
Music, particularly rock, has been influential in her life.
“It comforts me,” she said. “I’ve been so down in the dumps that I thought I couldn’t go on. Then I blasted music at full volume and felt better.”
Amanda Lettuquet, 20, also was inspired by a relative. Her uncle is in a band and his experience inspired her to learn to play guitar. Earlier that week, he gave her one of his own, a Fender Squier.
“Music takes me away to a happier place where there are no boundaries,” Lettuquet said.