Long before Anna Garza thought that Houston needed a girl-centric music camp, she put the city on the map as a viable tour stop for indie bands as talent buyer for booking collective Hands Up Houston. Bringing the Bayou City artists like Blonde Redhead, Coco Rosie and TV on the Radio, the collective proved to be one of the most successful local ventures of its time. Garza also helped organize the first local Hootenanny showcase and second installment of the Noise & Smoke festival. Currently, her focus is readying the next generation of female musicians and working to organize via the first-ever Girls Rock Camp in Houston. The Rock Camp's mission is to empower girls and women of all backgrounds and abilities through musical education and performance art. Acting as founder and director, Garza has assembled an impressive roster from our local music and arts scenes to direct, including MyDolls bassist Dianna Ray, Cinema Arts Managing Director Kim Castillo, MyCityRocks Community Outreach/music therapy teacher Veronica Llanos-Butler and Anime Networks' National Advertising Manager April Brem Patrick.
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Earlier this month, the Houston Underground Social Hour held a benefit show for Girls Rock Camp featuring the MyDolls, Perseph One and local band GTRS to raise money for the foundation. Still in its developmental stages, the camp is in sponsorship negotiations with a local university for Summer 2010. The sessions are geared towards girls' ages 8-18 and will focus on instrumentation, songwriting, history, team-building, silkscreening, touring and promotions. Rocks Off caught up with Garza recently to talk a little about the camp. Rocks Off: Talk about truly being your sisters' keeper - what made you want to be involved at this level? Anna Garza: Being immersed in the local punk/indie music scene for most of my life, I noticed there is a lack of girls and women onstage and behind the scenes. I'm taking some initiative to feminize the scene a bit. I hope to provide the tools for young girls to develop positive self-esteem, be creative and encourage them to explore and realize the options before them. RO: I've heard about a pilot program before to the actual camp. AG: We are in the process of finalizing a curriculum for an after-school program at Hamilton Middle School that will begin in January 2010. RO: As far as community involvement in the project, what are your needs? AG: Currently, our biggest need is a venue for the camp. Once that's confirmed, we need musical equipment, volunteers and instructors. If anyone would like to donate time, instruments or sponsor, get in touch! The official word is that while the camp itself may be for ladies only, the board of directors is taking an all-inclusive approach to the instruction side. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the camp's teaching process. Anyone interested in learning more about the organization can reach Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org.