Girls ROCK with first ever rock camp

Story and photos by Carrie Moore

After five days of hard work, 15 Custer girls hit the stage and showed just how hard they can rock in a first-of-its-kind concert at the Custer High School theatre, Saturday, June 17.

The concert was the final act for campers with Girls Rock Camp Custer, a week-long half-day camp for girls, started by the Custer Area Arts Council and Zonta of the Southern Black Hills. At the camp, girls in grades fourth through eighth formed bands and learned how to play an instrument of their choice, in addition to writing a song as a group. In total, four bands took to the stage to perform their songs: Electric Vibes, “Shock Wave”; The Jazz of Summer, “Summer Heat”; Kid Katz, “The Beach”; and Blue Spire, “Adventure is the Thing for Me.”

During the week long camp, the girls learned more about their instrument of choice (guitar, bass, keyboards or drums), chords and beats to play, as well as fundamentals of music. They also learned about parts of songs and just how songs are written, working as a band to create lyrics and place words with chords. They were guided by instructors and “band managers” throughout the process.

In addition to the camp and concert, the girls were able to spend an evening in a recording studio, where they recorded a CD of their songs, courtesy of Flat Iron Recording of Rapid City.

In addition to building on students’ musical foundations, Girls Rock Camp Custer aims to shape girls’ confidence, creativity, self-esteem and self-expression.

“They were encouraged to write and play music with the aim of inspiring girls to rock in whatever way they want, both with music and in other ways,” said Carrie Moore of Zonta of the Southern Black Hills. “Girls Rock is all about trying new things, working together and making a lot of noise!”

In addition to Custer Area Arts Council and Zonta of the Southern Black Hills, Girls Rock Camp Custer and the Saturday showcase are supported by sponsors: Batchelder’s Plummer Piano and Organ, Calamity Jane Winery & Mercantile, Carson Drug, Edward Jones – offices of BJ Shipp and Kris Zerbe, Flat Iron Recording, Starr Insurance, State Farm, South Dakota Coalition Ending Domestic & Sexual Violence,  Realtor for Kids and Women Escaping A Violent Environment (W.E.A.V.E.).

Girls Rock Camp Custer is an offshoot of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance (GRCA), an international nonprofit coalition founded in 2007 whose mission is to empower girls and women through music education to foster self-esteem and confidence.

For further information on the history, activities and member camps of the GRCA, please visit For more information on Girls Rock Camp Custer or to order a CD, email Moore at