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Girls take the lead at Girls Rock Lab benefit show at the Bartlett

The members of Rebel Friday rehearse during Girls Rock Lab at the Downtown Spokane Public Library. (Brittan Hart)
The members of Rebel Friday rehearse during Girls Rock Lab at the Downtown Spokane Public Library. (Brittan Hart)

There will be noise.

Friday night, eight bands from Spark Central’s Girls Rock Lab will take the stage at the Bartlett.

“There is something just so powerful about seeing the girls on stage and seeing them make loud noise and rock out,” said Liz Rognes, one of the volunteer organizers of the camp.

The program for girls in third through eighth grade is in its fourth year. Volunteers guide the girls through forming a band and writing their own songs during two four-day sessions at the Downtown Spokane Public Library.

The purpose, Rognes said, is to support and empower girls in music and through music.

“It’s important for us to create spaces where girls’ voices are valued,” she said.

And, she thinks it’s important for the girls to have female mentors. All of the volunteers who run the camp are women, so the girls get to see them collaborating on the project, setting up equipment and troubleshooting when things go wrong.

The girls write their own lyrics for the songs, and they cover a wide variety of topics from their lives, Rognes said. One theme she noticed from the bands from the first week of camp this year was communication. Which is fitting, she said.

“A big part of this is giving them the agency to say what they want to say.”

The concert is a fundraiser for the program. After the girls play, local female bands Windoe, Violet Catastrophe and Donna Donna will perform.

But the stars of the show are the girls.

“It’s always exciting to see the sense of accomplishment and ownership,” Rognes said. And being on a real stage like the Bartlett, with professional lighting and sound equipment at a place where they might see a favorite band, heightens the experience, she said.

“It’s a ton of fun,” she said. “It gives them a chance to shine.”