Q&A with Olivia Tasch of Girls Rock! Champaign-Urbana

For Girls Rock! C-U, it's about more than just music. Established in 2016, the organization is hosting its very first summer camp this week as part of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance. The day-camp teaches girls in the Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities empowerment through music education, culminating in a full-band performance of an original song at Cowboy Monkey on June 16. Check out the Q&A with Olivia Tasch of Girls Rock! C-U below for an in-depth look at their mission and how you can help.

Take the Pulse: How did Girls Rock! come to Champaign-Urbana and how did you become involved?

Olivia Tasch: I first read about Girls Rock! on a Facebook post. One of the current board members, Isaac Arms, had heard about the camp and felt that Champaign-Urbana was a great spot for such a camp to be held and reached out to the community. I got involved because I couldn't have agreed more! In the beginning of September of 2016, a group of people sat down and talked about their reasons for coming to the meeting. That meeting set fundraisers, workshops, and ultimately our camp [this] week into motion.

T: What has been the public reception of the camp?

O: The public reception has been fantastic! We continue to be humbled by the amount of support this community has given us.

T: Outside of music, what do you hope the students take away from the camp?

O: We want our students to leave the camp feeling inspired and empowered: inspired to get their own band together and empowered from the knowledge and support they get from the staff, each other, and the community.

T: What can we do in the Heart of Illinois (and beyond) to promote inclusivity in the music scene?

O: Education, self-awareness, and action are powerful tools. I have found a lot of value in reading and researching about the development of music in the U.S. That research helped me become more self-aware about certain realities we face in the music scene. This self-awareness led me to take action in my life as a musician, music goer, and community member. Not everyone's process has to look like mine, but I do think it's valuable that people have a process to educate themselves, become self-aware, and take a form of action that seems right to them.

T: How can the community support the camp itself?

O: We always appreciate donations! From music gear to $1, we truly appreciate anything that people can give. The best way to get in touch with us is through Facebook or email (girlsrockcu@gmail.com). We also have a news/updates email newsletter that people can sign up for at our website: http://girlsrockcu.org/.

Mike Rundle