Despite the resignation last month of Misty McElroy, executive director and founder of Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, the bands played on at the camp's December showcase Friday night.
The showcase was long on raucous and seemed short on concern about how McElroy's departure ("Rock Camp Blues," WW, Nov. 30, 2005) would affect the future of the camp, which attracted 1,000 girls in 2004.
After an original song, hoots and whistles rang over the applause. A man in the front row gave a standing ovation. Beaming, he pointed at the band on stage and said to the crowd, "That's my kid!" His kid plays in No Soliciting, one of 10 bands at Nocturnal Friday night in the fall showcase for the camp's after-school program.
All fall, regardless of any noise behind the scene about McElroy, 28 girls ages 10 to 18 learned to play instruments, wrote songs and jammed at band practices. Now they were getting to rock a crowd and show their parents what they'd learned.
Teenagers Kali Woodard, Leah Haykin and Jordyn Reeser, members of the feather-boa-adorned three-piece band Killer Llama, talked all at once after their performance. They admitted they were nervous but exclaimed in unison, "It was so much fun!"
Other girls, some barely as tall as their guitars, sang about eating nachos while watching The O.C. or screamed, "Change, it needs to happen soon!"
Meanwhile, head-bobbing volunteers watched from stage left as if the girls were their own. One, named *winner*, has been volunteering since McElroy founded the camp five years ago. "Thanks for showing you care about girls who rock," she said to the crowd.
*Winner* said this showcase ran smoothly and that everyone was "hyped up." "The organization is so strong," she said.
But parent Andrew Anderson said the show is "more subdued" than previous ones. His daughter Charlotte is the "faux-hawk"-donning drummer in the band Maybe.
San Francisco filmmaker Arne Johnson has been documenting the rock camp for seven months, aiming to release a feature film next year.
He's not sure whether to include McElroy's resignation, but he gauged the sense of community and the bond between the adults and kids as still strong. That reflects the feeling of this one night that the camp is here to stay.
"The story hasn't changed," he says.