Stefanie Drootin has played in more bands than you or I could count on two hands; most recently duo Big Harp with husband Chris Senseney. But now she is tacking on a new title: executive director and founder of Omaha Girls Rock! camp, which makes its weeklong debut Monday, July 11. According to a recent interview with Lazy-i, Drootin considers herself lucky to have “had the confidence to be able to deal with a lot of the stuff that goes along with being a girl in a band.” Her first sense of courage came from her mom as Drootin was growing up. “My mom could do everything. She never made me feel like I had to be anything but myself,” Drootin said. Since then, she has played in an all-lady band and continued to have oodles of positive, girl-centric musical experiences—playing with Azure Ray and touring with an all-girl backing band for Bright Eyes, among them.
Ever so thankful and appreciative, this confidence boost is the feeling Drootin is looking to instill in the young girls who will attend her camp this summer. “I was lucky to have really empowered women around me to make me feel like playing music was a possibility, and that’s why I want to do the camp. Because I want more girls to have that,” Drootin said. And what better place to do it than Omaha, Nebraska—proud producer of lots of amazing music! (But, eh-hmm, it’s kind of heavy on dude musicians.)
Even though Drootin left Omaha for LA recently, it is the city where she cut her musical teeth for roughly seven years and she sees OGR as a chance to give thanks for that. “I want all those girls to feel like they’re as good as the boys,” Drootin said. “I want them to leave feeling confident and proud of themselves.”
The camp, like most girls rock camps, will consist of musical instruction, band practice, and workshops: Song Writing, Self Esteem and Body Image, and History of Women in Rock. The week will end in a performance at Omaha rock staple, the Slowdown, where booker Val Nelson will talk to the girls about her career. Other ladies’ names you might recognize are Azure Ray’s Orenda Fink (OGR’s workshop coordinator) and Mynabirds leader Laura Burhenn, who handles community outreach. And for all you Omaha girls who didn’t learn of the camp in time, there will be a next year. “I’m hoping there will be enough excitement that we’ll be able to do two sessions next summer!” Drootin said. We hope so, too. [Jesse Sposato]