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  • Writer's pictureElisabeth Gasparka

Girls Rock MKE w/D Kirschling

In this episode of Creative MKE, Elisabeth speaks with D Kirschling, a board member and the volunteer coordinator at the non- profit organization Girls Rock & Ladies Rock MKE. Participants of Girls & Ladies Rock MKE attend camps and workshops where they experiment and learn music in a safe space, working on traditional elements of a rock band including voice, instrumentation on guitar, drums, bass and keyboard, and song composition and performance.


Despite the name, Girls & Ladies Rock MKE programs are inclusive: they are open to all on the gender spectrum, and are designed to empower participants through collaboration, expression and exploration of technical skills.

Ladies Rock Camp class of 2023 Girls Rock Milwaukee (imagine: girlsrockmke.org)
Girls Rock MKE's Ladies Rock Camp class of 2023 (imagine: girlsrockmke.org)

Guided by volunteers who are often local musicians, participants are encouraged to lean in to the process of self-reflection and self-expression through creativity. It’s a process that Kirschling and organizers hope sparks rockers to challenge themselves—and maybe even change their perception of who they are and what they can accomplish.


Kirschling shares how Ladies Rock—an offshoot of Girls Rock MKE-- emerged from the interest of parents of kids who were part of Girls Rock camps, and saw the benefits it had for them. Ladies Rock became an answer to the question of how adults who had interest in music but little experience could find space within Milwaukee’s music scene, and rock music itself, which is often experienced as a “boys club” by marginalized artists.

“We want to create healthy and balanced people. The arts are part of a healthy and balanced life."

Ultimately, the mission of both programs is to move the Milwaukee music scene forward to become a more equitable place, and to enrich the lives of individuals.


“We want to create healthy and balanced people. The arts are part of a healthy and balanced life,” said Kirschling.


In the conversation, Kirschling also reflects on how arts organizations, including Girls Rock, as so focused on basic survival that they struggle to expand on their programming and their footprint in the community. She imagines that with more support, individual artists in Milwaukee would live healthier, more fulfilled lives—which would in turn make our community a healthier place.



 

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