“If Girls Rock MKE was around when we were growing up, my sister Vic and I would have been at that camp in a heartbeat,” REYNA co-founder Gaby Banuelos stated with an ever-cheerful smile during a recent Zoom meeting to chat about their upcoming Rock the Stream performance this Thursday.
Girls Rock MKE has been a wonderful venue for young people to become introduced to the idea of playing music together and being in a band. The now-famous Girls Rock MKE summer camps have been places that have helped launch local groups like Negative/Positive and Gas Station Sushi, both of whom have performed on the Pedal Power Stage at the 2017 Rock the Green Sustainability Festival.
Girls Rock MKE Board President, Tammy Schleicher stated in our Zoom interview, “What we want above anything else is to find ways for girls to connect to one another. Through music you see all of this confidence bursting out of the kids when they complete the camp and perform in the showcase at Turner Hall Ballroom.”
Unfortunately, like many summer programs, Girls Rock MKE is putting their in-person camps on hiatus due to the COVID19 pandemic. However, while the camps will not take place in the traditional way they have in the past, that is not stopping Schleicher or her staff from striving to make meaningful connections for girls through music.
“Of course not being able to host our camps is heartbreaking because girls look forward to it all year and we wanted to further serve the community and create opportunities for girls and young women to connect through the magic of music,” Schleicher stated, “We will be sad to miss the in-person camps, but we will find ways to connect people through music.”
With a “can-do” attitude and optimistic spirit, Schleicher and Girls Rock MKE volunteers are hoping to offer instrument lessons, live-stream shows, specialty workshops, and other musically-based workshops virtually this summer.
REYNA performed at the Girls Rock MKE camp in the past as guest artists, and their experience was equally transformative for them as artists and the campers alike. “Working with Girls Rock MKE was so empowering,” Gaby shared via Zoom, “It was simply amazing to see the confidence pour out from all of these wonderful young people at the Girls Rock MKE Camp.”
The pairing of REYNA and Girls Rock MKE for this week’s Rock the Stream concert seemed to go together like peanut butter and jelly, as both the Girls Rock MKE organization and the hit synth-pop band both share an underlying desire to empower young girls and women to pursue their passions through music. “Part of the reason we started a band in the first place was to empower girls to kick butt with music,” Gaby passionately stated.
REYNA has been keeping very busy during the COVID19 quarantine. Gaby shared, “Vic and I have released a brand new track ‘Coachella’ last month and we have a goal of putting out a new song and video monthly, and we have a new EP in the works too.”
While performing on streamed shows is not the same, obviously, as feeding off the energy of the live crowd, the Banuelos sisters have found the magic in performing in front of a virtual audience. “Honestly, our streaming shows feel like real, actual shows for us. It has been so cool to reimagine some of our songs stripped down to more intimate arrangements. At the end of the day we want to connect with people and make them feel some joy and sense of connectivity,” Gaby explained.
While many things may be in limbo these days, the sister-duo of REYNA remains steadfast about their support of the environment and green initiatives. Gaby shared, “My best friend and I are having a challenge right now to see who can be more green during this time. We are doing things like trying the bar shampoos and conditioner and even the cubed toothpaste out there to avoid the plastic waste. With fewer people driving cars and vehicles right now, we are ripe to make some good, solid changes in our lifestyles to help protect the planet.”
We can’t wait to see the power sister-duo of Vic and Gaby Banuelos Rock the Stream at 7:00 p.m. central time on May 14th to help raise money for Girls Rock MKE. We hope you join us for a great, upbeat way to start your “weekend’s eve” on a bright, vibrant note.
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Funding format: 100% of ALL the funds donated are split equally between the musician and nonprofit. The nonprofit partner accepts the donations and distributes half to the artist.
As a companion to #RockTheSteam's weekly benefit concert series, we ZOOM it up with the musician/s and nonprofit partner of the week to showcase what's going on in their worlds.