Name Courtney Denelle

Age 36

Hometown Providence, RI

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background with music, education, or social justice work.

I’m a short fiction writer and grammar nerd for-hire (read: copy editor). I also work with Day One Rhode Island as a Survivor Advocate, speaking out and organizing on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault.

What are some awesome bands featuring female-identified, trans, or gender non-conforming musicians that you are listening to right now? 

I have my forever loves—Joni Mitchell (folk), Nina Simone (jazz/blues), Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton (both country), just to name a few. These days, I’m in a deep electronic sort of groove with St. Vincent, Janelle Monae, Portishead and The Julie Ruin on heavy rotation. And if Guerilla Toss, Ava Luna or Screaming Females come to town, I’ll be there with bells on!

What is your role at Girls Rock! Rhode Island?

I’m a member of the year-round ​Programming Committee, and am a band counselor at camp.

What is your favorite camp or after school moment?

There are so many, but one moment stands out among the rest. At the group lesson concert in Spring 2015, there was a young vocalist—maybe 11 or 12 years old—performing with crutches due to a foot injury. She belted out a bone-chilling song about bullying, tossing aside both crutches, holding herself up with the mic stand and screaming (screaming!): DON’T YOU BULLY ME, YOU CAN’T TOUCH ME! Unstoppable.

Why do you think someone should volunteer for Girls Rock! Rhode Island?

Whether or not you’re a musician, there is a role for you as a Girls Rock volunteer. The willingness to lend a hand in nurturing this next generation of artists, teachers and leaders has a reverberating effect in the community. It empowers young folks to want more than their known patterns; to want more than what they’re conditioned to expect; to want more expression and constant redefinition in order to meet the needs of the times. And this reverberation goes both ways—it is as much of a learning experience for adult volunteers as it is for campers and students. There is a spectacular immediacy in music creation, and Girls Rock in general. It enables us to find our voice and, most essentially, to use it.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with Girls Rock! Rhode Island at camp or throughout the year, visit our Volunteer page.