- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Wendy Yelton is, as of this month, a rock star. Her assignment: learn an instrument, write a song, name a band and prepare to perform in a public showcase. The catch: She only has three days.

Yelton, a Rocheport resident, was one of 24 women who participated in Ladies Rock Camp, which teaches women ages 19 and older how to play an instrument and perform in front of an audience. The workshop, held at the Columbia Area Career Center, was filled with music lessons, yoga practice and female empowerment, the Columbia Missourian (http://bit.ly/1kUfCSz ) reports.

Each incoming camper ranked her choice of instruments - bass, guitar, vocals and drums - and five bands were formed, each with a volunteer mentor available for advice and musical guidance. There were two practice lessons and four band practices over a weekend, culminating in a showcase concert.

Despite the quick turnaround, Yelton said she wasn’t too worried about performing.

“I think it is a very reasonable request,” she said. “There’s not really any pressure.”

Maybe I’m just stupid, but I’m not nervous.”

The three-day camp is a fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp, a week-long summer music camp for girls put on by CoMo Girls Rock. Amanda Rainey, one of CoMo Girls Rock’s three directors, said the inspiration for the ladies camp came from the ladies themselves.

“The women we talked to (about Girls Rock Camp) wanted to rock as well,” Rainey said. “Lots of girls rock camps do ladies camps as well, so we knew it was possible.”

Rainey said about half of the women had actual experience on the instrument they were playing during camp and the women came from a variety of musical backgrounds. The reasons for coming to camp were just as different.

“We started camp with a ‘circle of why’ and everyone went around and said why they came to camp,” Rainey said. “For some, this is fulfilling a 40-year-old dream. Some people are going through divorce. It got pretty intense.”

Yelton signed up for camp to put her love of music into action.

“My husband has played guitar for years,” she said. “I had six months of piano training when I was in the sixth grade. I wanted to learn how to play the drums, so here I am. I wanted to immerse myself and see if it sticks.”

When asked if anything had stuck, Yelton beamed and nodded her head.

CoMo Girls Rock reached out to community members to gather gear for the camp. Rainey said people lent what they could, and many even donated their old instruments.

“Even people we had never worked with before helped,” Rainey said. “They would bring a mic, an amp, a cord.”

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