September 12, 2016 -- “Our mission is bigger than our music,” says Antigone Rising's song writer and guitarist Kristen Henderson, explaining the all female rock band’s philosophy of empowerment. “We are about surviving and persevering in our culture and industry that is dominated by men.”
It is that philosophy that led the four members of the Sea Cliff-based band in 2012 to create Girls Rising, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to empower girls and LGBT youth by not only setting an example that “strong girls and members of the LGBT community exist and have much to contribute to culture,” but to work directly with both young women and men to instill that positive attitude through outreach programs and workshops. And Antigone Rising has travelled extensively doing just that, visiting schools and youth centers around the world.
On Saturday, September 17, the band will not be traveling far, offering such a program at Sea Cliff Beach to kick off its third annual Beach Fest Concert. The 45 minute to one hour long session will feature Ms. Henderson and her three bandmates (Cathy Henderson, Nini Camps, and Dena Tauriello) in a panel discussion moderated by CBS News reporter Carolyn Gusoff. Interweaving songs and stories that promote "standing up for yourself and community," they will highlight their observations, the challenges they've faced, their triumphs and what they've learned from their experiences as women in the music industry - from negotiating major record deals, to touring with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, the Allman Brothers, and Joan Jett, to posing for the front cover of Time Magazine, to playing the role of cultural ambassadors for the United States government on tours to the Middle East and Europe.
It was during that tour of the Middle East, Ms. Henderson explains, that the band, after seeing how young people responded to them, came to a realization that they were not only an inspiration to girls, but also served as a positive model for boys in breaking down stereotypes and expectations by seeing women not only succeeding but killing it in non-traditional roles.
“Kids in the U.S. react to us in the same way they do in third world countries,” she says, and the group sought to channel that enthusiasm into action by forming Girls Rising.
The mission, the band says, is to “inspire kids to think outside the box and pursue non-traditional career paths.” For example, they have presented workshops together with American astronaut Cady Coleman, who travelled on two space shuttle missions and has logged 159 days in space.
It was that out-of-the-box thinking that also led to a collaboration this past summer between Antigone Rising and Summer Strings, an orchestra education program started by Sea Cliff resident and musician Matthew Schneider four years ago. The partnership culminated in August with Rockestra, the program's ensemble for students 10 years of age and older, performing at the Tilles Center's Hillwood Recital Center during which Nini Camps, Antigone Rising's lead singer and rhythm guitarist and Cathy Henderson, the group's lead guitarist, joined the 30 young musicians on stage for two songs.
“By performing alongside professionals, the kids become equal partners in putting on a real show that is both musically sophisticated and more closely related to their own musical vernacular," said Mr. Schneider in an article written by Elizabeth Winchester and published in Northwordnews last month.
“It’s like being in the ocean with the waves lifting you up and setting you down,” explained Ms. Camps. “The sheer number of stringed instruments played by living, breathing, feeling humans creates an energy unlike any other stage experience. Sometimes you just want to sit in the middle and let the music wash over and through you.”
The partnership will once again be showcased on Saturday, when Rockestra will join Antigone Rising to perform a few songs to together.
Beach Fest 2017 will begin at 2 pm with the outreach program, followed by a line-up of performances by outstanding local and national female artists from around the country, including Sea Cliff's Avery Alexis at 3 pm; Long Island native See at 3:30 pm; national folk singer/songwriter Natalia Zukerman, 4 pm; national singer/songwriter Trina Hamlin, runner up from the television show Rock Star: Supernova, 5 pm; and Austin, Texas based Patrice Pike at 6 pm. Antigone Rising will headline at 7:30 pm with a special guest appearance from The SummerStrings Rockestra, made up of all local North Shore kids.
This is a free event sponsored by Capital One.
Girls Rising Website www.girlsrising.org
Story by Northwordnews
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