Ladies Night

Area residents gathered at Mojo’s on Friday evening for a showcase of the region’s finest female talents.

Girls Rock, an annual musical showcase, also serves as an empowering tool for women of all ages and backgrounds to express themselves freely in a public setting.

According to Cindy “Love” Haight, event organizer and performer, the show took a lot of planning and practicing, but every moment was worth it. Coincidentally, Girls Rock 7 happened to fall on Haight’s birthday, which added to the level of excitement.

“It’s been a great day, and I’m ready for Girls Rock 7,” Haight said. “It’s been a lot of anticipation, and I’m glad it’s finally here. The ladies of rock are ready to bring a fantastic show to Jamestown tonight.”

For the first time ever, Girls Rock featured students from Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, including Stephanie Benson, Hayley Restivo and Ryan Hawkins. The show was opened by Benson, who performed solo with an acoustic guitar. She covered several tunes such as Passenger’s “Let Her Go.”

“I think it’s really awesome that these women wanted to collaborate with young people like us,” Benson said. “It’s good for us to experience working with such experienced people.”

Following Benson’s set, SYMBA took the stage. SYMBA is comprised of Restivo on vocals and guitar, and Hawkins on mandolin. The duo performed several original tunes from their recently released full-length album, “Eleanor Evermore.”

“I think the biggest part about being a musician and getting started is really getting the support of the community,” Restivo said. “So, it’s really an honor to be a part of something that more experienced musicians participate in. It’s also great to be able to represent Infinity in this program and at Mojo’s.”

“I think it’s a huge help to young women who are trying to get into the music business – it gives us an outlet for our music,” Hawkins added.

The show also featured performances by Lori Burke, Gina Vecchio, Claire Stuczynski, Haight, Marla Harris, Faith Graham and the Girls Rock Band, which included: Haight on electric guitar, Sara Rafaloski on electric bass, Betsy Burgeson on trombone, Carol Svensen on trumpet and Stephanie Stanford on drums.

The show managed to draw quite the large crowd to Mojo’s, and the audience seemed well-receptive to the idea of celebrating women in the arts.

Kathy Stedman, of Jamestown, said she attended the event to support and celebrate such a wonderful opportunity for women.

“It’s a good opportunity to celebrate local talent,” Stedman said. “If you look around there’s a great mix of people here, both young and old – it’s just a nice event.”

Jose Martinez, Mojo’s bouncer, hadn’t heard about the event until a few days before it, but looked forward to work when he found out he’d get to see the show.

“I think it’s cool for local musicians, especially the women who don’t get as much recognition as big bands – I wish it would happen more often,” Martinez said.

Lukeman “Luke” Hussain, a photographer for Atlantic Oceans, loves going to Mojo’s, but had never been to a Girls Rock event before. “It’s beautiful,” Hussain said.

Lisa Tibbetts, of Jamestown, said she attended the event because “girls rock.”

For more information, search for “Girls Rock 7!” on Facebook. Visit http://youtu.be/Th-yWlKmlaU to view video of the event.