by Mary O’Donnell | Photography by Jessica Pierotti

Rockin’ for Charity
Girls Rock! Chicago harmonizes with The Violet Hour

Recently, Girls Rock! Chicago (GR!C) held its fifth-annual Autumn Auction at the Wicker Park mixology haven, The Violet Hour. It proved a convergence of delicious hors d’oeuvres from Analogue, delectable desserts from Flirty Cupcakes, sensational cocktails and, most importantly, generous charitable contributions for a valuable cause. The $50 advance ticket furnished unending appetizers and drinks, plus the prospect of vying for a number of desirable prizes in the silent auction. The bidding table included a Cruiser bicycle from BFF Bikes, an acoustic guitar from Guitar Center, concert tickets to see the likes of Lucinda Williams, Fitz & the Tantrums, and Sleater-Kinney at Chicago venues, original artwork from local artists and a mixologist lesson from Paul McGee at Three Dots & A Dash. The Violet Hour, with its lush velvet curtains, muted lighting and perfect concoctions thrived as the ideal backdrop for an incredibly cool night; the atmosphere set the stage for a posh and polished charitable event.

The crowd radiated energy and excitement, and the results are indicative of this—the sold-out evening raised over $8000, twice as much as the previous year.

What is Girls Rock! Chicago?

Founded in 2005, this non-profit organization provides rock music education for girls ages eight through sixteen, fostering confidence, creative expression and awareness of the community. Each summer, Girls Rock! offers a week-long camp focusing on instrument instruction, song-writing, music composition and music recording. During this time, students attend workshops bolstering their music capabilities. Campers practice and then ultimately record the music they write. This culminates in the End-of-Camp Extravaganza—a performance on stage before a live audience (past locations include Schubas, the Metro and Bottom Lounge). This concert is open to the public. Campers also benefit from team-building activities, guest speakers and performances.

Equally important, Girls Rock! Chicago maintains an emphasis on accessibility to these opportunities despite race, ethnicity and socio-economic background. The Autumn Auction enables GR!C to offer scholarships to students who could not otherwise afford this experience.

How do I get involved?

Check out their website,, for volunteer and camp information. As the success of this organization continues to grow, GR!C plans to offer year round and after school programming in addition to the summer camps. Keep a look out for information about the Sixth Annual Auction next year!