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Yard Sail is, from left, Emma Ivy, Zoe Gagne, Eve Gagne, Esme Howland and Skyler Cummings.
· MYRO String Quartet - Lauryn Sophia Photography 2014 (L-R: Theo Dean, Natalie Gale, Elizabeth Roy, Iris Walter)
Talya Davis-Day, lead singer and bassist for the band Guilty Bystander, performs during MAMM SLAM 2014. Guilty Bystander is among the acts that will perform during the Girls Rock concert on Friday. Samuel Cousins photography
The Box Tiger is, from left, Cam Jones, Jordan Stowell, Sonia Sturino, Lauren Chan.
Bass player Skyler Cummings, at the age of 15, already has a fairly impressive rock resume.
As a member of the all-girl band Yard Sail, she’s played several gigs at the hip Portland bowling alley and music venue Bayside Bowl. She and her band mates also have played at Portland’s Port City Music Hall, which holds several hundred people and draws major rock acts from around the country.
Skyler’s good fortune is partly because she’s involved with a Portland-based music school that thinks of itself as Little League for rock musicians: the Maine Academy of Modern Music. Skyler and the other members of Yard Sail met through MAMM, where staff members organize, teach and coach youngsters who want to be in rock bands.
On Friday Yard Sail will play Port City Music Hall once again, as part of MAMM’s annual Girls Rock concert. The event features 12 acts, mostly made up of girls, though there are some boys. There are some adults, too, in the indie rock band The Box Tiger, which has members from Portland and Canada.
Besides Yard Sail, the younger acts on the bill include Guilty Bystander, The Mean Faces, Sigrid Harmon, Sadie Grant and the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra’s String Quartet.
“That’s what I love about MAMM, getting to play at places like Port City Music Hall,” said Skyler, a sophomore at Casco Bay High School in Portland. “We started out doing covers, but at this show we’ll do a couple of our original songs.”
Friday’s show will be the seventh annual Girls Rock show put on by MAMM, an organization that started about eight years ago. Jeff Shaw, the group’s director, said the shows are a way to celebrate girls and women in music, and to try get more girls involved with rock and pop music.
“When we first started, we had mostly boys in the program,” said Shaw. “Now we have all these groups with girls in them.”
The idea behind all the MAMM programs is to help youngsters play instruments and music that they want to play. Skyler, for instance, takes electric bass lessons at MAMM.
“We are trying to do for garage bands what Little League did for sandlot baseball,” said Shaw. “So we organize the kids, coach them, guide them and give lessons.”
Skyler said she and the other members of Yard Sail began doing covers of songs by the 1960s band The Velvet Underground. Now they still do covers, but of songs by more contemporary bands like The Neighbourhood and Twenty One Pilots.
But as the girls have been playing together over the past two years, they have begun to write original songs and to find their own voice as musicians.
“We definitely have a rock influence,” said Skyler. “But being teen girls, we sort of lean toward pop.”
WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $10 in advance; $12 day of show; $20 preferred seating; all ages