She’s not a boxer or a martial artist, but Jennifer Ventresca can deliver a knock-out blow. In her case, it’s with a pair of sticks applied to a tom, cymbal and snare.
The Vernon resident is currently entered in the second annual Hit Like a Girl, an international online voting contest for female drummers, and she needs her community’s support to help her move up the hi-hat, so to speak.
Influenced by such diverse artists as Pink Floyd, Styx, The Eagles, NWA, Wu Tang Clan, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ventresca is one of the few female drummers in the Okanagan. And the girl isn’t afraid to rock out.
“My goal is to travel and play music forever and learn from new drummers and people everyday to make myself way more rock ‘n’ roll,” said Ventresca.
She first picked up the sticks when she was eight years old, after her Uncle George, who was visiting the family at the time, left his drum kit behind.
“I am sure my parents were really excited for that because I loved it,” she said.
Ventresca started “messing around”, as she puts it, playing along to Eagles’ tunes until she entered high school. That’s when she joined the school band at W.L. Seaton Secondary, where her music teacher, Geoff Dolman, encouraged her to play with conviction — even when it came to pounding through the mistakes, she said.
Ventresca also became a familiar face on the local music circuit, playing Valley venues and festivals with funk-reggae-rock band Know Tomorrow as well as Strawberry Jam.
Now, when she isn’t working her day job as a server at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill, she can be seen and heard drumming with local band The Original Shakedown, which formed last June. She has received a lot of support from her bandmates, lead singer-guitarist Ryan Murphy and bassist Britt Grozier, who can be heard accompanying Ventresca on her entry video for Hit Like a Girl.
“We started the video off with one of our songs, which is called Who’s Holding, and finished off with a song called Goosebumps,” she said.
Online voting for the contest ends on Sunday, and at last count Ventresca, who is in the 18-plus category, was at 600 votes. The top 10 proceed to the finals April 9.
To vote for Ventresca visit http://www.hitlikeagirlcontest.com/videos/entry/jennifer_ventresca