Gigi Reece’s percussion passion

Junior enjoys playing drums and gigging with band

Music is a form of communication to Gigi Reece. To her, you can either simply enjoy the sound of music or you can become completely absorbed by all the different parts of a song.

Macy Beal
STICK TO THE BEAT. Gigi Reece plays the drums in the noise-rock band Horsegirl. She started playing drums at the performance program, School of Rock, and now puts on gigs at least monthly.

From middle school band to her first gig at her friend’s art gallery to performing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Gigi Reece has come into her own as a rock musician.

Gigi began her life as a musician when she was in fifth grade and needed to pick an instrument for band class. She selected the saxophone.

Although it is not her skills as a saxophonist that she uses in her current band, Horsegirl, a noise rock band, her motivation and drive to play music are just the same.

“When I was really little, I always, like, wished I could play the drums ‘cause I would just like watch my brother do it and be like, ‘Wow, that’s cool,’” Gigi said.

Her brothers, Jack and Fritz, both played drums in School of Rock as high school students, and introduced Gigi to the program.

School of Rock is an after-school program where kids ages 3-18 can learn how to play instruments, sing and perform. It is there where Gigi fell in love with playing the drums and eventually found her band-mates.

Gigi said, “I would just try to improve like so insanely because like, just all these people around me were so talented, and I like, wanted to hold my own.”

About a year after joining School of Rock in ninth grade, Gigi joined Horsegirl with bassist Fiona Clark, Penelope Lowenstein and Nora Cheng, the singers and guitarists.

“My best friend, Fiona, andI were having a sleepover and Penelope and Nora posted on Snapchat like, ‘Who’s gonna play and bass with us?’” Gigi said, describing how Horsegirl became a reality.

Penelope said one of her favorite parts of being in the band is the positive dynamic between all the members.

“In a lot of bands one person ends up taking charge, but we are very collaborative with our entire process and Gigi is crucial to that,” Penelope expanded.

During the recording process in particular, according to Penelope, is when the friendships in the band really come through.

“Those are some of my favorite moments because we are creating art together but also just spending time together as friends, which is one of the most important aspects of our band,” Penelope reflected.

It took four months until Horsegirl performed its first gig. However, since September, Gigi said the band has been gigging once or twice a month.

“Every time I’m like rehearsing, and like gigging, it’s just like this crazy overwhelming feeling of like, ‘This is what I love to do,’” Gigi said.

Not only do the members of Horsegirl aim to get as many gigs as they can, Gigi said they also recognize that there are a lot of bands like theirs in Chicago. In an attempt to help other artists her age, Gigi will reach out to her friends in bands when there is a place for them on the bill for gigs.

“Music is just like, something you can listen to like kind of mindlessly. But you can also like, dive into the details and like, understand everything about a song,” Gigi said. “It’s kind of like every art form is — just a way to communicate a message. And it’s just my favorite one.”