Listen in as the TRUE band and friends perform on the stage at Philly Cheesesteak booth on the path at Oregon Country Fair. These young performers are led by their instructor John, who started this ukelele band at Ridgeline Montessori School in Eugene. Hear from band member Raven Muir, age 15, about how she got started and what Rock Camp, a part of Grrlz Rock, is about. Recorded in 2017.
TRUE Band at OCF
Transcription by Jade Rainsong
(Karen:) We just stepped in off of the eight at Oregon Country Fair to Mario’s Philly cheese steak booth in the back as a small stage where we have gathered some young people and their teacher, John. It’s a busy booth. People are ordering food and we’re going to check in and see what’s happening on this small stage.
(Karen:) John, tell us about true, and what this is all about.
(John:) Okay. I teach middle school at resign Montessori public charter school in Eugene. And about seven years ago, we, um, our Spanish teacher had a baby and moved on and we had to replace language in our Montessori program. And so what I did was I got a grant for seven ukuleles and we started seven years ago just passing those around. Seven ukuleles evolves into 29 ukuleles and cahones and different things. And the program’s evolved where we’re not just playing in the gym like a typical middle school kind of thing. But we’ve played at Sam bonds, we played the Hult Center, and we’ve played, we just opened for Jason Bacaro in Portland on May 25th with the Arlene Schnitzer. Um, so it’s just really evolved into something that makes music real in their lives. Cause we’re playing music. The kids play music every day for at least a half an hour.
(Karen:) So it’s a fairly new program at Ridgeline.?
(John:) Yeah. Six years. I mean, six full years that we’ve been doing it. Yeah.
(Karen:) Great, so that’s got a track record. Yeah. So tell us about who’s on stage here today that we’re gonna hear from.
(John:) Who’s on stage?
(Karen:) Where are we?
(John:) So we are at the Oregon Country Fair and every year Patricia with Grrlz Rock kind of sets up with Mario’s Steakhouse and they have a stage back here and she has acts that work with Grrlz Rock through the year. Come in and do short shows. So we opened the show, uh, yesterday and today at 11 o’clock, um, yesterday we had 10 kids. Today we’ve got three kids. It’s, you know, it’s kind of who’s out here and getting together. And then, but we also got two ninth graders that have come back who were out here, They’re out here every year. And then, um, so that’s Raven Muir and Cadence. And we’ve got Ronson. Son of Ron from Junction City, um, who doesn’t usually play with a group, but he’s been playing with us everyday in school for the last two years. It was like, hey, I’ll join in.
(Karen:) Awesome. We’re glad you guys are here. And, uh, would love to say hi and introduce yourself really quick on the mic and then love to hear some music. So you are.
(Raven:) Hi, I am Raven Muir.
(cadence:) I’m am Cadence Rose.
(Ronson:) I am Ronson.
(Karen:) Well, we’re excited to hear a little bit about your music and maybe we’ll catch up with some of you after the show.
(Karen:) I’m talking with Raven Muir, who was in the band, true. The ukulele band for a while with John. And Raven. Tell me a little bit about how you got started with True.
(Raven:) So I went to the Ridgeline Montessori Middle School, and we didn’t have a Spanish program. And so my middle school teacher, John decided that if we weren’t going to have Spanish, then he would incorporate music instead.
And he said it was almost kind of like another language, you know, cause you’re learning all the chords and stuff. And so that’s how True got started. He was teaching people ukulele and then he also had the performance group. And that was True. And so then we went and did shows at different places.
(Karen:) Where you already, um, doing music, like other kinds of instruments or was this your first time having an instrument that you played?
(Raven:) Well, I’ve always sang and been interested in music, but it was the first time that I really like learned how to play an instrument, like, you know, well, because I would play guitar and stuff, but it’s not like I knew what I was doing. And so after learning ukulele, I now play piano and guitar and pretty much any instrument I can get my hands on… bass.
You know, after you learn one instrument, it all comes pretty well.
(Karen:) So you learned how to read music and do you ever compose your own songs too?
(Raven:) I’ve written two songs before, uh, like written out the chords and lyrics for them, but I’m, I’m no professional in reading music. Like I can get my way through it. I’m better at sight reading music for vocals, then sight reading music, like sheet music. But I can read tablature and chord charts easily.
(Karen:) How old are you Raven?
(Raven:) I am 15 years old.
(Karen:) Cool. So would you say that, um, playing the ukulele kinda got you started in, in music and also second part of that question is, now that you know how to play all of these things, I happen to know that you’ve been in some rock camps. And things like that, doing some other music stuff. So tell me about some other music things that you’ve done.
(Raven:) Okay. Um, so yes, I have been in rock camp and yes, ukulele did get me started doing music. Um, but rock camp got me started doing like bands. And so rock camp, you have your first band and you practice for a week and it’s all thrown together in this camp, like where you have five different bands, one’s a little kid band, and then all the rest are full of like 13 to I guess like 18 year olds, and they’re all different bands and you have one week to practice a bunch of songs and then at the end of the week you perform those songs and usually have about like, three to seven, I guess. Seven is the most I’ve had. And after I did rock camp, I had more experience being in a band. And now I’ve been in two bands outside of rock camp, and I am currently in one now.
(Karen:) Oh, great. So is this with some of your friends from school or other people?
(Raven:) Not friends from school, but just friends that I’ve known. One of them I met at rock camp, Dakota, and another one Ramona, and then some other people, the friends of Dakota and Ramona that I met.
(Karen:) So you played at Country Fair? How? How was that?
(Raven:) Yeah, with True, we played at Country Fair and it was pretty fun. I did it the year before that as well. We never sound as good because it’s kind of just on the fly and not as many people show up. But it’s always a fun experience to be there with them. Cause I love Country Fair as well.
(Karen:) It’s a fun place to be. So now that you’ve done rock camp, what are your plans coming up for like this fall and winter or next spring? Have you thought that far ahead or do you have any gigs or any new bands you’re working on?
(Raven:) Um, with the band I’m in now, we’re going to continue year round. I think that a couple of people might stop doing it when we go further into the school year. But, um, we do have some gigs coming up and we plan to get more over the course of the school year and into next summer. I hope this band stays together cause it’s a really fun group and I really enjoy playing with them.
(Karen:) What’s the name of the band?
(Raven:) Shedding sunshine.
(Karen:) Ooh, I like that. That sounds like fun. How many people are in it?
(Raven:) Um, I think we have four people right now. No, we have five people. Actually, I forgot we added someone. Three guitar players. And ukulele players, we switch off and so that’s it. We don’t have any base or anything. It’s all acoustic. Just guitars, and ukuleles.
(Karen:) Awesome. Well, I wish you the best on that. I’ve heard you play. You’re pretty good. I’m looking forward to hearing more coming up in the future.
(Raven:) Thank you.
(Karen:) Yeah. Thanks for sharing with us.