Music inspires JDHES student to spread joy
By Darren Lum
Published April 23, 2019
Channelling music idol Johnny Cash, Laren Main strummed his ukulele, driven by a passion for music and the joy it brings others during a performance at the McKecks Tap and Grill in Haliburton recently.
The country music icon, Cash, he said, inspires him the most.
“Ring of Fire was the song that got me into a whole world of music that people from the new generation didn’t really like. A lot of the time I heard people listen to music I honestly can’t understand,” he said.
The music by Cash ... Grammy-award-winning musician June Carter, who performed and wrote music with her husband, was Laren’s gateway to learn about other music from the 1950s.
His favourites include Waylon Jennings, Paul McCartney, Warren Zevon, Dion, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash, who is “at the top of the list.”
“Before I was playing music I was doing nothing. I was always bored. Didn’t have good days. But when I play music I’m full of joy,” he said.
The 13-year-old adds his future dream is to be a professional musician.
This love of music started in J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School with his Grade 6 teacher, Ed Poropat.
“I was terrible at it when I first started. I had trouble switching from C to G, my timing was off. But my teacher had confidence in me. He saw talent in me that I honestly couldn’t see. By the end of the year I was pretty decent at playing ukulele,” he said, referring to last year.
Later in the year he remembers receiving a ukulele at Christmas and the surprise expressed by his father when he played Let It Be by the Beatles.
“I played for days in the basement not coming out for hours. I taught myself not only how to master different chords and songs, but also new ways to teach myself,” he said. “Now all I need is lyrics and chords and I can play it without mistakes on the first try.”
Sometimes the ukulele can lead to some musicians playing guitar, but for Laren he’s happy with where he is and what he’s doing.
“People always ask me if I ever want to start playing guitar, but I always say, no. I’m just a ukulele guy,” he said.
With files from Mike van den Hengel