CHAPTER ONE: THE AUDITION
I could hardly contain my excitement, as I hopped in the car. I had been listening to, and admiring the church youth band Tru Function for years, and now, I was on my way to the martens’ house to audition and become a part of it! If any of you have ever wanted a more inside look at Tru Function, then you are in luck, because I am here to tell you, dear reader, all about it!
When the car stopped in front of the Martens’ house, I stepped out of the car and rang the doorbell. I was greeted by Rob, the director of Tru Function. I stepped inside, and then, the audition started.
Mind you, Tru Function auditions aren’t that stressful, because unlike some, the Tru Function auditions aren’t really there to determine if you get into the band. These auditions are more about finding out what your skill set is.
After my mom and Rob chatted a bit, Rob sat me down at the piano and asked me to play a few select chords to find out my piano skill set, then he played a few chords and had me mimic them. After that, I listened to some songs that Tru Function would play later on, such as Jericho and miracle. I also sang along to these songs while Rob used auto-tune to adjust the song’s pitch and get a sense of my voice range. It was fun to hear the songs go through autotune, because one minute the song was normal and in pitch, and then it sounded like Alvin the chipmunk was the star singer!
This whole process took about 30-ish minutes. And for the last part of the audition, but more so just for fun, Rob took me to his studio, gave me a pair of sound muffling headphones to protect my ears, and quickly taught me a basic rock beat on the drums, in case I would, later on, be interested in trying out for drums. And let me tell you, drums are not as easy to master as they might appear! Rob said that he looked forward to having me in the band. After that, I said goodbye, got back in the car, and rode home, now as an official member of Tru Function!
CHAPTER TWO: REHEARSAL
Now that I was a part of the Tru Function group, I couldn’t just sit around and revel in the excitement; I had to get to work! So on a bright Sunday morning, I walked to church with a spring in my step and felt almost lighter than air! My first rehearsal for Tru Function was about to start. The practice began after Sunday school classes at about 10:00. The first few minutes of Tru Function is designated warm-up time. The purpose of warm-ups is A: to warm up and get ready for practice, and B: to wait for everyone to get to the Tru Function room.
After we warm up practice generally starts out with a run-through of any songs the group has been previously working on. Or if Tru Function is starting a new song, Rob passes out sheet music of the new song for everyone to put in their binder. Every member of Tru Function receives a binder when they first join because keeping track of all the sheet music would be very hard without it.
After the sheet music is passed out, Rob tells us what song we would be playing first, then he turns on the original recording of that song. This gave everyone some time to get a general idea of what the song sounded like, and what lyrics to sing/notes to play. After listening to the song recording, Rob plays it a second time, and everyone plays along with it, which is our first run-through. Full disclaimer, the first run-through of a song is definitely not perfect. 🙂 But after a few tries everyone catches on pretty quickly and the song gets smoother and smoother each time.
Once the group has practiced a song often enough that everyone can play it well, the group transitions to the next song that we are working on. And we repeat the process. Again, once the other song is at a good place, the group stops. By the time we have done all these song run-throughs, it is about half through Tru function practice time, so naturally, it is time for a snack break! By the way, Tru Function practices for about two hours in total, so about an hour in is when we have our snack break. I also wanted to give a quick shoutout to Megan Piper who is not only an amazing helper at Tru Function, but also provides great snacks! ( Thanks Megan!) So, after our energy has been replenished by the godly powers of snacks, the Tru Function group reconvenes back in the music room.
The second half of Tru Function is a little bit different, instead of familiarizing everyone with the music as we do in the first half, the second half is more about working out the fine details. The total run-throughs end up coming to about 4 at most because of this. Everyone gets into positions behind their instruments, and the singer takes the mic. The drummer for the song will tap the drumsticks a few times, and…. ACTION! Music floods the room and the mood lightens, even though we may not be fully familiarized with the song, Tru Function catches on quickly! A few more run-throughs of the song will go by and after each time we play the song, and work out more and more kinks, it is truly something to hear! We alternate between songs and keep practicing until practice ends. And after everyone cleans up their instruments, and a majority of the chords, practice is over, just like that! It is a very unique lighthearted and just all in all great experience!
CHAPTER 3 THE PERFORMANCE
This part of Tru Function is probably the one with which the congregation is most familiar.
The performance of Tru Function is always both exciting, and nerve-wracking (well it is for me at least, I don’t know if I’ll get more accustomed to performing the more we play. ) Tru Function band members are always informed when performances will take place so that everyone is on the same page about how much work we do, and how fast. This sort of creates a timeline. Before the band can perform it has to have practiced the songs to a point where A: everyone knows them well, and B: everyone can play them well. So after multiple Sundays of practice, the band is ready to perform.
On performance days band members have to arrive at church a bit earlier, around 8:30, so we can set up the musical equipment ( trust me it is a LOT of chords to arrange! Thanks to Rob for always having the technical stuff under control. ) Another reason we come to church early is so we can rehearse our songs and get used to the arrangement of the equipment in the worship hall instead of the normal setup in the Tru Function room. And after we run through all of our songs and get set up, members of the church start filing in.
Everyone in the Tru Function group gets to sit in the very front seats so they can quickly get to the worship hall. Usually, the Tru Function performs near the middle of the service, so once that time comes everyone gets out of their seats and goes to their instruments, takes a minute to set up, and gets in position, and then it is go time! The drummer taps the drumsticks, and the music starts! If you have ever been to a Tru Function performance, you know what it sounds like. but for any who haven’t heard a Tru Function performance, if I had to describe it in one word it would be lively! Once everyone gets into the rhythm of the music, it sounds amazing in my opinion! The instruments all sync together and it is kind of an indescribable feeling; to know that you are a part of the music that is coming out of the speakers behind you.
I remember the first time I performed in Tru Function, and to be honest it was nerve-wracking when I first started performing. There are usually a lot of people in the crowd, and it can be pretty easy to play the what-if game; what if I mess up? What if I forget my notes, etc. But the important thing I told myself to stay calm, is that I had practiced for this a lot, and this is a forgiving crowd. So when my confidence is restored, I am able to perform my best, and it was really fun! And at the end of the day, ( or at the end of a very long article; you pick.) Tru Function is an amazing activity that I am so glad I get to participate in!
I hope this helped you get a better understanding of what Tru Function is!
Until next time, -Ageisela Rose