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Meet ‘the ocarina guy’ behind LSC Plaza’s magical music

Colorado+State+University+first-year+Cameron+Turner+plays+The+Legend+of+Zelda+theme+song+on+the+ocarina+in+The+Lory+Student+Center+Plaza+Feb.+20.
Collegian | Ava Puglisi
Colorado State University first-year Cameron Turner plays The Legend of Zelda theme song on the ocarina in The Lory Student Center Plaza Feb. 20. “I hope one day I can get a very nice mic so I can record my ocarina songs and post them to YouTube,” Turner said.

Enchanting music has been heard in The Lory Student Center Plaza since the beginning of the fall 2023 semester with Cameron Turner, a first-year student at Colorado State University, orchestrating the ocarina for all to admire.

“I see myself playing my ocarina for my lifetime,” Turner said. “I feel like as though this thing is connected to me because of the way I learned this thing. It feels like a part of me if that makes sense.”

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The Legend of Zelda influenced Turner’s interest in the ocarina, the songs he plays and his location on The Stump outside the LSC. Saria, a character from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, sits on a tree stump and plays “Saria’s Song” — one of the first songs Turner learned.

A variety of pieces from Legend of Zelda can be heard across The Plaza, but Turner has also expanded to songs like “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion, “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd and “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.

“(The ocarina) feels like a part of me and the fact that everyone else seems to really enjoy it because their enjoyment is what keeps me going. I certainly have made my mark despite being here only for a year.” -Cameron Turner, first-year student and ocarina player

Turner started to perform publicly on The Stump outside the LSC in late August 2023 with his headphones in.

“I have an extremely good musical ear that means I can listen to a song and play with it very well as long as I am very familiar with it, … which is why I’m always seen playing with my earbuds,” Turner said. “It’s like I’m constantly having my teacher playing my music for me.”

Before Turner became accustomed to learning through audio, he used the website tabs-ocarina.com. He also gained musical experience playing the clarinet for eight years, beginning in fifth grade and playing in his high school honor band.

“It wasn’t the instrument I felt most connected to,” Turner said. “I take very good care of this thing compared to my clarinets.”

Turner’s first ocarina was 3D printed by his cousin, and he began practicing in July 2023. He later purchased a clay ocarina in August 2023 at the Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, Colorado. He stores the 3D-printed ocarina as a backup and has his clay ocarina attached to a string necklace for safekeeping.

Turner’s love for video games also began at a young age. One of Turner’s favorite parts of growing up in Dacono, Colorado, was playing The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo 64.

Although his performances are often sporadic, Turner tends to play for an hour at a time, taking breaks when pedestrian traffic slows down. Valentine’s Day was an exception, as he played romantic tunes for nearly six hours.

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“The ocarina guy” and “the ocarina boy” have been common names that students have created in reference to Turner. Students on campus have shown appreciation for him and his musical skills through social media, brief chats, waves and gifts, including plastic Rupees, the currency featured in The Legend of Zelda.

“I think it’s just a fun way to brighten everyone’s day,” said Tessa Romney, a sophomore at CSU. “I mean, I smile every time I see him doing it. It’s fun, and it’s also impressive.”

Daniel van Lille, a first-year student at CSU, met Turner through a Ram Welcome event and became friends with him through their mutual interest in The Legend of Zelda.

“He practices a lot, and he definitely has a talent for it, right?” van Lille said. “So I think it’s cool that he’s getting some recognition for this, especially considering how rare of an instrument this is.”

Turner said he appreciates the recognition from peers but still requests space and respect to perform his music.

“(The ocarina) feels like a part of me and the fact that everyone else seems to really enjoy it — because their enjoyment is what keeps me going,” Turner said as to why he loves playing the instrument. “I certainly have made my mark despite being here only for a year.”

Reach Cadence Cardona at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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  • A

    AbbyFeb 28, 2024 at 9:17 pm

    Oh my god! I love hearing the ocarina when I walk to class, it’s just such a cool and unusual part of my day. It’s a great way for me to feel okay to pop out my earbuds and appreciate my walk. Great idea writing a story about him!

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    • C

      Cameron TurnerApr 2, 2024 at 12:04 am

      Hello this is “The ocarina boy”
      So glad you enjoy my playing! One of the things that keep me playing is how much everyone enjoys it. While I might not be the best player (I’ve been only playing since august, lol), and not very predictable about when I am playing, I am glad that everyone enjoys it so much. I am glad I was able to make a great impact on your college life, and good luck with your classes 🙂

      Reply