Behind the scenes of Mr. Ikezi’s Friday jam sessions

by Priyanka Francis (’23) and Alexander Chang (’23) | October 11, 2021

Photo by Alexander Hadig (’22)

If you have stayed after school on Fridays, you have probably noticed a group of instrumentalists, mainly guitarists and drummers, playing music together in the Quad. This beloved Saint Francis tradition, known as Friday jam sessions, actually started as an accident nearly two decades ago. 

Mr. Chihiro Ikezi, a Saint Francis physics teacher, was moving into his new home and used his classroom as a storage room for his drums. A guitar player spotted the drums and asked Mr. Ikezi if they could jam together. The initial duo soon expanded to a larger group of mutual friends in musical harmony, and Friday jam sessions were born. 

The program expanded in participants and even congregated to play at school events, such as dances and rallies. In addition to creating a sense of community, the sessions have continually offered an open space for students looking to explore and learn more about music, regardless of their skill level. As Mr. Ikezi put it, “You should do what you like doing; we’re just trying to get together and have an inclusive, comfortable environment for people who just like music.”

Mr. Ikezi explained that Friday jam sessions also provide an opportunity for members of the Saint Francis community to decompress after a long week of work and studies. Alumni occasionally return and jam with Mr. Ikezi, connecting generations of Lancers. 

Having played the guitar for approximately three years, Mae Mansour (’24) attends the sessions frequently. Upon hearing from her peers about the renowned Friday jam sessions, she brought her guitar and let her musical creativity flow. Mansour sees the sessions as opportunities to practice and gain experience in collaborating with others. Her aspirations for her community include performing on larger stages and larger school events. Mansour offered a piece of advice to students who may be interested in these sessions but are hesitant to get involved: “Just show up. Showing up is already half of it. You can learn anything because the people here are so nice.”

Vera Borodyansky (’23), who tends to stay after school to complete homework while listening to the Friday jam sessions, said that they “liven up and brighten her day.” She found it “inspiring that people are willing to share their talents and positivity, enriching the entire atmosphere.” She said that the sessions not only create a community for the instrumentalists, but also allow their audience members in the Quad to engage with each other. Although she doesn’t participate in them, Borodyansky wanted to thank the students who do: “Thank you for having the nerve to do this out in public, because it’s a great part of my Friday, and I always look forward to listening to them.”

If you are interested in music, or you have some extra time on Friday, be sure to swing by the Quad, where you can see for yourself the talent our school musicians bring at Friday jam sessions!

Categories: Features

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