FARMINGTON — Every other Friday, Steve Muise, RSU 9 orchestra teacher and creator of the Franklin County Fiddlers, gathers his student musicians to jam the halls of Mt. Blue High School for a series called “Blue Fri Jam.”
Muise and the musicians serenade students and staff at Mt. Blue High School on their way to start the school day with some tunes.
“A lot of people have let us know that it was uplifting for them to hear the music to start their day,” Muise said. “It’s just a lot of fun, another opportunity to play and make music with the students.”
Muise said he started Blue Fri Jam six or seven years ago. But he’s been doing it for so long, Muise said he can’t quite remember how it started.
The tunes are to be chosen.
Joined by current students Hope Chernesky, a violinist, and Jack Cramer, a bassist, the trio will release whatever takes their fancy in the moment. Sometimes it’s a whole new tune for them.
“I wouldn’t say there is a real favourite. It’s just what everyone wants to play, whatever makes everyone happy, we’re happy to do that,” Muise said. “And then, we’ll just start jamming on it.”
“We play whatever we want and just start playing,” echoed Chernesky.
Chernesky didn’t always play Blue Fri Jams, they said. It was usually the old people.
But once the seniors graduated and the students returned to school after remote learning during the pandemic, Chernesky, now a senior, passed the baton.
“Jamming is always so much fun for me and I don’t get a lot of opportunities,” Chernesky said. “I’m also very lucky to have Jack with me, as a great bass player. And Mr. Muse is fantastic to play with, of course.
Chernesky said they know “it helps a lot of people, especially teachers.”
Chernesky’s mother, Pamela Chernesky, is a teacher at Mt. Blue High School.
She told Hope “it’s one of the best joys of her week when she can come in the morning and listen to music before teaching.”
Performing at Blue Fri Jams requires mornings earlier than usual. Even so, Chernesky said it was a joy to play for the school.
“It’s really a good boost for the day. It makes me so much happier to start the day with music,” Chernesky said. “Starting the morning moaning in the lobby… I don’t care [who is] listen. I have fun every time I play.
Chernesky, who will be studying at Berklee College of Music in the fall, said he was grateful to Muise for being a “positive and caring” teacher and an “outstanding musician who will blow your mind out of the water.”
“Jamming with [Muise] is always fun,” Chernesky said. “And it’s so amazing to play with such a kind human being and an amazing musician.”
Muise said performing with students in both the Franklin County Fiddlers and Blue Fri Jams is “a teacher’s fantasy, a teacher’s dream.”
“To have students who just want to come in and do the thing you love to do, make music, have fun before school — it’s amazing,” Muise said.
He noted a distinction between his time at school and the time of his students. He didn’t play music as a teenager with his peers or for his peers, Muise said of his time in high school.
“I think that’s one of the hardest things for young adults or pretty much anyone to do something, [perform] in front of your peers,” Muise said.
In the present day, Muise noted that Chernesky and Cramer had “no hesitation, no reluctance to share” and perform for students as they go about their day.
“It’s really magical that they’re like, ‘Yeah, okay, let’s play some tunes,'” Muise said.
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