Monday evenings at the top of Watterson Towers are more than laundry and studying. From 9:04 to 11 p.m., residents and students gather to share their music.
Each individual brings a different attribute to the group. When looking around the room, you will find a ukulele, a trumpet, guitars, as well as students using their environment to make music. With these sounds echoing through the top floor, students come by to join in or to enjoy the music.
Quentin Brackenridge, Watterson residence hall coordinator, got the idea for these jam sessions during house calls earlier this semester. “While doing house calls, I saw one of my residents had a ukulele and mentioned how I like to play piano on the top floor,” Brackenridge said.
That resident was James Wifler, a self-taught drummer, pianist, and ukulele player. He shared this opportunity to play with his friend Jacob Artner, a self-taught guitar player, and they worked with Brackenridge to start Monday night jam sessions. Soon, other residents were finding out about the pop-up sessions and joined in.
“We are now up to around 30 people every Monday night,” Brackenridge said. “We are actually looking to start moving to other residence halls since we have grown so much.”
Brackenridge said the jam sessions are relaxed, where there is no pressure and no big time commitment. The weekly jam sessions also have opened the opportunity to become closer with residents and get to know them more.
Word of the jam sessions has spread to other residence halls, and the participants are considering becoming a registered student organization (RSO).
“Residents now look forward to their Monday night as a fresh start to the week with every jam session,” Brackenridge said.
Favorite songs include the “Illinois State Fight Song,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” and “Ho Hey.”