about us


Phase 1

The first classroom jam was called “The Ballad Of Jane And Pablo”. It’s a song about Jane Lopez, a lonely teenage girl who moves from Mexico to Chicago, speaks no English, and gets swept off her feet by a slightly older Pablo Cantino, who then abandons her directly after getting her pregnant. The verses conclude with Jane facing very difficult life-or-death decisions. Meanwhile, the chorus about Pablo gives listeners the crucial pieces to construct critical interpretations:

All the girls said, “!Que sueno!”
All the girls said, “He so fine!”
All the girls said
All the girls said
All the girls said

Classroom Jams founder Marc Furigay performed “The Ballad Of Jane And Pablo” one day in 1998 to four 9th grade English classes at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, IL. The goal was to help students understand a difficult concept. With “The Ballad Of Jane And Pablo”, Marc hoped his students would understand irony better than they had the previous day with a more difficult text.

The song was an instant hit: students were focused and having fun; many started to drum or dance; even the shy and withdrawn responded to the music. Kids clapped and declared – “Play it again!” But the best performance came after the song – that’s when students engaged in uncommonly frank, insightful and provocative discussions about some really meaningful things, e.g., teenage sex and pregnancy, foreign languages and loneliness, poetry and irony, romance and high-school dances. The debut jam – and the discussions that followed – also yielded the best writing from the most students Marc had seen to that date. The song had struck a chord. Marc has been writing and performing classroom jams ever since.

Phase 2

Phase 2 started in 2005 when Marc assembled a home recording studio and began composing material for an educational concept album called The Shakespeare Sessions. While working at the music, Marc also wrote material for The Shakespeare Sessions Teacher’s Guide and outlined a vision for a scalable educational entertainment business.

Phase 3

In 2007 Marc collaborated with professional recording studios to produce The Shakespeare Sessions CD. Key players in the musical production include Steve Ursino (Chicago, IL), Jack Campitelli at Fishtank Audio (Baltimore, OH), Jeff Lane at Chicago Recording Studios (Chicago, IL), and Trevor Sadler at Mastermind Productions (Milwaukee, WI). Finally, Marc recruited graphic designer Ryan Moeck (Castle Rock, CO) to do the album artwork. At the end of 2007 Marc launched the Classroom Jams company website with the help of Christopher Merrill Web Design (Chicago, IL).

Phase 4

Stay tuned…


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