Three minutes on stage, years in the making [Video: Claremont Heir performs holiday classic]

After performing Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” at the SAC Music Assembly on Oct. 19, Claremont Heir left the stage to resume their alternate identities as SJS students. Although the performance was only three minutes, it was years in the making. 

After deciding to start a band, senior Lily Pesikoff and fellow Jazz Band member Bo Farnell started their music careers at eighth-grade graduation, with Pesikoff on the drums and Farnell on the guitar. In order to fill out the sound, they later recruited Dair McFarland as a bassist, Michael Skaribas as an additional guitarist and eventually Lindsay Frankfort as lead vocalist.

“Bo and I did jazz band together in 7th grade and started jamming together,” Pesikoff said. “At one point, we thought, ‘Hey, this is fun. Let’s make it more fun.’”

Claremont Heir performs original songs and covers at gigs around the city. Their originals are primarily written by Pesikoff, who spends much of her free time writing both lyrics and music. She has written over 300 original songs in the last four years.

“It’s my absolute favorite thing to do all the time, every day of the week,” she said.

In addition to providing much of the band’s original material, Pesikoff acts as band treasurer. She handles the selling and distribution of merchandise, which can be purchased by request on their Instagram account, @claremont.heir. Pesikoff noticed a spike in sales in the week leading up to one of SAC’s theme days, “Wear your favorite band shirt”. She spent four hours the night before driving around Houston to provide loyal fans with Claremont Heir shirts and sweatshirts. Farnell was especially taken aback by the overwhelming number of underclassmen who supported the group despite never having heard them play.

“They were wearing my band shirt!” Farnell said. 

On their merchandise, a five-pointed asterisk serves as the band logo. Although it may seem simple, the creative process behind it took a considerable amount of effort. Pesikoff put out a request for graphic-design talent on the social-media platform Reddit and received a response from an art school student. After several rounds of back and forth, the designer finally presented the symbol, now ubiquitous around campus. 

They were wearing my band shirt!

— Bo Farnell

While there are no official plans for Claremont Heir to continue after high school, members have thought about their musical careers following graduation. Lead vocalist Lindsay Frankfort expressed her love for music and hopes to continue performing throughout her life.

“My love for singing started at a young age,” Frankfort said. “There’s a video of me when I was about three singing “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley at the top of my lungs.” 

Skaribas started playing guitar in 6th grade. Although he has been perfecting his skills for six years, he had to pick up a new instrument when McFarland called in sick the morning of the 2019 Music Assembly. He had to learn how to play “All Star” by Smash Mouth on the electric bass. 

“I had never played the bass before,” Skaribas said. “I didn’t even own a bass. Lily had to bring hers to school.” 

Skaribas was able to pick up the new instrument fairly quickly due to the fact that a bass is similar to a guitar—the four strings of a bass are the same as the lowest four on a guitar. 

With only five months left at St. John’s, Claremont Heir is nearing its end; however, it may only be a hiatus. Pesikoff, Farnell, Skaribas, McFarland and Frankfort like to imagine making a reappearance in the future. 

“We’ll keep in touch,” Frankfort said. “We’re all going to keep loving and playing music and maybe even perform “Beautiful Day” at our 40th high school reunion—just like we did at Eighth Grade Celebration.”