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The Ballroom Thieves are coming to MHS

Messalonskee music teacher Andy Forster hopes to enrich his program offerings by bringing in The Ballroom Thieves.

An indie folk duo, The Ballroom Thieves will arrive on Friday, May 13 with lyrics, not larceny, on their agenda.

The goal, Forster said, is to give students an introduction to songwriting, the process of putting words to music, through the guidance of professional musicians.

“This is mostly about trying to inspire students to consider the creative aspect of writing [in relation to music],” Forster said.

Messalonskee administrators re-arranged the bell schedule on Friday to accommodate a songwriting workshop for music students in the morning and a performance by The Ballroom Thieves for the entire school in the afternoon.

Forster’s efforts to make the activity a reality began last year with the assistance of Messalonskee librarian Sylvia Jadczak. The two collaborated on writing a request for a grant to fund the project.

The ultimate objective, Forster said, is to develop some form of songwriting opportunity at Messalonskee so that it becomes an ongoing enrichment activity for years to come.

“We delve a little into [songwriting] in my music production course,” Forster said, “but that is not what the class is designed for. I write music, but none of my pieces have lyrics because all of my music is instrumental.”

Lyrics, though, are a critical component of The Ballroom Thieves’ music. In their upcoming release, Clouds, the pair,  Calin Peters and Martin Earley, write about pressing social and personal issues, including their own struggles with depression.

In an article on their website, Earley talks about the value of putting those struggles into words when he writes, “I’m so glad it’s more common for people to talk openly about depression these days, because it can be tough when you think you’re the only one feeling it. We figured if it helps us when others are candid about their experiences with mental illness, maybe it’ll help someone else if we do the same.”

The Ballroom Thieves are definitely reaching people with their lyrics. The band has an extensive tour ahead, including dates in Sweden and Denmark, as well as more than 680,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. 

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