This Saturday, KSTO, St. Olaf’s student-run radio station, will host a live in-studio session with folk acoustic trio The Ballroom Thieves. DJ Haley Olson ’16 will moderate the show, which will feature sampling from the band’s diverse repertoire and will be broadcast live at 10 a.m. on 93.1 FM and streamed on the station’s website. The in-studio session will precede a Music Entertainment Committee-sponsored concert at 8 p.m. in the Lair.
The in-studio session marks another high point in what has been a successful streak of development for KSTO, which underwent extensive renovation in the summer of 2012. Part of the renovation updated the studio to accommodate on-air sessions, a move which inspired KSTO Station Manager Carolyn Bernhardt ’14 to schedule more live music programming over the past two years.
“A lot of DJs play acoustic stuff on air, or bring in friends to do so, and we’ve hosted one other band before,” Bernhardt said, “but we’re looking forward to doing a live on-air session again of this magnitude.”
The Ballroom Thieves reached out to Bernhardt about the potential for a live session or interview, and the studio immediately jumped at the chance to work not only with the band but also in closer collaboration with MEC.
“We’re glad to have a role in The Ballroom Thieves’ visit to St. Olaf, and we’re honored they reached out to us,” said Bernhardt, “But we especially love the collaboration with MEC that this opportunity presents to us. We’ve been building a relationship between the two organizations all year, and it’s been working out great” Last fall, KSTO hosted the band Miracles of Modern Science, an event that MEC was heavily involved with in terms of publicity and organization.
No stranger to college radio sessions, The Ballroom Thieves expect their performance at KSTO to be honest and approachable, allowing them to get a better feel for the St. Olaf community before their live performance in the evening.
“If one person hears us play on their favorite college radio station and then comes to the show that night, it’s totally worth it to us,” said Martin Earley, the band’s guitarist. “We get to rehearse in a live setting and meet some of the students and faculty who help shape that college or university’s musical culture, all while promoting our own music – it all just makes too much sense to ignore.”
The Ballroom Thieves features Earley on guitar and vocals, Devin Mauch on drums and vocals and Calin Peters on cello and vocals. Self-described as a “high-energy rock trio performing under the guise of a well-crafted, emotionally sincere folk group,” the Boston-based group has released two EPs since forming three years ago.
“We’ve all got so many different influences, and our musical backgrounds are so varied, ranging from Upstate New York’s hardcore scene to hip hop and classical and making a few well-documented stops in-between,” Earley said.
The in-studio session will allow the band to sample these various musical inspirations and introduce St. Olaf to their unique sound.
“We can’t wait to show this campus what the medium of radio is all about,” Bernhardt said. “It’s versatile! Whether it’s news, talk, sports coverage, music or live performances, radio really has a lot to offer. We’re going to show Oles that KSTO is capable of providing them with that kind of variety.”
Photo courtesy of The Ballroom Thieves