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Friday, April 12, 2024


Moaning Myrtles bring wizard rock to library


By Maureen Cawley

Halloween is over, but on Nov. 21, a cadre of wizards and witches and other shadowy figures will gather under cover of night to hoot and holler and sing incantations in (of all places) the basement of the Cape May County Library.
That’s where the Moaning Myrtles will be performing their original Harry Potter-themed rock songs to a roomful of fans, decked out in their favorite Hogwarts plaid. The Moaning Myrtles are a piano-based wizard rock band—that is they one of some 500 groups of young musicians who have parlayed their love of J. K Rowling’s Harry Potter into a cult music movement in his honor.
The first group of its kind is believed to be Harry and the Potters, which formed in Massachusetts in 2002. Since then, spin-off groups with names like Draco and the Malfoys, Ministry of Magic and The Parselmouths have taken off all around the country and beyond. Of them, MTV ranks the Moaning Myrtles seventh on its top ten list of groups in the genre.
For those who have somehow escaped a decade of Harry Potter Mania, The Myrtles are named for the female ghost, who lives in a toilet in the second floor bathroom of Hogwarts in Rowling’s second novel, the Chamber of Secrets. The depressed and tearful Myrtle continues to offer comic relief in cameo appearances throughout the series, and her character seemed a fitting inspiration for the simple and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that usually accompany Wizard Rock.
Some of The Myrtles most popular titles take full comedic advantage of Myrtle’s lavatory abode with songs like “Flushed” and “Sitting on the Toilet.” (In fact, one of the band’s CDs is unapologetically titled “Toilet Humor.”) Their songs are widely viewed on YouTube and updates on the band are available on their website,
Lauren Fairweather and Nina Jankowicz dreamed up the idea of forming their own “wrock” band after seeing Harry and the Potters in concert. That was in 2006, when the two friends attended high school together in Hillsborough, NJ. Since then, they have released two wizard rock CDs to-gether, Fairweather has released her own CD of “muggle music” titled “Devil’s Snare,” and fans have logged into their MySpace account from as far away as the UK and Australia.
Now as college students, attending different schools, they struggle to balance their musical aspirations with their academic ones by squeezing in music gigs on weekends and holidays.
“I’m so busy. There’s no time for anything.” Fairweather said. “There’s no time to even talk to my parents anymore.”
How did County Teen Services Librarian, Justin Hoenke, end up booking the Myrtles?
“Actually, it was the teens that come into the library,” he said. “They said they were really into this thing called wizard rock and I should look into bringing a band here.”
From there Hoenke said he looked for someone local, and he found the Moaning Myrtles through MySpace.
Hoenke has been working hard over the past couple months to increase library use among the county’s 12 to 18 year-olds. He recommends books they might like, maintains a teen-friendly blog at and plans special library events to give young county residents a place to meet and have fun together. There are game days and movie nights and volunteer opportunities to give kids a place to “hang out,” Hoenke said, and they have mostly been well-attended.
He’s hoping the Moaning Myrtles will be no exception. In fact, some are expecting (ahem…) overflow crowds.

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