How Hastings, a full-time CreComm student and guitarist for The Noble Thiefs, balances a music career and a full-time education


Riley Hastings, first year Creative Communications student, has been performing with The Noble Thiefs for over a decade./DWAYNE LARSON, provided by The Noble Thiefs

Riley Hastings has a lot more on his plate than many first-year Creative Communications students at Red River College: aside from his academic workload, he is the guitarist for a local band The Noble Thiefs.


The Noble Thiefs have been making music for over a decade and released their newest single, “16 Candles,” on September 21. The song is a tribute to Laquan McDonald, a victim of police brutality who was murdered in Chicago in 2014.


Since the song was released, the band has experienced a surge of publicity and it’s a wonder that Hastings finds the time to tackle such a busy schedule.


“It’s always been on my mind that maybe I should go to school, but I didn’t want to put my music on hold,” said Hastings. “I manage both by being very focused when it’s CreComm time, and being even more focused when it’s music time, because I might only get a couple of hours a week to work on things.”

The Noble Thiefs (from left to right) – Johannes Lodewyks, Myron Dean, Sandy Fernandez, and Riley Hastings./DWAYNE LARSON, provided by The Noble Thiefs

Hastings credits his experience working in the music industry with his ability to succeed in Creative Communications. Throughout countless interviews, years of touring and familiarity with media production, he feels prepared for two full-time years of college ahead of him, motivated by his commitment to his craft.


“It’s a lot of fear,” said Hastings. “The fear is that I would have to give up something like regularly playing music in order to get through this. Fear is a powerful motivator.”


Lead singer of The Noble Thiefs, Myron Dean, agrees that although each band members is pursuing their own goals, finding time for music is a priority.


“We just make time,” said Dean. “If something’s important, you make time for it. Whatever is important to you, that’s what you should do.”

Myron Dean, lead vocalist for The Noble Thiefs, was inspired to write “16 Candles” after the death of Laquan McDonald in 2014./DWAYNE LARSON, provided by The Noble Thiefs

Due to busy schedules, the band is only able to practice for a couple hours a week, but during that time, it’s all about the music.


“When the band gets together and it’s time to play music, leave everything else at the door,” said Hastings.


The Noble Thiefs have a loyal fanbase and have built a public profile that allows them to confine most of their performances to the summer festival months and leaving Hastings with the time he needs to focus on all on his education.