JCCC Stories

Online student logs credits on the road

July 28, 2017


A humble natural musician with a passion for life

Pierce Turcotte, a 20-year-old bass player, saxophonist and JCCC student, is crisscrossing the United States and introducing the country to the Overland Park-based indie-rock band The Greeting Committee. And best of all, he’s earning college credits, drinking all kinds of coffee and making a lot of friends along the way.

The group of former Blue Valley High School students ­is “an art project” made from bright music, relevant lyrics and a local kind of flavor that makes them a comfortable sound for alternative crowds on any dot in the country. This summer’s tour has taken the band from California to Maine dropping many map pins in between.

“Music and art can be a powerful way to do good in the world, and I want to do it in a way that can positively impact others,” Turcotte said.

Rock band formation layers well with online learning

Turcotte’s ability to take online classes at JCCC has given him the option of playing the music he loves and pursuing a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. He’s approaching his fifth semester at JCCC (four have been mostly online).

“The ease of the online classes has been so beneficial,” he said. “Having the opportunity to travel and pursue my passions while also pursuing education has been a vital growing point in my life.”

Turcotte had planned on going to a university, but the band gained momentum in the music world.

“So, last minute I changed and enrolled at JCCC and attended class on campus,” he said. “I like the many different people I encountered when I was on campus. Being in classes with people of different ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and perspectives helped prepare me for the real world.”

The Greeting Committee was formed in fall 2014 when Turcotte and three classmates started a band. After some initial excitement at school and with The Greeting Committee’s first release, It’s Not All That Bad, the band’s friend and tour manager, Peyton Marek, sent some of the band’s music to 96.5 the Buzz, Kansas City's alternative rock radio station. Kansas City’s veteran radio personality Lazlo Geiger recognized The Greeting Committee’s potential and pushed its music around KC, other radio stations and to people within the industry. Then the phones started ringing and record labels and other managers were interested in the band – all while Turcotte was just starting his first semester at JCCC.

The band signed with Harvest Records in October of 2015.

“It didn't immediately become busy, but enough that I chose online school the following semester,” Turcotte said.

Touring picked up, and after playing a few tours with bands like Saint Motel, Kitten, and The Mowgli's, and playing music festivals like MoPop in Detroit and Lollapalooza in Chicago, The Greeting Committee released a second EP called Meeting People Is Easy in March of 2017. Now, the band has its own touring van and are opening for bands like MisterWives and Andrew McMahon.

Multifaceted musician

Inefficiency is one of Turcotte’s pet peeves. He approaches life with zeal and doesn’t want to be defined by just one thing.

“I try to pursue as many hobbies and passions as I can. Obviously, music is a huge passion of mine. The Greeting Committee is the biggest outlet I have for that, but I also write my own music and lyrics that I hope to release some day.”

Writing sci-fi/fantasy has also become an interest of his in recent years. Without any experience or practice, he began writing a novel in February 2016. He gained a lot of confidence in his writing abilities while taking Composition II at JCCC.

“It's a slow process but still something I'm really excited about,” he said.

The whole “coffee community” is also something he cares deeply about.

“I try to go to as many new coffee shops as I can while on the road, and one day, I hope to be a barista for a bit,” he said.

Other areas that hold his interest are education, reading, programming and soldering.

“Even though I'm taking minimal credits, I never want to stop learning, and classes through JCCC can help me with some of those pursuits,” he said.

Turcotte finds a mystifying comfort in being uncomfortable.

“If I hadn't made myself uncomfortable, I don't think I could have curated so many of my passions,” he said. “It has taken lots of creativity and some small existential crises, but my decisions have taught me so many things, allowed me to meet some amazing people and see some amazing places.”

Inspiring youth vs rock star status

In between touring, writing music, and going to school, Turcotte also finds time to be involved at Leawood’s Church of the Resurrection. There, he leads worship for two Sunday School services and also volunteers with a young adult program.

“It is a way I can give back to other people, whether that's leading worship music for middle and high schoolers or building a ministry with 20 and 30 year olds,” he said.

Turcotte doesn’t want to be a stereotypical rock star. Unfortunately, some musicians have skewed the title by being sold out to stardom instead of staying true to their music.

“The kind of rock star I want to be is one that gets to play music to people who want to find a release to the outside world,” he said. “Being able to give that opportunity to audiences while getting to play the music that I enjoy is a lot more meaningful than just playing music for myself.”

Online ops

Whether you’re on the road or need flexible options for a better work-life balance, find out more about JCCC’s online learning opportunities. Enroll today for a promising tomorrow.

Find your audience or take a listen break

If your band is looking for an audience, contact Keith Davenport at the Student Welcome Desk, first floor Student Center. Student Life hosts bands almost every Wednesday in COM 156.  Watch this calendar for audition dates.

Get to know The Greeting Committee on Facebook (good stuff).