Greeting Committee Takes Bethlehem

The+Greeting+Committee+stopped+the+show+at+Bethlehem+Musikfest+Caf%C3%A9+opening+for+Hippo+Campus.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Elizabeth+Miranda%29

The Greeting Committee stopped the show at Bethlehem Musikfest Café opening for Hippo Campus. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Miranda)

Elisha Stenger and Phoebe Sessler

An opening act must warm the audience up, but how does a band contend with a small, die-hard crowd chomping at the bit to see the headliner? Just ask Addie Sartino, lead singer of The Greeting Committee, who had complete control of the small Bethlehem venue within minutes of stepping on stage.

Despite a majority of the crowd hearing them for the first time, Sartino immediately commanded the attention of everyone in the room with her magnetic stage personality, distinct voice, and striking pantsuit-bralette ensemble.

The band’s most emotional song, “Call in the Morning,” left Sartino lying onstage, thumping her fist in time to the heartbeat drumbeat every show.

When Sartino and Fraser were outside the venue after the show, the Blue Streak staff couldn’t pass up the chance to get an interview.

The emerging, Kansas indie-rock group is the unorthodox definition of a young band: all between the ages of 20 and 22. Addie Sartino (lead vocals), Brandon Yangmi (guitar), Pierce Turcotte (bass and saxophone), and Austin Fraser (drums) fill the ranks of the band. Often switching instruments mid-performance, or helping one another pick up a conveniently stashed saxophone or guitar on stage, members are never limited to just one.

The four met in high school – they all attended Blue Valley High School in Kansas City – where they formed the band in 2014.

Noah Spencer (guitar), who also attended Blue Valley, joins them as an additional member on tour. After recording their full-length album, the band wanted some help playing the new songs live.

“When it came to adding a touring member, he was our obvious first choice,” Turcotte said. “We love Noah. He’s working on his own music, but we hope we can have him with us for as long as we can.”

Spencer and Turcotte are both taking college classes along with their slightly unconventional young adulthood career.

Turcotte said that everyone in the group luckily had a lot of support from their parents.

“To them,” he said, “why wouldn’t we jump on this opportunity?”

Despite the members, being practically siblings, Turcotte said, “You still have to be diligent about working on your relationship with everyone.”

Although they’ve made significant progress in the music industry in such a short amount of time, the band admits challenges with jumping almost immediately to touring.

Turcotte acknowledged that, despite not always seeming like it, having a band is running a business.

“Being young in a touring band definitely forced us to grow in ways we likely wouldn’t have been forced to grow had we gone a more traditional route,” he said.

Always opening for a more popular band can become frustrating as well.

“As an opener, it’s hard to gauge how many TGC fans will be there singing along. We always make new fans every night which is great, but it can also get a bit old being the ‘best opening band’ that people have seen,” said Turcotte.

The emotional experience and catharsis the audience experienced remains universal for the whole band as well.

“Writing allows you to try and understand your emotions in a way you hadn’t before,” but, “With performing (and even writing too), you have to leave your figurative baggage off stage,” Turcotte said.

The band’s mature lyrical style, hip, and funky beats perfectly align with the origin of their name: simple, yet powerful and memorable.

“The idea came from a picture of John Lennon,” said Turcotte, “wearing a t-shirt with ‘The Greeting Committee’ written on the front.”