The Greeting Committee, Iowa City-based Dog Dave, share how a high school band can grow

Two young Midwestern bands, Iowa City locals Dog Dave and UI Homecoming opener The Greeting Committee, share their experiences from where they started in high school and how far they’ve come.


Nichole Harris

The Greeting Committee’s lead singer Addie Sartino takes in the crowd as her band opens for Bad Suns. The free concert was hosted by Scope Productions and was headlined by the band Bad Suns on October 18, 2019.

Kyler Johnson, Arts Reporter

With young, Midwestern groups hitting the music scene, both The Greeting Committee and Dog Dave offer insight into how a band formed in high school can grow and flourish creatively.

The Greeting Committee originated in 2014 at a Kansas City high school. As the openers for Bad Suns at the University of Iowa homecoming concert, the band rocked the Pentacrest crowd.

Lead singer Addie Sartino said she remembers playing solo music before guitarist Brandon Yangmi convinced her to do an open mic. Adding in fellow members Austin Fraser and Pierce Turcotte, the group was ready to bloom.

Releasing their first EP It’s Not All That Bad in 2015, the group began to play different shows around the country in both the Midwest and states such as Texas, Massachusetts, or Colorado.

Nichole Harris
The Greeting Committee member Pierce Turcotte gives his all during a saxophone solo as the band opens for Bad Suns. The free concert was hosted by Scope Productions and was headlined by the band Bad Suns on October 18, 2019.

The atypical experience came with its individual charms, as well as its added stress. Sartino said she remembered getting on a flight from Colorado following a show to make it back for her senior prom.

“We lived a cool, surreal high school experience,” said Sartino. “We looked at it with gratitude. Some of those experiences you can’t get back at the end of the day.”

Dog Dave, home-brewed in the music scene of Iowa City with a folky-grunge sound, is composed of Adelina Reels and John Quijas. Both had toyed around with their respective high school bands before forming their own duo.

“When I was in high school, I hadn’t figured out how to write music,” Quijas said, regarding his start in music. “I had to play covers instead.”

Joining his first high school group, The Merchants, during his sophomore year, Quijas said he has grown tremendously in skill. He said it was worthwhile to have been in prior groups; they allowed him to craft his music writing skills.

Quijas also struggled to balance his academics with his music career. He said he remembers having difficulty focusing in class, unable to put his attention toward certain academic functions while thinking instead about his passion for music.

Katie Goodale
Adelina Reels practices with bandmate John Quijas in their home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Reels and Quijas are in the band Dog Dave and recently won The of Battle of the Bands at the University of Iowa.

In her first band, Cab Drivers, Reels said she found herself in a rhythm of balancing her work and her music.

“I would go from my job at night to my friend’s house where we would work on writing songs,” Reels said. “But the experience was worth it.”

Quijas’ advice for any high school group wanting to advance their career comes down to being social, making connections, not having fear, and learning to explore new sounds. The two both went on to say how important it was to work with people you can be honest with — otherwise, there’s no growth.

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Sartino echoed this sentiment.

“A band is kind of like [a] marriage. You’re forced to figure out problems,” Sartino said.

The Greeting Committee is currently on tour with Hippocampus, spending more than a couple of years managing themselves as a business and experimenting with their own sound. Sartino emphasized how their latest EP, I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry, took on a different sound from where they started. However, they are no longer the same high school group under the same high school roof. They show young artists can really grow to be different, change, and succeed all at once.

“I’ve realized that we’ll always be growing and developing — that’s the exciting part,” Sartino said.