‘I Am Elon’ with Justin Pierce ’15
Serving as a drum major for the Fire of the Carolinas, playing trombone in multiple groups and being president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., are just a few of the roles the music performance major has on campus.
By Kim Walker
Music performance major Justin Pierce ’15 effectively fell into playing trombone in fifth grade, when his band teacher told the class he needed trombonists. Justin thought “Why not?” and this fall, he performed his formal senior recital on the instrument.
Justin is a member of the Elon Music Ambassadors, an eclectic ensemble of music majors that plays for high school students throughout the East Coast. The experience introduced him to other musicians and taught him how to perform solos live. “I had to step out in front of the crowd, smile and do my thing. And I realized it’s not that hard. It really helped me step out of my shell.”
Moving even further out of his shell, Justin became a drum major his junior year for Elon’s marching band, the Fire of the Carolinas. The role requires him to be a leader, conductor and, as Justin puts it, “hype man” for the band. Outside of music, Justin is minoring in information science and completed an internship last summer with information technology firm Dependable Global Solutions. He’s also the president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He says the fraternity provides a way for him to give back to the community and to stay connected with other black students on campus. “We have the bond of brotherhood; they are always there for me. It’s a great fit,” he says.
Justin spent Winter Term 2014 studying dance in Ghana with Assistant Professor of Dance Jason Aryeh. The experience was transformative. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I was living in the moment, and all I had to worry about was dancing with my spirit and my soul. Going to Ghana opened my eyes and helped me become the person I am today.”