Texas Border Business
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Monica Pearce comes to Texas Southmost College all the way from the Canadian Provence of Prince Edward Island, and after searching high and low for the right job, she found her place at TSC.
The 36-year-old is now the college’s newest grant writer. She comes with extensive experience in grant writing as the former executive director for the Music Gallery in Toronto and the director of grants management and special projects for the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.
But that’s not all – she is also an experienced pianist and music composer, sharing her talents around the world.
“Grants have been a huge part of my career as a musician and composer. That’s how most of my projects have been funded,” said the Canadian. “So I’m ready to bring my knowledge of grants to TSC and allow us to dream of what could be a reality as we apply for funds.”
It’s been quite the journey for Pearce and her husband, who she met during her time in Toronto. Since then, they’ve moved a couple of times around the states for his teaching career.
“We’re both in music, but the best part is that I can compose and play from anywhere,” she said. “So we’ve moved around as he’s been hired to teach at different universities, but I think we’ve found our long-time home here in the Rio Grande Valley.”
With her husband on tenure track at a local university. Pearce said Brownsville is now home, even after only after three months.
“Everyone has been so welcoming, and I can’t wait to spend more time on campus when our administration deems it safe to return,” she said. “I already see the teamwork and feel the family vibe, so I can only imagine how great it will be once we’re all together again.”
While Pearce may be working hard as a grant writer by day, she has also been making time for composing nights, weekends and holiday breaks.
Her biggest and most recent project has been composing an opera titled, “December.” The opera is about two women in the first year of their relationship who are preparing to meet the parents for the first time during the holiday season. The opera follows their journey and travel adventures.
The opera, originally set to premiere on a stage in Canada, will now premiere virtually on Dec. 21 due to pandemic restrictions.
“We had to adjust many, if not all, of our original plans with this performance, but it’s great that it’s all come together,” she said. “I’ll be hosting virtual watch parties with my family and friends to celebrate this moment.”
Not only is Pearce looking forward to her fourth opera premiere next month, but she is also excited to witness the UTRGV percussion ensemble perform a piece she composed for a performance in Atlanta that was cancelled in April due to COVID-19.
The piece is called “To Prepare” and will be released digitally Dec. 4.
“This is a challenging piece, and I’m so excited to see how this group performs it,” she said. “I truly miss live performances, I wish everything was being performed live, but I know this pandemic won’t last forever, so that keeps me going.”
Despite the juggling it takes to hold a full-time day job and compose pieces she is proud of, Pearce said she will always find a balance because music is something she can never give up.
“I’ve been playing the piano since I was five,” she said. “Music is one of the biggest aspects of my life, and my favorite part – it forms deep connections with people.”
What’s in store for Pearce in the near future?
She is currently working on a piece for a pianist in the United Kingdom and working to bring her grant writing skills to the table to keep TSC growing.