Dr. Brandon Goff of the fine arts music industry department recently returned from a two-week tour across Germany with one of his bands, Willy Pete.
The band is comprised of Goff and several other musicians from the Nashville-Memphis area. They meet four times each year to complete tours in Europe for the military through the Wounded Warriors Project and the United Service Organizations (USO).
The tour was not only a success musically; it also allowed two students from the music industry program to work as technical support personnel throughout the trip. They received internship credit for their work.
“I have students now who are at a point that they’re skill-sets can be beneficial to us on a tour like that,” Goff said. “They were managing media, managing live sound, managing load outs and set-ups for an intense nine day tour.”
The students who participated in the trip were Logan Wallace and Robby McLaughlin.
In just nine days Willy Pete played 15 separate shows across Germany. Playing two or three shows per day, the band and technical support personnel had barely any down time, Goff explained. It was a hectic and foreign experience for the two interns but well worth the experience.
“At times it was utterly chaotic and exhausting, but man, they did a great job,” Goff said. “I could not have been [happier] with the performance of the students. They were fantastic.”
The band does several European and American tours throughout the year, with one always falling in January. Dr. Goff plans to make the internship available to two new students during every January tour.
Dr. Goff sees the tour as a way for students to get necessary industry experience while simultaneously earning internship credits, networking with other professionals and partaking in a trip to Europe.
Besides being beneficial to the student’s academic and professional progression, Goff said that since the band is playing primarily for U.S. soldiers and veterans, it is a really rewarding experience.
“We’ll go through the hospital and sing acoustic songs to guys that have been injured really badly,” Goff said. “It’s a really cool experience for everybody…and for the students to get out there and see what some of the soldiers are going through; it’s really eye-opening.”
Goff added that internships are opportunities for students to not only show their abilities but to also obtain lasting connections with those in the field in which they are studying.