MI Ensemble remakes classics

Band performs famous covers


Photo by: Lauren Owens

The MI Ensemble uses technology to modernize the sound of classic hits during the Nov. 9 concert. MI Ensemble consists of students from more than just the music industry program and performs once a semester.

Directed by Dr. Brandon Goff, the Music Industry (MI) Ensemble performed electronic arrangements of classic hits using a combination of computer programs and live instruments for their fall semester performance on Nov. 9 in Chapman Auditorium.

The MI ensemble rearranged songs such as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” to sound like modern pop-dance tracks, Goff said. According to Goff, he chose some of the songs as a challenge.

Goff said he asked himself how they could make “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC work.

“It was one of the most difficult ones to work,” Goff said. “But it did work, and it was one of my favorites, it turns out.”

According to Goff, the ensemble rearranged the harmonies and melodies of the songs and added electronic house beats.

FMU student Gavin Hafey was the main producer for most of the arrangements, Goff said. Hafey said a lot of the songs were adaptions of arrangements he had made in his free time.

Hafey is an economics and supply chain management double major. He said the ensemble is a way for him to have fun and relieve stress from school.

“It’s something to keep me from tearing my hair out,” Hafey said.

Guitarist and vocalist Caleb Oswalt said he enjoyed performing onstage as well as learning how to set up the show.

“I just love being on the stage and feeding off the energy,” Oswalt said.

The MI Ensemble is designed to educate members on how to act, set up stages and manage shows like contemporary support staff in the music industry, Goff said. Most modern bands use a blend of electronic sounds and devices to accompany their instruments, Goff said.

“The driving educational factor is the arranging, the technology behind designing the show, and all of the components you would do as a support staff in an actual tour,” Goff said.

Andrew Hart ran the sound system for the ensemble. Hart said he currently works as the contract audio engineer for New Spring Church in Florence. He said working in the ensemble opens doors professionally.

“I really wanted to advance what I’m doing in sound,” Hart said. “That’s what I want to do for a career.”

Hart said the performance was not a typical night behind the soundboard. Many of the different sounds in the performance came from one onstage computer, according to Hart.

FMU junior William Sansbury also ran a computer onstage. Sansbury said since his freshman year, he has played guitar and bass with the ensemble. For this performance, Sansbury said he switched to a 12-key keyboard running through a computer program.

“This is the first semester we’ve done anything like this,” Sansbury said.

Carlton Wise, junior music industry major, supplied electronic percussion for the performance. Wise used a drum pad to play electronic claps, snares and snap sounds in the performance. Wise said he has played with several other ensembles at FMU, but this was his first performance with the MI Ensemble.

Wise said he plans to go into the business side of music industry. According to Wise, playing with the MI Ensemble allows him practice putting on shows, Wise said.