By Gary Powell
The entirety of American entertainment media is focused on presenting musicians as celebrity. They build it, they burn it, they revive it, they contrive it, and when the story has been fully exposed to death, they trash it; moving on to develop their next prey payday.
Ensemble 109, named after its course number, first came into the academic catalog at the University of Texas Butler School of Music in the Spring semester, 1985. Directed by recording producer Gary Powell, who wrote all the musical arrangements, the group averaged eighteen shows per semester performing for UT System events and gala events in central Texas. This very popular ensemble’s auditions were open to any registered University of Texas student, regardless of major. Many students sang with Ensemble 109 their entire college career. Most former members are still singing and several went on to enjoy successful careers in music. The group disbanded when Powell left UT to pursue his professional career full-time in 1992. He has continued to train singers and performers who are currently working professionally across the country including Broadway, Disney World, cruise ships, Hollywood and points in-between.