Ever wondered about the behind-the-scenes people at Illinois College who make things run smoothly from day-to-day? Marc Benner is one of those people—and he’s a pretty interesting transplant to Jacksonville. This October marks his ninth year living in our community and working at the local college as the Manager of Technical Services.
Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Marc attended Lincoln Technical Institute where he studied Electrical Engineering. He worked for a computer hardware company that later switched over to software, which gave him an experienced background in computer networking. While living in Allentown, he met his wife, Khara Koffel (an artist who now serves as the Art professor at MacMurray College.) One year after she relocated to Jacksonville for the MacMurray position, he too made the move to Jacksonville and began his new role in Illinois College’s IT Department.
During the summer months, the IT Department will be upgrading computers for students and staff and putting new systems in place. On a daily basis, his day starts by opening up the ticketing system that alerts the IT staff when students and/or staff are having issues. But one of his favorite parts of working at Illinois College is helping people fix things and making them feel capable of working through technology issues.
When Benner is not at work, he has some interesting hobbies. He and his wife are active Crossfit participants, and often bring their young son, Jones, along to the gym. But what many people don’t know about Benner is his other hobby: experimental music.
In fact, back in Pennsylvania, he even owned a small record label called Pottersfield (a reference to the cemetery in New York where many of the institutionalized are buried) that produced small editions of niche music. Because the genre produced such limited quantities, it became cost-prohibitive, and he eventually closed up shop with Pottersfield. However, Benner still enjoys producing and collaborating with fellow musicians when he has time.
So what is experimental music, exactly? “It’s hard to explain,” said Brenner. “Think noise music inspired by computers, video games—it’s industrial.” He got into this genre as a teenager who listened to heavy metal, electronic, techno, and bands like Nine Inch Nails.
From 2003-2008, Benner worked with friends from all over the world to create unique, sound-based music that communicates a story through computer and manmade noises. For example, one more recent self-produced song called Recovery From Flames narrates the tragic story of a close friend who lost his home and possessions in a house fire in January this year. Crackling flames and somber industrial sounds create a visual of a house being consumed in flames. Interesting, don’t you think?
With an eight month old son at home, Benner’s time for producing music has become a bit more limited, but he hopes to do more with it in the future. And while he misses the city setting in Pennsylvania, he and his wife very much feel like Jacksonville has become their home. To hear some of Benner’s interesting music, visit MarcBenner.bandcamp.com.