As studio art graduate student Ezra Masch tapped the buttons on his keyboard, 73 colorful lights corresponding to the notes flooded the Visual Arts Center.
The keyboard performance was only one element of Masch’s show, “Music of the Spheres,” the center presented Wednesday. At the visual and musical art display, Masch arrived in a procession of drummers wearing Victorian style clothing with skeleton painted faces. Girls in gold robes, who also had skeleton-painted faces, threw rose pedals as Masch, dressed like the drummers but with a white, curly wig, danced to his seat behind the keyboard.
“I traveled across reality to get here,” he said while still in character, opening his show. “Eventually everyone is going to die, but what I want to know, what I really want to know, is what are we going to live for? We’re all going to live tonight.”
The performance included a variety of music including classical, blues, jazz and rap. The audience was encouraged to clap, dance and sing along. Masch became silent at moments as he listened to spectators echoing his notes.
“It was really interactive,” fine arts graduate student Shalena White said.
“The grand entrance was really cool. I thought they were some kind of Victorian undead. It made me feel some sense of wonder about the human race.”
Masch exited in the same parade style in which he entered, and the audience followed along with the original procession. The crowd was led outside under a pavilion where the drums continued to play as Masch continued to rap and dance.
“It was like he traveled here from another time and universe to awaken something in us,” said studio art graduate student Christina Coleman.
Masch left the pavilion with his parade saying it was time to go back to the alternate universe. The crowd continued to follow him and the group gathered around him for an encore in the grass outside the building.
“I love that he wouldn’t break character,” art history senior Katy Gelhausen said. “The whole thing was a performance.”
Studio art senior Carris Adams appreciated Masch’s enthusiasm and felt his connection to the crowd.
“I love that he brought in the audience and didn’t just yell at us,” she said. “It seems like so many artists today don’t care about their audience and just ignore them, but he included us. We were part of the show.”
Printed on Thursday, October 13, 2011 as: Art performance impresses with character commitment