They emerge from the audience to take the stage behind the standing figure in front. Each knows exactly where to go: behind a microphone or drum set, or in front of the piano. Though the musicians themselves are as diverse as Yale’s student body, they are coming together onstage to accompany Michael Blume ’13 and make superb music. This is “Moments: A Senior Recital” for Blume.
Though the live performance of “Moments” will take place during reading week, the project is an ongoing series of video recordings that Blume — along with a team of over 40 individuals — has been working on throughout the semester. The revue showcases 15 performances; the team has already recorded about 25 pieces to be released to YouTube in the future. The videos are straightforward productions that highlight Blume’s talent without the distraction of any high-concept videography, according to projections designer Jeffrey Star ’13.
The show features mostly original songs — “Shoes,” for instance, deals with material inequality, and “Perfect Lip Politics” centers around dance-floor makeouts — and covers, including Beyoncé and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Moments” is not meant to have a plot; instead, it’s an opportunity to display the musicianship of Blume and his colleagues.
Though Blume is unequivocally the star of “Moments,” students have gladly helped out with everything from instrumental or vocal accompaniment to video and sound production.
Producer Alexander Oki ’13 said Blume “is magnetic as a performer and a human being,” pointing to his ability to bring many people together for this project.
But “Moments” goes beyond just eliciting favors from Blume’s peers — he has been able to provide a platform to showcase the talents of many performers of different stripes.
“He makes you feel like the show is not about him,” said Keren Abreu ’15, one of the show’s performers. “The concert is for everybody else involved. He is so willing to give and include you. I felt really privileged to have been asked to be involved.”
Blume has been a part of the music community throughout his time at Yale, as a member of The Duke’s Men, a Whiffenpoof last year and a member of the band A Streetcar Named Funk. The previous shows he has directed — “Souled Out” and “Souled Out 2” — were hits on campus. Like “Moments,” these productions mainly highlighted the talents of others, but Blume is now ready to embrace his role as lead singer.
“Moments” represents a second coming out for Blume, who expressed how he is constantly overcoming doubts of his worthiness to command attention from the audience and his team.
“I want to be a singer. I want to make music for the masses … that people from all different backgrounds and walks of life can feel in their hearts,” he said. “Music that’s real, music that’s honest.”
Blume’s process of writing music and lyrics has been an ongoing and collaborative experience, said Hans Bilger ’16, a “Streetcar” bassist featured in the show. This artistic back-and-forth has allowed the cast to be in constant communication, to the benefit of the songs and the show itself.
“Michael comes in with a song which is often only half-written,” Bilger explained. “He shows us the chords and tells about the feel and the original message of the song, and we go from there.”
In “Moments,” Blume shows the audience the beauty of musical collaboration, as friends go onstage to create a new and pure form of art.
The show will play this Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Saybrook Underbrook.