Inspired by the Hidden Gold project and our donations to The Therapeutic Nursery, the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades included a story on our family’s experience with the Nursery in the December/January issue of their internal publication, In the Center. Spencer, as always, did not hesitate to allow his story to be published if it could benefit the program and the cause of early intervention in general. He basically said something along the lines of “Dad, did I stutter?”
It’s a beautiful article, and you can read it here.
Had a lovely weekend. Saturday, the family attended Bjorn’s Ceilidh in Concordia (Albany), and any time with our Concordian friends is time well spent. I was excited to watch the Baronial Bardic competition this year. (Normally, this is done during Winter Nights, but since that event is no longer exclusive to Concordia, Ceilidh was the logical event for it to happen.) Former champions Rebekah Wallace and Lorita de Sienna both made excellent showings, but to my delight, my good friend and sometime collaborator Cedar the Barefoot carried the day with a pair of outstanding performances. (I was flattered, if a little nervous, to hear that Baroness Lylie was a bit cross with me for not competing. I hasten to assure her that, having competed once, I will compete again, and have every intention of serving my second home as bardic champion if they see fit to choose me, but this year, I’m, ah…keeping my powder dry.) Continue reading
The East Kingdom had their fall Crown Tourney on Saturday. It was my second event working as a list herald, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. (I learned a key lesson about heralding at an event at this level–regardless what we think is the order we’re supposed to call the combatants, our job is to follow the marshals. Lesson learned.) The tourney itself was exciting and well-fought, and, slightly chilly November weather notwithstanding, a wonderful chance to catch up with friends.
It was thrilling to see Duke Kenric reclaim the throne on behalf of Duchess Avelina. Given the distance, I wasn’t able to stay for court…which meant that I missed it when my friend Aneleda Falconbridge received her writ for the Order of the Laurel. I was excited to learn of it, as it is well deserved.
The more time I spend and the more involved I get in the SCA, the more incredible I find it.
I wanted to share with you that with the handful of Hidden Gold CD’s that were purchased at Winter Nights, the total amount of funding we have raised for The Therapeutic Nursery has just passed the $1,000 mark. There will be more still, as funds are trickling in from streaming services and iTunes singles and the like. I want to thank you all again for supporting this project and making this possible. We’ll send a second check for the additional balance to the Nursery at year end.
I also want to mention that I’ve heard recently from a few SCA performers who have told me they’ve been inspired by this project to work on bardic recordings of their own, and are considering using them as donation platforms for worthy causes. If that were to be the lasting legacy of our work on this project, nothing would make me happier.
I’m sitting at my desk and looking at this silver armband that I get to keep for the next year, and there’s this little smile on my face. I’m having a really blessed month.
The Winter Nights bardic tournament is my favorite one-day event that I’ve experienced in the SCA. This was my fourth consecutive time attending. While I have incredible memories of my first time there, this year may have been my favorite–and that was true before I found out I was in a position to win the champion’s armband. I just love this event. It’s a competition, but it’s an incredibly friendly competition. The emphasis is on everyone being able to enjoy performing and seeing others’ performances. It’s a chance for the bards of the East Kingdom to get together and have some extended time to catch up with one another, because this is the one day that’s totally about our thing and nothing else. (The King’s and Queen’s Bardic Championship in the late winter is also focused on bardic, but that spotlight is shared with royalty and kingdom-level glory, and is ultimately about Their Majesties selecting someone to serve them. It’s also a wonderful event, but a very different thing.)
To close out the week, I created a new Facebook group for bardic activities in my local area, which is the East Kingdom Southern Region. (Includes southern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and all of New Jersey and Delaware.) We tried to get some local bardic workshops going a couple years back, but I’ve realized a group as a discussion hub may make us more successful. (Certainly the SCA Bardic Arts FB group, which just passed 2,000 members this week, has been on the large scale.)
So if you didn’t see all my shameless cross-posts on FB, and this would apply to you, feel free to join us and check it out. (If there is real interest from non-FB people, contact me or comment here. We certainly don’t want to leave anyone out.)
A humbling aspect of releasing recordings in the SCA world has getting a proper sense of scale to judge success. In a world where YouTube sensations can go viral, get millions of views, and score a deal with a label, a brand-new bardic record is a smaller thing to measure by several orders of magnitude. The neat thing is that 21st-century Web technology gives me access to see what’s going on with the songs I’ve put up in different spaces, and while I may only get a handful of people listening to my stuff on a given (good) day, it is possible to enjoy surprise at a micro-trend in the data. I’m seeing one this week.