Winter Nights: Reflections and Thanks

Last Saturday, I got to participate in the SCA in a way that I had never done before: running a full-day event. As Concordia’s Baronial Bard, I had the privilege of serving as event steward (or, as some say, “autocrat”) for the Winter Nights competition. The event, which had been a Concordian event for several years, recently changed to a three-year rotation between East Kingdom’s Northern, Southern, and Central regions. This is the first time it has come back to Concordia, and so it was a stroke of luck that it happened during my term as champion. While for many people, running an event is a key part of growing and evolving in the SCA, I have never yearned to have that responsibility. Given my ADHD (and my ego’s exhibitionist streak), the thought has been one I have long shied away from.

With one important exception. I have always dreamed of running Winter Nights.

This all-day bardic competition was my introduction to the bardic community five years ago. Winning it two years back was one of the most delightful surprises I’ve had as a bard. This event taught me about camaraderie, about improvisation, about the breadth of talent and skills and generosity that this kingdom’s bards (and not just this kingdom’s) have to offer. In many ways, it is as much home to me as Pennsic is. (Not for nothing did I slip a name-check into my East Kingdom anthem.)

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Winter Nights reminder

Reminder: Winter Nights returns to Concordia in 3 weeks. Come to perform. Come to compete. Come to watch and listen. Come just for the joy of it!

Check out the EK event page or the Facebook event for more details.

Our first donation!

Good Gentles,

This weekend, we mailed our first donation, just over $1,400, to the East Kingdom Royal Travel Fund. This exceeded our fondest hopes. It was made possible by the contributions of dozens of talented artists, and scores of generous patrons, in and out of our kingdom. Without your enthusiastic support and encouragement, this project would never have come to fruition. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

In grateful service,

The bards of Sing for the East

Reflections on Pennsic 46

So, there are moments when I really hate having set up a blog. They have a tendency to come after a big SCA event. That’s because most of my SCA friends end up doing Facebook posts where they share what they enjoyed about the event, memorable moments, and people they wish to recognize or thank. They usually run a few paragraphs. And I look at those and think: Wouldn’t it be great if you could just do that? But no…you had to be all clever and set up a blog. Because bard growth blah-blah-blah, so you can’t just do a nice simple Facebook post. You’re going to have to go do a whole blog post on this.

So I end up waiting days, because I don’t want to craft that involved blog post. (Also, I started my new job this week, so I was legit busy.) But eventually, I do it anyway. And if one person who is new to the SCA or bardic draws inspiration because my musings are collected here, and it makes their path any easier, it will be worth it. Or so I tell myself.

Anyway, this Pennsic was a significant milestone to me. It was five years ago that I showed up looking to forge a path as a bard, and connect with the community. I had only set up this website, and founded the Facebook group, a short time before. And it is gratifying to look at this Pennsic, five years later, and see this community from the inside, as we work together to create joy, and welcome new bards to our number.

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Pennsic 46: Concert Videos

We’re back from Pennsic. Will have a post with my full reflections later. In the meantime, I wanted to share videos from this year’s concert for those who weren’t able to attend (or wanted to see some of the performances again).

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Note from Pennsic about the new album

Something I'm noticing at Pennsic: a number of people have the impression that Sing for the East is a collection of "inside baseball" songs that will only appeal to East Kingdom folks or those who know our history.

Not true at all. This is a collection of well-made SCA folk songs that celebrate who we are and what we do. Most of the songs have the word "East", or "Tyger", or "Oriens" in them, but that's it. They are by current or former EK Bards, and the album addresses a grievous gap of Eastern recordings.

But if you could use some fresh, quality SCA music to listen to on your drive home, I promise you this CD will not disappoint. (Available at Camelot Treasures and John Ap Wyn.)

Troubadour Next Door Concert

After weeks of having to focus on Real Life, I’m doing some mad last-minute prep for this year’s concert (Monday of War Week, 8-9 pm, Performing Arts Tent), and I’m really excited.

The set this year is going to be really fresh. I mean really fresh. There will be stuff you’ve NEVER heard me perform before on this stage. And I’ve invited guests who are just getting known to the bardic scene…Cedar the Barefoot and Bird the Bard! (Don’t worry, Master Efenwealt is up for a song too.)

There will be three songs from Sing for the East. I am planning to actually play a lute piece.

And–oh yeah. The Hamilton filk. That too.

Hope to see you there!
Drake