It’s been a little over two weeks since Bjorn’s Ceilidh, so this post is rather overdue. (Surprise.) But life has been very full and busy, and that’s how it goes. Still, it’s important to me to take a moment and reflect on Ceilidh, and my time as Concordia’s bardic champion.
It has been a privilege and a delight to serve as champion for Baron Jean-Paul and Baroness Lylie. They are both warm and encouraging, and I had the opportunity to see close at hand how diligently they carry their responsibilities for Concordia of the Snows.
Announcing: at Bjorn’s Ceilidh (Saturday November 11), their Excellencies JP and Lylie will be selecting the next Bardic champion for the Barony of Concordia of the Snows.
The competition will be held in three rounds, with the following format:
- Round one: perform the piece with which you are most comfortable. Show us what you do best.
- Round two: perform a piece you have never before shared in competition. Stretch and surprise us.
- Round three: perform a piece that is documented as having origins in the medieval period. Documentation should at most be half a page or fill an index card. The piece can be wholly from period, a contrafact if a period work, or composed in a period form or style.
To compete, you must either be a resident of Concordia, or willing to give your fealty to the Barony on being chosen. Please inform the current baronial bard, Drake Oranwood, of your intention to compete either privately or at Ceilidh.
Competitors should only enter if they are prepared to serve as Baronial bard if selected by their Excellencies, and have no duties or obligations which would prevent them from serving appropriately.
The responsibilities include:
- Attend the majority of Concordian events and participate in any Baronial Court held at those events.
- Attend the Baron and Baroness at some out of Barony events, including Pennsic if possible.
- Wear the regalia of your position.
- Supervise (or delegate) the Bardic competition and War Point at the Wars of the Roses.
- Organize next year’s Baronial Champion competition to choose your successor.
Lord Drake Oranwood
I have been teaching myself to play lute pieces for about two years now. I started practicing in earnest in preparation for the East Kingdom King’s and Queen’s Bardic Championships in the winter/spring of 2016, figuring it was time I took on a serious and challenging period skill. I kept it on the down-low the whole time, because I have learned that one thing an entertainer can do that really impresses an audience is exceed their expectations. Since then, I have expanded my Elizabethan repertoire to half a dozen songs, and shared them with audiences semi-regularly at events: at last year’s Roses as an A&S display, competing for Baronial Bard, in my concert last Pennsic, and most recently at Winter Nights, where I was challenged to play lute during both the challenge rounds.
It’s just as I feared: Once you’ve shown people you can do something, they start expecting it of you again. (I suppose investing in a new instrument and sharing it on Facebook just before Winter Nights didn’t exactly help…)
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.)
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.
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
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.