inclusion SCA

New FB group: “SCA Neurodiversity”

Hi everyone. This continues to be a challenging time, and finding the energy and will to blog regularly is much heavier. And I’m pushing through that today, because there are some recent developments I think are worth taking the time to share.

Recently, I have made a significant change around my moderation duties on Facebook. After eight glorious years, I have handed over the reins of the SCA Bardic Arts group to my long-time co-moderator Aneleda Falconbridge, and recruited a new team of moderators to help keep the group thriving into the future (more on that below). I’ve done this to provide me time and space to focus on a new FB I’ve just launched, SCA Neurodiversity. The group has been operating for nearly 3 weeks, and I’m very pleased with the growth and the responses from new members.

People who’ve been following this blog or my bardic career will no doubt be aware of my passion for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity issues, especially within the SCA. As an adult with ADHD, and the father of a teenager on the Autism spectrum, I endeavor to be a particular advocate around invisible differences, particularly learning and neurological differences. Neurodiversity refers to the community and discussion of these differences from an IDE and advocacy lens.

I received my diagnosis (then called simply Attention Deficit Disorder) back in the summer of 1993 at age 24. The diagnosis transformed my life and my relationship to my struggles in the space of one year, though the work of growing and adapting has been ongoing and continuous since then, and will continue long the rest of my life. Within a year or two, I was starting online discussions (yes, back when AOL was almost the only game in town) about ADD, self-help, and self-advocacy. For a few years after that, a number of self-help and education books about ADD listed my AOL email address as an online resource, which is part of the reason I maintained the address long after AOL ceased to be a major player in the online space.

I first joined—and left—the SCA in 1991 and 1992 (right before the diagnosis). When I got active as an SCA bard eight years ago, I found myself re-evaluating my challenges connecting and finding my place when I had first joined. And, as I jumped in with a passion (maybe an obsession?) around proving myself and getting known, my self-awareness about what is now known as ADHD didn’t necessarily protect me from making all sorts of mistakes. While my ability to pick up on other people’s emotions and social cues has definitely improved with time and practice, it continues to require an active effort on my part, and it’s easy for me to tell myself that I’m “safe” in a community of history geeks, and that I don’t have to do the extra work of constantly monitoring for pitfalls. As so many of my neurodivergent friends have shared with me, the effort of “masking” and following the unwritten rules of any community can be absolutely exhausting.

I’ve learned a lot since then, and it’s become clear how very not alone I am on this journey. And yet, so much of SCA culture seems to me to continue to emphasize neurotypical behavioral norms around courtesy, tact, and diplomacy. These are of course crucial skills and virtues that help keep a society cohesive and healthy (and many of us have seen what happens when a society starts to devalue these behaviors), and they are highly challenging for many neurodivergent people. And when I or others fall short (regularly) in performing these behaviors and addressing the emotions and comfort of those around me, it is very easy for people to interpret our motives less charitably than might perhaps be helpful.

As I’ve learned, the great power of the online community is the ability to share our experiences so that those of us on parallel journeys can teach and learn from and support one another. That is the intention behind the new group.

I want to thank my new co-moderators in SCA Neurodiversity:

  • Hilla Stormbringer, ND (neurodivergent), she/her pronouns, of the Midrealm.
  • Fox Fierlin, NQ (neuroqueer), whatever pronouns, of Æthelmearc.

I also want to thank the new SCA Bardic Arts moderator team for their past and future service:

  • Aneleda Falconbridge of the East Kingdom, will continue her moderating duties.
  • Laila al-Sanna’ al-Andalusiyya of the East, previously Caid.
  • Rhys ap Gwion Baird of the West Kingdom.
  • Iselda de Narbonne of Atlantia, previously Ansteorra, Northshield, and Ealdormere.

Additionally, I want to thank the literally thousands of people who have shared their love of performance in this space, to the point where I am confident that I can continue to participate as simply one performing geek among equals. The respect and sense of fun that has always flowed through the group is joyous and infectious.

Thank you, everyone who has participated in these journeys with me. You teach and uplift me every day.

In grateful service,
Drake Oranwood, ND (neurodivergent), he/him, East Kingdom

filk SCAatHome video

“My Plot” (Hamilton/Shakespeare mashup)

It’s good to be back with a new video for the first time in a while. With Hamilton streaming on people’s TVs this past week, I got inspired to ask My Gosling for permission to adapt another one of her brilliant Shakespeare/Hamilton filks. (There should be more where that came from in the near future. In the mean time, I’ve set up a page to collect all of these.)

fundraising SCA


Today is June 19, or Juneteenth, as it’s celebrated the Black community in America. I had started a lengthy post…and I’m deleting it. You don’t need to hear me talk about this stuff today. (Not familiar with Juneteenth? You can find anything you want to know with a quick Google search.)

If you want insights around race and the SCA, I invite you to spend some time with these accomplished gentlemen:

Also, I’ll mention that I’m donating any proceeds from my solo music (including the new remaster, which is dropping a day early) to the NAACP Defense Fund through the end of 2020. But that feels like the least I can do.

album recording

Remaster of “Tam Lin” with Heather Dale this weekend!

I’m re-releasing a favorite track this weekend. Saturday marks the 5 year anniversary of Hidden Gold, my first (and so far only) solo album, and I wanted to mark the occasion. I have completely remixed and remastered “Tam Lin of the Elves”, featuring the magnificent Heather Dale. I love that song, and the recording is unquestionably the most popular track from the album. But honestly, the album in general, and that track in particular, suffered from my complete lack of experience with mixing and sound engineering. The mix is solid, I know…but Heather’s ethereal descant vocals really don’t come through the way I wanted them to.

I will be posting a deep dive for recording geeks breaking down how I reworked the track to get the sound I felt was missing from the original. But this weekend, anyone who cares about this song will get to hear it like they’ve never heard it before.

SCAatHome video

#SCAatHome: Roses Are Red

I found a video I never shared out from the HELIOsphere concert. This one was written for the woman who is now my wife, back before I even conceived of being a bard. Jessica, I love you even more today.

bardic teaching video

Recording from “New Bard’s Road Map” is up

Hi friends!

Thanks to everyone who came to yesterday’s online class, “The New Bard’s Road Map”. The recording is now up on YouTube.

Cheers, Drake

bardic teaching

Online class: New Bard’s Road Map

Greetings all,

I’ll be teaching “The New Bard’s Road Map” online this coming Sunday afternoon (3-4:30 pm Eastern). Please check it out, and let me know if you’re thinking of attending (via the Facebook event page).

Cheers, Drake


Sneak peek offer!

My beloved music family,

In a little over two weeks, my first album, Hidden Gold, will have its five year anniversary. It was a milestone for me.

I have been working on a full remix and remaster of the most popular track from the album, “Tam Lin of the Elves”, brought to life with the help of the incomparable Heather Dale. I always loved the song, but my inexperience as a mixing engineer shows on the original release, and much of the beauty and delicacy of her vocals got a little buried in the mix.

bardic inclusion


There are issues that have been on my mind a lot for the last few years, and these issues have been thrust to the fore this past week. Some of what I have been grappling with:

  • What does it mean to be a real ally?
  • How can I see past my own privilege to better understand the lived experience of people who have been marginalized?
  • What does it mean to truly include others whose experience is different from mine?
general SCA

Settling in for the marathon

As of this weekend, I have been Queen’s Bard of the East for a full three months–a quarter of the year that champions are supposed to serve. I continue to be honored and deeply humbled at this opportunity, and recognize the good fortune and privilege that allowed me to compete and to serve. With that said, I need to level with you about something:

This position does not look like it did on the brochure.