bardic Pennsic SCA songwriting teaching

Pennsic 42 as a Budding Bard

I started this post back on Monday of War Week, but Pennsic kept happening, and on our return home, mundane life (particularly my job) pulled me right back in.  Much as I wanted to do a detailed diary of Pennsic, and/or a lengthy gratitude list, I’m going to resist the impulse because:

  1. I’ve spent time thanking the people who deserved my thanks, and will continue to do so, and
  2. As my wife points out, I did enough navel-gazing during my downtime at Pennsic to last me the rest of the year.

I will say that I was able to check a few items off my Bardic bucket list:

  • I have now performed on the Performing Arts stage by invitation, Sunday night as part of the mini concert series. I was in good company: Katherine Ashwoode (the Pocket Bard), Lillie Van der Tam (Winter Nights 2012 Advanced Champion), Maraha Kahanikar, and Dolan Madoc were the other performers.  The 12 minute time slot gave me just enough time to showcase “The Bastard’s Tale” and “Tam Lin of the Elves”.
  • I participated in (and helped organize) the Bardic Arts Exposition, returning to Pennsic after a 12 year absence.  I unveiled “The Last Plantagenet”, which, as I’d hoped, was very well received, and indeed, getting the song done this year while the Richard III discovery was still recent news was well worth it.
  • I taught my first class, “Songwriting to Tell a Story”, which was well received by the students.
  • I composed a song specially for an SCA event and audience, and managed to impress, with “Lady of the Rose” (and we got the video).
  • I realized a dream that had burned brightly in me since last Pennsic… Marian of Heatherdale invited me to perform in her “Heather Dale and Friends” concert Wednesday Night (squee!), and the experience was amazing.  I did “Mug Your Gate” (YouTube) and “Lady of the Rose” (YouTube).

The biggest surprise for me as a bard was the amount of feedback I got from many sources about how much I had grown as a performer since last year.  That was welcome, since it hadn’t been my focus.  The consensus opinion is that my confidence level as a bard has grown so that I am comfortable taking command of an audience.

All in all, a wonderful way to complete a busy year in this growing role.  I felt that sense of “level-up” sufficiently that I ultimately decided that it was time to pass on two of my most treasured tokens, the rings I got from Marian last Pennsic and from Magnus at Winter Nights, to others who inspired me.  I’m feeling very full, even as I recognize there’s a lot of road ahead.

This was only a piece of my overall Pennsic experience, but that’s what this blog is intended to capture, so that’s what I’m writing about in this space.

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