Wars of the Roses 2016

Over the weekend, we attended Concordia’s Wars of the Roses 37. Got to see old friends and make a few new ones, and it was our first event since K&Q Bardic. Roses is, of course known for its notoriously unpredictable weather (falling as it does on Memorial Day weekend), and this was no exception. This time, of course, we dealt with record-breaking heat. Nevertheless, had a wonderful time, and experienced several firsts. Here are some highlights:

  • I entered an Arts & Sciences competition for the first time. The challenge was to present a new skill we had learned since the previous year’s Roses. Having spent much of the year learning the lute, I couldn’t resist. I sampled playing four of the period lute songs I’ve learned, along with documentation of my learning process and research, and the iterations I’d gone through with sheet music for those songs. Another gentle was performing on a real six-course lute (as opposed to my Martin Backpacker travel guitar set to lute tuning), and he let me try it out for a few minutes. Okay. In case I wasn’t sure, I totally have to get a real lute.
  • At Royal Court on Saturday, my dear friend Cedar the Barefoot received their Award of Arms. This was the first time I’d been the person contacted to help the royal staff arrange for the right time and place to present an award, and I’d made note that Cedar identifies as gender neutral. They were very surprised and pleased at the honorific that was devised for them: Cedar-San (Japanese for “Honorable Cedar”) Barefoot.
  • A short time later, another good friend, Sisuile Butler, was called up to receive the Silver Brooch. As a recent inductee myself, I had my first opportunity to be called up as a member of the Order to welcome the newest member. I’ve known Sisuile from Pennsic for nearly four years, but she had moved to the East a little over a year ago, and it was wonderful to be part of the welcoming committee (it was an intimate committee, too, since the Silver Brooch is only a few months old, so there were just two of us on hand).
  • Saturday night, Cedar presided over the Roses bardic competition, whose theme was basically “bawdy (but tasteful)”. Their Excellencies Jean-Paul and Lylie were kind enough to ask me to open the evening prior to the competition with “We Are the East”, which it was my pleasure to share. For the actual competition, I decided to perform “Lusty Young Smith”, which is always a favorite. I wasn’t overly concerned with winning, since Lady Lorita’s piece was going to be hard to beat. (We weren’t able to stay through baronial court the next day, but it turned out I was wrong, and I was announced as the winner. York won the event, and apparently the war this year, 9-5!)
  • More importantly, though, the bardic competition featured wonderful performances from bards I knew well, as well as some who were just getting started. Cedar presented some lovely work (no surprise), as well as Cedar’s growing cadre of friends they have been inviting into the Society over the past year, including Duncan, Victoria, and Rachel. To say nothing of the chance to see old friends like Katherine Ashwode (aka the Pocket Bard) returning after an absence of a couple of years, and Maraha Kahanikar, a popular storyteller who is a recent transplant to the East. The future of the bardic arts in our kingdom is clearly brighter than ever.

That’s all for now. (Pennsic Prep Season is officially under way.)

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