Stepping Down as Baronial Bard

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.

A year as Baronial Bard was the fulfillment of a long-held aspiration, and given I do not myself live in a barony, there was never any question of which barony I wanted to serve. Concordia, and its conjoined neighbor Anglespur, are fonts of inspiration and industry, and it’s no surprise that it is and has been home to a number of legendary bards, including Master Toki, Master Grim, Mistress Aife, and Master Magnus, to name but a few (each of whom have been instrumental in helping me to hone my craft). This year gave me the gift of being able to plan and run three legendary bardic competitions which are among my favorites: the Bardic War Point for Wars of the Roses, Winter Nights, and of course the Baronial Championship to determine my successor. It also put me in a position to foster and promote the bardic arts, and endeavor to provide the sort of welcome to the next generation of bards that this place provided to me not so many years ago. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity.

I was delighted to see that my invitation to step up and compete for the next baronial championship was heard. We had three rounds of fantastic performances from Robert Tytes (my competitor last year), Lorita de Siena (a former champion against whom I had previously competed), and relative newcomer Douglas Doan (who had competed at Roses and Winter Nights). In between, we were treated to a number of other performances. Ultimately, their Excellencies selected Robert as their new champion, and I have no doubt that his growing repertoire, skill, and passion for the bardic arts will serve the barony well in the year to come. Vivat!

JP and Lylie were not quite done with me, as it turns out, and I was shortly called back up, along with a couple of other gentles including my friend and sometime collaborator Katrusha the Skomorokh, to be presented with the Order of the Sapphire, Concordia’s Arts & Sciences award. It was a lovely and unexpected recognition, and I will strive to be worthy of it. (It was very pleasing to be welcomed by Concordia’s A&S notables, including all the influential bards I cited earlier.)

The final grace note for the event was that I finally had the opportunity to attend the Ceilidh feast. (As a rule, my family rarely attends feast at events, particularly when there is a long trip home afterward.) As Aife could not stay, she asked if my friend Bird the Bard and I would lead the singing of her song “Elegy”, so not only did I at long last get to attend the candle-lighting ritual of remembrance for departed friends, but was able to participate. And finally, Bird and I, along with Udalrich Schermer, performed “We Are the East” as an accompaniment to an original period dance Lady Lorita had composed for the occasion. One of the great delights of the SCA is discovering that one’s creative endeavors have inspired creativity in others, and it was joyous to see a period-style celebration happening to my modern Middle Ages music. I want to acknowledge Lorita, her dancers, as well as Bird and Udalrich, whose instrumental skill elevated the piece.

The next adventure awaits. It will be interesting to discover what it is.

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