bardic filk

Bjorn’s Ceilidh and Baronial Investiture (and Shenanigans!)

So, I got to return to the SCA and my kingdom with both feet yesterday at Bjorn’s Ceilidh up at our second home, Concordia of the Snows. I probably need to explain how it is that this happened, since it was not in anyone’s plans at the start of the day…

So let’s rewind. (Lyrics to the filk here.)

I was very excited about the day. It would be our first SCA event since getting home from Pennsic and all the time spent doing Drood, epic as that was. And soon-to-be Baroness Maria Von Ossenheim and Baron Faolán an Sccreccain had asked me to perform my piece “Concordian Soil”, written at the request of the outgoing Baron and Baroness, the well-beloved beloved JP and Lylie, when I was their Bardic champion.

It would also be my first chance to meet our new royals, Wilhelm and Vienna, who had been announcing a strong interest in seeing more music and performance at events. (I was aware that processing in a new Baron and Baroness with a piece of my own composition honoring the Barony wasn’t the worst first impression I could make.)

The moment went beautifully. I sang in the procession from the alcove above, providing wonderful acoustics. (I did learn shortly thereafter that writing that song with notes that go to the upper end of my vocal range makes it difficult for members of the barony to sing it at events when I’m not there, and they do sing it. So I will be fixing that soon, by providing alternate notes for those high parts, which I promise to record and share in the next few weeks.)

After morning court, I had the opportunity to meet her Majesty Vienna, who is indeed as open, approachable, and easy to talk to as she and Wilhelm promised to be–it is their particular mission for their reign, and I am deeply grateful. Vienna let me know how much she enjoyed the Concordian piece and the moment it created for court. She then, with a smile, asked me if I had heard about her Royal Whim declaring ABBA “period” for the rest of their reign. (For the uninitiated, Royal Whims are an opportunity for Royals to let the populace know about their style and what they wish to encourage in the kingdom, and often include a small touch of whimsy, allowing them to declare something that otherwise would be discouraged in SCA circles officially in-bounds for their reign.) I let her know that I had, and was considering it.

So over lunch I considered it more specifically. My beloved Jessa had suggested I work with “Dancing Queen”, because she is a genius. It went from idle speculation to an obsessive session with my muse quickly, and I found my modest filk coming together in something under 45 minutes or so.

A little later in the afternoon, Jess and I approached her Majesty and informed her that I had something to share. She quickly grabbed her husband and hastened us all into the Royal Room, letting everyone in the room know they were in for a “treat” and that they should give me their full attention.

Now, ABBA is ABBA for a reason. Their chord progressions, lyrics, hooks, and production are infectious fun, and the stuff of legend. So, really, to make an ABBA filk work, all you really have to do is just give in to it, get out of the way, and sell the thing. So it shouldn’t necessarily surprise anyone that the Bloodguard actually started in as backup dancers. (Or so Jess told me. The problem with performing a song you’ve just finished the lyrics to, as you can see in the video, is that I have to spend all my time looking at the words because losing my place would kill the momentum.)

But it did in fact surprise me when Wilhelm, after he stopped laughing, requested that I sing the new piece for the Royal procession for afternoon court. (The Court references, like the feast references, were just circumstance. I was pulling lyrics from whatever was available given the event I was at…and let’s face it, where do most of us in the SCA most often see a Queen, aside from court and feasts?)

“I serve at the pleasure of your Majesties.” What’s a bard to do?

And thus did we open court. Not sorry.

The court and the day itself were full of wonderful moments aside from these. JP and Lylie received a beautiful scroll signed by the Barony, I got to welcome Baroness Maria into the Order of the Silver Brooch, and Baron Faolán was inducted into the Maunche (the next level Eastern A&S order). Also, I should mention that Jess’s and my friend Rhys, who has been making so many Concordian events happen for decades (including last year’s Winter Nights which I nominally ran), was made a Baron of their Majesties’ court (as well as a Pine, Concordia’s service award). I can’t do justice to all the happiness that was shared, but I’m grateful to have contributed a small touch to it.

I will also thank my friend Master Magnus for teaching a class on judging King’s & Queen’s A&S using the new rubric. Tremendously valuable.

This. This is my SCA, and I am grateful for it.

4 replies on “Bjorn’s Ceilidh and Baronial Investiture (and Shenanigans!)”

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