bardic filk SCA

Falling Leaves (and “Prince Luis”)

We headed up to Carolingia (Massachusetts) on Saturday for Falling Leaves. There were two primary reasons we ventured so far from home. The first was that our Marauders campmate Eadgyth æt Stæningum was on vigil for the Order of the Pelican. And the second? Well, I had accepted a challenge from her Highness Margarita, and had agreed to answer it in court, resulting in a new filk, “Prince Luis” (the page has lyrics, backstory, and documentation, because I had the time and couldn’t resist)

[UPDATE 10/13/19: In light of recent events, I have removed the song page and the video from public listings.]

The day overall was relaxing and lovely. Some people and moments worth acknowledging:

  • Her Highness Margarita De’ Siena, for entrusting me with this very specific piece of schtick. The piece was deliciously fun to write, to try out on test audiences, and to let loose in court. Her effervescent joy in all of our conversations, about this secret project, bardic, the kingdom, and the SCA, have lifted my spirits constantly.
  • His Highness Luis de Castilla, for demonstrating an easygoing sense of humor, a highly photogenic royal facepalm, chivalry and action that are the stuff of legends, and terrific taste in Disney music without which none of this would have happened.
  • The talented Amelie von Hohense, a brilliant singer who stepped up with flashing excitement and dedicated precision to learn a really challenging counterpoint to bring this moment to life, on a few weeks’ notice. And who gifted her Majesty with some gorgeous underwear just a few minutes later.
  • His Majesty Ozurr the Bootgiver, who I finally got to see at his own Court. A servant king is a gift to his kingdom, and Ozurr shows this in little details. Often it is the king who holds up the gorgeous scrolls that are being given out for the populace to see. I don’t recall seeing one take each and every one of them out to the front row, walking it all the way around as it is being read, to give everyone the best view possible of the artistry. Serving in any way he can clearly is a pleasure for his Majesty, and I was gratified to see that close at hand. [EDIT: I forgot to mention the “My Pronouns Are He/Him” pin he wore all day.]
  • Her Majesty Fortune Sancte Keyne, she of the bold voice and the hearty laugh, and sporting (along with a couple of her retinue) splendid garb modeled after, well, the Boston Red Sox. She knows how to be seen and heard, does it fearlessly, and lights up the spaces she holds. When Margarita asked her, months back, for her blessing to take up a few extra minutes in court with a filk of “Prince Ali”, her response was “I’m not sure how we’ll fit that many camels into court, but I guess we’ll have to try.” Time was really tight for final court, and I was deeply grateful she let us go for it and do the shenanigan anyway. (Our eyes met after I sat down, and, trying not to laugh as court continued, she snorted, “I can’t even look at you.” Sorry/not sorry.)
  • My wife Jessa, who figured out with me which event to deliver this at, and captured incredible video of the performance close up, especially their Highness’s priceless expressions.
  • My friend Agnes Marie de Calais, who was there at Roses sitting next to me when Margarita issued the challenge, and egged me on to do it and give it my all. Who practiced self care and good boundaries, and let me know she wasn’t going to have the bandwidth to learn the counterpoint in time for me to find new partner. I was happy to be there on Saturday to see her apprenticed to Mistress Raziya bint Rusa, which will be a terrific partnership, even as we continue to work together on Agnes’s Bardic endeavors with Raziya’s blessing.
  • Agnes’s husband, Devon, was recognized in baronial court for chivalrous behavior and service—well deserved.
  • Master Lucien de Pontivy and Mistress Aildreda de Tamworthe, who I don’t get to see often enough, and who provided delightful interlude singing during the commedia performance by I Sebastiani.
  • Soon-to-be Mistress Eagdyth, who grinned ear to ear as she was “abducted” from her vigil for a few minutes so she could spend some time on her beloved thrown weapons range. She asked her Marauders camp “household” to process in with her, which included me and Jessa. We don’t get included together in an SCA family all that often, and that was deeply appreciated.
  • Old friend Donal Arthur of the Silver Band and his wife Sandra, who managed to get out to the event to catch the shenanigan. And to Master Peregrine the Illuminator, who found face time with me for the first time “since I claimed you as mine, or partly mine”, as he put it. There was a short moment before the final court when I got the chance to share “I Must Be Silent” with Donal, Peregrine, and Lucien—three of my three favorite bards in the Carolingia area, who had not been at Pennsic to see it. A small audience, as I’ve said before, is a different challenge, pure connection and intimacy. Seeing my friends eyes up close as they took in the piece was an unexpected gift for me.
  • Speaking of unexpected…my former work colleague Wade Callison PM’d me that he saw me post about this event, and he would be there with his oldest son! It was their first event. I watched them get called up in midday court with the other newcomers, and will be curious to learn what they thought about it. You never know who you’re going to see at an event.
  • It was deeply heartening to encounter a couple of folks who I saw at classes I taught at Pennsic, who let me know how much they are enjoying finding performance opportunities and sharing themselves with audiences. If I think of myself as having a “job” in the SCA, the first line of the job description is about welcoming and encouraging new performers, so this sort of thing really feeds me. We bards, we’re a little like vampires, but only in that we want to make more.

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