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Looking back on Coronation

The East Kingdom had our first virtual Coronation on Saturday, August 15, when Margarita De’ Siena completed her unprecedented and eventful reign, and Magnus Tindal and Alberic von Ron Rostock became the new Consules of the Eastern Empire. Grim as Sovereign’s Bard, and I as Consort’s Bard, asked their then-Highnesses what, if any, service we might provide to add to the ceremonies they were planning. As luck would have it, Tindal had a number of thoughts that played well to my strengths, and one that provided Grim and me a joint opportunity.

Tindal does video directing and production for a living, so he and Alberic organized a pre-recording session to capture the pomp and bustle of an EK Coronation, which was played before the livestreamed coronation. Court attendants were invited to participate, which ended up including my wife Jessa and myself as Consort’s Bard. It was all done as carefully as possible, with masks and appropriate social distancing, while each participant also got to be filmed without a mask for a few shots on their own. It was obviously an unconventional approach, but Tindal’s forethought and storyboarding created a beautiful simulation of the preparation for a day of this importance.

While we were there, Tindal and I got a few moments to discuss the rest of what he was looking for: Some instrumental music selections with different emotional resonances to play behind Alberic’s preparations, Margarita’s farewell letter, and Tindal’s own march to claim his throne, and a prerecorded reading of the Eastern Roll of Royalty, which is traditionally intoned as the new royals process out at the end of the ceremony.

I provided Tindal with instrumental versions of three of my songs, all of which ended up being used for the video: the work in progress recording of “Concordian Soil”, which Alberic (a native Concordian) was happy to have for his theme; the melancholy but stately “Last Plantagenet” for Margarita’s farewell and Alberic’s ascent; and “The Name of the King” for Tindal’s summons.

Grim and I worked together to create the Roll of Royals audio. (Kudos to Malcolm Bowman, our Brigantia Herald, for showing me the Royal page with the name pronunciations, since this version may be referenced again in the future.) Grim has experience with this sort of thing, so I took my cues from him in terms of tone and pacing of the calling of names. I then mixed our respective takes together, did a little stereo placement and cleanup, and put us in a grand hall with some reverb for effect. The result, especially with the photos and devices Tindal added to accompany each name, is something I’m proud to be part of.

With Covid playing havoc with our normal schedules, I have no idea whether or not there will be another Coronation during my term of service. I am content, however, that while it wasn’t anything like I had anticipated, I most definitely got to do the thing and contribute to this one. (I finally got around to watching the Full Extended Edition, in which Tindal managed to do some incredible editing together of additional sequences, and used even longer cuts of the music. I’m still getting to know Tindal, but his creative vision continues to impress me.)

As it played out, my involvement in the Coronation was completed a few days before the event with the delivery of the Roll of Royalty recording. However, I was still preparing a little frantically for two other pieces of business that fell under my bailiwick. First, my ode to Margarita, “Her Garden Grows”, which was composed just barely in time to coordinate with Dave Lambert and get a solid video together for that weekend, when the kingdom and much of the rest of the Known World were singing her well-earned praises. Second, the EK Midrealm Bardic Showcase, which Grim, Honor, Szof, Sabine, and I had scheduled before we found out the final date of Coronation. I wish once again to praise Matthias von Würzburg, our kingdom Webminister, for the grace with which he offered support for our livestream, on top of the tremendous demands Coronation had already placed upon him and his team.

By the time that Saturday came to an end, I felt like I had actually had a taste of the Pennsic War we were all denied this year. I had been scrambling to do things and pulled in different directions all day, had participated in glorious moments that I would remember for the rest of my days by collaborating with talented and dedicated friends, and I was exhausted and profoundly content.

My wish for everyone I know this year is that we all get a day or two like that, because they are rarer right now than any of us would like.

Ever yours, Drake

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