To all the performers of the East, greetings!
(TLDR: Sign up to perform for your kingdom! C’mon, it’ll be fun! But take a moment please to read the long post anyway…)
This is a strange time we are living through together. The first warmth of spring, and for many, the first traces of hope. Hope that the day is drawing ever closer, when we will once more be able to gather together, embrace, and share companionship, song and story at an in-person event. Even now, we do not know just how many months more that will be. It’s tantalizing and at times maddening, no?
And as we wait, lo, this spring brings a bounty of opportunities to put our performance and research skills to the test, in service to our kingdom. (All of them remote! More time in front of a webcam instead of a fire! Will it never end?) As your kingdom’s Bardic Champions, it can be a little awkward asking for people to sign up, particularly since these events ended up scheduled so close to one another. And yet, this is the calendar we face, and the kingdom needs the support of its performers now.
- First off, one month from tomorrow, our Consules, Tindal and Alberic, will be seeking new Bardic Champions. We know from past experience that competitors often wait until the last minute to send in their letters of intent. (Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago that letters of intent weren’t even required.) But the Consules, and Grim and I, and our event autocrat Deonna, need to be better informed this year because of our unique circumstances. To make an online event run smoothly, we need to have a sense of how many competitors we have. For those who are hesitating and have not yet decided to put their hat in the ring, some things we’d like you to consider:
- Perhaps you aren’t sure whether you’re “ready” to compete at the kingdom level. You’ve been working on your repertoire, practicing, and attending online bardics to the extent you’re comfortable. You would love to have an audience for your efforts. Do you know what the most powerful whetstone is for a performer? Preparing for an event. If the prospect of competing brings up your nerves, that can be healthy. Preparing for this kingdom competition each year raises the game of every performer who participates. And if competition is just not something you’re feeling this year, consider writing to us or Deonna and offering us an exhibition performance. We are going to want performers during the between rounds judging, and this is still one of the largest most appreciative audiences in the kingdom.
- Perhaps you have the ambition to become one of our Kingdom Bards, but don’t relish the thought of having to compete (or serve) in an ethereal context. Having served in this capacity for a full year now, we fully understand that. But the next Royal Bards will have the privilege of being the voice of a kingdom that is re-opening. It is a unique opportunity that you should seriously consider. Future you, standing in court at events, will thank present you for stepping through any discomfort and signing up.
- Finally…the performer resume. We’ve never required that as part of the letter of intention before, and it’s possible that is making people hesitate until they get it “just right”. Please don’t worry. Feel free to just write the letter of intent and send it off to us now, and we’ll remind you before the competition to get your resume to us. (We’re keeping a Google Sheet with all the info, we’ll double check.)
- The Kingdom Webmaster, Matthias (Matt Jackson), has agreed to run an online Zoom Technical Check on the evening of Friday April 2 from 8-10 pm. We will send links to anyone who has submitted their letter of intent so you can check your audio, video, and internet connection. (But that means you need to sign up soon!)
Moving on, in May we have The First Bardic War! To have this fall so soon after Kingdom Bardic is, indeed, asking a lot of the East. Let us suggest a different framing, though: For the next month, you can apply all your hard work and practice to two competitions for your kingdom! Regardless of how far you progress in the kingdom championship, this will prepare you to bring an even stronger game as we join our allies and try to out-perform our foes!
We have had a number of competitors sign up, but we need still more! There are 35 War Points. We will be meeting with our allied generals from Atlantia, Trimaris, Ealdormere and AEthelmearc this weekend to start fielding our combined forces. It’s vital that we know where each kingdom is flush with interest and ability, and where they may wish to lean more on their allies. So please consider signing up by this coming Saturday if you can. (We will continue to have signups after that, but signing up this week will help us better strategize.)
Finally, right on the heels of the Bardic War, there is the Laurels Challenge organized by our wonderful new MOAS Elena Hylton. We and Mistress Elena have discussed the close timing of these events, and we have agreed that these events are not in competition with each other. They are complementary, and performance pieces prepared for the War can be used without alteration for Master Peregrine’s performance challenge.
It’s an exciting time, and excitement and fear are close companions. Please feel free to reach out to either of us (or to the East Kingdom College of Performers) with questions or for encouragement or support.
In service, your Bardic Champions and War Generals,
Grim and Drake