About Drake Oranwood

Drake Oranwood (Eric Schrager) is a singer, songwriter, producer, lutenist, and medieval enthusiast who brings modern sensibilities to original songs set long ago and far away.

Studio Day: Untitled Album, Day 1

It’s time to get started. I’m assembling concept tracks for four of my newer songs, and reaching out to musicians to begin coordinating. I’m targeting a release for next year, but we’ll see how things go. More updates as this project unfolds.

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Weekend update

This has been a rich and exciting weekend, full of connection, engagement, and opportunity (sometimes masquerading as adversity).

Saturday, I attended the inaugural East Kingdom College of Performers (EKCOP) Bardic Challenge event, held in the Barony of Iron Bog (Southern NJ). This was a full scale, all day event, with lots of bards in attendance, including several dear friends from out of kingdom. (We managed to get a photo representing four kingdoms.)

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King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions 2019

I’m back once again from our King’s and Queen’s Bardic Championships. And once more, it is bittersweet. I was not selected–in fact, I didn’t make the final four this year. Which on the face of it, seems like it should be a real letdown, after having been a finalist the last two times I entered.

And yet, that’s not how it feels. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely disappointed, and I’ll have to carry that with me for a little while as I process it, because feelings are stupid. I particularly loved the these royals, Wilhelm and Vienna, and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them during this reign, and bring them enjoyment as a bard. The idea of being selected by one of them meant a great deal to me. I could feel my overconfidence problem rearing its ugly head.

And then…I actually got there and laid eyes and ears on the competition, and I’m glad to say I sobered up real quick.

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Upcoming events

Hi again. (Ooh, two posts in the same week? Suddenly he’s all chatty!) It occurred to me that now that I have more time for SCA events, I should mention that I will be at a couple in the next few weeks. Continue reading

Some updates

Hi. I’ve been doing the thing again where I go quiet for much of the winter. A piece of that is that I am prepping for K&Q Bardic Champs once more, which is coming up a week from Saturday. I’m doing what I can to focus on that.

There is some real life stuff that I will take a moment to mention. A year and a half ago, a long tenure working at Intralinks came to and end in the wake of a troubled acquisition and the elimination of my position. I needed to find a new role, which led me to a consulting position at Bluewolf (which was already in the process of being acquired by IBM).

The experience at Bluewolf was valuable professionally, and provided terrific growth opportunities, including the trip to Marrakech that I took with Bird last year. However, the demands of consulting work, client engagement, changing projects, and ongoing business travel, limited the amount of attention I could give to other parts of my life, particularly the SCA.

As Bluewolf has been absorbed into IBM, those demands have only grown. I realized at the start of the year that I needed to make a change, and so I have left the organization. This week, I will be starting a new in-house role at Wiley Publishing in Hoboken. I believe this new opportunity should provide a much better work-life balance, so that I can have more time for the SCA, as well as my family and my other interests.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know. I’m hoping to have more to share with you going forward.

Missing Winter Nights this year

It is with the utmost regret that I share that I will not be making it to Winter Nights this year. Getting out to Massachusetts next weekend would torpedo things for my family, both of whom have commitments. I hope to see most of you at K&Q Bardic Champs later in the month.

On Filk

This #WordFameWednesday I wish to honor my beloved friend, sometime travel companion, and partner in mischief, Juliana Bird, King’s Bard (in Exile) of the East.

If I have taught Bird anything about what it means to be a bard, I’m delighted. But I know what she’s taught me. She’s modeled for me what it means to survive adversity, do hard work on oneself, and come out of it still connected to joy, authenticity, and childlike wonder. She has shown me how rapidly it is possible to grow in musicianship and art when it is done with zeal and passion and deep effort.

On top of everything else, she has shown me the artisanship of creating truly great filk.

I have often had an uneasy relationship with filk (specifically, the art of writing new original lyrics to an immediately-recognizable modern popular song) as a bard.* Too often, I’ve heard people lump together all original work created by SCA bards as “filk”, which I still find dismissive as a creator of SCA folk music. I enjoy a good filk as much as the next person, but I’m mindful that they are largely humorous and often considered “silly”.

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