After K&Q Bardic on Saturday, one piece of fieldback I received was that my round one lute piece should have been more polished. It certainly should have. I knew that I would be somewhat discombobulated by the crowd, but I really hoped my intensive preparation would provide enough confidence for me to make it through with much less difficulty than I had.
For those who are curious…I recorded a practice session a little over a month ago and shared it privately with my Laurel. While I had not yet added the spoken words (which of course make it a bit more challenging), being recorded also makes me nervous (though clearly not remotely as much as a public audience). This is what the piece sounded like then.
What if a day, or a month, or a yeare
Crown thy delights with a thousand sweet contentings?
Cannot a chance of a night or an howre
Crosse thy desires with as many sad tormentings?
King’s and Queen’s Bardic and A&S Champions was held yesterday. I’ve been running relatively quiet while I prepared for the last several months. While Bardic and A&S have become a combined event as of last year, and are likely to stay that way, for most of us who compete, they are essentially separate events, because there is little opportunity to focus on the other when we’re participating in the one. So I will speak only to the Bardic. And, as I tend to, I’m going to go heavy on process as I experienced it. (I won’t apologize for that…I’m learning that a number of other bards, including some I competed against yesterday, read my posts, and find value in what I share.)
But first, let’s not bury the lede. His Majesty Ivan selected my dear friend Juliana Bird (aka Bird the Bard) as his new King’s Champion, and Her Majesty Mathilde selected my new friend Geoffrey of Exeter, originally from Lochac (Australia), and an experienced bard in at least two other kingdoms, as her Queen’s Champion. I had the honor of competing in the final four against them, alongside Phelippe le Vigneron, who like Bird, is an incredibly talented bard from Bhakail, and relatively new to the SCA bardic scene (this was his first competition). [CORRECTION: Phelippe is from Settmour Swamp, and told me as much. I have a terrible habit of lumping people together who play in Bhakail, because I’m frankly jealous of their camaraderie and live too far away to participate regularly in it.]
It’s been a little over two weeks since Bjorn’s Ceilidh, so this post is rather overdue. (Surprise.) But life has been very full and busy, and that’s how it goes. Still, it’s important to me to take a moment and reflect on Ceilidh, and my time as Concordia’s bardic champion.
It has been a privilege and a delight to serve as champion for Baron Jean-Paul and Baroness Lylie. They are both warm and encouraging, and I had the opportunity to see close at hand how diligently they carry their responsibilities for Concordia of the Snows.
Last Saturday, I got to participate in the SCA in a way that I had never done before: running a full-day event. As Concordia’s Baronial Bard, I had the privilege of serving as event steward (or, as some say, “autocrat”) for the Winter Nights competition. The event, which had been a Concordian event for several years, recently changed to a three-year rotation between East Kingdom’s Northern, Southern, and Central regions. This is the first time it has come back to Concordia, and so it was a stroke of luck that it happened during my term as champion. While for many people, running an event is a key part of growing and evolving in the SCA, I have never yearned to have that responsibility. Given my ADHD (and my ego’s exhibitionist streak), the thought has been one I have long shied away from.
With one important exception. I have always dreamed of running Winter Nights.
This all-day bardic competition was my introduction to the bardic community five years ago. Winning it two years back was one of the most delightful surprises I’ve had as a bard. This event taught me about camaraderie, about improvisation, about the breadth of talent and skills and generosity that this kingdom’s bards (and not just this kingdom’s) have to offer. In many ways, it is as much home to me as Pennsic is. (Not for nothing did I slip a name-check into my East Kingdom anthem.)
Reminder: Winter Nights returns to Concordia in 3 weeks. Come to perform. Come to compete. Come to watch and listen. Come just for the joy of it!
Check out the EK event page or the Facebook event for more details.
After weeks of having to focus on Real Life, I’m doing some mad last-minute prep for this year’s concert (Monday of War Week, 8-9 pm, Performing Arts Tent), and I’m really excited.
The set this year is going to be really fresh. I mean really fresh. There will be stuff you’ve NEVER heard me perform before on this stage. And I’ve invited guests who are just getting known to the bardic scene…Cedar the Barefoot and Bird the Bard! (Don’t worry, Master Efenwealt is up for a song too.)
There will be three songs from Sing for the East. I am planning to actually play a lute piece.
And–oh yeah. The Hamilton filk. That too.
Hope to see you there!
I have now posted a song page for “Concordian Soil”, the new piece I debuted a week ago at Wars of the Roses.