As promised, it is time to break down this year’s Queen & Crown’s Bardic Championship as I prepared for and experienced it. I’m going to do one post for each round–not because this was the year I was selected, but because the work that went into each round dovetails with the A&S Journey posts I have been making since last June. We will start with the first round, where I presented John Dowland’s “Clear or cloudy”.
A quest has been completed. Saturday was the East Kingdom Queen and Crown’s Bardic Championship, in the Shire of Caer Adamant (Wilmington DE). Her Majesty Margarita ultimately selected me to be the new Queen’s Champion of Bardic for the next year. My friend Grim the Skald, a returning champion, was chosen as Crown’s Bard.
I will be posting my usual post-game analysis in the next few days, and videos of performances from the three rounds. But for now, I want to just let it sink in, and offer gratitude to some of the many people who made this day unforgettable:
Yes, it’s the last weeks leading up to the East Kingdom Bardic Championships, which will be held a week from Saturday in Delaware. Yes. I’m competing this year. (You know that our glorious Queen Margarita is a bard, right?)
I am following my wife’s advice and “keeping my powder dry” while I work on my competition pieces. I will, as is my custom, do a deep dive share on my preparation process (some of which has already been discussed at some length on this blog)…but I have learned that some element of surprise is invaluable in competitive performance, so I have gone rather quiet since the holidays.
I promise you this…I am preparing the absolutely “Drake-est” competition entries I have ever undertaken. And I will share the results for every round I make it through.
I’m planning to have a blast, and I hope to see you there.
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.]
Last weekend’s 8th Known World Cooks and Bards event, held in the Barony of Shattered Crystal in the Middle Kingdom, was absolutely wonderful. (I’ll do my best to avoid excuses for taking so long to write about it, though I am looking at the fading bug bites all over my arms and legs, and reflecting on recovering from a general lack of sleep. Still wouldn’t be the first time it took me a week to post about an event.) It was my first time traveling by plane to an out of kingdom event, and indeed, the first SCA event I’ve attended that wasn’t held in my home kingdom of the East, or neighboring AEthelmearc. It was also my first KWCB, since the last one was held five years ago.
I’m in LaGuardia Airport waiting for a flight to St. Louis. This weekend is the 8th Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium (aka Known World Cooks & Bards, or KWCB). I’ve wanted to attend this event ever since I decided that “bard” was a thing I wanted to do. Known World gatherings for any given interest, or complementary pairing, usually happen every other year. (Other interests that have gatherings include dance, music, scribal arts, and brewing. There are many.) KWCB, however, is being held for the first time in 5 years, because various challenges came up (including the recent spate of 50th anniversaries for the SCA and the earliest kingdoms, as well as the challenges of finding a suitable site).
Since the song seemed to be well-received at Pennsic and afterward, it occurred to me that I had never finished the sheet music transcription for “Pack Out Day”, in case folks would like to learn it. (Part of the reason is that I hadn’t quite worked out what the intro and the ending were going to sound like for the recording. Given it’s more modern than most of my SCA stuff, we’ll do a class repeat and fade, but that doesn’t work so well for a live performance…I came up with an ending that works for the Pennsic concert, so I’ve transcribed the song basically the way it was performed there. (Caveat: I often find transcription mistakes later on, so there’s a non-zero chance I will revise this later.)
We got back late last night from Roses, and boy, is our everything tired. We’re a bit under-slept (which often happens, but a couple of unforced errors on my part made it worse than usual), yet at the same time my heart feels energized and refreshed, and my spirit is lighter and clearer than it’s been in a while.
In the SCA, the idea of going “home” to an event is bandied about a lot, and I’ve seen my share of backlash posts from people who object to the idea of an SCA event, particularly a camping event, as their home. Your mileage may vary. But returning to Concordia of the Snows’ big start-of-camping-season event (hosted by the Shire of Glenn Linn) really felt like a homecoming this weekend. The Albany area is generally a 2-3 hour drive for us, so we get up to the Barony less often than we’d like, and there are places closer to us that probably would welcome us and offer opportunities to do things we love to do…but ever since our first Roses six years ago (referenced in the opening verse of “Concordian Soil”, this has always been a place where we felt we really fit. And the Barony took the opportunity to remind us yesterday that the feeling is indeed mutual.
My family attended our first Black Rose Ball at the Barony of the Bridge on Saturday. It was a lovely event, full of sweet surprises.