At last, we conclude our discussion of researching, preparing for, and entering a kingdom-level bardic competition, if you’re still interested in it (after the analyses of Round 1 and Round 2). For the final round, I debuted the original song “Hold the Door Open”. I researched the Arthurian legends of Thomas Malory, and wove together five characters to convey messages about modern diversity and inclusion. I chose to use my skills in modern composition to convey the emotions of the words.
The family is at PAX East in Boston for the weekend (Spencer’s birthday present). I plan to do the deep breakdown of last weekend’s final round of competition when we get home Sunday. But in the meantime, I don’t want to keep this new piece, “Hold the Door Open”, under wraps anymore. The video (and the correct lyrics, which aren’t exactly what I sang) are available to the public.
We continue our review of kingdom-level competition prep (from yesterday’s Round 1 analysis). On to Round 2, and how I arrived at “Ode to Birka” as my performance piece. (Note: I am categorizing this as an A&S Journey entry, because the focus of this round ended up being contrafacts of Thomas Campion pieces examined in this series. Before I found the right one, “My love hath vowed”, I made attempts with “Now winter nights enlarge” and “I care not for these ladies”, which will be detailed below.)
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:
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.
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.]
Announcing: at Bjorn’s Ceilidh (Saturday November 11), their Excellencies JP and Lylie will be selecting the next Bardic champion for the Barony of Concordia of the Snows.
The competition will be held in three rounds, with the following format:
- Round one: perform the piece with which you are most comfortable. Show us what you do best.
- Round two: perform a piece you have never before shared in competition. Stretch and surprise us.
- Round three: perform a piece that is documented as having origins in the medieval period. Documentation should at most be half a page or fill an index card. The piece can be wholly from period, a contrafact if a period work, or composed in a period form or style.
To compete, you must either be a resident of Concordia, or willing to give your fealty to the Barony on being chosen. Please inform the current baronial bard, Drake Oranwood, of your intention to compete either privately or at Ceilidh.
Competitors should only enter if they are prepared to serve as Baronial bard if selected by their Excellencies, and have no duties or obligations which would prevent them from serving appropriately.
The responsibilities include:
- Attend the majority of Concordian events and participate in any Baronial Court held at those events.
- Attend the Baron and Baroness at some out of Barony events, including Pennsic if possible.
- Wear the regalia of your position.
- Supervise (or delegate) the Bardic competition and War Point at the Wars of the Roses.
- Organize next year’s Baronial Champion competition to choose your successor.
Lord Drake Oranwood
Announcing the Bardic competition for the Wars of the Roses!
The Wars of the Roses were a 30 year conflict fought over who had the legitimate claim to the throne of England.
In the Medieval period, no less than our present day, the people’s belief in the legitimacy of their ruler was crucial to maintaining peace and prosperity.
Your challenge is to bring to the competition a piece on the topic of legitimacy: how it is conveyed, earned, created, or projected (or not), and why that matters (or doesn’t) in the outcome of the story you are telling.
Drake Oranwood, Baronial Bard, Concordia of the Snows
This past Saturday was the Bjorn’s Ceilidh event up in Concordia, and it was my family’s first SCA event together since Pennsic. Things were a bit subdued with everyone processing the results of the presidential election, but it was really good to get a day with so many of our friends once more.
The Baron and Baroness held a competition to select their new Bardic Champion, and I elected to compete. Last year I was keeping my powder dry while preparing for King’s and Queen’s, but that meant I had expanded my repertoire a bit, and had some pieces in my pocket that hadn’t been seen yet.