Looking back at Pennsic 47

So, even by my sluggish standards, this Pennsic post is really late. We got home three weeks ago. There are a few reasons (excuses) why I didn’t jump on it right away:

  1. Between my job and rehearsals for The Mystery of Edwin Drood (which opens next weekend), I have been very busy and squeezed a bit hard on re-entry the last few weeks.
  2. I did do a few shares on this blog related to Pennsic, including two posts from war, a new song which recapped some of my experiences with a broad brush, and posting my full concert on YouTube.
  3. Because the Sing for the East project added songbooks to our offerings just in time for Pennsic, and we still had some inventory left when we got home, I felt like I was attending to unfinished Pennsic business for much of my first week back. (We did sell out quickly enough on Bandcamp, and have sent this year’s donation to the EK Royal Travel Fund.)

Nevertheless, it’s important to take time to reflect on a two-week event we only experience once a year, and I have lots of people to acknowledge (even if I have mentioned some of them previously). Continue reading

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New Song: “Pack Out Day”

Hi everyone! We just got home from Pennsic yesterday, and to my surprise, as we began packing out, I felt a song coming on, and I went with it. So, as my way of thanking all of you for being part of my SCA experience, I’m breaking all my normal “rules” and sharing it with you right now. This is a quick a Capella vocal cut of the song, and it captures my experience of Pennsic this year, which involved my stretching a bit and doing more things that weren’t necessarily Bardic. (No, I still didn’t actually drink, but since the vast majority of adults I hung out with did, it’s still an indelible part of my experience of the War.)

I will set up a standard song page for this later (along with the other new songs I brought to the war, and class notes, and video from the concert–I promise I’ll get to it). But for now…enjoy! Continue reading

Greetings from Pennsic!

Thought for once I’d post live. Not a LOT to say, but still, I’m awake early enough to check in. Some notes as we leave Peace Week behind:

  • Last night I attended the Worst Bardic Circle, Like, Evarrrrr. (That was actually the title–Efenwealt’s brain child.) We were all urged to confess our Bardic sins. So I unveiled the very first Drake Oranwood song I ever wrote, from before my time in the SCA (back when I spelled it “Orinwood”). It was basically Ren Fair fanfic. It passed muster for this circle. (No, I’m not performing it for you now.)
  • First Bardic Monday night was lovely (if rainy). Thursday night’s Chocolate Bardic at McGuire’s Marauders was probably my second favorite ever. (My favorite, the first Chocolate Bardic I ever went to, is unlikely to be surpassed. That was the first time I ever performed “Tam Lin of the Elves” at Pennsic, Heather Dale was in the audience, and when she expressed her admiration of the song, I mentioned I could imagine her singing the Elf Queen, and she crowed with delight. I met a few of my dearest friends that night. It’s a pretty high bar. Nevertheless, this one was excellent.)
  • The first session of “My Guitar’s Persona Is a Lute” on Thursday went beautifully, with an impressive turnout of eager students. Clearly, there is a thirst for how to do lute repertoire on guitar, and the reveal of how ridonkulously simple it is to adapt a guitar for the purpose appeared not to disappoint anyone.
  • My concert (Wednesday night from 8 to 9) is shaping up to be a fun one. This year’s Hamilton filk, which will feature my music friends Bird the Bard and Cedar the Barefoot, will now also include my son Spencer, who basically said to me the other day, “I want to be in ‘The Tomb Where It Happens'”, so how could I possibly say no? His turn as Mercutio should be a hoot (especially since he will ALSO be playing the roles of Isaac AND God that evening).
  • Oh, and speaking of Cedar…if you’re willing to pause on your way to Opening Ceremonies to catch The Barefoot Bard from 6-6:30 on the PA Stage tonight, you won’t be disappointed. And speaking of Lin-Manuel filk, their Moana filk promises to be hilarious. (And if you accuse me of putting them up to that I will cut you. Because true.)

Look forward to see you as we move into War Week!

Off to Pennsic!

The Oranwood clan will be on the road to Pennsic this evening. Some of the places you can find me this War:

  • We are camping at McGuire’s Marauders (block N06, next to Ansteorra Royal). Feel free to say hello.
  • My concert will be War Wednesday from 8-9 pm (between House Sans Nomen and Heather Dale–still don’t know how that happened, still not questioning it), and planned guests include Efenwealt Wystle, Bird the Bard, Cedar the Barefoot, Sólveig Bjarnardóttir, and my son Spencer Oranwood. There will be new original songs. There will be lute. More importantly, there will be new and even more ambitious Hamilton filk.
  • My dear friend Cedar the Barefoot is performing their first concert Middle Sunday from 6-6:30 pm. I’ll be watching, because I wouldn’t miss this and you shouldn’t either. Apparently, there will be new Lin-Manuel Miranda filk performed here as well, and any suggestions that I might have instigated said filk would be grounds for legal action. (Shenanigans? ME?!?)
  • Efenwealt Wystle and I will be hosting the annual Bardic Expo on War Monday from 2:00-4:30 pm. Come perform, and come see others perform.
  • I am teaching “My Persona’s Guitar Is a Lute” on Peace Thursday from 11-12 pm and War Wednesday from 1-2 pm. This is a new first time offering.
  • I will be at McGuire’s infamous Chocolate Bardic on Peace Thursday, and I will try to get to other bardic circles whenever possible throughout the War. (There are rumors of a “secret bardic circle” during peace week, possibly at Highrafters, but the first rule of it is that you don’t talk about it, and the second rule…)

As for music:

  • The Sing for the East CD (as well as the new Companion Songbook) will be available at Camelot Treasures (booth 30) and Designs by J (booth 162). You can also find my first album Hidden Gold there if you don’t already have it.
  • Efenwealt Wystle’s new music sampler CD together for this Pennsic, featuring some really well-known performers. Somehow, I got a track of mine, and one from bright star Juliana la Badele, on this thing.
  • You should be looking for any music you don’t yet have when you have the chance. There are a ton of hard-working artists creating amazing, high-quality recordings within this community, and they deserve your patronage.

Hope to see you at War!

Catch-up, and Pennsic prep

Sorry the posting is still so sporadic. Some updates:

  • East Kingdom 50 Year was lovely–what I got to experience of it. As it happens, 30 minutes after I finished my Friday concert with Donal Artur and Bird (which was a blast), I was rushed to the ER for pain that turned out to be a kidney stone. By the next morning, it was clear that managing my discomfort was going to be difficult at the event, so we packed up and left early. I hated to miss the rest of it. (And yes, the stone passed a couple of days ago.)
  • Efenwealt Wystle has put the bardic sampler CD together for this Pennsic, and I’m excited to have my music and Juliana’s on it. Some major names on this thing, I feel very privileged.
  • I’ve put together Facebook events for my concert and my classes for this war. I will be posting my two new songs when I get back.
  • Rehearsals for The Mystery of Edwin Drood are eating up my evenings, as expected, but a promise is a promise, and I’m having a ton of fun.

This year’s Pennsic concert

So, in other Pennsic news, I found out when my concert has been scheduled. Wednesday of War Week, 8-9 pm. (For those unfamiliar with the concert schedule, it means I’m the lead-in for Heather Dale’s time slot.)

This was a surprise to me. One of those good surprises. The kind that is followed by a lot of mental scrambling and complicated feelings. (A lot of them start with “Holy crap.”)

I’m making no assumptions about what will happen in future years. I plan to really enjoy this opportunity, and make sure the audience and my guest performers do too.

I’ll put an event out at some point. But since it’s right there on Thing at this point, I figured it was time I shared.

New Pennsic Class: My Guitar’s Persona Is a Lute

So I’m introducing a new class at Pennsic this year, and I’ve just submitted it. My intention is to teach it twice, during Peace Week and War Week (or possibly Middle Weekend, which in my experience can produce some great turnout). Here’s my writeup:

How do you play authentic lute music if your instrument is a modern guitar? The good news is, the instruments are very closely related. Learn how to tune and play your guitar as if it were a lute, how to interpret lute tablature, how to find authentic period composers, songs, and arrangements. The skills are highly transferrable, and while lute music has a different feel and sound, the rewards for your investment of time and effort are great. This is a one-hour lecture class, so you are welcome to bring your guitar to experiment on, but this is not a music lesson so it is not required.