Last weekend was Bjorn’s Retreat, my first in-person event since the pandemic began last year (and the kingdom’s first except for Crown Tourney last month). While we were all masked even outdoors (thank you, your Majesties, for your laudable caution and concern for the health of the populace), it was still delightful to be at an event with my family, and get to see so many old friends in the flesh.
To all the performers of the East, greetings!
(TLDR: Sign up to perform for your kingdom! C’mon, it’ll be fun! But take a moment please to read the long post anyway…)
This is a strange time we are living through together. The first warmth of spring, and for many, the first traces of hope. Hope that the day is drawing ever closer, when we will once more be able to gather together, embrace, and share companionship, song and story at an in-person event. Even now, we do not know just how many months more that will be. It’s tantalizing and at times maddening, no?
And as we wait, lo, this spring brings a bounty of opportunities to put our performance and research skills to the test, in service to our kingdom. (All of them remote! More time in front of a webcam instead of a fire! Will it never end?) As your kingdom’s Bardic Champions, it can be a little awkward asking for people to sign up, particularly since these events ended up scheduled so close to one another. And yet, this is the calendar we face, and the kingdom needs the support of its performers now.
On January 23 of this year, there was a wonderful Zoom concert called the Journeyman’s Concert hosted by the Midrealm, where I had the privilege to perform. This is coming to be known as The Concert that Started a War, because the couple dozen or so folks attending or performing in the concert, had a conversation that catalyzed the upcoming First Bardic War.
At the center of that conversation were Hilla Stormbringer of the Midrealm, who was one of hosts of the concert, and Laila al-Sanna al-Andalusiyya, former Queen’s Bard of the East, who had been performing. TLDR: There were a lot of Atlantian bards invited to a Midrealm event. The word “invasion” was used, followed by a discussion of holding the Atlantian bards for “ransom”, and the boast that if the bards of the East and Atlantia banded together, they could take over the known world… Within the hour, Hilla had posted in the SCA Bardic Arts group that she had instigated an “interkingdom incident”, and people were discussing a full-scale War event.
Grim and I have been the East Kingdom’s Bardic Champions for just over 11 months now. This has been, it doesn’t bear repeating, a most unusual year–but even as we speak, our A&S Champion counterparts are conducting the competition online to choose their successors, and we have announced our plans to do the same.
The next East Kingdom Bardic Championships will be held on Saturday, April 24 (click for details). Performance is, indeed, the best suited activity for a virtual competition of practically anything we do in the SCA. (Click here to check into the Facebook event. The YouTube livestream will be here.)
Grim and I are looking forward to hearing from entrants (note per the event page: You must email us 2 weeks in advance, so that we can plan out the competition day with a sense of how many competitors we have.
We will be holding an online tech check a month or so out before the event, so participants have a chance to verify that their setups work for live online performance. The participants will be on Zoom, and the audience will be able to watch it live-streamed on the East Kingdom’s YouTube channel.
We will share further updates as it approaches.
Grim and Drake, Sovereign’s and Consort’s Bards
The East Kingdom had our first virtual Coronation on Saturday, August 15, when Margarita De’ Siena completed her unprecedented and eventful reign, and Magnus Tindal and Alberic von Ron Rostock became the new Consules of the Eastern Empire. Grim as Sovereign’s Bard, and I as Consort’s Bard, asked their then-Highnesses what, if any, service we might provide to add to the ceremonies they were planning. As luck would have it, Tindal had a number of thoughts that played well to my strengths, and one that provided Grim and me a joint opportunity.
Hi everyone. This continues to be a challenging time, and finding the energy and will to blog regularly is much heavier. And I’m pushing through that today, because there are some recent developments I think are worth taking the time to share.
Recently, I have made a significant change around my moderation duties on Facebook. After eight glorious years, I have handed over the reins of the SCA Bardic Arts group to my long-time co-moderator Aneleda Falconbridge, and recruited a new team of moderators to help keep the group thriving into the future (more on that below). I’ve done this to provide me time and space to focus on a new FB I’ve just launched, SCA Neurodiversity. The group has been operating for nearly 3 weeks, and I’m very pleased with the growth and the responses from new members.
Today is June 19, or Juneteenth, as it’s celebrated the Black community in America. I had started a lengthy post…and I’m deleting it. You don’t need to hear me talk about this stuff today. (Not familiar with Juneteenth? You can find anything you want to know with a quick Google search.)
If you want insights around race and the SCA, I invite you to spend some time with these accomplished gentlemen:
Also, I’ll mention that I’m donating any proceeds from my solo music (including the new remaster, which is dropping a day early) to the NAACP Defense Fund through the end of 2020. But that feels like the least I can do.
As of this weekend, I have been Queen’s Bard of the East for a full three months–a quarter of the year that champions are supposed to serve. I continue to be honored and deeply humbled at this opportunity, and recognize the good fortune and privilege that allowed me to compete and to serve. With that said, I need to level with you about something:
This position does not look like it did on the brochure.
For those who don’t know, the kingdoms of the SCA have been creating videos of each populace dancing to popular songs as a way to stay connected and keep our spirits up during this time of being stuck at home.
The East Kingdom just brought it. This is my kingdom. East is the Beast.
My friends (those I know and those I don’t yet):
If you wish to perform a song of mine on a livestream, in an online bardic circle, or in a video, know that you have my blessing and permission, as long as it isn’t for money, and you credit me as the author. (This was true prior to the current crisis, and will be true after it is over.)
Feel free to check the Bardic Work page for the full list.
Drake Oranwood, Queen’s Bard of the East
(Thanks to my friend Mistress Aife for modeling this offer.)