Checking in. After last K&Q Bardic, I made my traditional long in-depth post, and at the end, I made a number of pledges about actions I planned to take. I wanted to share that I have made progress on several of these:
- “Reevaluate my approach to the lute.” I plan to perform lute pieces at the upcoming EK 50 year celebration (more about that soon) and at Pennsic. I intend to do some combination of performing pieces that are a little less complex or better rehearsed, and enrolling other performers to handle some or all of the vocals when I do it. Also, my new summer/outdoor lute-guitar Amyrillis is proving a bit easier to play than Rosalind, which has helped. (Mostly because it’s closer to an acoustic guitar.)
- “Recording ‘What if a day’ fairly soon.” Done. It is recorded and mixed, and I’m sending it off to Efenwealt for his Pennsic Sampler CD. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.
- “Taking a break to hopefully do a community theater production”. I’m pleased to share that I have just been cast as John Jasper in the Bergen County Players’ production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which will be performing weekends from September 9 to October 8. My wife is very excited to see me do a musical again after all these years. I’m still absorbing just how much rehearsal and performance I’ve just committed to for the next four months. But a show whose ending changes every night depending on the audience’s whim? That is a show for a bard to try.
- “It’s time to get back to writing songs again.” Done! Last weekend I wrote my first new song in over a year, honoring a commission that was won at auction last fall. My commissioner is well pleased, and I look forward to presenting it to her and her daughter at Pennsic, and then performing it publicly once I have fulfilled that promise. [UPDATE the next day: The tune will take a little time to settle, but I just finished the lyrics to another new one. Feels really good.]
So, some exciting stuff. Wanted to make sure I took a moment to share it with you. Thank you for being there for me.
The song page for my first original Elizabethan-style composition, “I asked of thee a boon”, is now available.
Win or lose, they’ll remember this day…
(from “We Are the East”)
I promised I would do a deep dive (translation: long read) on my experiences preparing for, during, and after this year’s kingdom bardic championships, and this would be it. Of course, this would probably be a little more exciting if this were a breakdown of how I became a Royal Bard of the East…but as Zsof, Jess, and I all spent the last six months reminding me, I can’t control outcomes. So for that post I’ll refer you to Aethelflied’s fantastic recounting of the story behind her being selected as King’s Bard. (Mistress Alys’s blog has documentation for her round one piece, which was her first step to being selected as Queen’s Bard.)
Yesterday, the curator of Tam Lin Balladry, a wonderful website dedicated to tracking all the versions of the ballad (as well as retellings, parodies, and fanfiction) that can be found on the web, asked to include “Tam Lin of the Elves“. I was delighted to be asked, and the page with my retelling is now online here. Given the balladry site was one I scoured when I was researching the song, I feel oddly official now. 🙂
I haven’t checked in around this in a while, but my studies with Maistre Lucien have been a source of constant joy throughout the year to this point. Lucien has been unfailingly supportive, even as he continues to hold me to high standards, with a gently probing Socratic approach.
This last session, Lucien presented me with an assignment to stretch and test my understanding of period music and language, which I enjoyed immensely. He has granted his kind permission for me to publish what I produced in response, and I share it here.
Quick updates: I did the next thing on my to do list today, and submitted this year’s six new songs for copyright. I know I don’t really have to–or at least I could wait until I’ve written three more to finish the album. But having registered the copyrights, I’m much more comfortable letting my songs fly free.
Also, to submit my songs, I have to transcribe the sheet music (since now I can do the whole thing in 10 minutes and upload sheet music PDF’s online!), which means…
Yep. Sheet music to all the songs are now posted on the song pages. (Also, I re-posted the MP3 download links.) I’ve started posting chords.
And now, the serious recording process will begin. Starting with GarageBand demos of all the songs (some of which I’ll probably post).
I started this post back on Monday of War Week, but Pennsic kept happening, and on our return home, mundane life (particularly my job) pulled me right back in. Much as I wanted to do a detailed diary of Pennsic, and/or a lengthy gratitude list, I’m going to resist the impulse because:
- I’ve spent time thanking the people who deserved my thanks, and will continue to do so, and
- As my wife points out, I did enough navel-gazing during my downtime at Pennsic to last me the rest of the year.