This past week, a beautiful, vibrant, and much-loved young woman, Debbie Waldinger, known in the SCA as Catalina Beatriz de las Torres, was taken from us. The events surrounding her loss have shaken the East Kingdom to its core, along with the rest of the Society.
I had only just started getting to know Cat, and can only imagine how her many close friends and family must feel. They are in my thoughts. I offer our Queen my support, as do so many in our kingdom and the SCA at large, as she continues her new reign on her own.
Out of respect for the loss and the feelings of everyone in our community, I have de-listed the song page and the video for the filk that I wrote and performed for our royalty recently. I do not wish it to be a distraction in this time of grief and sorrow.
This week, we’ll take a detour from Campion, for an quick update on the process of learning Dowland’s “Clear or cloudy”, introduced a while back. As I’d mentioned, it was a relatively new piece, and one of my main goals for the fall and winter is to learn the piece, and if possible, have it ready at performance level in time for King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions in February. While it’s still early going with the piece, and I’m not quite ready to share a recording of my stumbling, I have been making some progress, and today, discovered some issues with the version of the music that I’ve been working from. This seems like a good opportunity to share about how I’m breaking down a long-term A&S goal, and the pitfalls that can happening when working outside one’s area of deep expertise.
Our last A&S Journey entry introduced Thomas Campion, so let’s look at one of his songs. “Now winter nights enlarge” is actually a relatively recent addition to the repertoire, but we’re starting with this one because I have a reasonable video playing it, and my relationship to it is less complicated than the songs we’ll be discussing in subsequent weeks. (Speaking of which: in case it isn’t obvious, this is going to be more of a twice-a-month series than the weekly series I originally committed to. It’s a more realistic goal.) Let’s call this a palate cleanse.
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.]
We return to our humble exploration of Elizabethan lute songs, and turn our attention to our second composer, Thomas Campion. Campion’s reputation, of course, exists in the shadow of John Dowland’s, as does pretty much every other lute composer of the era. Campion was not a professional musician, as John Dowland was; Campion lived the life of a gentleman amateur. He attended Cambridge but did not take a degree, then law school without being called to the bar, ultimately becoming a physician to earn a living. His reputation was certainly not as a lutenist: that was his close friend and sole heir, Philip Rosseter, eventual King’s Musician to James I (as was Dowland), who provided Campion space and authorial credit for half of the songs on Rosseter’s first (and only) published lute songbook, 1601’s A Book of Ayres.
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).