Studies, and Taking the Craft Further

As I find myself more and more involved in this thing called “bardic arts”(1) within the SCA, I am slowly coming to grips with what I want as part of the bigger picture ™.

When J. and I joined the SCA, we did it simply for the fact that it was fun. It was an escape from the grind and rigors of our mundane life. As I’ve mentioned before, I never really gave much thought to any goals I had beyond playing music and entertaining people, and getting my feet wet with period music (because I never had the chance to study it in college).

But what else? I’m now at the point I am beginning to wonder about how much more I want to do.

LutePlayer 003I know I want to learn more period songs, and have some that I can incorporate into my regular performance repertoire. I want to learn more about early music; how it’s structured, theory of the modal system, how it evolved. I want to incorporate that into my songwriting (ballad-style would probably be the easiest to begin with). I want to learn more about where these songs came from. Especially the last, the history really intrigues me and I find that music gives a very unique window into the views of society at the time. And last but definitely not least, I want to become a better performer as far as the period songs go. I so admire and love it when performers are completely consumed by the piece they are performing, when all modernity disappears and they become their persona and draw everyone back along with them… I want that. I want to do that.

WeinhardPics 004AA while back, I had an opportunity appear that would have offered me a lot of guidance in this regard. After much thought, I elected to decline, based on the uncertain time in which I find myself. I know I’ve said this before and it didn’t come to pass — my life and responsibilities may change pretty drastically here in a few months. I harbor concerns about whether — provided I have a baby to bring home this fall — I will have enough brain power and energy to devote to studying these passions. Because I don’t want to do anything half-a$$ed, especially not my music. I love it too much to put something substandard out there.

But now I’m wondering if maybe I was too cautious. (I have a problem with not being a risk-taker.) I’m wondering if maybe I should have gambled a little.

I don’t really know.

Regardless, I have decided that at the least I will pursue my interests on my own as I’ve always done — starting with preparations for a “Single Entry” at this next year’s Kingdom Bardic competition. As I see it, I will be there anyway to be a judge (baby or no baby), and so, why not?

Of course, now I have another problem:

What song do I pick???

* * *

[1]: Essentially any type of performance art suitable or documentable (as existing between 600-1600 A.D.) for entertainment in the SCA; including but not limited to filks, folk songs & music, storytelling, poetry, dance, drama, acrobatics, and magic.

Tumbleweed 2014!

I just got confirmation –

I’m performing at the 2014 Tumbleweed Music Festival again!

:-D

I’m very excited.

So if you’re going to be in the neighborhood of the Tri-Cities in Washington on Labor Day weekend, look me up!

StorytellerCoverMy set begins at 4:15pm on the Southwest Stage on August 31st, down at Howard Amon Park by the river. I’ll be performing a bunch of songs from my new album, “Storyteller,” in addition to some traditional Renaissance and late Medieval tunes. I’ll be the (very) pregnant lady in garb playing the guitar/ukulele hybrid. :-)

Marke Thy Calendars!

Copies of “Storyteller” will be available at the Festival merchandise booth as well.

See you there!

The Bard’s View — July Coronation 2014

Whew! Back once again in my home lands of Wastekeep and I have a few moments to reflect on my first ever Coronation event.

Stonehenge 006We carpooled down once again with friends, making an apropos pit stop along the road at Maryhill, to see the epic Stonehenge monument. This was the second time I’d been there, and I was well pleased to see it still just as it had been.

Though it was hot, and my rapidly advancing pregnancy did make everything a touch more uncomfortable, the drive remained fun and we arrived on site in the afternoon.

By evening, the site was a bustling hive of activity, what with three vigils (or parties) for soon-to-be members of the peerages (Laurel for Arts & Sciences, Pelican for service, or Knight for heavy combat). I saw a few familiar faces, but far more new and happy ones. Someone said later, “you know you’re at an SCA event when you don’t even have to talk to someone to be wished a Good Day or some such thing,” and it’s true. When you walk onto site at an SCA event, there is this overwhelming sense of camaraderie and good fellowship that is hard to find anywhere else.

The next morning found me busy-busy-busy with my duties as Kingdom Bard; during the fighting tournaments I got to watch my husband take the field again, as well as participate in a bardic “flash mob” during the water break. I made the rounds, met with people, discussed bardic, and generally kept my musiciany self busy.

Before the event, I had also volunteered my time to help coordinate music for the changeover ceremony for the new King and Queen, and I spent part of my time meeting up with the important people to hash out some last-minute details. And I am very proud to say that everything went off without a hitch. The bards that were asked to assist in the ceremony went above and beyond anything I could have hoped for (one even filling in at the very last minute due to a sudden change in plans), and performed their crafts well. My heart soars to be counted among such company! :)

And then, we bid adieu to our wonderful King Erik and lovely Queen Driffina, welcomed in awesome King Styrkarr and radiant Queen Stjarna (and as a Champion, I even got to throw down a challenge to any who might dispute the validity of their claim to the thrones!), and business rolled forward. :-)

That night, the entire camp partied, it seemed.

My favorite moment, however, was the next morning. Per my Sunday morning custom, I got up before the herald call and sang as I walked from one end of camp to the other. Toward the end of my travel, one of the heralds began his morning announcement reel, and we tag-teamed through the camp. When he finished and I caught up to him with my next hymn already in progress, he surprised me by immediately joining in with the tenor harmony! :-) What a gift! I am still smiling just thinking about it.

The best part was hearing people talk through the rest of that day about how they loved being awakened by music. <3

And then, it was time to head home.

So here I am, and I am a little saddened to say this was my last ‘big’ traveling event for a while. Though I know avoiding the long-distance car trips from this point on in my pregnancy is a wise thing — and I’m okay with that! — I still wish I had another big event to look forward to that was sooner instead of later.

And I’m a little saddened I (yet again) did not get as much time to hang out with my close friends as I wanted.

But everything else — the bardic ‘flash mob,’ the coronation ceremony, the impromptu Sunday morning duet — still made it worth it. :-)

Until next time…