[Ansteorra] why bardic at feast?

willowdewisp at juno.com willowdewisp at juno.com
Thu Mar 24 13:27:31 PDT 2011

Here is something to talk about it. As you know over the years i have thrown out ideas just to start conversation. This is something I think is real. Over the years I have watch the essence of Ansteorra be smothered by the SCA the club and the sca the life style and I believe that this is a great lost. I want to believe in Ansteorra the Kingdom but to do so we need to remember our history and the ancient history that we are based on. I think the destruction of the Queen's Bards and the general move from the values of the Bards to simple performances and performing only for contests broken the lines to our old history. If my heart gives out or a train runs over some of our older storytellers you will loose all your history. 
I saw a special were the "last" true senchie of Ireland was interviewed and toward the end the man,  speaking in Gaelic, started to cry and said "when I die the old Heroes will truly be dead because they only live in the spoken word."
OK, here is my points. Please talk about it pro and con. I am willing to be told that you don't like the concept, but please explain..I obviously don't understand some people's stand. 
Why Bardic at Feast?    by  Duchess Willow de Wisp<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The oblivious reason to have Performances at feast is for entertainment. If you are recreating the atmosphere of the Medieval or Renaissance world and you are having any kind of special meal or festival some kind of entertainment was there. 
For a long time I have been arguing that we needed entertainment at feast for that reason, but I just realized that my real reason is not entertainment. It is something else.  
As a senachie we have the duty of telling history tales and praise the Heroes. We are supposed to keep the old Heroes and the New Heroes alive in the minds of the community and we are supposed to tell tales that stress the values of the community.  The Bard is also supposed to do this, but they are doing it with the nobler art forms like Poetry and they do it for the great lords.  The storyteller is supposed to travel to the little fires and engage people in the history and values of the group. 
As a senachie I would wander and tell my stories at camps and little revels and other get togethers, but with changes of life style we are not having the little period revels or the kind of campsites that care about welcoming a storyteller. In fact, the only time the whole community of some groups gets to together is at Court and Feast. 
While some kind of “theater” is good at court, like a messenger coming in and announcing a force coming over the border or a well done peerage ceremony; most of the time the people just want it to be over and truly resent any kind of entertainment.
That leaves us Feast.  This is the only time the whole community is together and it very important that our current “Heroes “be rewarded in a social situation. One of the main differences of our group and role-playing games is that we do real things and we get a chance to interact with real people and we can shine in their eyes.
You can get a piece of paper in court and that is great,  but to hear a Bard do a poem about you or someone sing a sing about your adventures that really goes to the heart. Our new people hear these things and are inspired to be like that person and our longer tenure members are energized to do feats of their own. 
Also it is at gatherings of all or most of our members that we rekindled the magic of being in our group, our Barony and our Kingdom. A good praise piece or rousing song honoring us is needed to keep the Dream alive. If the piece is good people feel that our kingdom and our groups are real and get that special magically tingle. It is this magic that makes all our work worthwhile and binds us together into a community.
The third serious reason we should promote pieces at Feast is the need to educate. Learning about the medieval times is a common thread that binds us together and is often the start of conversations and friendships in the SCA. Many of us have gone to classes most of our lives and find them boring. Many of our new people just don’t know how to start. When we hear a song or a performance that gives a little piece of history or legend it often gives us a place to start our research. Educational pieces expand people’s knowledge and start people talking and that unite our communities even more because it mixes the older and newer people in sharing information.
As you I am talking about prepared pieces for a Feast. I am not in favor in open performances. I believe the Crown, the B&B and the Autocrats of the Event should seek out people who can provide one of these three things. These performers should be as good as you can find. One to three pieces of not being more than 4 minute in length and they should be during the first two coerces or just before the meal is served. They will define the feast as a period activity and if chosen correctly bring the community together, defined our values by giving word fame to people who live to our values, and give people insights into the history and cultures we are studying. 
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