[Ansteorra] bards, feast, etc.

Hugh & Belinda Niewoehner burgborrendohl at valornet.com
Fri Mar 25 14:44:29 PDT 2011

I think it's obvious I love the instrumental (and they do occasionally 
sing some pieces, those talented Merry Musicians!).  I do not mind the 
occasional bard wanting to tell a story and I will not even mind them 
coming to my table and performing if they ask politely and don't 
overstay their welcome.  They also must not be hurt or angry if I ask 
them to come back at another time so I can continue my conversation.  
Also in this venue, please keep to short pieces--keep them wanting more, 
not praying for you to finish.  Save long pieces for circles and 
competitions where the judges can punish you if you go really too 

However, I do agree with Sir MacKnochard that being shushed so that a 
bard can perform in a hall where most of the time I will not even be 
able to hear all of what is being said/sung anyway, only irritates me.  
As has been pointed out, if you want to perform, make sure you have the 
voice that will get your desired audience, have something that will want 
to be heard, and earn people's attention, don't demand it.

I love bardic circles where hopefully acoustics and lack of other noise 
allow the performers to be heard.  I especially love the sing-a-longs 
that are so common in Calontir and have had their moments of resurgence 
now and then here.  No matter our skill or training, many of us like to 
sing, not necessarily perform, and anyone can sing in the key of "army".

As to  the percussionist, I have noted many medieval groups using 
tambourines, boudrins (Celtic drums), etc. though I do not presume to 
know the 'periodicity??' of said instruments.  I just know they sounded 
nice and added a lot to the music.

Admittedly, I do also agree with Her Grace, that some type of pageantry 
or flair at feast is fun.  I love seeing well decorated tables 
especially in candlelight.  The only reason I envy those at head table 
is that  they often see what wonderful presentation some kitchens 
prepare for the Royals.  It is fabulous when courses are served (not 
cafeteria style) and each one announced.  Some Heralds have done 
remarkable introductions almost worthy of a performance.  Of course, 
this can open another debate as to whether courses were even done in 
period, but it 'feels' right (pulling out that "creative anachronism" 
card once again).

Feast are one of my favorite things in the SCA (and not just because I 
obviously like to eat).  It is a time to catch up with friends, meet new 
people (we always try to extend a welcome to someone new at our table), 
and enjoy a fabulous meal at a ridiculously reasonable price.  Thanks 
again to all who help make it happen!


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