[Bards] From Eleanor Fairchild - on Eisteddfod

Biggs, Truly truly.biggs at hp.com
Mon Jan 5 14:54:54 PST 2004

Hello All!

Let me first offer congratulations to Dona Antonia for her marvelous performances in the competition this year. I have high hopes for her tenure as Kingdom Bard.

Also, let me say what an honor and a privilege it was to judge the Kingdom Eisteddfod this past weekend. The competition was both friendly and excellent, and I enjoyed watching each performance. I have to say that as both a performer and a judge, this style of competition is my favorite, as all performers compete against the whole group, rather than one-to one.  For those of you who were not able to attend, the judges were:

Robin of Gilwell (past Premier bard)
Ulf Gunnarson (past Premier bard)
Eleanor Fairchild (past Premier bard)
Snorri (Sponsored by Pendaran Glamorgan)
Garraed Galbreath (visiting bardic laurel from Ealdormere)
Pendaran Glamorgan (outgoing Premier Bard)

I also want to extend a thank you to Antigonus Bearbait(Tiggy) for helping the competition to run smoothly. Wonderful job - as usual.

As I remember the competitors were:

Dona Antonia 
Bella (Many apologies, my lady - I did not write down your surname)
Eleanor O'Rourke
William Wyrm
Gerald Of Leesvile
Muirenn ingen Senáin uí Dúnlaing (Simone)
Ana ....(Oooh - don't have her surname either)
Ouisin MacFinn

Please do forgive me for misspellings and omissions.  

I want to applaud those who entered for the courage to get up in front of your peers and offer your performances up to be weighed against the work of others. The documentation that was presented to us for support was outstanding, and the preparation that went into the pieces was readily evident and greatly appreciated. 

A few notes on documentation, which I hope will be helpful to all.

As a judge, I find it helpful to have both the history and references regarding your piece, and a printed copy or Xerox copy of the piece attached (if song or poem or monologue.)Calligraphy is nice - but hard to read quickly. If it is a piece I know backwards and forwards - one quick glance at the printed poem or song will allow me to watch your performance rather than sort through your documentation.  

If you cite a website in your documentation, also do list any references that website gives, or who contributed to it. Ly Ana, whose surname I have misplaced, did an excellent job of supporting her references, and I urge you to seek her out and see what she did if you have further questions.

If your piece is original - a copy of the words is helpful. Also, include a sentence to let us know if both the tune and the words are your own, and if they follow a historical style, or if they are more modern in nature.

Several of the performers provided documentation for all the pieces they had prepared to perform - which was most impressive. It is nice to feel so very informed, whether a piece is modern or historical. I don't always know what pieces I intend to compete with, so it's something I have never done  but I was certainly impressed by the time and preparation.

So - on another note, I would like to ask the group at large - 

Why did more of you not compete? This question is in no way meant to shake a finger at anyone, as I have only competed in one kingdom Eisteddfod myself, and had a different reason each year for not competing until then. I have participated in/judged many baronial and shire title bard competitions which had twenty or more competitors, and I wonder what the difference is. I am asking to see if we can help strengthen the community by discovering what the reluctance is to enter the title bard competition. 
Is it:

Not wanting to document pieces?
Not having any/enough documentable pieces?
Not knowing how to document pieces?
Not having any original pieces?
Not wanting to receive negative commentary?
Not knowing enough pieces to compete with?
Not having enough pieces that you feel good about?
Not wanting/having time for the responsibility of being the Kingdom Bard?
Not thinking that you will do well?

Enquiring minds want to know.

You can respond either publicly to this list or privately to
Truly.biggs at hp.com

Thanks for your time, 
And for sharing your music and poetry with us all.



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