[Bards] Eisteddfod

Martha Schreffler mot at swbell.net
Thu Jan 8 08:36:20 PST 2004

I'm going to "unlurk" and put in an oar. I've been following the recent discussion with some interest. I couldn't make it to the Eisteddfod but doubt I would have competed if I'd gone. My thoughts:

1. Documentation: I had a ten-year absence from the SCA and returned to find documentation a new requirement. I attended the documentation class at King's College last year and found the class helpful in explaining "the whys". Yet, I still haven't documented any of my pieces! Partly because I'm a bit intimidated by my own lack of formal music education . Finding the period and author of piece is much easier than digging up info about "period style". My daughter is a music education major and she loaned me some music history text books. I blush to say that they were waaaay over my head. I reallly have no clue on when vibrato was permitted and am not sure I could sing without it if I tried...

Suggestion: I liked the documentation class. Perhaps some classes at future Colleges on what is "period style" for various time periods and cultures in the SCA? That would be real interesting. Particularly useful would be a bibliography of suggested texts for the above.

2. Stage Fright: Good grief! I can sing for hours in my own pavilion, around a campfire, etc. Put me in front of a row of people judging me and it's just awful. My voice quavers. My hands shake (that's a real handicap when you play the harp!). My one and only competition was so embarrassing to me that I find it easy to rationalize other priorities at events. I find group "jamming" the most fun over solo performances. This will undoubtedly continue to be a struggle for me. 

Resolution: I think I'll probably work up to something like Eisteddfod by trying out some smaller competitions first! I need to build my confidence. 

3. Titled Bard: Someone mentioned in a previous e-mail that they didn't know what the duties of the Bard were. I haven't seen anyone reply to that but I don't know what it is either. That lack of knowledge would be a barrier to me competing if I wasn't clear what I'd be obligating myself to if I won.

Suggestion: Can someone address this on the list? In addition, I think it would be helpful to put something at our Bard's website - perhaps on the page that lists all the Premier Bards.

4. The Eisteddfod: I remember, when I was reading the rules, that I kind of went "hmmm" when I read that you had to hand in your documentation earlier in the day (if I didn't read it there maybe it was another competition). Anyway....I thought at the time that I could understand the need for the judges to have a chance to look over the documentation. However, I know when I sing at a Bardic Circle I'm likely to change my mind about a piece when I hear several before me that are too similar (i.e. two sad songs in a row I'd probably change to something happy). Assuming I had enough documentation to be so flexible ;) I know that having to lock myself in ahead of time with a set of pieces is a mental barrier I'd have to overcome. That's just me! 

Question: How much flexibility was there at the Eisteddfod on order of pieces, substituting something at the last minute, etc? Did the judges determine the order of the pieces/contestants based on the type of work they had proposed to do?

I think that's a long enough ramble aside from a comment that I think a forum for discussion allows dissenting opinions. I'm not sure that people need to post apologies just in case someone is offended! Have your say!

HL Mot Cather

Bryn Gwlad

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