[Bards] Re:Bardic and Performing Arts

Gerald Norris jerryn at houston.rr.com
Tue Apr 11 05:48:06 PDT 2006

HL Finnacan,

You do strike to the very heart of the matter.

Your first point:	"I'm sick of competition in general. "
	I second this.  Arguments I've heard FOR competitions come round to
people who think that the bardic arts, in general, get short shrive compared
to the martial arts.  It is, in essence, bardic welfare.

	And the competitions?  The "stage" is anywhere from being stuck in a
room, seperated from the rest of the hall, so that the performers could be
heard clearly, to being placed in the middle of some of the noisiest,
sound-sucking venues second only to performing smack in the middle of Times
Square in New York.  Competitions that encouraged period pieces and
documentation but a good rousing drinking song can still win the day.
Competitions judged by those who had passing interest (at best) in

"Great!  Gerald hates competition!"  

No.  I just think that we're trying to compare apples to strawberries when
we compare the performance community to our other communities (martial and
A&S).  I find it interesting that those who serve (the Pelicans, et. Al), do
not have "service competitions", and yet has a healthy population that does
good works.  As for the seperation ... It's a fine idea, but I haven't the
ability to offer the practice of it yet.  I propose that we leave
competitions for area champions, and seek another method of encouraging our
performing community.  One thought I'm working on is to encourage the
provision of "background" entertainment during the times between fighting
bouts, or to encourage our entertainers to work with the archery, equestrian
and other "peripheral" martial venues to provide entertainment in those

As for your second point: "I want the landed nobles and the current royals
(Their Majesties and Their Highnesses) to invite performers to entertain
them in intimate settings, not in the middle of court."

Again, you have my utter agreement.  I fear that our landed nobility, in
trying to be kind to all, do not wish to put their bards "on the spot".  I
can sympathize with this, as there are those performers who have to steel
themselves just to perform in the dark of night at the edge of the fire.
But Ansteorra has a large bardic community, from which many are given the
courage to continue working on pieces, to practice their instruments of
choice, be it flute or shawm or voice, so that when the time comes the
performer can feel comfortable that the audience actually wants to hear

So far, in my travels (limited as they are) I have seen only one barony that
has taken up the gauntlet, as it were, and requests the bards present to
sing; I speak of Loch Soillier.  Baron William and Baroness Narkissa (aka
Katya) have enlivened many a feast with their version of "attack bardic", in
which they call upon well-known bards to perform, then encourage those bards
to "rat out" those who have talent but are not as often in the limelight.
While it tends to put performers on the spot, it is done in fun, and I have
yet to see an instance in which the entertainment was not well received.
However, the Loch tends to hold smaller events, so that such entertainment
is more easily heard.  It might not work as well in, say, Steppes.  However,
I think the spirit has merit.

I am humbled in that, as a champion for bardic arts, I haven't been in the
lead to get the Friday night bardic at the Troll started.  Mea Culpa!
You also said "I wanna see the King (better yet, the Queen) at Gulf War host
an Ansteorran 'Revel of Roses' or 'Minstrelfest', with formal invites to the
other royals and performers of the various kingdoms for a grand night of
entertainment. If we can't strive for the war point, we can at least honor
and entertain those who can with one heck of a show every year."

And all I can say to that is "Amen!".

Master Ihon is prepared to encourage our performers in whatever manner, and
this dialogue is of great service, in and of itself.  For too long have we,
as bards, been silent on this forum, with the exception of the occasional
bell-ringing.  I would also encourage discussion about bardic circles, the
need to get to know your local brewers better, the push for live musicians
for dance (of course, that means that we'd have to have musicians for the

None of the above is meant to sound whiney or to complain.  As Finnacan, I
have tried to speak plainly and to the point of things I've observed.  I
know, for a fact, that just in this writing I'm encouraged to bring music
and a stand to events in the future, so that I and other instrumentalists
may play for the populace, learn new music, and make new friends.  Thank
you, Finnacan, and thank you, Master Ihon (who still is an evil man for
leaving me in the lurch to sing for their Majesties Trimaris after a
particularly pleasing and filling meal, but I'm not bitter .... ;-).

Damn!  Almost exactly an hour!

In service to the dream with a song in my heart, I am,
HL Gerald of Leesville
A bard of Stargate 

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