[Bards] Winterkingdom Bardic Roundtable
engtrktwo at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 10 20:24:43 PST 2006
Here you go, this is my summary of the roundtable discussion that I
hosted and Moderated. My original notes are available is all their
unedited and badly typed glory should anyone wish to see them.
I stand by my summary below. However, if I have misquoted anyone, or if
anyone feels that "THEY" were misrepresented, please contact me and I
will correct my mistake post-haste. The attendance was modestly sized
but diverse, with a non-bard invited to the discussion specifically at
my request. I have combined my typed notes with the outline I did,
please read below for the outcome.
Thank you, and good luck with the other roundtable.
Lord Ivo Blackhawk
The Round table took place as scheduled held at Northkeep’s
Winterkingdom event, December 9^th 2006, from 2:30 to 4:20. The stated
goal was to generate conversation and ideas and NOT to solve problems.
All attendees were asked to joing the bardic list if they were not
already on it.
The first order of the discussion was a general talk about the negative
opinions that are held by some in the north about bards and bardic.
“There are a number of people in the north who consider bard a dirty
word. In general, these stem from a very negative encounter with one or
more bards in the past. There IS, however, a very string push towards
‘sing along’s, such as rounds like those taught by HE Rhiannon Redwulf.
Even people who openly voice displeasure at having to see bards perform
openly admit to enjoying a ‘sing along’. A lot of people who enjoy
singing have either chosen to believe, or been taught by older members
that group singing is not a bardic activity. In some extreme cases,
there is an active effort to deliberately _not_ include bards in a sing
The general reactions to the above statements were pity that bardic was
seen in such light and inquiry as to how this came to be.
In the discussion that followed it was agreed all around sing along were
part of a bards domain and that bards should strive to learn and teach
songs to the masses if they felt so called. It was noted that sing
alongs are one of the best ways of including non-bards in the bardic
experience and an excellent way to bring people together.
“A large number of the complaints fielded against bards can be summed up
as poor etiquette or manors on the part of the performer. Some people do
NOT like being performed at. Some bards choose inopportune times to try
and do a solo performance. Many people have voiced displeasure at the
tendency of some bards to transform a lively group sing into a solo
performance.-“Attend the bard!” is usually _not_ well received.”
The group whole heartedly and universally express despair that the above
types of situations should ever have taken place. Count Fin said
expressly that a Bard should be able to hold an audiences attention by
power of the performance and a call for silence should NEVER be
necessary. This was followed soon after by another point from Fin where
he expressly said that the practice of calling “attend the bard” (ie,
‘everyone shut up’) should be stamped out completely. Master Cadfin
added that Bardic performances in some venues (feasts, for example) can
become too much of a good thing, and that discretion should be used when
someone wants to perform in a ‘captive audience’ type venue.
Her Excellency Rhiannon Redwulf pointed out that current event sizes and
locations were not as friendly to bards as were in the early days.
Larger halls, larger attendance numbers and overall large scale event s
make performances for feast halls and courts much more difficult.
Mistress Catrin asked why people don’t just perform for a few tables at
a time anymore. Lady Aline Swinbrook, also pointed out that people who
whant to perform in a feast hall should coordinate with the servers if
only to make sure the servers to stop serving feast unnecessarily.
“It has been stated by veteran members of the society and the Bardic
community that bardic as of late is not as strong at a kingdom or
regional level as it was in years past.
The evidence presented: Extremely low turnouts at major bardic
competitions such as Kingdom bardic. Decreased bardic presence at
events, such as “fire walks”, “bardic circles” and performances during
Her Excelency Rhiannon and Master Cadfin pointed out that camping at
events has declined and that the many of the older events have become so
over scheduled that between the primary activity and the drive home,
there isn’t time for bardic for many people. Lady Aline Swinbrook also
pointed out that the north is really regionalized due to the demographic
of college students, the effects of gas prices and the economy of just
day tripping. A lot fewer people even really travel to distant events
any more (at least from the north).
“As some do believe that bardic is on the decline, it has been suggested
that a more formalized structure be made available to facilitate
communication, training, and education within the bardic community. One
such suggestion was a bardic college that operated independent of the
royal officers. This college would help to make performance material
available to bards, and act as a central administrative conduit for the
organization of bardic activity across the kingdom. The College could be
(as proposed by some) created totally separate from the existing royal
structure and therefore answer only to bards.”
The first question asked to the group was: “Do we think that a
‘top-down’ system would help Bardic in the north and kingdom wide?”
Mistris Catrin said that the idea was not favorable to her way of
thinking. Master Cadfin said that he was in support of the idea of a
top-down structure, but totally opposed to any separation from the
crown. Lord Ivo Blackhawk agreed with this statement. Mistris Catrin
pointed out that the previous College included an internal ranking
system similar to a jorneymen, aprentencie… step system seen in modern
unions. This ranking system was evidently the source of some major
issues in the past and a modern college, if created, should stay away
from any internal, independent ranking system. Cadfin Pointed out that
ranks were irrelevant to current needs, this statement was agreed with
my most people in attendance.
When asked what the attendees would like to see a college do, the
following items were mentioned. More arcane material. Teaching. Better
networking and communication. Teaching of etiquette, and a teaching of
critiquing techniques to help bards get better. Teaching. More
nationalities of baric material, teaching, teaching, more subjects made
available, teaching.It was at this point in the discussion that Cadfin
put out that while he would like to see a college exist as part of the
royal structure, it should be insulated for the whims of any one person.
That is to say if there were a college, it should be run by a deputy to
the kingdom Minister of A&S, for example. The point to his comment was
to NOT have the college answered directly to any one person.
“What would you like the college to stay away from?”
Everyone: RANK!!!!!...no further comments.
Would you join and support a college?
All in attendance said no.
Would you wish them well and not join?
All in attendance said yes to this.
Would you ignore them [if you didn’t join]?
All in attendance said yes to this as well.
Would you actively dislike them?
Master Cadfan: And this is a direct quote “This is a Stupid question.”
The whole audience agreed and said that they didn’t know what to like or
dislike about a college at this point.
Would you try to prevent them from forming?
None present expressed any interest in fighting the formation of a
college in any way.
“It has also been pointed out that all of the objectives stated for the
bardic college can be achieved without an actual college, and without
the centralized administrative structure. Through computerized
libraries, more bardic practices and more interaction at a community
level, many of the goals set forth for the college can be achieved
without a system. Do we think that a ‘Ground-up’ system would help
Bardic in the north and kingdom wide?”
Mistriss Catrin stated that we need a club, not a formal unit of some
sort. Lord Ivo Blackhawk said that the problem should be fixed from the
grass roots level first, and not the royal level. Cadfin commented that
we need some organization and it should answer to MOAS. Another deputity
MOAS officer would serve admin needs. This was NOT, however, a statement
of a need for a formal college.
This ended the discussion about the College of bards as a topic.
The final topic of the day was a possible course of action to help bards
deal with some of the hostility they have encountered as of late, and
possible how to hold bards to a standard of behaviors specific to the
performing arts. The group was asked if we wanted to look into codifying
some form of ‘bardic etiquette’. This would not necessarily be any form
of enforceable laws, but a written set of expectations that lets both
bards and non bards know what to expect (and not expect) of each other.
Mistress Catrin emphasized that common since had to be applied-these
would not be absolutes. She then added that performances were getting
out of hand with hostage audience situation. Cadfin said that bards
shouldn’t perform at feast with the bidding of the crown or royal reps.
While we did NOT talk about the specific text of such a code of
etiquette, Master Cadfin did make a statement that the moderator felt
appropriate to note here”
“The first line on the rules of etiquette should say ‘under no
circumstances is anyone _required_ to listen to a bardic performance.’”
[Moderator’s note: I have had my life threatened with less vigor than
was put into this statement.]
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