[Bards] (no subject)

Kathy Elliott bardkat at verizon.net
Wed Nov 1 05:00:04 PST 2006

Lady Gwen,
While every competition is a bit different, I can tell you some of what to
expect most of the time.
Many times, the format(s) that you will need to perform will be announced
ahead of time.  Check the Blackstar and/or the event website.
Many judges look favorably upon a performance that incorporates the event
theme, or honors the kingdom/local branch/local nobility.  (Much like in
period, flattery will get you everywhere!)  But it is not usually required
to perform within a particular theme.
For most competitions, you will be asked to perform 2-3 times.  Usually (but
not always) everyone takes turns, doing one piece at a time.  After everyone
goes, the judges will talk for a bit, and they may decide the winner then,
or ask some people to come back as finalists.  Or, they may ask the
finalists to perform at court or feast.
As far as announcing yourself or getting called up, that varies.  Sometimes
the order you will perform in is announced in advance, and sometimes you
just jump in when you're ready.  I've only been in one competition where we
actually had heralds announce us, like on the list field.  (It was actually
pretty cool!)  Whatever the case, you will want to introduce yourself and
your performance.  If possible, try to stay in persona while you do this.
You might say something like, "Good afternoon.  I am Lady Gwen from (SCA
branch), and I'd like to share with you a new sonnet written by William
Shakespeare.  You've probably heard of master Will; he's been doing some
wonderful work at the Globe Theater."  As opposed to, "Hi y'all.  I'm gonna
do a poem that was written in 1599, so it's period because it was before
1600.  It was written by William Shakespeare.  Sorry; I didn't bring my
documentation because my computer's broken."
Always try to tell who wrote the song/story/poem, if you can.  If not, tell
something about it, "This song is from Italy, but the composer's name has
been lost over the years."  If you're doing an original song/story/poem, be
sure to let the judges know that you wrote it.
Check the event announcement to see if documentation is required.  Many
bards prefer verbal documentation, and it is sufficient most of the time.
(You can include it with your introduction.)  I actually prefer written
documentation, because it lets me go into a little more detail, and doesn't
detract from the performance with any mundanity.  We could easily start a
whole thread on documentation, but quite frankly if you know a little about
the where your song/story/poem came from, when it was written, and/or who
wrote it, you're a step ahead.
As far as being scared - it will get better, but it never goes away
completely (at least not for me).  What I do is try to turn the nervousness
into energy.  I figure I'm nervous because I care what people think about my
performance - and that's a good thing.  If I ever stop caring, why would I
perform?  Just remember to breathe, and you won't pass out!  If it helps,
you can also pick one person in the audience (or even plant a person ahead
of time), and sing to that one person until you feel more confident.  It
does get easier - I promise!
Last, especially if you are a singer, don't forget to warm up!  Not only
will it keep you from damaging your voice, it will also help calm and
"center" you before the competition.  If you were ever in choir - remember
all those scales with the nonsense words?  They really work.  I do a couple
of different warm us, but my favorite is "Nee Nay Nah No Noo."   I sing
1-3-5-3-1 (Do-Mi-Sol-Mi-Do), then go up a half step and repeat.  Keep doing
this to the top of your range, switching to "Ahs" when you're too high for
the other vowels.  Then, bring it back down to the bottom of your range,
again switching to "Ahs" at the bottom of your chest voice.  And yes, you
will sound pretty foolish while you're warming up, so you may want to go off
in a corner!
Hope this helps!

-----Original Message-----

Could someone please tell me what you do when you put your self in front of
however many very scarey people I will be shaking in front of :-) 
I mean do you get called up ...
do you announce your self 
do you pass out 
be so scared you are stiff ..... WHAT ??? LOL 
do you tell who wrote the song you are going to sing recite or tell, Okay
now that I have run on at the terror mobile LOL .......please help 
thank you Lady Gwen

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