[Bards] What happened to the College, and what it means to a new college

Kathy Elliott bardkat at verizon.net
Fri Nov 3 06:47:49 PST 2006

This list is a wonderful tool for communication, but it definitely has its
drawbacks, as well.  If we were all in a room having this discussion, it
might last a couple of hours.  We would have all shared our stories, talked
about what we think works and what doesn't, and moved on to the planning
stage.  Unfortunately, we must instead check our e-mail sporadically
throughout the day, type out a quick response before we dash off to work,
get the kids breakfast, or whatever other task we have to do today.  And
with all that we're trying to maintain a dialog on a rather touchy subject.
Throw into that the fact that you sometimes get the response before the
question appears on your screen, and you've got a pretty frustrating
I get the impression that most of us are in favor of the college - we just
need to voice our concerns and personal experiences before we're ready to
move forward.
I don't think any of us expect the college to be flawless, but we do need to
know both how it worked and how it didn't, so we can make the effort to
Will we fail?  In some things, yes.
Can we help both current and future bards, and the kingdom as a whole?
Will the college be a vehicle through which we can all enjoy fun,
fellowship, and personal growth?  I think so.
You found in the college a nurturing group that helped you grow as a
performer, and enabled you to help others.  That's fabulous!  Let's
replicate it!
Others found within the college a group that appeared unapproachable or
snobbish.  Let's be aware of that history, and try not to repeat it.
The fact is that with or without a college, we will have people who take
"baby bards" under their wings, and also those who feel compelled to dole
out not-so-positive criticism to others.  I met a lady at Defender of the
Fort who had steered clear of bardic because she'd been told by some bards
that her performances weren't suitable for the SCA.  She's a professional
opera singer, with a degree in early music, and she blew the socks off me!
I directed that lady to this e-group, and to the bardic website.  But
wouldn't it be wonderful if I could have directed her to a college website,
and from there she could have found a list of bards willing to help
newcomers in her area.  (Hey, Alden - can you add that to the website real
quick!)  Or if I could have told her about the upcoming Collegium?
Once we establish a college, it becomes our responsibility to try and
promote a welcoming bardic community, and curb the negative criticism.  Will
we catch everyone?  No, some will fall through the cracks.  But hopefully it
will be fewer than if we do nothing.
With a strong online presence the college will be more available to more
people.  When I started performing, I found support outside of the college.
But it would have been nice to know that the college existed.  I'm not
blaming anyone for that - just pointing out that once we create this
fellowship, we should make it very easy to find.
Off the top of my head, we could:
*    make up "business cards" with the college website address to hand out
with largess ...
*    have flyers for the college on a back table at bardic circles ...
*    Fly the banners, wear the favors, and in general increase visibility
*    Building on the success of others, help promote local
baronial/shire/canton bardic groups ...
*    Help publish "Voices of the Star" on a regular basis ...
*    Encourage bards to follow a fighter's progress in the Crown list.  That
used to be a tradition, and how wonderful would it be if every new prince
had a piece performed for him/her the night the won crown, detailing their
feats that day.  (Kein cried when Ihon, Avatar and I did this for him.)
*    Create a "bardic hospitaler" - someone who's willing to post their
contact information on the college website and be available to help
newcomers ...
*    Teach, teach, teach ...
*    Remind people to submit award recommendations to the Crown ...
*    Point out new talent to the local nobility ...
*    Be available as a group of volunteers who can help the current Kingdom
Bard and MoAS Deputy with an annual Collegium ...
*    Offer to host or assist with bardic circles at local events and
interkingdom wars ...
*    Work with other kingdoms' bardic colleges/guilds to promote
interkingdom events ...
The list could go on and on ...
My concerns have been aired, and I am confident that we will at least try
not to repeat mistakes of the past  - I'm ready to move forward!
I'll be at Three Kings this weekend.  Who wants to do some firewalking?
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