Bardic Outside The Box, the theme for the Bardic circle at the Midrealm Spring Coronation this past weekend outside of Marysville, Ohio USA, was a resounding success! 🙂

Of course, I may be a tad subjective about it, since I was both its coordinator and a performer. 😉

Nonetheless, the performers and the audience, many of whom became performers, all seemed to have a rousing good time.

We had everything from storytelling to sing-along filk song to poetry translated from the Old French by the person reciting it to Inidan folk dance to–well–you name it, and I think we had it! And that is what I was hoping for, and why I asked for interested folks to think and offer performances that were “outside the box,” that is, not necessarily what you might usually find in a Bardic circle.

Nor were we going to be constrained by any customary traditions as to how the circle happened. Instead, it was about a 50/50 programmed performance space/audience-volunteered pieces. And it came together beautifully.

The only downside I can see is that the “tech person,” that is, moi, forgot to turn the recording device back on before the circle started, thus depriving us of any recorded versions of what happened there and then (with the happy exception of the dance pieces, which I happened to use my second camera on, my first one having died).

But I’m a big believer in nonrecorded performance. Although lately I have set down some of my own things on my little Zoom H-1 recorder, by and large my entire musical career has been one where the evanescence of the moment ruled supreme. My music existed only in the moment, or in the memories of its beholders.

So maybe my forgetting to hit the On switch was Freudian…. ?!?

Happily though, I did manage to get photos of most of the performances, except of course for the one that I was in, with Baron Talymar. And I would have enjoyed seeing some of him reciting from his book, The White Hart. I certainly enjoyed getting to accompany him on my harp! ❤

I also didn’t get pictures of Count William of Fairhaven playing and singing his original songs about SCA Queens he has known. I did get a couple of him as he and his fair wife sat in the audience, though.

Unfortunately, the camera I had to use for Bardic, my backup camera, didn’t do very well under the lighting conditions, so you’ll have to exercise your imagination to get the full flavor of the proceedings! 😉

Here then are some of my photos, the first one being of Slany Bean Uillic (mka Sheryl Barringer), who consented to be the circle’s stage manager, timekeeper, and backup announcer, for which she is to be lauded!

(This picture of Slany was actually taken earlier in the same space during the class I gave on Women in the Viking Age by another participant who I asked to take some photos, and it is with my better camera. You’ll see the difference right away. Maybe think of the Bardic photos as Impressionism? 😉 And I had to decrease the size of the images in order to get any clarity at all. Mea maxima culpa!)

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Slany Bean Uillic at my class on Women in the Viking Age. Later in the same space she was BOTB’s stage manager, timekeeper, and stand-in announcer. Even later, she was made a Court Baroness during TRMs King Alric and Queen Katherine’s Evening Court! 🙂

First to perform during Bardic Outside The Box (BOTB), was Rowland the Clever (modern name Rowlnd Carlson), from the Barony of Red Spears, doing his song “Pennsic Fog,” with original lyrics set to the Irish traditional number “Rattlin’ Bog.” It was a singalong and lots of fun. Everyone clapped and sang the choruses. A good way to break the ice and get started! 🙂

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For his helpfulness to me, his flexibility and willingness to prepare extra material if necessary, and the sheer fun of his song, I awarded Rowland the Clever the Most Excellent Audience Award, which consisted of a long necklace of wooden beads with a pendant of a bronze tree against a wooden disk. In my note to him, I said he should feel free to either wear the necklace or give it away! 😉

Since almost all the Bards were also audience members, and vice versa, I felt that it was within the spirit of things to award a Bard the Excellent Audience prize. And since they are my rules, I can do whatever the heck I want to with them! 😛

Next up to perform was Count William of Fairhaven, from the Barony of Flaming Gryphon, but I had  to step away during his act, so I don’t have pictures of it at all. 😦 Luckily Slany was there to give William his due for an introduction! He did three original songs on vocals and guitar that were inspired by the Midrealm Queens and other Queens he has known.

I consider it to be a great personal favor for Count William to have agreed to my request to play at this Bardic Circle. The influence of having Peers volunteer their time and talents in such an effort cannot be understated n terms of enlisting other performers, as well as in other more intangible ways.

One reason why Count William was indeed willing to take part in this particular Bardic event was the fact that I was envisioning this performance time as being one in which the performers would feel great freedom in choosing what they would do, without any constraints of tradition or custom to burden them. That was what appealed to him. ❤

I had first met William of Fairhaven under his modern name, Pat Savelli, of the SCA band Bardic Storm and the Irish band Fin Tan. My good friend Halle Snyder, also a member of Bardic Storm, introduced us.  In fact, my only other formal experience of a Bardic Circle was during the Fall Crown Tourney of 2016, at which William was the victor of the tournament and thus became the next King! 🙂

John ap Wynn led that Bardic Circle, at which I sang the English traditional song “Cruel Sister” a capella.

Here I’d like to pause to thank some of the folks who helped me in this, my maiden voyage as a Bardic Circle organizer, aside from Slany who I’ve already mentioned. Pat (Count William of Fairhaven) and Halle (Mistress Halla of Mugmort in the Barony of Middle Marches) gave me much valuable advice regarding how to order the performers, among other things.

I also sought out assistance from Corrie Bergeron of Cleftlands, who is not only another member of Bardic Storm, but also ran the Bardic Circle at the 2018 Regular Event in the Cleftlands. He hooked me up with other resources for potential performers, beyond the Facebook announcements I had made at the Kingdom and Barony levels.

But, back to Count William: although I don’t have any photos of him performing,  he is in some of my photos of the audience above, along with his fair wife. He is in rust-orange, and she in violet, below, as well:

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After Count William, Baron Talymar gan y Lluwynn of Middle Marches and I performed. Talymar read from his recently-published book, The White Hart–Book One: Destined Paths. I accompanied him on lap harp. See What I did today for more information on Talymar’s book, and you can hear a practice version of the song I did at the conclusion of his recitation from the book here.

After Talymar and I performed, Mary Bertke of my home shire, the Marche of Tirnewydd, did two numbers. I believe the first one was a song by the ever-popular Heather Dale. Later in the Circle, Mary and Baroness Allegra of Flaming Gryphon did a contrapuntal duet a capella that made me want to rejoin a madrigal group. 🙂

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R:  Mary Bertke of Marche of Tirnewydd, whose new SCA name I have forgotten (oops!), sings from her chair in the Circle.

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Mary Bertke, center.

After Mary Bertke’s songs, Lady Lalla (mka Sevika O’Hara Chandra, the reigning Bardic Champion of the Barony of Flaming Gryphon, gave us two Indian folk dances, one of which is included here:

Lady Frigga Vilhjalmrsdottir and her Baroness of Fenix sang “The Parting Glass” a capella in honor of Persephone, another member of their Barony, who had just passed away a couple of nights before Coronation.

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The Baroness of Fenix, left, and Lady  Frigga Vilhjalmrsdottir sing “The Parting Glass.”

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The Baron of Fenix gives a eulogy for their departed member.

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Mary Bertke uses her drop spindle while she listens…

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Can someone please tell me who this fair lady is and from whence she hails? She did the most wonderful and humorous original song called “The Rapier Bard,” which had us all singing along to a refrain of “Stab, stab, stabitty, stab…”

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Baroness Allegra of Flaming Gryphon sings a duet with Mary Bertke.
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Baroness Kasha of Cinnebar recites a poem she translated from the Old French.

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