Singing Archives

Performers have a great many opportunities to do their thing this summer!

Ruby Joust – Memorial Day Weekend – Master Richard Wyn, this year’s Kingdom Bard, is hosting a competition for bards!  He requests that each Barony send their Performing Arts or Bardic Champion or a representative for them to come compete. It is scheduled to take place on Sunday. Richard sez: “You will be expected to perform three pieces: a documented period piece ( prior to 1620) , a Historical piece (either SCA or Period), and a performance to inspire others.
YIS,
Master Richard Wyn OL”

Highland River Melees – June 1-3 – http://highland-foorde.atlantia.sca.org/hrmelees/ans.php  In the Barony of Highland Foorde, Baroness Lanea verch Kerrigan will host Bardics! Specifically, bardics in the style of Bardic Madness! See here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NLxHgppcTzW0g0Y-ZgD-6hs78DgdPPiIIiH3wT3sNgw/edit 

Storytelling and Bardic Workshop – June 9 – http://atlantia.sca.org/137-events/167-event-flyer?event_id=3d5d23f0   The Barony of Nottinghil Cuil hosts this interactive workshop for story tellers, poets, and others interested in the bardic arts. Whether you are already performing, or are interested in giving it a try, come and learn and exchange ideas.

Summer University – June 16 – https://university.atlantia.sca.org/  The Barony of Black Diamond hosts an amazing 99th session of the Atlantia University with a TON of great music, dance, theater, and other performing classes! When the catalog is released in a few days, check it out!

Novice and Unbelt Tourney – June 23 – http://atlantia.sca.org/137-events/167-event-flyer?event_id=e73f06c1 Barony of Storvik. There will be a special Performers’ Pavilion with shade and drinks for all! Hosted by Mistress Fevronia and Master Igor. <3

Return to Crecy – June 22-24 – http://www.returntocrecy.com/ Sir Axel said: “Sat night will again be the Fete de Rue. We are still looking for performers. So, if you are interested, please drop me a line so I can schedule your stage time we are looking at 10-15 minutes sets. (music, song, poetry, story telling, juggling, etc.)”

Performers’ Revel South – June 30 – http://windmastershill.org/calendar/events/performers-revel-south/  The Canton of Elvegast again brings you a day full of JUST PERFORMING! A mildly structured day of relaxing, some workshops, and lot of playing!

King’s Assessments – July 6-8 – http://www.black-diamond.atlantia.sca.org/assessments/   Something fun always happens in the realms of bardic and dance in Black Diamond!

And that brings us to Pennsic!  If you need any help finding your way around Pennsic as a Performer, you can always ask this year’s new Dean of Performing Arts, Lady Scholastica Joycours!

 

Have fun performing this summer!!

Videos of Performances at KASF 2016!

The Atlantia Kingdom Art and Sciences Festival 2016 hosted an amazing extravaganza for Performing Arts!  No less than 26 performers showed the populace of Atlantia a Demo Hour of the many ways Performing Arts shows up in the SCA, and the hour before that was filled with impressive performances from groups and soloists!

This link takes you to the video recording of the Demo Hour of Performing Arts: https://youtu.be/8NYrd9kS7Ww
This link takes you to the video recording of the open sign-ups hour we had for all performers right before the Demo Hour: https://youtu.be/6ifUTJwEEFI

More recordings of the Commedia dell’ Arte mini-class/demo and the period scenario presented by i Firenzi are coming soon!
Many thanks to Lord Manus MacDhai for processing these videos and making them available to us all!

Thanks also to Mistress Ceridwen ferch Owain for helping us organize this extravaganza at KASF!

–Lady Sophia the Orange, Kingdom MOAS Deputy for Performing Arts

Did you know that Atlantia is home to an extraordinary group of performing artists, the Laydes Fayre vocal ensemble?  Under the direction of Mistress Arianna Morgan, for over 16 years, these singers of all levels and backgrounds have come together to produce beautiful period music!  Read the introduction to the group below written by Mistress Arianna, and watch for their performances in the northern half of the kingdom! – Sophia the Orange

laydesfayre 11 sep 2010

Laydes Fayre is an inter-baronial  women’s vocal music ensemble dedicated to the performance of pre-17th century European polyphonic music.  The ensemble was formed by the Director, Mistress Arianna Morgan, in 1999 to provide women in northern Atlantia with additional opportunities to sing period choral music.   Laydes Fayre currently has members from Lochmere, Dun Carraig, Ponte Alto, Storvik, and Roxbury Mill.  Members come from a variety of musical backgrounds and experiences.

Laydes Fayre averages about 5 to 6 performances per year at SCA events, most of which are local.   The Laydes have performed in a variety of SCA settings.  They have provided processional/recessional music for Coronations, Investitures, and peerage elevations; performing arts showcases and concerts; during feast, and before court.   Several years ago, the group recorded a CD (Here’s to the Laydes).  The CD features a variety of well-known and not so well known pieces of the 16th century.  The CD also includes some original pieces composed by Mistress Arianna. (Email her directly to buy a copy of the CD.)

Mistress Arianna considers a number of factors when selecting music for the group including audience appeal; variety of tempos, genres, and languages; voicing, and appropriate level of complexity.    The complexity of the music is varied so that the more experienced members won’t get bored and the less experienced members increase their skill level.

The group works hard to learn their music and has fun in the process!  After each rehearsal, the Laydes enjoy baked goods and conversation.  Even members’ birthdays are celebrated with cake and candles!  Occasionally, the group takes a break from rehearsals to have a girls’ night out.

The group typically rehearses twice a month on Friday nights from 7:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.  in Tracys Landing, Maryland,  just 20 minutes south of the Washington, D.C.  Beltway.  Each voice part also has a “sectional” rehearsal every third month.  Performance and rehearsal schedules are provided well in advance and music is provided to members at no cost.
Laydes Fayre is always welcoming new members for all voice parts:  Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto I, and Alto II.   (Most music performed is for SSA, SSAA, or SAT voicing.)    Music reading skills and choral experience are helpful, but not required.  Learning by rote is perfectly acceptable.   Music memorization is never required.

There are no formal auditions.  However, members are expected to be able to sing in tune in a choral setting, follow direction, attend rehearsals and performances regularly, and work and play well with others.  If you are interested and/or have questions, please contact Mistress Arianna via e-mail at   chrissings AT juno DOT com    or via telephone at (410) 533-4535.  If sending an e-mail message, please use “Laydes Fayre Interest” as your subject line.

Here are all the Performing Arts activities in chronological order. Some locations DID change since we lost use of Vingulf Hall, so please watch for announcements, signs, and disturbances in the force to inform you of location changes once you get to site! Friday night Vingulf Hall activities moved to the Picnic Shelter “Madrassa” and Saturday night Vingulf Hall activities moved to the Bardic Center tent. See notes in red below.

FOR ALL PERFORMANCES AND CLASSES – BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR!!!

Activity Name Day and Time Location
Hofla Dance Band Practice Thursday 2:00 – 3:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Beginner’s Dance Class Friday 9:00 – 11:00am Bardic Center tent
European Dance Pick Up Band rehearsal Friday 12:00noon – 3:00pm Castle
Introduction to Middle Eastern Dance class Friday 1:00 – 2:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Improvisation Skills class Friday 1:00 – 2:00pm Bardic Center tent
Who’s Line Doth It Be Anyway show Friday 2:00 – 3:00pm Bardic Center tent
Tribal Improv with Sagat Friday 2:00 – 3:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Hofla Dance Band Practice Friday 3:00 – 4:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Unbelted Bardic Tournament Friday 3:00 – 5:00pm Bardic Center tent
European Dance Practice Ball with Pick Up Band Friday 7:00 – 10:00pm Castle
Bardic Smackdown War Point Competition Friday After the Torchlight Tourney Castle Courtyard
Bawdy Bardic By Ky (Adult Only) Friday 8:00 – 9:30pm (approx.) Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Rabble Rousing skits (Adult Only) Friday 9:30 – 10:00pm (approx.) Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
i Firenzi Commedia dell’ Arte show (Adult Only) Friday 10:00pm – ?? Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Dances for Odd Numbers class Saturday 10:00 – 11:00am Bardic Center tent
Atlantia Performers Guild meeting Saturday 11:00am – 12:00noon Bardic Center tent
European Dance Pick Up Band rehearsal Saturday 12:00noon – 3:00pm Castle
Intro to Commedia dell’ Arte class Saturday 12:00 -1:00pm Bardic Center tent
Bardic Madness Challenges Saturday 12:00 – 2:00pm Class A tent
Iron Commedia class/practice Saturday 1:00 – 4:00pm Bardic Center tent
Bardic 101/102 class Saturday 2:00 – 3:00pm Class A tent
Hofla Dance Band Practice Saturday 2:00 – 3:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Research for Performers class Saturday 3:00 – 4:00pm Class A tent
Belly Dance Drills Saturday 4:00 – 5:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Iron Commedia performance Saturday 4:15 – 4:45pm (approx.) Wherever Royal Court is
European Dance Masked Ball with Pick Up Band – Children start at 7:00pm; Adults start at 7:30pm. Saturday 7:00pm – 10:00pm Castle
Middle Eastern Dance Hofla Saturday starting at 8:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Inter-baronial Bardic Champions Competition Saturday 9:00pm – 9:30pm Bardic Center tent
Bards and Brewers Concert at the White Phoenix Inn Saturday 9:30pm – ??? Bardic Center tent
Pouring Sophie into a cup of coffee… Sunday starting at noon… Windmasters’ Hill Camp

 

Bardic Madness Challenges have been posted!  Lady Scholastica challenges the bards and performers of Atlantia to the following Fyts of Madness:

  • A Tale a Tale, My Kingdom for a Tale (Pass the Tale)
    • All those who wish to participate get up together and tell a tale from beginning to end. The challenge’s patron will ‘conduct’ by pointing to the person whose turn it is to continue the tale, and deciding when it is time to end the tale.
  • Descriptionary
    • Sometimes words have hidden meanings and it will be up to our team to define their given word, one word at a time to the audience until the word is completely defined.
  • Wisdom is Often Fleeting
    • Aesop a mere slave, is credited for presenting teaching stories with a touch of wisdom so for this challenge you would be wise to come with a prepared Aesop story to tell. Stories should be five minutes or less.
  • Shakespeare on the Fly
    • No preparation, for you will be handed a piece by Shakespeare and must stand and perform on the fly after 60 seconds. Sing it, dramatize it …own it.

Rules of the Challenge:

  1. This is a challenge and not a competition. If you are playing then you have already won.
  2. Challenges are designed to encourage you to try your hand at something new, to stretch yourself, to enjoy, and to celebrate the creative spirit.
  3. Follow as closely as you can to the instructions as possible.
  4. In order to allow the largest number of people to participate, prepared entries should be limited to five minutes or less (that includes the introduction).

 

If you are a Baronial Champion for your Barony in the Performing Arts, and if you wish to compete in Saturday night’s Inter-baronial Bardic Champions Competition, please be sure to sign up with the MC, Lady Sophia the Orange NO LATER THAN 12:00noon on Saturday!  Please send email ahead of time to  dmoas-performance AT atlantia.sca.org OR leave an UNMISTAKABLE message at Windmasters Hill Camp.

 

DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS!  Numerous folks are well versed in this whole program and ready to answer your questions! Please contact any or all of the following people to ask questions or advice on the best way to get the best bang for your buck per minute of fun at War of the Wings!

Lady Sophia the Orange, Whole Program and Commedia: dmoas-performance AT atlantia.sca.org

Lord Johann von Solothurn, Bardic Classes and Competitions: RoyalBard AT atlantia.sca.org

Vrouwe Machteld Cleine, Rabble Rousing: faerieeva AT hotmail.com

Lady Scholastica Joycors, Bardic Madness: totallystories AT gmail DOT com

Reynsa Kyferin, European dance band: meganfair.clarinet AT gmail DOT com

Lady Elizabeth de Northumberland, European Dance: mills_se AT yahoo.com

Mistress Azza: Middle Eastern Dance Hofla and Dance Band

Baroness Alianor of Sacred Stone, Bardic Smackdown War Point Competition:  https://sites.google.com/site/sscoronets/contact

The rule of the day at this event is to be as flexible, forgiving, and polite as possible to your fellow SCA volunteers. This event has had some rocky changes to juggle at the last minute, so please keep lines of communication open as we juggle and squeeze as much fun into these few days as possible!

Thanks for playing!

Lady Sophia the Orange

War of the Wings, Deputy Village Steward for Performing Arts

Kingdom of Atlantia, Minister of Arts and Sciences, Deputy for Performing Arts

Capocomico, i Firenzi

Fan of Anything That Comes To Life On Stage!

Vingulf Hall is Adults Only after 8:00pm on Friday Night!

Research has shown that some material from the sixteenth century and earlier is not appropriate for modern day children and teenagers. Specifically, the material in the research is not appropriate. Many woodcuts, paintings, and sketches of commedia dell’ arte from SCA period depict scenes that would be rated R or worse in modern movies. This does not mean that as adults we should not attempt to recreate this part of history.  Most of it is perfectly harmless with an adult’s perspective (enema syringes, uncovered body parts, bodily fluids, etc.).  It does mean that we need to create a safe space with walls and clear boundaries and communicate clearly regarding when and where we will engage in art forms that are not completely 100% guaranteed family friendly so those who wish to not engage can be not bothered.

War of the Wings is an event with enough space that some has been set aside, with clear boundaries, for an adults only area.  Here we can allow for some of the material from commedia dell’ arte that is not appropriate for children to be brought out from the books and used in real life plays.  I Firenzi has brought such a play to War of the Wings for the second year and will perform it in Vingulf Hall at 10:00pm on Friday night.  Bouncers will be stationed at the doors to Vingulf Hall for everyone’s sanity.  If you or a companion of yours is under 18 years of age, you are not allowed in Vingulf Hall after 8:00pm.  If you wish to break this rule, you must ask for special permission from Lady Sophia the Orange so that you and your adult guardian can make an informed decision based on full disclosure of the adult content expected to be presented in the play. Last year, two exceptions were made after careful conversations with parents, and the teenagers were not scarred. They both lived on to perform commedia themselves. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions ahead of time or get clarification from Sophia by emailing “capo AT ifirenzi DOT com”  or you can also use dmoas-performance AT atlantia.sca.org.

Commedia dell Arte by i Firenzi is improvised, so some risk is implied. No guarantee is made regarding exactly what will happen, what the audience will see, or what will be exposed during the play. All attendees enjoy the play at their own risk.

Photography, videography, and recording of any kind at all will not be allowed under any circumstances.

This year, i Firenzi is not the only performance for adults only in Vingulf Hall!  Remember, Vingulf Hall turns into an Adults Only zone after 8:00pm on Friday night, which is when the Bawdy Bardic by Ky begins!  As with all performances at War of the Wings… BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR!!!!

Friday night at War of the Wings… here is your lineup in Vingulf Hall!

I.

Bawdy Bardic by Ky 8:00 ~ 9:15pm

A beautiful, creative, and vivacious young lady named Ky will sing some of her own bawdy songs and lead a bardic circle in Vingulf Hall for those adults 18 years old and older who want to sing with her!

And if that weren’t enough… the ancient tradition of taunts and insults lives on!

II.

Rabble Rousing skits by Opposing Sides of the War starts around 9:15 ~ 9:30 ish…

The opposing sides of the War of the Wings will have the opportunity to engage in millennia old tradition of taunting and insulting the other side.  Each side will have no more than 15 minutes to crush the souls of the other side taking turns politely.

Then… what you’ve been waiting for since Pantalone stripped to his skivvies last year!

III.

Commedia dell’ arte performance of “The Issues of One’s Loins” by i Firenzi

logo with text

The infamous annual “Naughty Show” of i Firenzi appears again at War of the Wings as a rare demonstration of some very real and documentable material of period commedia dell’ arte that is not family friendly nor appropriate for children at a regular SCA event. I Firenzi is grateful for this opportunity to stretch their creative muscles and perform some of their art form that is not safe for regular SCA events but appears regularly in commedia documentation.  Beautiful women will parade around Vingulf Hall with this documentation for anyone interested in the educational portion of our program. The family friendly version of commedia dell arte will be presented on Saturday in the Iron Commedia production before royal court.

The scenario, “The Issues of One’s Loins”, was written by Luceta di Cosimo, currently living in Pittsburgh, PA and regularly writing scenarios for i Genisii (often seen performing at Pennsic) in the style of Flamino Scala of Florence in the late 16th century.

Photography, videography, and recording of any kind at all will not be allowed under any circumstances.

For more information about commedia or i Firenzi, visit www.ifirenzi.com  and watch the videos!

Visit http://warofthewings.com/performing_arts.html  for all your War of the Wings Performing Arts info!

 

And if you’re looking for something lower key or guaranteed to be Family Friendly… there’s a lovely Castle next door to Vingulf Hall with European Dancing and a live Pick Up Band!  http://warofthewings.com/details/dancing.html  The music and dancing starts at 7:00 with the first half hour focused on kids.

 

Sincerely Yours,

Lady Sophia the Orange

War of the Wings, Deputy Village Steward for Performing Arts

Kingdom of Atlantia, Minister of Arts and Sciences, Deputy for Performing Arts

Capocomico, i Firenzi

Fan of Anything That Comes To Life On Stage!

What Really Happened At Pennsic 44

By Lady Sophia the Orange

You never really know what’s going to happen at Pennsic until it does. A lot gets planned, and a lot happens, and the overlap is always an amusing gamble in the end. So here’s some of what really happened in the Performing Arts arena by the time Pennsic 44 was over:

Most performances did get produced according to plan as laid out in this blog post before Pennsic: http://perform.atlantia.sca.org/?p=152 .

Upon arrival at Pennsic, the staff discovered a significant infestation of hornets throughout the Amphitheater requiring a move of all Peace Week activities from the Amphitheater to the Great Hall.  However, reports of our own Lord Richard Wynn’s first solo concert and Lady Scholastica’s Shakespeare Open Mike Night in that space were outstandingly positive!  The commedia dell’ arte rehearsals in that space also found it excellent, so the hornet issue did not get in the way of our fun during Peace Week!

Lord Manus MacDhai and I did perform as planned in i Verdi Confusi’s Saturday night commedia dell’ arte play, but what was not planned was the autographing scene where I experienced a “Pennsic First” of autographing a man’s chest. Tis the joy of improv!

Another commedia thrill that was unplanned was a visit from His Majesty Stephan, the King of Lochac! This gentleman is also a Laurel in the art of Theater, and he enjoyed a day with us in the Iron Commedia session #1 on Friday of Peace Week!  He played Pantalone in the play conceived and produced in one afternoon, and you can see a tiny bit of the production here: https://www.facebook.com/Lara.Coutinho.Orange/videos/vob.100000217895334/1321810187836232/?type=2&theater

Pennsic 44 iron commedia 1 w king stephan King Stephan of Lochac playing Pantalone with the Iron Commedia cast of Iron Commedia Session #1 of Pennsic 44!

Another surprise from the commedia track came when Isabella the Pirate Queen, also serving as the Assistant Director of the Pennsic Commedia All Stars Troupe, broke her arm during the first 5 minutes rehearsing with her new band of pirates. Twenty volunteer pirates were given three days with the Assistant Director to create, learn, and rehearse their parts for the big Thursday night commedia show, but their fearless leader fell prey to the deep, hard mud ruts in the ground around the Amphitheater left after the last rock music event at Cooper’s Lake Campground by tripping over a rut and falling on her wrist. Crazy Pennsic luck being what it is, the Pennsic Commedia All Stars cast happened to include a blacksmithing Laurel who had a working forge back at camp, so the next rehearsal included a custom made hook for our Pirate Queen. Her final costume included a custom ladies’ pirate hook, personalized eye patch, borrowed ducal coronet, and spiffy red Italian gown. Best looking Pirate Queen Pennsic’s ever seen!

Isabella the pirate queen w oratio Isabella the Pirate Queen with patch, coronet, and custom hook!

Master Efenwealt and Mistress Dervila did, in fact, produce their retelling of the legendary tale “Love Will Return; The Story of Heloise & Abelard” with the new sources and 100+ letters Dervila discovered. What we didn’t know ahead of time was how the various skills of Maîtresse Aénor d’Anjou would add to the beauty of the presentation and how support of indigogo supporters can make a simple Pennsic performance last forever. Watch for the crowdfunded DVD that includes footage from this performance to launch next summer.

Our own Lord Yakov did adjust to unexpected changes in his modern employment schedule and change his originally scheduled performance into a private camp bardic performance that had not been promoted enough for the amazing brilliance it ended up being! About 25 people got to witness Yakov’s telling of a reconstruction of a period collection of stories called “Sefer Hashashuim” (“The Book of Delights”) written by the Jewish physician Joseph Zabara in Seville in about 1200. The collection was originally written in poetic form, with a framing story providing a nested “story-within-a-story” structure similar to that of the Arabian Nights. In reconstructing the collection as a performance, he eliminated the poetic form and somewhat edited and restructured the story to enhance performability. For this reason, it is a reconstruction and re-editing and not an actual translation. This beautiful performance was enjoyed by a small group of lucky Pennsic campers who got the message about rescheduling, and hopefully, Yakov will be able to share it again back home in Atlantia for the rest of us.

And it was not a surprise at all that our dear friend, Margherita Battistina, was successfully elevated to the Order of the Laurel for her accomplishments in the art of European Dance as predicted and planned.  The vigil was lovely, and I enjoyed jumping in at the end, thanks to the efforts of many including Master Solvar, Lady Marion the Red, Baron Lorenzo, Master Stephan, and Lady Evelynn. The elevation ceremony in the dance tent was attended by a magnificent inter-kingdom dance community that testifies to Margherita’s great positive impact on a great many lovers of dance.

margaret and scroll  Mistress Margherita, the first Atlantia recognized Dance Laurel in 16 years!

A final big surprise on the final Friday of Pennsic, for the final show, the Known World Players enjoyed the thrill of seeing the electric power to Cooper’s Lake Campground go out half an hour before their 8:00pm production of the Merchant of Venice. Seeing the sun set and leaving the stage in darkness, but never questioning the dedication to “The Show Must Go On!”, the KWP troupe, Pennsic Performing Arts staff, and various supporters moved the entire production out into the courtyard and established portable lighting. A combination of tiki torches, a single propane torch, and Manus MacDhai’s camp lantern footlights normally used at the Amphitheater created enough light in the right places for the actors to be seen. The instant teamwork brought to life a magical Shakespeare environment that became beautiful and memorable for all.

KWP Merchant of Venice Pennsic 44 Known World Players producing Merchant of Venice with torchlight and camp lantern footlights.

So, if you missed Pennsic, or if you missed the many Atlantians performing beautiful, funny, and impressive works of art at Pennsic, find them here at home and ask them for a repeat performance!

–Lady Sophia the Orange, Co-Track-Lead for Commedia, Foolery, and Physical Theater at Pennsic Performing Arts, Pennsic University, Pennsic 44 and  Atlantia MOAS Deputy for Performing Arts

By Lady Scholastica Joycors

I started to come to Pennsic just five short years ago and taking classes at University was entertaining and educational but I found that classes in the bardic track were sparse. When THL Lorelei  Skye, the Pennsic University Dean of Performing Arts, asked me to take over the bardic track I thought this would be a good opportunity to increase classes in all three areas of bardic; poetry, storytelling and music and thanks to the many people who heard my call for teachers we have a full track this year.  There for a while I didn’t think it would happen so few people responded but in the last few days of charting all the classes our bucket was overflowing and we were scrambling to find places to put everyone.  Classes begin on Wednesday, July 29 and there is a class/rehearsals going on every hour from 10 AM till 5 every day, which breaks down to 275 spaces filled in performing arts, 60 different bardic classes, in 6 locations. Classes are held in the Performing Arts Tent (PAT), Amphitheatre (AMPI), Practice Arts Performance Tent, Classroom AS9 along with a couple other classrooms and the battlefield. Can you just say Huzzah!

For the definitive description of all the classes, times and places check out these links:

You can sign onto Thing and download a copy of all the classes with descriptions or you can look at the Google Calendars that Lorelei Skye created that you can download to your phone, https://sites.google.com/site/pennsicbbdbbn/calendar

 

There are several places you can go to get complete descriptions, times and dates. For performances:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Sd2ToAXllciJVKKdU1q0Fr3ropUbBSe-0CoMXaF20JY/edit#gid=0

or

http://www.pennsicwar.org/penn44/DEPTS/PERFARTS/perfschedule.html

Atlantia has stepped up and several of her bards are showcasing this year:

Pennsic Choir has several of our lofty voices who have been practicing all year just to soothe our souls with their musicality. See the performance on Thursday 8/6 at 6:30pm in the Performing Arts Tent.

Richard Wyn: Thursday 7/30 at 7:30 in the Amphitheatre presents ‘A Bardic in Minature’

Efenwealt Wystle: Sunday 8/2 at 8:00pm in the Performing Arts Tent hold his traditional concert with Mistress Aenor & Monday 8/3 at 6:30pm in the Amphitheatre presents ‘Comedy Music’

Sophia the Orange (who co-runs the Commedia Track): Wednesday 8/5 at 7:00pm presents Iron Commedia

Dervila ni Leanon & Efenwealt Wystle: Tuesday 8/4 in the Performing Arts Tent present ‘Love Will Return – The Story of Heloise & Abelard’

Dervila ni Leanon: Friday 8/7 in the Performing Arts Tent presents ‘A Cycle of Norse Myths’

 

And don’t forget the Atlantia Bardic Circle on Wednesday 8/5 from 7:00 – 9:00 in Atlantia Royal Camp led by our own Kingdom Bard, Johann von Solothurn!

 

I could go on and on about all the great Bardic things going on at Pennsic like all the bardic circles that can be found every night (check out the Bards by Day/Bards by Night book kept at the Mystic Mall) and don’t forget the Bardic Expo on Monday afternoon or the Storytelling Expo on Thursday afternoon…wait, wait there is also the Practice Safe Bardic Safe Practice (which used to be called “The Peerless Bardic Circle”) on Saturday or Bardic Madness or Shakespeare on the Green or the Sing We and Chant It Madrigal Jam. Needless to say there are a plethora of classes, performances, and opportunities to perform so that when you leave Pennsic you will leave with your bardic mug filled to overflowing.

 

Yours in Story and Song,

Lady Scholastica Joycors

Creating “Hidden Gold”

(This article is first in a series of articles about SCAdians and their adventures in producing CDs. For more info, see yesterday’s intro post.)

By Eric Schrager / Lord Drake Oranwood

I just released my first album of bardic music, Hidden Gold. I’m selling it to raise money for a worthy cause (more about that below). Sophia asked me to write an article on what it was like making this project happen. I spent about two and half years from the time I first seriously considered the idea of making an album to the finished release. I can only speak to my own experience, but this is what it looked like for me. To get there, I had to answer a series of questions:

Why do I want to make an album?
What was compelling about this as a project, that I would want to do this as an SCA hobbyist? I love being an SCA bard, but that’s because I love performing and the SCA makes it so easy to do. “You’re a bard? Awesome! Sing us something? You know, just stand up and give us a piece.” No instrument needed, no band, no speakers. Just get up and do it. You can play an instrument, and many do, but even most of them don’t do it all the time. So why would I want to record an album? That’s a whole other level of effort.

For me, the answer was that much as I love performing, I love writing even more. I’ve always wanted to be a writer of some kind, and over the years I’ve realized that songwriting is my most preferred form. I won’t go into all the reasons (I’ve laid those out in a class I teach on the subject), but I love it and it is one of the things I do best. I consider myself a better songwriter than I am a singer. And, like any writer, I want to get my work out there. In the time I spent in the SCA, it became pretty clear that what gets a song “out there”, where people know it, and request it, and want to sing it themselves, is the same thing that gets a song out there in the mundane world: a recording. There is a small but very real market here in the Society for recorded bardic music, and people love the songs they hear on their bardic CDs. Yes, you can post a YouTube video of a performance at an event (and I have), and that can get a song out there. But I’d never done a complete full-scale creative work of my own–a book, a play, an art show, what have you. I wanted to make a thing. And I wanted that thing to capture my songs the way I hear them in my head.

Did I want to make money on this? No. (And a good thing too, because that would have been really silly of me. There’s barely any money in commercial music, let alone niche stuff like this, if you have a day job.) But I wanted to sell this, since I believe art has value, and people appreciate the value more when they are asked to pay for it. My wife and I quickly decided there was a cause worth raising money for: The Therapeutic Nursery, a preschool for bright special needs kids that helped our son cope with his developmental challenges and develop social and school readiness skills. We were lucky enough that our school district had sponsored the program for us. Most won’t, and with school cuts of the last few years many can’t, even when it’s the perfect approach for a kid who really needs it. We couldn’t imagine a better use of any money we might make. (As people pointed out later, it also makes a really good selling point when promoting the thing.)


Do I have enough really good material for a complete album?

This was tricky. I’d written only three songs when I decided to get serious about becoming a bard. I’d written other kinds of songs for years, but SCA music is its own thing, and for me, at least, songs aren’t things I just bat out in an afternoon. Once in a while, but not normally. For me, a piece I would consider worth recording usually takes about a month to write. I need the right inspiration, I have to put all the pieces together, and I need to revise and polish it until I’m really happy with it. Daily life, and raising a child, had left me with little time to focus on that for a number of years, but now that my son was school age, and old enough to enjoy the SCA, I could make time. And friends and patrons were encouraging me to up my output. So in this first real year of the project (and as a member of the Pennsic bardic community, I measure a bard year as the span between one Pennsic and the next), I set myself the task of a song a season. In the end, I managed to produce six new songs, bringing me to nine. That was getting close.


I wanted to have 12 tracks on the album. A practical consideration: In the age of digital music, where it’s easy to just buy one song, an album is a little more compelling if it’s cheaper than buying track by track. So how to get from 9 to 12? I had an idea for another song, and I had a title and a chorus: “Hidden Gold”. As I reflected on it, I realized that was the title I wanted for the album. I just had to write it. Later, working with a patroness and a teacher, I got the suggestion to use a double sonnet I’d written years before as a spoken word piece, and I learned a John Dowland song that I really liked. In the end, I realized that spoken word and period music would be great additions to a bardic album, so I had my track list.

What sort of sound am I shooting for?
This is a big consideration. Many bardic albums are performed with little or no instrumentation, much the way most live bardic performances sound. Certainly making an album just of what I could actually do myself would make it a lot easier. And while I have taken lessons in a few instruments, I don’t play anything at performance level, so that would be a conundrum. Because I realized two things: (a) I wanted to make a professional-sounding album, or not bother. And (b), I grew up listening to Broadway soundtracks. So what I hear in my head when I write and sing my own songs, it’s pretty rich and full. I wanted that. I wanted other people to hear the woodwind trills, the deep cello counterpoint, the driving acoustic strumming, that played in my head on these songs. Which led me to the next question.

Who can help me make this a reality?
I was going to need some serious help to make this happen. I wanted serious instrumentation that I couldn’t play, and production values I didn’t know how to capture. I was going to have to ask for help.

This was the step that had stopped me back when I was writing modern pop music. I didn’t know who to ask, or how to ask, or how to make it worth someone’s while to work with me on a project this scale. Doing it in the SCA, however, it is as surprising how to easy it was to get help. And don’t get me wrong, I got lucky. Having two old friends, one who played guitar and had experience recording rock music with GarageBand, the other (Arden of Icombe) who had become a music Laurel and could play and arrange music for virtually any period instrument you could name? That was insane luck. But. But. I asked them. And showed them my songs. And they liked them. And said yes.

I told them it was a passion project, and that I’d be donating the proceeds. Honestly? They didn’t care. They liked the music, they were intrigued by the challenge of bringing this to life. I was going to find out how many people would respond to just that: the challenge and fun of a creative project, and the pleasure of being asked. Everyone I asked, without exception, felt flattered that I thought of them. And in the end, for all the work they were going to invest in this project, I was going to be investing more. Because that was the next question:

How badly do I want to do this? What am I willing to invest to make it happen?
There are two main currencies available: time and money. It ends up being a combination of both, of course. But I chose to put nearly all the equity in via my own time. Part of the reason was, having chosen to donate the proceeds, I wanted there to be proceeds to donate, which meant minimizing the expenses. But also I wanted to learn how to do it. And I wanted this to sound the way I wanted it, and no one was going to be able to read my mind better than me. Over the first few months, I watched my friend Dave do the recording, editing and mixing in GarageBand, using decent consumer-level equipment. I learned from him, and quickly took over the process. After a certain point, I saw that I had to, because getting one of my collaborators into my basement studio was much easier to schedule than getting both of them. Which brings me to the next question:

What’s my deadline to deliver this? How do I make sure I get things done on time?

Originally I had the idea to shoot for Pennsic 43, but along the way, my wife suggested I push it back a year and finish in time for Pennsic 44. But then, my wife is a lot smarter then I am.


So I worked backward from Pennsic, picked people’s brains, found out what I would need to do at the tail end of the project (more about that later), and set targets for myself. I aimed to finish all the instrumentals by February or March of 2015, which would give me plenty of time for the end game. (And it left room for schedule slippage. I didn’t finish all of them until late April and was still in good shape.)

Toward the end, I set time aside to work on my lead vocals, since my own time was the thing I had most of. (I probably should have put in more time on those earlier in the project, but I found the process very challenging and procrastinated a lot.)

Crucially, I asked for commitments around the end game items I was going to need help with late in 2014, so I didn’t end up with any critical eleventh-hour surprises that made me miss my target.

Giving myself enough time to get it done the way I wanted was important. And waiting an extra year meant I was able to learn how to do the producing part much better, and was able to get all the time I needed from my collaborators without having to be too stressed or pushy. Which allowed me to address the next question.


How do I reach my goal for quality? do I know when I’m there (or close enough)?
The extra time I gave myself opened up space for a lot of additional collaboration that made the finished product that much better. I was able to realize my dream of having Heather Dale record the vocals for the Faerie Queen on “Tam Lin of the Elves”, since we hosted a house concert for her, and (as I expected) she was thrilled to be able to just have me record her with my equipment rather before they left, rather than have to find time back home to do it for me. It opened up time to find the four female harmonies I wanted for “Lady of the Rose”, giving that song exquisite sweetness, but literally the feminine voice it required to sound best.

The biggest part of getting the quality I wanted was continuing to ask for help. Almost nobody I asked told me no. Everyone had something to offer, even if it was just advice. I realized I wanted to get a mastering engineer to master the album properly, because otherwise all the effort I’d put into the sound was still going to result in a product that fell short of my hopes. A friend connected me to another friend, Neil Fein, who was willing to support my donation project at a special rate, and who gave me feedback on all my mixes so I could get them better. I got some voice coaching from Olivia Baker, a brilliant singer who did some vocals for the album. I ended up forming a small committee to review all the tracks and give me honest feedback about where I could improve things, and reworked the edits and the mixes and my vocals to get things still better. I ended up upgrading from GarageBand to Logic Pro X, which gave me more powerful tools to enhance things further.

And, in the end, as several people had told me, I had to just stick to my deadline, and know there would be a point where I wasn’t totally satisfied with a bunch of things. But since I had focused my efforts for the precious few months on the tracks with the biggest issues, and worked again and again to raise each boat, in the end I knew I’d be pleased with the results. (And even if, as the sausage maker, I might never be satisfied, I had to trust that if my committee was largely happy with how it sounded, listeners would be happy with it too.)

I handed it off to Neil for mastering, and accepted I had done everything I could do, and it was time to put my hands up and step away.


How do I finish it so everything is really done?
Because I’d been talking to people throughout the process, I knew there were key steps left when the mastering was done that would need to be addressed. So I was ready for those and had done my research. The end game included:
  • The album cover. My wife reached out to Countess (now Crown Princess) Caoilfhionn, and arranged a professional photo shoot for the cover photos. She was brilliant, creative, and very sweet (can’t recommend her enough), scouting out a great location, and coaxing good shots out of me, and I don’t consider myself photogenic. I reached out to my good friend Aneleda Falconbridge (who designed the cover for her own album, I Am of the Norththe previous year) to do my design. Graphic design is what she does, and does well. Her concept, very different from what I expected, showed me she understood the intention and tone of my project.
Hidden Gold CD Art-04 Hidden Gold CD Art-01
  • Copyright. You don’t have to, but if you’re going to sell your work, I think you should submit your original work and your recordings for copyright. The copyright office makes it pretty easy to do it all online, and it doesn’t cost that much.
  • CD manufacturing. Aneleda and Efenwealt Wystle suggested I check out Kunaki. They do on demand CD manufacture using an online loading process. It is the least expensive way for an independent artist to manufacture a professional-looking CD. Read the FAQs and mind the caveats. It was a reasonable option for me.
  • Distribution. There are many online distributors who can sell digital downloads and distribute an album to the outlets of your choice (iTunes, Google Music, Amazon, Spotify). I went with CD Baby, because I liked their distribution options and their interface.

How do I get people to buy it?

Once it was all done, there were things I needed to do to let people know about it, and establish demand. This was where asking for help was really key. People who’ve been there before, such as Efenwealt Wystle and my teacher Mistress Zsof, had lots of good advice about how to get the word out.
  • A release party. This isn’t that common, actually, but since Arden, my music arranger, was up for it, he recruited several friends, rehearsed the songs, and we had a live concert in my house the day of the release. I ended up with about 30 people there, not counting the band. It was fun, if exhausting, and we sold a decent bit of product there. (If you’re going to do this, make sure you have a good permanent marker to sign stuff with, people will want that, and having come out to celebrate with you, they certainly deserve it.)
  • Singles. SoundCloud and YouTube provide great ways for people to find your music online, and you can share them with people without making them available for download.
  • Airplay. Of course, this is the SCA, so how do you do that? Well, as of right now, there is The Knowne World Bardcast, a podcast dedicated to the bardic arts in the SCA, and Gideon ap Stephen has devoted a lot of effort to make it happen. He was kind enough to get one of my favorite tracks into an episode of the podcast the week before the release, which meant serious fans of Bardic got to hear it.
  • A little help from your friends. I reached out to my teacher, and well-connected friends, who were kind enough to spread the word. Heather Dale, of course, has a well-established fanbase, and having her involved with the project was a tremendous blessing in getting people’s attention.
  • Event merchants. For Pennsic, I’ve found a couple of merchants who are happy to carry the album (Camelot Treasures and Master Kenhelm, in case you’re wondering). It’s crucial to have the product where people can find it at big events.
  • Advertising. My plan is to take Efenwealt’s advice and advertise in The Pennsic Independent and on Facebook leading up to the War.
  • Performances. If you’ve gone to the trouble of recording, you should find venues to perform. I’ll be doing a one-hour concert on Sunday of War Week at Pennsic, performing mostly songs from the album. Again, I’ve asked for help: Efenwealt will be joining me onstage to provide some accompaniment, and Heather will be reprising her duet with me from the album. Based on their experiences, this is vital to stoke demand.

So that is my experience to date. It has been an amazing ride, and I’m really glad to have gone through it. And I’m really looking forward to taking a break from it all when Pennsic is over.

It’s finally ready!  Here it is!  The Kingdom of Atlantia finally has a blog for helping those of the populace who are interested in performing arts to keep up to date and collaborate!

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Sincerely yours,

Lady Sophia the Orange

Atlantia Kingdom Deputy Minister of Arts and Sciences for Performing Arts