Before I forget any more of it, I really must write a summary of my experience at Gulf Wars last month.
Last year’s Gulf Wars was special in that it was what prompted me to get back into the SCA and reconnect with my bardic leanings. The bardic camaraderie, hanging out with my people, the singing, improvising melodies in the back of Truly’s hat shop and even writing her a jingle! To the tune of Maltese Bransle: “Serious historical headwear at Truly’s hat-hat-hats/She’s got a beaver bowler there, what do you think of that-that-that?/Yo-ou need a hat, yo-ou need a hat, you are naked with no hat-hat-hat/Yo-ou need a hat, yo-ou need a hat/you are naked with no haaaaat.” I’d heard many wonderful things about the Green Dragon Inn as a performance space, and I was given a missive by my Laurel to perform there, which I did last year during the Friday night Bardic Press Gang (essentially a managed Bardic circle for the purpose of entertaining a tavern).
This year, the Green Dragon opened their performance docket to newer talent, and I was able to get an hour’s slot. I was fortunate enough also to be the first performing act at the Dragon and to open for Heather Dale, both of which contributed to having an excellent audience. Don Braennan the Misguided joined me on stage to provide percussion accompaniment and to sing a few pieces of his own. I’m reproducing my set list here to assure that proper credit is given to the respective authors of the songs.
Twilight Ride (Eleanor Fairchild)
Daughters of Atlantia (lyrics, Kasia Hawkins/music, Silence de Cherbourg)
Wind on the Sea (Gwendolyn the Graceful)
Your Group’s Name Here (lyrics, Yaakov HaMizrachi)
Washer at the Ford (Emer nic Aiden)
Warrior’s Wyrd (Ivar Battleskald)
Sad Song (lyrics, Eleanor Fairchild)
Misha (Efenwealt Wystle)
Macha’s Curse (Emer nic Aiden)
Weight of the Chain (Aneleda Falconbridge)
Braennan’s drumming was a wonderful addition to the set, and worked brilliantly, especially given that we’d only managed to get together around 1 that afternoon to run through things. He was a delight to perform with and our on-stage chemistry flowed easily. Having another performer up there during my first-ever solo concert helped enormously in taking the edge off the performance jitters.
Once my concert was completed successfully, I was able to enjoy the rest of the event without any anxiety. I was very honored to have been asked the following evening to sing back up for Sir Kenneth and Mistress Adelaide, aka Ken and Lisa Theriot. It seemed their usual backup couple had met with travel woes and wouldn’t make it in time for the concert, so I spent Tuesday afternoon quickly committing a few key harmony lines to memory and running through the rest of the set list, picking out an appropriate line. It was a wonderful experience performing up there with them, and as I was just starting to come down with a cold, I was able to take the tenor line almost too easily.
Wednesday was a jaunt down to New Orleans, Thursday was a day of relaxation and shopping, and Friday was the Bardic Press Gang at which Quyn and I reprised our Parting Glass trio from Pennsic with Lisa filling in on the melody line as Heather had left site that morning. After the press gang, Quyn and I roamed from party to party, drinking and singing rounds and generally having a lovely time of it.
It’s tricky doing a lot of travel like that with small children, but by next year I’ll likely have forgotten just how exhausting it is and remember only how amazing the week was with my bardic brethren.