Bardic Circles, Silence-Style

Never been to a bardic circle before and wondering what to expect? Veteran of all things bardic but curious about how I run mine? You’re in the right place! For those in the BMDL area,  I’m hosting monthly bardic circles at my home (as of Fall 2014), and all are invited to come participate or listen.

WHAT IS IT? In essence, a bardic circle is a gathering of performers in which people take turns performing for each other. I’m not going to cover all the variations and types of circles here, but for my hosted bardic circles, the goal is to foster the bardic arts within the barony in a casual setting. Modern dress, don’t worry about garb. We’re open to performers of all levels, from first-timers to professionals. Usually we’ll do a pick, pass, or play system in which everyone gets a turn in order around the circle to pick a piece to be played (“Could someone sing Banners of Scarlet?”) or a person to play something (“Your Excellency, I would love to hear a rousing drinking song!”); to pass their turn to the next person; or, of course, to perform something of their own. What to perform? Something you think the audience will enjoy! It could be a period poem in old Icelandic or a folk tune by Tom Lehrer. We try to stick to “SCA appropriate”, meaning pieces documentable to pre-1600, “traditional” pieces that may or may not be truly pre-1600, songs from or about the SCA, or other modern pieces that would be appealing to a SCAdian audience. If you’re unsure about the appropriateness of a possible performance, please feel free to bounce ideas off me.

Notes on etiquette: To keep the circle moving and to give everyone a fair chance at a turn, I ask that performances be kept to 6 minutes or less. This can be difficult for storytellers at times, and while I’ve heard wonderful, captivating stories go 20 minutes or more, those tend to be the exception. Also, please be aware of any children in the audience and keep the cleanliness (or lack thereof) appropriate for the ages present.

WHEN AND WHERE: Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, generally first Sundays. Drop me an email (silencethebard at gmail) to get my address, or check the baronial calendar and it’ll be under the Bardic Circle event. There’s usually ample street parking available. We’ll be in the back yard when the weather is nice, otherwise we’ll meet indoors. Please be forewarned that there are two cats in the house. I can have them banished upstairs, but there will be residual cat cooties on the couches.

The bardic circle may move around the barony in the future, so please check the calendar or email me to verify time, date, and location if you aren’t sure.

In Service And Song,

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