A day of song and story (SCA)

Yesterday Earl Sir Byron and Countess Sir Ariella hosted an SCA event at their castle. The day was focused on song and story, with classes interspersed with performances. It was a fun, intimate event with about a hundred people, including visitors from outside our group.

I attended a class on commedia dell' arte -- practicum, not history, meaning it focused on techniques for getting on stage and doing improv. There were some "improv games" as part of the class. I am not a comfortable actor, which is why I took the class. I had fun and learned things. Our local commedia troupe also demonstrates that there are strong female roles available besides lover, love interest, and servant-girl; in the alternate reality where I have time and skill to consider auditioning for commedia, I'd be looking for something that fits me less badly -- at my age (and, frankly, body type), I'm not going to be convincing as a young lover.

I also attended a class on trumpets, which included "make sound 101" with mouthpieces and plenty of sanitizer. I had wondered where pitch comes from; is it like a kazoo, where you're responsible for producing the pitch and the instrument then shapes it, or what? No, nothing like that -- the vibration speed coming off your lips is what regulates pitch. Huh. I did manage to make sound come out of a trumpet by the end of the class, though I think I was the slowest learner in the room. (Yes I can get sound out of a shofar, though not reliably!)

The Debatable Choir concert went reasonably well, I thought, though the effect of some sick members was noticeable to us (don't know how noticeable it was to the audience). We had some "sunlight through the windows into the eyes" moments, a challenge when we haven't memorized everything. One nice thing about an event like this is that you get an appreciative audience and can do a longer concert, which was nice!

The food was excellent, and the cooks for both lunch and dinner took extra care to provide ingredient lists, avoid cross-contamination of ingredients, and account for all the dietary restrictions they knew about. I had a full meal despite not eating the meat and without having to bulk up on bread.

The baron and baroness held a short court and I got a pleasant surprise: a baronial award for arts, specifically music. My last baronial award was in 1990 (!) and my last award at all was sometime in the 1990s, so I figured I had transitioned into "crusty old fart who's part of the furniture but not otherwise noteworthy". (I've been part of groups that got group awards a couple times since then, but I mean individual recognition.) I had forgotten how good this kind of recognition feels -- and it doesn't have to be big stuff like high-ranking kingdom stuff; acknowledgement and thanks from people who know you is hugely positive, at least to me. For anybody who's inclined to dismiss or ignore things as "just a local award", think again -- and remember to make award recommendations at that level. (I need to get better about that.)

The scroll was made by two choir members, wordsmithed by the scribal guild as a whole based on a medieval inheritance edict for a woman. Cool!

scroll art

And some important stuff on the back (which accounts for the color variation you see in that first picture):

text with credits and source

Pro tip for scribes: there are two important things in that last picture. For the herald who's going to be reading the scroll in unknown-in-advance lighting conditions: a clear transcription in a large, clean font. And for the recipient, the names of those involved, so we know whom to thank! In this case, thank you Reinhart von Regenbogen, Ceindrech verch Elidir, and Debatable Lands scribal guild!

Scroll text:

Shalom Aleichem. It so happened that a gentle came before our court and told that there is one among us who is a steadfast and fine performer and conductor, and has been performing her art for many, many years. We Baron Brandubh et Baroness Hilderun are of one mind that Marat She'erah bat Shlomo is deserving of recognition with a silver comet at A Day of Story and Song. In order for her to have it as proof we signed our names here on the 11th day of Adar, 5780, the year 54 since the creation of the society as we reckon it here in the Debatable Lands, and it is valid and binding.

Words by the BMDL scribal guild based on Barcelona Jewish Court Documents: A Daughter's Inheritance, 1293.