Things to Work On

Yesterday found my husband and myself in the company of our SCA friends at a lovely indoor event called “Feast of Fools” in the Barony of Wealdsmere. As I had wished for a low-key, almost non-existent birthday celebration this year, J and I opted to spend the day together in the company of our medievally friends.

It was wonderful. I got to watch my wonderful man fence, where he came away with another tournament win, I got to hang out and socialize with a bunch of fun people, and I got to do a bit of performing later in the day. I’d even got a goodly portion of my garb sewing done beforehand, and so I had the luxury of wearing my new kirtle and feeling good in it. :-)

During the Bardic portion of the feast, I took the opportunity to present one of my pieces I have been preparing for the Kingdom Bardic Championship in two weeks. I chose the one that has been giving me the most challenge, my instrumental piece, and I’m glad I did, as I now have a much better idea if the things I need to work on.

I couldn’t figure out why I had such a case of nerves heading into performing this particular piece, until I realized that it has been a good eight years since I did a strictly instrumental solo. Possibly nine years. That is a very long time to go without having any kind of a recital, and I believe my subconscious was telling me that I felt vulnerable without my strumming and singing methods at my disposal. I plan to perform this piece frequently front of others starting tomorrow, in an effort to ease the sense of vulnerability that set my picking hand to shaking like a leaf in a windstorm.

I also learned, through experiencing the rare “performance jitters” which parts of his piece I need to practice more.

This is down to the wire, now, folks. This is where my years of performance experience come in: dissecting the parts of these songs to tease out the bugs, smooth the wrinkles, and knit the wonky parts back into a whole.

11 days.

Getting Real

Schedules were posted today for the big bardic competition in three weeks. This is getting real. But the best part?

Finding out I get to open the whole affair, front and center, with my most visually striking piece. Oh yeah.

I’m really starting to get amped.

I still have some sewing to do, and practicing, but the most enjoyable part of this has been the learning process. Even this close to the showdown, I am still picking up bits and pieces that bring me closer to the life my persona, Emma, may have had in Tudor England. I am learning how to make my guitar sing, how to make the lyrics resonate, what these three pieces — and myself — are made of.

Even if I don’t come close to placing in the finals, I can honestly say that I have relished this experience and am so very glad I decided to take a chance and enter, when I could very easily have chosen to curl up under my safe little rock. It has been amazing thus far, and I have no doubt the event will follow thusly.

20 days.

Preparations

Time is ticking down.

28 days until the Kingdom Bardic competition.

I am literally on the very last page of my documentation for my three performance pieces — tomorrow I will print out one final version to read over to make sure I catch any last-minute oddities, and then I will begin printing copies for the judges.

My husband is finishing up his generous project of the wooden boar head for one of my props.

I am a few stitches away from completing my heraldic banner to carry in.

I am going fabric shopping tomorrow so I can sew myself a prettier kirtle & chemise to wear for the event.

I have been practicing my performances and am getting closer and closer to the final product. Memorization is coming along nicely.

The only things I have left to do are:

-Tally up costs for the weekend and budget accordingly…
-Solidify carpooling plans…
-Figure out what I need to pack for my performances…

…and most importantly, begin rehearsing the “stage setting” part of my presentation. (Yes, I’m procrastinating a bit because I tend to prefer to ‘wing’ it a little based on the tenor of the audience, but I really do need to set some things in stone so I don’t sound like a blithering idiot.)

I’ve broached the idea within my Barony to pick a day to do our presentations in front of an audience so we don’t have to walk into the competition completely cold, and it might just work. Gotta few scheduling details to hash out, but it’s looking good.

28 days.

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