In My Humble Opinion
In Which Brother Bobby Ruminates On Being a Bard and of Things Bardic
Good gentle, you are, by some misfortune, or happenstance, finding yourself doomed to read this random spattering of letters, which, some, who are far wiser than the author, would consider only slightly less damaging than the contents of the Necronomicon. “Beware!” They would tell you, “Those are the dark thoughts of Brother Bobby entrapped on those pages. Your wits and, possibly, your very immortal soul are imperiled merely by proximity to their dark humours!”. “Balderdash!” I reply. Hardly anyone has ever been driven mad by my wordcraft and besides, it was a long time ago, if it ever actually happened, and they never proved anything.
Be that as it may, good reader, with the advent of another Baronial Championship in the offing, I feel compelled to impart what may pass for wisdom, if viewed in a dim light from a great distance, on what it means to me to be Baronial Bard in the Rhydderich Hael here In Glorious Æthelmearc. I disclaim at this time that these thoughts be my own and are not to be considered policy or whim of Our Fair Barony but merely my perceptions and attempts to hit the perpetually moving target of what it means to be a Bardic Champion. If some of what I throw here sticks to your shield, you are welcome to it. Allons-y!
Firstly, the biggest responsibility the Baronial Bard bears is to represent their Barony at the Seven Pearls Bardic Championship. The Bardic Champions from the Baronies of Æthelmearc perform before the assembled landed barons and baronesses to determine the Seven Pearls Bardic Champion. If ever there is a reason to bring your “A” Game, this is it. When Baroness Isolda called for bards to compete for Baronial Champion, she stated quite succinctly that one should consider competing only if they could fulfill the obligation of performing at the Seven Pearls. To me, this is one of the greatest honors and responsibilities of being Baronial Bardic Champion.
Now, follows a list of what I keep in mind as a Baronial Bardic Champion. Call it Conventional Wisdom or An Old Man’s Ramblings, take what you will from it.
- Being able to sing, or play an instrument should not be considered mandatory.
- Talents such as storytelling, puppetry, theatrics, comedy, acrobatics, juggling, magic, pantomime, and slapstick are just as legitimate as being musical.
- There is nothing wrong with being a One-Trick-Pony if the Trick is very, very good.
- It is beneficial to be familiar with the history, laws, and customs of one’s local group and kingdom.
- It does not hurt to have some knowledge of actual medieval history and customs.
- Performance is like gift-giving: the packaging is part of the gift.
- Serve your Baron and Baroness with love and pride.
- Keep a book of your compositions, and journal your experiences.
- Learn and share with other bards.
- Better to perform for too short a time than for too long: leave your audience wanting more, not begging release.
- Involve and engage your audience.
- There is a time and a place for every performance; perform pieces appropriate to the venue and audience.
Finally, I leave you with the most excellent advice I was given ages ago, which can be applied to every facet of life, not just being a bard: Love what you do and do what you love.
Baronial Commentary: Champs is drawing near and Her Excellency and I still need candidates! Please don't leave us hanging :)- Magnus