Always a Bridesmaid…but so happy to be a Finalist!

Yesterday was an incredible day at King and Queen’s Bardic Championship. Dragonship Haven hosted a busy event in a beautiful and resonant space; if you ever get the chance to perform in that room, do it. The was my second year performing in this competition. I felt much more prepared this year and I was so excited to perform again for the populace . Though I didn’t come away with either the King’s or Queen’s Bardic Award, I once again made it to finals and I couldn’t be happier with all of my performances.

Two years in a row I made it to the finals!
Top Photo: Last Year’s Finalists,
Bottom Photo, This Year’s Finalists

The field was large with some incredible talent including my teacher (though I am soon to be taken on as her apprentice at Mudthaw), Mästarinna Margreþa la Fauvelle. She is an incredible performer who can play a mean citole (among myriad other period instruments)! After the initial round, many of us were blown away at the level of talent that showed up to perform. I performed Machaut’s “Douce Dame Jolie” and accompanied myself on the citole. At the last minute, I decided against using the plectrum that I had recently made. It kept catching the strings and I wasn’t able to strum as effectively so I decided to go back to using a pick. That was the right move to make.

I was excited to hear that I made it to the second round; they took nine of the twenty original entrants. I really enjoy singing and playing the citole, but I LOVE performing my monologues and stories. My round two pick was Launce’s monologue from Two Gentlemen of Verona about his dog, Crab. I will give a shoutout here to Agnes Marie de Calais and her beautiful family. This was one of the first times I have gotten to chat with them and I so enjoyed her performances. After giving her son a very brief citole lesson in between rounds of competition, she was kind enough to loan Malcom to me to stand in as “my dog” for my monologue. He was perfect! As was the “moan” from my “sister,” graciously acted out by another audience member Chris Nehl. With this audience participation and some slapstick comedy, I have now become known as the guy who does Vaudevillian Shakespeare (thanks Creepy Bard)…and I’ll take! It got a great response from the audience so I was hopeful for the finals.

After learning that I made it to the finals, I began preparing my piece from the Queen’s prompt on showing a piece that displays kindness. I chose once again to sing the piece I wrote a few years ago, “For Where You Go.” It was written for my wife in honor of all of her love, support, and kindness over the years. Everyone showed some incredibly strong pieces for the last round so it really was anyone’s game at that point. In court, we learned that Laila al-Sanna’ al-Andalusiyya was chosen as Queen’s Bard and my teacher, Mästarinna Margreþa la Fauvelle, was chosen as the King’s Bard. She also was made a Baroness of the Court for her contributions to the music in the kingdom. Vivant!

In reflection, I couldn’t be happier with yesterday. I was able to perform for people, make them laugh, and walk away feeling like I did my best to make my Barony proud. Finally, none of this would have been possible without the help of my director, who also happens to be my wife, Emeline la Chauciere, who helped me polish my pieces so they were as good as they could be…and for the countless hours of me playing the citole and recorder. That’s love!

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