I love this event. For some reason, driving to the beach, camping in a warm room, and having a day of food and performances reminds me of “the old” Amergins so much that I want this event to be a focus on Performing Arts and food.
Which, as my wife and trusted adviser reminds me, it is not.
Skamp had a colleague pass away, and could not come organize the performances and so asked me to be the bardic coordinator. No big deal, I’ve been MC before. I could do this. So I reached out to the dance leaders and found out they had no instrumentalists that could play for them, and I found that the schedule for the performers was wide open, and Mistress Piper would like actually to eat, so please help her move her classes to non-food times.
Yup, there was some work involved.
Happily, Red Bow showed up at 10AM. She was a life-saver. I’ve written plenty of long facebook posts about how she came in with a smile, played ambient music, played alone for Dame Juliana teaching the dancers for 2 hours, played alone* for 2 hours for the Masked Ball that evening. Recorder. She brought music to share, music that matched the set list she was told. But when have dancers actually stuck to a set list? So she also brought music for other stuff.
* I played my drum in a performance setting for the first time. I was so shamed that she was doing this all alone that I was a poorly timed metronome for her recorder during these dances. She’s gracious, but I’m sure I did the traditional drummer tricks of coming in late, coming in early, going too fast, going too slow, speeding up, slowing down … too bad Renart didn’t get me a fog machine.
So Red Bow showed up at 10, at 11 the dance instruction started and I announced that I had open slots all day long, through dessert at 8, until the Ball at 9, and performers who wished to have a half hour on my stage (less is fine) should see me for a slot. Or else. I had stories and I wasn’t afraid to use them.
The dancers danced until about 1:30. At 1:30 I announced that there were still open slots, that this was one, and told the first Caladrino story (Heliotrope). At 2, more open slots, although Ollamh Alisaundre voluntold her family to take an hour “later” so as not to conflict with the classes they were teaching. I told the second Caladrino story (Pig). At 2:30, the third Caladrino story (Pregnancy). (I’m pretty sure there’s a 4th Caladrino story and I think Bruno and Buffamaco show up in other stories, but those are the 3 I know).
Three came around on the clock and I shook the walls, telling them that there were still open slots, but I had a few signups- Ollamh Alisaundre & Leith, Mistress Piper, Mea Passaventi, Nigel Compton. And I told them the death of Loegedaire.
Look, I’m still getting over this pneumonia. My chest is full of crap. My throat is still scratchy, and I’m sucking on the Fisherman’s Friend like I love molasses. And yet, at 3:30, here I was telling the framed version of the naming of CuChullain.
At 4, the Ollamhna group took over, and they played until Court. And then there was general milling and chatter. Nigel went to perform on time and I encouraged him to hold out until dessert was served, because he might get their attention better.
Later, Mea and Nigel asked me for a story since I still “owed one.” So I told them the Battle of Allen (Head of Donn Bo), more or less- I had said it was inappropriate because I was still learning it, and it’s for Kingdom Bardic and A&S Championship next March. They liked it.
So that was the rundown of how performances were. Like pulling teeth, but also an excellent time for me to be practicing my stories. Thank you for that opportunity, Skamp.
Some of us were talking in line for dessert (after Nigel’s songs). Part of the problem with this event is that it’s not really focussed on the performers. The stage is not in the middle of the room. It’s not against one wall in the middle of the room. It’s next to the food line which made for a distracted audience. And the performers come for the food, they don’t come for the performances. I mean, the acoustics are atrocious.
As usual, the food was delicious and well-worth the $25 site fee. Normal complaints about undercooked chicken, which was blood vessels not raw muscle. I love the Shilo here, but it’s kind of ouchy to spend that kind of money on a bed, alone.
Coming home, I was annoyed at performers, annoyed at populace. Pretty much annoyed at the world. My wise wife reminded me that I can’t be disappointed in other people for not playing the game the way I want them to play it.
Also someone encouraged me to track down Amadis of Gaul and that I might enjoy it. Does look like fun.