Monday, January 20, 2014

History and song, an interesting partnership.

Some time ago, a core group of Mooneschadeen began to notice that there was a disconnect between the "new guard" and the "old guard" of the group. Specifically, a lot of the why we did what we did was being lost between generations, and some of what we actually had been doing was being misrepresented (sometimes politically, and sometimes through honest error). Lady Liliana Barns took the initiative on what became a pet project of hers, the historian's dinner.

 In summary, she would provide food for anyone who showed up, and the whole meeting would center on the recollections and experience of our historian, HL Haldane Sparhawk and his wife, HL Estril Sweet. Soon after the first few, the basic ground rules were laid out, specifically one that said questions were welcomed from anyone, but answers needed to come from someone who had been playing longer than twelve years.

Over time, (and these have been going on for several years now), the importance of the meetings has shifted, but the meetings have become an important political, social and historical venue. Policy decisions have been shaped,  officerships guided, events evaluated, and  people measured, in part, by the verbal record generated in these discussions.

"Sky" (knight marshal)
Last night we had a larger than average turnout, with our knight's marshal and our archery marshal in attendance, as well as the senechal (our hostess), and the normal load of children that follow our regular crew (no fertility issues in this group, let me tell you). The final count of warm bodies was fifteen, with three kids, three teens, and the balance sitting in a circle talking, and then singing.

The bardic is actually a relatively new addition to the schedule, and one born mostly of convenience.The turnout used to be lukewarm, but with our new bardic champion, Lady Svetlana running the practices, turnout and participation has increased noticeably.

I point these out because song and history have a lot of overlap, at least in our group. Whether its expanding on the hidden jokes in "the herald's song", or explaining the meanings behind each verse of  "the Rising of the star", out history shapes a lot of who we are as a group, and recent activity has shows that ignorance of it is even more dynamic in shaping our decisions, usually for the worse.

So, last night, we gathered, and crammed ourselves into Liliana's living room, shoulder to shoulder in a circle, and ate lots of spaghetti and garlic bread and cupcakes.

And then Liliana started the conversation off with a request for some history on the guard, as one of our attendees was a member of the guard. Haldane started the conversation, as was the norm for us. But to my surprise, he looked at me about three sentences in, and said "And actually, I believe Ivo is has done more research on this than I have."

Its one thing to participate in a conversation with Haldane, and its another thing still to offer valuable input on a topic he is talking about. But to have him wholesale turn the proverbial floor over to me was something of a "moment" for me in itself.

As it happened, I outlined the foundation of the guard, and all the way up to the passing of the captaincy to the third captain before we moved on to other topics.

We went on to talk about matters of heraldic protocol, letters of introduction, the origins of the kings, and the time the first crows of Ansteorra got lost on the way to our first ever "event" (a revel).

The whole conversation transitioned nicely into bardic, where we did "God rest ye frantic autocrat", and then summarized a few of our own "memorable" events. We also did "red is for purity" as something of a tribute to the fact I finally got Derega's arms submitted.

My wife and myself had to depart early from the festivities, she and I had work (even though our son had off from school, lucky kid).

Word is that the singing carried on until close to 10:30, and a good time was had by all.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

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