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devil duck

Noisemakers (SCA event)

We weren't sure until a few days ago that we were going at all, so we didn't commit to teaching anything, or providing dance music, so it was a fairly laid-back day.

I spent two hours in Toki-and-Eva's class on "Storytelling for Singers", in which we discussed the performance issues of converting material between story and song formats. I was the guinea pig: I stood up and butchered part of a verse piece (a Childe ballad, though with nothing obviously OOP to the untrained ear) I've been doing for years, then re-did the whole thing as a prose tale, with frequent interruptions to critique various aspects of my performance. Humbling, but educational. One lady at the class was at her first SCA event, so we tried to make her feel welcome.

Then it was lunchtime. The dayboard included the standard cheese squares, sliced meats, pickles, bread and cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and vegetable-barley soup... but it also had two delicious medieval sauces (a green sauce and a white garlic sauce) for the meats, a crock-pot full of Savory Toasted Cheese (Digby), a very tasty if slightly dry chicken pie (I had three or four slices), and a "carrot casserole" with the consistency of bar-cookies (I had three or four pieces).

After lunch, shalmestere and I were to fill in for the ailing woodwindy in coordinating a two-hour instrumental jam. For the first hour, the attendance was we two, one "auditor" who didn't play or sing, and two children who were somewhat miffed that we had invaded their playroom for something so trivial as a scheduled class. For the second hour, ubiq31 showed up with his new recorder and an hour or two's experience playing it, so we did a variety of pieces (mostly 13th- and 14th-century) that have a tenor line suitable to someone with an hour or two's experience playing recorder. minstrlmummr showed up at some point, and we did some vocal stuff.

There was a rumor that the dance class upstairs was in need of dance musicians, so we hauled some instruments, stands, and sheet music to the dance room. But it turned out that for the dances Daffydd wanted to teach, the available sheet music didn't match the recordings he was used to, so I decided to dance instead while shalmestere went off elsewhere. We did Mercantia (15th-c. Italian) and Bella Gioiosa (16th-c. Italian); one or two of the ladies in the class had never done any Renaissance dance before, so they were learning to swim by being thrown into the deep end. I do 16th-c. Italian infrequently enough that I can seldom remember the steps to any particular dance, but frequently enough that the timings of the steps, and some of the common step sequences, come back to me quickly. And both of these dances are a lot of fun.

Dinner time. There were only forty or fifty diners in a room that could have held three times that, so the tables were arranged properly, in a horseshoe with diners only on the outside.

seoanwilliam, who I gather is ladypeyton's apprentice, put together a very impressive feast. At least two of the dishes (a very tasty bean dish and an onion almedroch) were from Libre del Coch. The first major dish was a grosse char of venison, which the chef carved before High Table, served onto individual plates for high table, and then served onto communal plates for each of the other tables, accompanied by a delicious red-currant sauce. There were roast quail, topped with bacon [beef bacon, for the benefit of the non-pork-eaters] and presented on a nest of greens, "twigs" of fried dough (effectively giant chow mein noodles), and vermilion-dyed quail-eggs. There was a raw sallet in the first course and a cooked one in the second, and a delicious dish of cheese and turnips that was not "armored turnips". The chef had arranged with a butcher in town to de-bone a whole suckling pig, stuff it with a medieval farcemeat, and roast it (or was it roasted on-site? Anyway...) So the chef got to carve a suckling pig, too, in front of High Table, then serve it forth so there was nothing left but a head glaring at Baron Darmon and Mina.

shalmestere appeared to be the ranking Peer in the room, and I the second (huh? How did that happen, in a group as old as Bhakail?), so we were to toast TRH and the hosting Baronage, respectively. The last time I was in this position, I completely forgot the names of the hosting Baron and Baroness; this time I had the names, but still bobbled the words I was going to say. Got to work on this extemporaneous-public-speaking thing....

I brought home a quart zip-loc bag each of pork, venison, and cheesy turnips. Lunch for the next few days... yay!

There didn't seem to be any move after dinner to clear a space for dancing; people just started packing to go home. Which was for the best: it would have been fun to dance and/or play dance music, but without that, we and minstrlmummr were able to be off site before 9:00, and (despite a light fluffy snowfall) get home before midnight.


... oh dear. You were *asked* to fill in rather than being told, I hope? I sent a list of gentles to ask for help, but I didn't want anyone to feel unduly imposed on. I hope you weren't press-ganged. :(
I don't know exactly how it was phrased, or by whom: I heard about it from shalmestere. In any case, we had come prepared to provide a wide variety of sheet music for a jam session, so no problem.
Did you get the stack of music I sent as well?
Yes. We looked through it, and probably would have used it if we'd had more than one or two "students" in the "class" :-)
Lots of fun and even lots more was educational. I have a lot of reading and practicing to do... :)