Top Ten for Pennsic 48- “the wild ride”

The list for this year has been a long time coming- even longer than last year- because this year was literally the craziest, busiest, most breathless year ever and my re-entry to the day to day was rough.  As in, we just wrapped up Labor day weekend and I still don’t have everything cleaned and put away which I normally get done within a week.  I have tried to include some of the many many Thank you’s of which I am sure I missed some and will follow up with photos for items that were crafted for me and catch more of you with personal “Thank you’s” and hugs!

In the tradition of posting a list of top ten moments from Pennsic, I am sharing from all aspects that I loved then adding notes for my own tradition of setting goals and objectives each year as Pennsic is my SCA “new year” so to speak…

10. Crazy Schedule is Crazy– this I need to remember and reflect on next year.  In my defense, I had filled up my schedule with teaching and performance and becoming a soldier before I was given a writ 3 weeks before Pennsic.  Normally 3 weeks would be a lot of time (and my daughter warned them that I would want to plan) but this is also during my busy season- working 11 hour days up till the weekend that I leave and I had 120 quail eggs ready to hatch the Monday after the writ was given so I had my schedule pretty packed before and during… (Thank you to all those who were involved in the shenanigans- and getting both my daughter and husband there, he was well disguised enough that she thought to herself “who is that guy creeping up behind my mom?” even though she knew he was on site…)


9.Teaching and learning- still and probably always in the top ten, it is why I am in this to begin with. This year I taught a total of 9 classes although I was scheduled for 11.

  • “Dressed for the Sultan intro to 16th century Ottoman Turkish clothing”
  • “Coaching and the Art of Constructive Criticism”
  • “Whatever Shall I Wear?” Newcomer’s Garb class
  • “Are you wearing a tablecloth? Intro to Greek garb” at the Early Period Arts and Sciences day hosted by Clan Praechain
  • “Greek garb make and take”
  • “Yoga for Rest and Relaxation” hosted again this year in Atlantian Royal camp before dinner M,W,F of both weeks (although I had to get a sub for the last Wed and Fri due to the ceremony and leaving early for a family reunion)

8. Volunteering- This is always a part of my Pennsic, although the service looks different from year to year depending on who needs what and asks for help.  Again this year for the Children’s fete as Queen Elinor from Brave and singing with the bards as we valiantly attempt to out-sing a barnful of children.  Also setting up the Performing Arts tent as we finished the stage, erected curtains, added stairs, and started seating.  I had another shift to work and Lady Scholastica Joycours (Atlantia you should be proud of her outstanding service as Dean of Performing Arts at Pennsic) wisely suggested working the light board during the Wed night shift after Atlantian court- I would have attended Mistress Marian of Heatherdale’s show regardless but this was a welcome respite after the elevation and the buildup to that event.  I even got to jump up and sing a couple pieces to fill a lull on stage with a full tent which helped unload the last of the energy and pure adrenaline that had kept me running for most of Pennsic.


7. Performing- This year I finally did a stage show on my own, only half an hour and sadly more scatterbrained than I should have been but I think I was borderline to heat exhaustion that day coming directly from the A&S display where I had been displaying, performing in the middle with the Janissary band, and enjoying a wonderful surprise court for Mistress Vadoma.  I also was part of the “Not Your Typical Atlantian Thugs” concert, proving the graciousness of Mistress Rosalind as I sang a new to me piece of hers, flubbed and replaced words on the fly, with her in the audience smiling along.  The bit of diddling to wrap up my set went over very well with the greatest audience engagement, as it should be with a tent full of bards. 😉


6. Joining the Janissary- this was a big commitment this year and it was awesome- I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into with the rest of my busy schedule and spent weeks leading up memorizing the songs in Turkish and making my uniform- that had to get done before elevation garb although a lot of finishing came with me to war because I ran out of time.  This was answered at the first rehearsal when just the brass warming up threw me right back into my marching band days, but now a more specialized immersion version!  The ultimate compliment was from someone I always secretly wanted to impress before I became a peer who stopped me in uniform on my way back to camp to tell me how impressive the Janissary band was- so I guess it can take a an army of friends to make an impression that we can’t on our own.  My voice did pay the price for singing as loud as possible as a guy for a few days straight so I am seriously looking into playing Zurna next year.  You have been warned. (Thanks to Master Osman for keeping steady pressure through hints, questions, and tastes of geekery until I was hooked.  Also thanks to Ella and Keylan who made this so much fun- I look forward to their children’s book “The sleepiest Janissary” which is apparently about yours truly mustering as a soldier for the field battle on 2 hours of sleep after my vigil.  Also blessings unto Bambi, the goddess of Turkish coffee, that made this experience truly sublime 🙂


5. Vigil- was a wonderful evening with a grand bardic and party that I got to start off the first hour of until their majesties arrived to place me on vigil. A huge Thank You to everyone who visited and shared their wisdom and advice with me or a song or tale around the fire. I do not even know all of those who were a part of planning and preparing this evening but I owe thanks to all of camp Southwind for hosting and especially Mistress Johanna and Duchess Simone for coordinating, Lady Deirdre and Lord Llewellyn for setting up the food, Sir Alherin, Abigail, and I am sure many others for cooking, Master Ruaidhri for brewing, Baroness Amani for the lovely gold printed silk Salwar and Zibin with pins, Lady Sarah for the gomlek, Lady Ella for the cotton undersalwar, and Mistress Michel for the slippers.

I requested a traditional all night vigil and although the party wound down eventually a few friends came back to visit and I eventually left the tent in the wee hours of the morning to join company around the fire for an hour or so with Finn, Richard and Evelyn who valiantly tried to stay the course with me but eventually gave in to sleep.  The last was Master Dahrien (which will surprise no other bards who know him) and when I said I was ready to turn into a pumpkin he helped move chairs under cover and bid me good night then I prepped for some sleep and stayed by myself at the fire till I saw the edge of dawn creeping on the horizon.  I finally went back to my tent and found a text from Dahrien offering to finish sitting my vigil for me, that being a service and him being a pelican.  Thanks for the offer Dahrien. I took a nap until the wake up crew was set to arrive and rouse me into a soldier to muster at the battlefield.

The photo below is with my dear friend Sir Finn who was one of our daughter’s first babysitters, a friend form college who used to make fun of me for being in the SCA but is now a knight and has served as a landed baron in the Outlands.


4. The time between- Master Richard said he was very pleased that I had a few days gap between my vigil and ceremony at Pennsic because he had experienced the same (although his vigil was a surprise) and found that it gave him time to reflect on the change in his role in this game of ours.  I wasn’t sure how much time I would have for reflecting given my already packed schedule but these days are when this whole thing started feeling more real. It was still a flurry of activity with classes and performances and dance but there was a cast of the responsibility to keep this magic alive, to provide inspiration and support, to work for the good and continuation of the dream.  I think I always strove toward this ideal, but now I was preparing to accept it as duty, as responsibility, as much a job as a calling.

3. Elevation to the Order of the Laurel- you might have thought this would be number one but in my mind it was not.  The ceremony was wonderful and I managed to maintain some dignity and not ugly cry through the whole thing.  Thank you to the many worthies who spoke for me- Duchess Simone with words from Mistress Barb-hah-rah as a Laurel, Mistress Johanna with words from Mistress Gianetta as a Pelican, Sir Kollack as a Knight, Master Giacomo as a MOD, and Countess Rowan as a Lady of the Rose. I wore the undersalwar finished by Lady Ella, Silk block printed salwar from Baroness Amani (and carried Turkish Prayer beads she had gifted me), a linen Gomlek made by Lady Sarah, a linen anteri finished by several of my campmates including Mistress Johanna, a watered silk anteri finished by Lady Clara with woven buttons made at Pennsic by Mistress Blitha, and a Tarpus made by Lady Ella.

There were lovely presentations of the Laurel kashbasti (turkish headband) embroidered by Mistress Vadoma, the ceremonial kaftan finished by my daughter Evelyn de Trees, the medallion (scrimshaw on wire weaving from Mistress Barb-hah-rah), and finally a sash (intentionally made so I could use it with many periods) embroidered with Laurel leaves and Linden leaves by each person who attended the vigil, this was by my request to Lady Ella who came up with the perfect item and presented it in lovely fashion as well.  This brings me to my next point…


2. Miracle of Many Hands, Many Hearts– Something crazy happened, it started on the day I was given my writ but continued right up to the middle of the ceremony.  That day, there were immediate congratulations and an outpouring of joy which continued over the month.  There also were offers to help and to create, and organize, and help pull this all together.    Not everyone may see this as a miracle, but I have always said that service is love manifest, and I am so honored that so many of you wanted to be a part of this wonderful moment.  There was work in advance, from those coordinating vigil and ceremony and preparing their parts mentioned above but also a whole team of people who just jumped in with “how can I help?” and joined me for sewing weekends and evenings leading up to Pennsic.  Many thanks to all of you who jumped in ahead of time and helped create all the amazing things listed above, also those of you who made things happen at war that I never could have expected and were wonderful surprises- Johanna and other camp mates taking sewing out of my hands, handling the vigil prep and setup and cleanup when I was too dazed to help.  Blitha following me back to camp after my class and showing me the method she found for diagonally weaving buttons- then just saying “give me your supplies and I’ll see what I can do” then having finished buttons appear on my bed a couple days later!  Thea and Scholastica dropping by camp to recruit talent for the reader’s theater (the got Evelyn for the leading role) and Thea asking about prep that needed doing then taking all of my token supplies and creating a pile of lovely tokens that I have seen worn so many times since- a sign that others loved them as much as I did!  Every effort and contribution was a surprise, a delight, and led me to the last…

1. Love is Humbling- especially for me.  Ya’ll made me cry.  A LOT.  I can never express enough thanks for every kind word and action, only know that each of them is impressed into my memory and my heart.  I don’t understand how or why I could deserve such and outpouring of love and can only strive in my continued service to be worthy of the faith you have placed in me.

And the biggest thanks of all to go my daughter who made excuses to show up for both the surprise of the writ, and for all of Pennsic and was a steadfast support and dedicated seamstress throughout.  From providing hankies, and arms to lean on, speed sewing, hugs and hugs and hugs, and mental breaks to debrief.  You are an amazing young woman and I am blessed every day to see how you use your talent and dedication to make your dreams come true!




Goal for this year- Continue “upping my game” but this year I want to focus on my level of performance because now I have felt some moments of best and I want more of that also… also working on my masterwork project, it is coming along in baby steps but needs presentation which thanks to lots of ideas I now have an idea for. 🙂

Objectives-I want accountability and feedback so feel free to challenge me to any new piece this year and let me know how to make it better!

Memorize one new song a month and prepare it for best level performance*. (continuing 5th year, getting a good repertoire now just need a list to remember what I remember)

Work up one story per month and prepare it for best level performance*. (failed on this one last year due to life but I’m back at it and some stories may work for real life to)

*Practice best level performance- breath control, planned and practiced projection, pitch, emphasis, emotion, dynamic range- until it becomes ingrained. (now practicing 5 hours per week so this is improving)

Complete one piece of garb each month. (continuing and working toward the masterwork)

Complete one non-garb sewing or other craft project each month. ( working on this one, starting with trying to do at least 3 repairs or special cleanings a week)


One thought on “Top Ten for Pennsic 48- “the wild ride”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s