Another weekend in the can, this one a fun and somewhat unusual one.  In my non-writing mode, one thing I do is lead and play tenor in a recorder consort that performs Renaissance dance music at local (and occasional non-local) Society for Creative Anachronism events.  Our definition of recorder has become expansive, including at present a “harp recorder” and a “fiddle recorder” along with the usual recorder recorders, but one works with what one has, yes?  So Saturday saw the coronation of a new king of the “Middle Kingdom” with the event, at a county fairground one county north of us, hosted by the local SCA group.  And this event would include a ball to follow the evening feast.

A fun part was this:  I arranged for musicians to practice that afternoon with any other Middle Kingdom musicians present, thus including meeting new people, trying to balance in a new expanded instrument mix (including another harp, another violin — this one playing melodies while our “regular” fiddler joined me playing lower rhythmic lines — and even a cello!), and, while I had us play from a list of music from the dance mistress who would be presiding over the ball, we generally had fun jamming together.

Following that, the dance mistress and I worked out the order of dances we would play, arranging them into two sets, the second one possibly not to be played all the way through depending on time and how many dancers there would be left.  And then came what could have been disaster, an announcement just before the feast that it would be delayed up to an hour and a half due to a power loss in the kitchen earlier that afternoon.  So since (a) time had to be filled, and (b) if the feast now ended that much later there’d be no time for dancing after, the dance mistress happily got permission from event stewards to clear a portion of the feast hall floor and hold the dance early while people were waiting, while rounding up the musicians who were present (some, not planning to attend the feast, unfortunately were off-site getting their dinners elsewhere, thus making for another new mix).  Helped by some offbeat decisions we’d made regarding the dance order (notably starting off the first set with a korobushka, a noisy, rowdy Russian dance which attracted some of the men who might otherwise not have joined in, pushing the normal more staid processional back to the second set opening) we got people dancing, getting through the entire first set and filling in what otherwise would have been a disastrously long time of inactivity.

So who says chamber dance musicians aren’t heroes too?

Then Sunday being the first one in May, the afternoon was spent at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s First Sunday prose reading (cf. April 6, et al.).  The featured readers were Patsy Rahn, poet, prose writer, and previous chair of the Writers Guild, who read two short pieces followed by a triptych of flash stories; and Wendy Teller, whose specialties include historical fiction, nonfiction, and humor, who read a humorous piece about hobbies getting out of hand.  This was the last monthly reading before a two-month summer hiatus, and on a lovely sunny day, which may have contributed to a slightly smaller audience than normal, however, with relatively few readers for the open mike session afterward.

My contribution there was a very short horror vignette about ants in the summer called “City Cousins” which, inspired by one of the featured pieces, I followed with the Halloween haiku “Paranormal Botany,” scheduled to come out in STAR*LINE this fall (see April 15).

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  1. Wish I’d attended (if I could!) Love that idea and the music must have been both lively and different. I’m glad you got some men to dance too! I’ll bet your “City Cousins” was fun, and look forward to the Halloween haiku in Star*Line.




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