August 8, 2014 by phicks2012
Long, long ago when I was a sweet young thing I sang in the Church Choir, and later in the Glee Club and Small Ensemble in high school, but I never really got tagged for solos in the choir because I had a friend with a really incredible voice who always got those parts. In high school they made me an alto when they discovered that I could actually read music, and apparently there weren’t any alto solos in the pieces we were performing. There were a few live Senior Banquet productions in High School in which I did sing solos, but the audiences for those consisted largely of doting parents willing to be impressed by just about anything, so I wasn’t likely to get a swelled head when they approved of my performances.
In any case, I managed to navigate a good many years without ever performing a solo in front of a “discriminating audience”, so when it came to singing solos I had what amounted to major stage fright, and when I first became active with the SCA they tended to have Bardic Circles at a lot of events, with people performing for the entertainment of others.
Friends kept telling me that I ought to sing in those circles, as well as reciting poetry, but I resisted for several years until, finally, I made myself a solemn promise that I was going to overcome my stage fright and sing in public.
The story surrounding my first performance is lengthy, and involves a battery-operated wooden staff with a glowing crystal on top to be held by the current performer, delays to announce Bardic Tryouts just when the Staff was passed to me, and a seat right next to a Lady who sang professionally — and all of the above had me shaking like a leaf by the time they finally asked what I would be performing. To add to the tension, I’d rather stupidly (from my point of view at the time) chosen to perform a song I had written myself, so the song itself, as well as my vocal performance, would be inviting criticism. Quadruple Whammy!!
With knees actually knocking, I desperately closed my eyes before opening my mouth so that I wouldn’t have to see the faces of the audience, and I clutched that staff so hard my knuckles literally turned white. I was terrified, but I did sing, and, amazingly, people enjoyed it. I didn’t faint or throw up, and I finally was able to get over my stage fright as a result of that single experience. I went on later to serve not only as Kingdom Poet Laureate but also as Kingdom Bard, which goes to show that you CAN get past things like that. Really.
The following, for better of for worse, is the song that I wrote and that I sang, and a dubious vocal is webbed at http://www.covingtoncastle.com/music/scadianlullabye.wav
I’m still not going to be challenging on America’s Got Talent, and I probably ought to have tried for a better recording, but I hope you enjoy it.
Slumber, slumber, oh my darling,
‘Neath your father’s banner bold.
He’ll protect you, and defend you,
With his steel and with his gold.
Slumber sweetly ’til the morning.
Knights about you guard your rest,
‘Til your Lady mother wakens,
For to hold you at her breast.
Dream of castles on the hillside;
Banners flying oer the plain.
Soon the battles will be over,
And your father home again.
Slumber, slumber, oh my darling,
While the waning moon is high.
Hear the distant music playing.
Bards will sing your lullaby.
[6 September, 1990]