4. Becoming a Minstrel

To become a Minstrel you have to have a skill of average or better in five of the seven points. [2] Then you think about your masterpiece. A masterpiece is an original contribution to one or more of the seven points. Your masterpiece could be a song with music and lyrics written by yourself, or a performance, or a musical instrument that you have made, or an article you have written about medieval music. Make this masterpiece the best you can do!

If you have finished your masterpiece you contact the guild. Together you decide on an event where you can show what you've been doing. This will have to be done early, two or three months in advance. Events where we try to get as many Minstrels together as possible are the following: two coronet tourneys [3] a year and two university events. If there are other events that are also suitable the guild will decide if they will also be used for candidates for the Minstrelcy. In the guild newsletter we will announce that you want to become a Minstrel, at what event you're going to try this, what your masterpiece will be and you'll have to introduce yourself then.

Any Minstrel who is interested in you can contact you then. Every Minstrel who is interested should come to the event at which you are going to show your masterpiece. All the minstrels that attend that event will have a vote. At least three Minstrels should be present [4], or have given an opinion by mail to make a Journey(wo)man a Minstrel. A majority of the votes have to be in favour of the candidate for him or her to become a Minstrel.

If you go to the chosen event you bring your masterpiece and other material to show your skill in your chosen five points. Performing can be done at the event (if you want to be a minstrel there will always be one performing point in your chosen points (there are only four non-performing points!)). When you have performed and showed your work the Minstrels will decide if you are worthy of the title 'Minstrel'.

We prefer that candidates come to an event to show their skill in music and storytelling to become a Minstrel but sometimes this is not possible, because the candidate lives far away and cannot afford to come to an event where three Minstrels will be present. For those people we have the following option: The candidate contacts the Guildmaster [5], and they will discuss if there are possibilities for Minstrels to come to the candidate. If no direct contact is possible, it is also an option to show your skill in the chosen five points by photos and a videotape (it would be best if the performance was put on videotape, with the added description of the performance by a local specialist, for example a Guild member or the local Minister of Arts and Sciences). This information will be circulated so all Minstrels can have a look at it. If a majority of the Minstrels agree, (votes should be sent by post to the Guildmaster) the candidate will be a Minstrel. It is possible for a Minstrel to give a vote without having seen the material of the candidate (for example because he or she has already seen the candidates work), but every Minstrel has the right to see the work of the candidate.

Minstrels are expected to help members of the Guild and of the SCA as much as they can manage with the arts of music and storytelling. It is strongly recommended they take at least one student if there are people who want to be their student.

There is one Minstrel that does not have to pass this test to become a Minstrel. That is the current princess Bard or Dragon Bard or whatever name they come up with later. This person is a Minstrel and has a vote in the Guild for as long as he or she carries the title. Then the vote will go to the next Bard. This is because is it good to have some new blood now and then in the Guild, it keeps us from being frozen in our habits! [6]

[2] This was changed at Bard's Night II in 1998 C.E.. Now you can become a Minstrel by having two masterpieces, but covering only four points total. [3] Since 1994 C.E.: Crown Tourneys. [4] There are only three Minstrels in Drachenwald right now and getting them all on one Event might be difficult. Don't let it stop you, though, we'll find a way to manage. [5] You can mail me. [6] AFAIK there hasn't been a King's or Queen's Bard for quite some time, probably as far back as the reign of Prince Karl and Princess Leia. Posted by Jehan de Lorraine at December 7, 2003 10:37 PM