We aim to accomplish three primary goals in the northern Oaken region: to increase the number of full-time and part-time bards; to increase the skill level of all bards; and to increase the audience for bardic activity.
To do this, we have set out to do the following things:
- We provide frequent opportunities for bards to work, either in public or purely with other bards. For example we sponsor:
- bardic activity at every SCA event in the region
- Bardic Roundhouse, an annual three-day bardic festival
- Comfort Zone, a series of bards-only evenings
- the Magic Carpet Kavehane and Jalabba-the Hut, a bardic "Celtistani" coffee house / jalab joint
- The NOBLE Prize
- Oaken's Eleven - the most merciless and terrifying band of mercenary bards ever to curse the Known World with their verses
- classes in the bardic arts
- We ensure that these opportunites are diverse enough to interest everyone in the community. Some activities are competitive, others are not. They are held at various times of day, from morning to late at night. Most of them specifically encourage diverse performance modes - that is, not only traditional song, spoken word and music, but also performance dance and other physical performance arts such as fire-work.
- We encourage participation in A&S Faires as performers or judges.
- We encourage senior bards to mentor others.
- We foster regional communication in the widely spread bardic community by hosting the Gorsedd mailing list.
- We publicize our activities through the mailing list, this web site, and via designated points of contact in different parts of the region.
- We encourage people who don't consider themselves bards to participate. For example, we offer frequent classes in bardic basics and sponsor sing-alongs of popular songs.
- We encourage those who don't wish to participate to join us as audience. For example, a recent Bardic Roundhouse included an entire track of classes aimed at this community.
Gorsedd is a household of the Society for Creative Anachronism, open to all, but created as a home community for the bards of northern Oaken (the Baronies of Brendoken, The Cleftlands, and Red Spears; and the Shires of Castell Gwent, Eastwatch, Falcon's Quarry, Oakford, and Rivenvale).
(There is no intention of being exclusive by focusing on this region, but the component parts of northern Oaken have a common "rust belt" sensibility and affinity for each other, and it is a geographical region of manageable size.)
Gorsedd (pronounced GORE-seth, with a voiced "th") was formed in early 2009 (AS XLIII) by bards from across the region to develop and enrich the bardic arts in northern Oaken.
The founding members were:
Brendan O Corraidhe (Eastwatch)
Dirk Edward of Frisia (Rivenvale)
Juliane Bechaumpe (Eastwatch)
Llywelyn Glyndwr (Cleftlands)
Mathilda Harper (Castell Gwent)
Robin McCauley (Rivenvale)
Tyzes "Zsof" Sofia (Brendoken)
Ursula Mortimer (Brendoken)
(For contact information, click here.)
These founding members, along with Kateryn Draper and Brihid Seanchain, also act as the coordinating committee, known as "the council". It is a lower case "c" council with no particular powers, but we do end up organizing most activities, recruiting new members, etc. Llywelyn - sometimes known as Fearless Leader - heads the council and therefore the household.
Our household badge (vert, on a pile argent a harp counterchanged; this is visible in the upper left corner of each page) and name have been submitted to the College of Heralds, but have not yet been approved.
By joining our mailing list, you become a household member. This gives you the right to wear our household badge. It confers no other privileges, but then there are no household duties, either, and your membership will in no way conflict with membership in any other household or organization.
no-Gorsedd.com is a web site and mailing list to support this household. See the Contacts page.
We define "bardic arts" broadly, to include singing-songwriting, instrumental music, middle eastern dance, physical performance, theater - any of the creative or interpretive arts which is intended for performance in front of an audience. As Master Owen Alun (formerly of Midrealm, now of Northshield) says: "If you call yourself a bard, you are a bard".
Although we focus on bards in northern Oaken, we welcome non-bards as well, and both bards and non-bards from outside our region. Many join merely to be on the mailing list so they are informed of our activities.
To join the household, sign up for the mailing list.
There is great interest in the bardic arts in the region - when opportunities arise, there is no lack of participation and audience - but historically there has been little in the way of a support structure to provide those opportunities on a regular basis, and as a result, the bardic community has not grown, individual bards have had less opportunity to develop, and the populace has been deprived of an enjoyable element of life widely available in other parts of the Known World.
This is the rationale for creating a group, then - to provide that support structure. But SCA groups are normally created to coincide with existing SCA borders, so why create one which includes approximately half of the Middle Kingdom Region of North Oaken?
The group of people who consider themselves "full-time" bards is spread thin, so it has been a frequent occurrence that there are not enough bards in any given Barony or Shire to create a critical mass. There are enough bards across the whole of the region, however, and we found that when we all began speaking to one another, we were able to make things happen.
To us, it made sense to encompass a territory which can be easily reached for daytrips, and which has a common sensibility (the industrial, rust-belt mentality of northern Ohio).
Simply, we wanted to have approved heraldry, but we didn't want to go through the trouble of getting a formal Guild approved. In addition, a Guild would have had to coincide with formal borders, and would have been either too large (all of North Oaken) or too small (a single Barony or Shire).
Gorsedd (pronounced GORE-seth, with a voiced "th") is a Welsh word which is so old that it has come to mean many things: "throne", "mound", "gathering place", and others. The most common modern use is "a community of bards" (it is so used for the National Gorsedd of Wales). Here is the Wikipedia article.
Unfortunately, some group of (non-SCA) bards in Wales, of all places, got the domain name "gorsedd.org", and "gorsedd.com" is also taken, so we're stuck with "no-gorsedd.com" (for "northern Oaken Gorsedd")