Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Art Before the Artist

We did this thing at The Feast of St Nicholas in Queen Elizabeth's Court back in December that I think some in the bardic community may like and some may not. Regardless, I would like to share, as it was so incredibly well received by the attendees.
The event was an immersion Elizabethan feast. The setting was a reclaimed church (think cathedral). We wanted to provide the full atmosphere and allow performers a chance to make music in this amazing space. To that end, we offered the musicians and vocalists an opportunity to perform in the church's balcony. While it was not bardic performance, per se, it was indeed performance. The focus was on the music instead of the performer.
The comment I received the most about the event (other than the comments about the amazing food) was, "The music was perfect! It wasn't intrusive and it added to the atmosphere. We were able to enjoy the performances (instrumental, choral, and solo vocal) without having to stop everything we're doing." Many of the people attending this event were not necessarily involved in or even interested in the bardic community. However, many of them expressed a new found interest.
As bards, we often enjoy presenting our art in a way that garners us immediate gratification and validation from our audience. However, sometimes we should consider how to expand our audience, itself. Sometimes, making it about the performance instead of the performer is the better choice.