minstrel: Performing in Feast Halls

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Tue Mar 11 21:17:30 PST 1997

Generally, I don't do feast halls.  The only performances I have seen in
feast halls (during feast) that worked were instrumental background stuff.
The reasons are obvious.  People can enjoy it if they wish, and ignore it
if they don't.  Whereas with the solo vocalist (singer/storyteller/etc.)
where everyone is expected to be quiet, those who want to enjoy it can,
wheres those who don't have to suffer in silence.
	As a singer, I never want to have anyone be forced to listen to
me.  No audience is tougher than one that does not even want to be an
audience.  When I do perform at feast halls, I never try to sing to the
whole hall.  Usually the halls are too big, too noisy, not accustically
sound, and not interested enough.  It strains me more than a regular
performance and is generally not worth it.  What I do is sing to
individual tables.  I'll wait until feast is well underway, or starting to
die down, and then start my rounds.  Usually high table is first, unless I
happen to be way at the other end of the hall and someone else grabs me
first with a request.  High table is in itself another matter.  Sometimes
they can be very very appreciative, and other times they can be very
annoyed ("another bard!  Sheesh, we can't eat a meal in peice any more!")
My worst experience with High Table was when the King asked my to sing
someting by Enya, because the Queen favoured Enya.  I told him politely
that I did not knw anything by Enya (while on the inside thinking, "Enya?
At an event?  At High Table?  What?") and proceeded to sing some other
more suitable peice.  The king talked all through my song, which greatly
flustered me, and then after I was done told me what a fine voice I had,
said not to be bothered that he didn't pay attention to me because "it was
period," and then just turned his head and continued his conversation.  
	Of course, I've done High Tables since then with marvelous
reactions.  After I do my duty there, I'll usually go chat with some
friends at a nearby table, and usually ind up being requested to perform
something within a few minutes.  I'll perform at a volume loud enough to
be heard by everyone at teh table, and maybe the next table over, but I
won't try to sing to the whole hall.  When I'm done, I'll offer my
services to another table, and so on, and work my way around the hall,
untl I feel like stopping.
	I've found this the easiest, and most rewarding method for
entertaining feast halls.  Anyone else got their two cents on this?

"Ye knowe ek that in forme of speche is chaunge
Withinne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
That hadden pris, now wonder nyce and straunge
Us thinketh he, and yet thei spake hem so,
And spedde as wel in love as men now do."
	--Geoffrey Chaucer (late 14th cent.)

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