The position of Norrskensbard is one which is shared between Frostheim and the other Shires of Norra Nordmark (Reengarda, Uma, and Gyllengran) plus the Canton of Kaarnemaa. The title of Norrskensbard is earned by entering the Norrskesnbard contest, held each autumn in one of these branches.
The competition is held in four rounds:
1) Period piece (perform a song, story, poem, etc. that was actually composed during the SCA period)
2) Piece in a period style (perform a song, story, poem, etc. that you have composed yourself, in a style that was used during the SCA period)
3) Bard’s choice (perform a song, story, poem, etc. that you have composed on the theme chosen by the outgoing Norrskensbard for this year’s competition)
4) Three words out of a hat (perform a song, story, poem, etc. that you have composed on-site, in 15 minutes, using three words you pull out of a hat just before you begin)
The audience votes after each round for the performance they most enjoyed, and the entrant with the most votes at the end of the day becomes the Norrskensbard. They hold the title for a year, they get the beautiful Norrskensbard Cloak to wear as their regalia, and during that year they have the duty to perform as Norrskensbard at events and write songs in praise of people or noteworthy happenings in Norra Nordmark, or the greater SCA community.
During the plague year of 2020 it was decided not to hold the Norrskensbard competition as normal, but just do a practice round open to participants the world over during the Virtual Norrskensfest event held November 6-8. The Bard’s theme was “Nidvisor” or “satire”. There were five performers:
However, while all of the performances were very good, there was no voting, and the cloak remains with Wilhelm till next year.
The Fifth Norrskensbard competition was held in Uma, at Höstdansen, 11-13 October, 2018. The Bard’s choice theme was “Languages”: perform something in a language you haven’t already used in the competition. The entrants included:
After a very powerful competition Lord Wilhelm took home the cloak.
The fourth Norrskensbard competition was held in Uma, at Uma XXV Höstdansen, 26-28 October, 2018, at which, the Bard’s choice theme was “The SCA”. History was made at this event when, for the first time, one of the entrants was a group of people, rather than an individual:
At the end of the day the beautiful harmonies produced by Lady Dis, Noblis FriR, and Nanna were victorious, and together they share the duties of the job and the warmth of the cloak.
The third Norrskensbard competition was held in Frostheim, at Norrskensfesten, 3-5 November, 2017, at Störmsshundshemmet. The Bard’s choice theme was “Drinking Songs”. There were five entrants:
After a hard-fought competition Lady Gerdis, her violin, and her ability to keep the audience laughing at the stories sang so well, proved victorious.
The second Norrskensbard competition was held in Frostheim, at Norrskensfesten 18-20 November, 2016, at which the Bard’s choice theme was “Nature”, and for which there were six entrants:
All of the entrants shined, making it a close competition, and causing many an audience member to complain that they had too few beans with which to vote, yet Lady Astrid, her medieval clarinet, beautiful voice, and her ability to hold the hall’s rapt attention whilst becoming a forest bird was victorious.
The first Norrskensbard competition was held in Frostheim, at Norrskensfesten 13-15 November 2015, at which the Bard’s Choice theme was “Norrsken, or Norra Nordmark”, and for which there were four entrants competing for the title:
It was a close competition, with each entrant winning one of the rounds, but at the end of the day Lady Gerdis was victorious.