How many Arts & Sciences competitions have you been to where there were 80+ entries, 70+ judges, no entrants with a Grant level A&S award or Laurel, no scoring, face-to-face judging, and lots and lots of great food?
I have to been to one, twice. The Queen’s Prize Tourney in Ealdormere, held on November 22, 2014, was the second annual edition of this event. The brainchild of Duchess Adrielle Kerrec, who cheerfully admits that she borrowed the idea from Calontir, QPT is designed to allow those artisans who have either achieved the Order of the Orion (the Kingdom’s AoA-level A&S award) or have no Kingdom A&S awards to display their works. Each entrant must have a Companion of the Crucible (the Kingdom’s Grant-level A&S award) or a Laurel sponsor his work. Sponsors must also provide one gift for each entrant they sponsor, although these gifts are given to entrants other than those sponsored. The judges are primarily members of the Crucible or the Laurel. I was asked to judge this year and had the experience of judging vocal presentation, poetry recital, and a 10th century Norse cloak.
The hall was lively all day long, as face-to-face judging is the order of the day. A team of 3 or 4 judges takes about 45 minutes to judge an entry, viewing the entry, reading documentation, and chatting with the entrant. It is a great opportunity for teaching and learning about the entry and for meeting the judges and entrants. The entire event, from the judging to the all-day side-board to the commons area, was filled with joy and friendship all day long, and this “out-of-context” visitor was warmly welcomed.
Many of the entries were on a level of excellence I have seldom seen. As was true last year, a number of young people entered the competition and did wonderful projects. Among the entrant were also at least three knights, a duke, a baron, and several other high nobles. As there is no scoring of entries here, only the opportunity to discuss arts and sciences, the giving of prizes is based on a vote of the judges and on the choice of Her Majesty of Ealdormere. Although not every entrant receives a prize, each entrant does receive a sponsor’s gift.
QPT is designed to be an alternative to the Kingdom A&S Championship which is held in the Spring. It is also an opportunity for the entrants to “try out” possible entries for next Spring’s A&S Championship. I hope that Æthelmearc will adopt the QPT format and try this event out in the near future.
Faithfully submitted by Fridrikr Tomasson, Cub Reporter
Photographs by Lord Alexander Gladstone, Ealdormere