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Badge of the Known World ChoirThis is a series of Q&A articles the Gazette is conducting with members of the Pennsic staff.

Lady Erlan Nordenskald is a Director Emeritus of the Known World Choir, and this year she is in charge of the choirs that are organized to perform as part of Pennsic.  The Pennsic Choir was originally started over 20 years ago and was a single performing group.  The program expanded to include other inter-kingdom wars and events, so renamed itself The Knowne World Choir.  These are the four groups that rehearse at Pennsic.

  • The Adult Choir is open to everyone and ranges from 60-80 participants yearly.
  • The Children’s Choir is for children 12 and under and is in its second year.
  • The Youth Choir is for ages 13-17.
  • Chorulus Pennsicus is an adult choir.  This smaller select group is in its second year and participation is by audition only.

Gazette: What Pennsic activities does your office cover?
The choir rehearsals and concert arrangements for vocal music by the Known World Choirs

Gazette: Do you need volunteers?  What kind of skills would be useful for them to have?
YES!!!  We need volunteers to help with the set up and break down of the Performance tents.  We also need voices to sing in all of the groups particularly in the new youth choir.  It’s a great place for teens to gather and have a great time.  The Adult Choir really could use a few good men

Gazette: Is there a particular activity or change to an activity that you’re excited is happening?
The Concert is going to be amazing.  [It will be] Thursday August 1st at 6 PM in the Performing Arts Pavillion.  We’re also VERY excited for the new Performing Arts Rehearsal Tent.  This new tent that will be located behind the  Bath House will be filled with music all day.  Folks are welcome to stop by and sing or just listen.

Gazette: What one thing do you wish people knew about your activity?
That it happens.  Over 75 adults participate in this Adult Choir.  They rehearse for 2 hours a day for 5 days and then do a major concert.  It’s the only place where one can learn about Medieval and Renaissance vocal music.  The directors teach about polyphonic music and educate as well as direct.  We can recreate music like it was meant to be done which isn’t always an option in smaller shires and baronies. Each year, the Royalty of almost every Kingdom make an effort to come by and thank the participants in this endeavor. This is a special moment for the performers, and I hope to see every Kingdom represented this year!

Gazette: What about your area of responsibility interests you?
As Director Emeritus and co-ordinator I get to do the outreach for participants. I also am very proud to say that the directors this year have been preparing for this for almost a year, choosing music and preparing for rehearsals and I am very proud to be a part of this.  For many years I was the only director and had to keep this group alive and now we have many people participating in doing this.

Gazette: What advice would you give someone who wants to hold your position in the future?
Start singing now and get involved this year.  See how the different choirs work and see how the scheduling works.

Gazette: On a personal note, what part of Pennsic do you most look forward to?
The music.  The East Kingdom is very wide spread so the opportunity to recreate real Renaissance music, vocal or instrumental, doesn’t happen often – so at Pennsic the Eastern musicians can meet those from other Kingdoms and recreate music that is just impossible to do with a small group.