Let the revelry begin: Society for Creative Anachronism holds event in Salisbury
By Sara Gregory
The 550 Timberline Trail house is typically modern.
At least, until you step in the backyard, where people dressed in pre-1600s clothes are singing battle songs.
"It's the Middle Ages the way they should have been," says David Ritterskamp, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Complete with air conditioning, paper plates, tennis shoes and oh yeah, without the Black Plague.
SCA members and appreciators gathered Saturday for an afternoon and evening of music, poetry and song hosted by the local canton, Salesberie Glen.
The performers revel is the first of its kind locally, says the group's leader, Lady Mari of Varekai, known to commoners as Eliza Hulce.
"This is just for people to come out and perform who want to perform," she says. "The only stipulation was that you have to perform something."
The SCA started in Berkeley, Calif., in 1966 to promote the study and appreciation of all things medieval.
Today there are 19 kingdoms across six continents with more than 100,000 participants worldwide.
The local group, Salesberie Glen, is part of the Barony of Sacred Stone in the Kingdom of Atlantia. Atlantia, for those wondering, stretches from Maryland to parts of Georgia.
The group is most known for its heavy contact fighting, including rapier combat, siege weaponry and heavy infantry projectiles.
It's period fighting similar to historical Civil War reenactments, only fighters don't go into battle knowing which side will win.
The fighting is what drew Ritterskamp to the group, after a friend brought him to an event in 1987. For a kid who "grew up playing soldiers in the woods," the SCA's battles were a chance to keep playing.
"Here was this group where I could beat the crap out of people," Ritterskamp says. "We have rules but apart from that it's as full contact as you can be."
The fighting is only part of what the SCA does. Members also seek to promote the arts and sciences of the Middle Ages, and many extensively research their areas of expertise, even obscure ones such as the agricultural practices of 13th century Germany.
"We do this research but half the fun of it is sharing with others," says Gisela vom Kreuzbach, whose "mundane" name is Kate Rauhauser-Smith.
And although the fighting drew him to the SCA, Ritterskamp is interested in both poetry and drama. His specialty is Viking poetry.
"If you think writing poetry is hard, try writing formal Viking poetry in English," he says.
Saturday's performers ranged from amateur to professional. Audience members sung along to common tunes and joined in with harps, drums and other instruments.
"I hear this song in my head every time I go into battle," says Sharon Doherty, known also as Lady Kellia Ironrose.
SCA members are a tight-knit community. Many know each other only by their guild names ó Lady Kellia Ironrose, Lady Mari of Varekai, Sir Axel of Tavastia. Rauhauser-Smith says even her children call her by her SCA name when they want to get her attention.
"I feel more like a Kellia," Doherty says.
And despite varying interests, all come together under what Rittenskamp describes as the "umbrella" of SCA.
"It's a group that does the best it can to provide and umbrella for anyone who wants to do anything," he says. "It's an umbrella for you to do anything to want."
Contact Sara Gregory at 704-797-4257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.