Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Williamsburg Muster - a Musical Remembrance

The convention weekend started for us (on the committee) months ago, as we did a lot of planning and contacting of vendors, GMs, raffle supporters, the hotel, etc.  During this phase, the slow but steady buildup of duties and anticipation of the convention reminded me a lot of "Saturn: The Bringer of Old Age" by Holst   It starts out quiet and you almost don't notice it, but it builds.  Still subtle, but before you know it, there is an urgency...

About a month before the show, in early January, things really pick up.  Stuff starts coming together.  At this point it is well ordered and everything looks fine.  The 3rd of the Brandenburg Concertos (J.S. Bach) comes to mind - in my mind one of the greatest testaments to the Human Mind and its ability to construct order out of nothing.

Soon, it is the week before the convention and a lot is not done.  Things go from orderly to scary.  The demons begin rising up out of the schedule, and stuff gets lost.  It should have been done two weeks ago, but human beings haven't changed for 10,000 years.  Chuck Time rules (ask an ODMS member what Chuck Time is).  At this point, the scene goes to Mussorgsky and his perfect Night on Bald Mountain.

Thursday the tables are set up, and the Vendors start coming in with their treasures.  Watching those guys trudge all that great stuff in has to be accompanied by the Volga Boatmen Song, and no version is as pure as the one sung by the Red Army in 1965 (as old as me).
Finally, at about 1:00 on Friday, the first miniatures games start.  This really brought up a couple of things in my mind.  First, I thought the Triumphal March by Verdi, from Aida . . . but no.  Then I thought of the Prince of Denmark's March (much better) by Clarke.

The tournament players line up - mostly the Flames of War guys - like Monks in their Cells.  If I were a bit more quixotic I might think of something modern and romantic like Mea Culpa by Enigma, but rather I am reminded of Gregorian Chant as they go through the litany of rules and modifiers back and forth. Hail Holy Queen by the Monks of Notre Dame gets the nod here.  Close your eyes and imagine the FoW guys going through the motions while listening . . . but try not to pollute the sacred music too much with whimsy.
 In fact, a better option might be the Monk's Chant from Monty Python.

Seeing all the great games set up and playing can only stir (in a wargamer of a certain age) the strings and melody of La Victoire est à Nous.  This version is complete with images from Waterloo, and is a montage along with La vieille Garde and The Girl I left behind me (played during the death scene of Picton).

Finally I get around to running my own game - a large game of The Sword and the Flame - and it is a blast.  This has to be O Fortuna by Orff.

Time comes to pack up and leave the convention.  Saying goodbye to old gamers, fellow brothers from the club, new friends and gaming comrades, and all the great people that make our conventions fun.  This has to be done with only one piece of music - not for me, but for the folks leaving the convention!

The bad part of this year was that I realized sometime Sunday Morning (as people were starting to leave) that the Guns of August flyers we put out were misprinted with the wrong information!  Horrors, my very soul dropped through the floor as I felt bad about this mistake.  It was all my fault, and I tried to tell everyone I could, but the fact is the dates on the flyer were wrong (correct dates below).  This was such a blow, the only thing I felt is summed up by the poet/king David, and set to music in Miserere Mei.

Anyway, I hope you had a good time at Williamsburg Muster, and will think about Guns of August.  We would be glad to spend some time gaming with you.

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