Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the entire Guild of St. Michael season.

Tomorrow is the Spring Kickoff Meeting.

Best.  Day.  Ever.

It’s the day where all of the folks who have been doing GSM since the dawn of time (The Vets), meet the folks that auditioned to be a part of our cast for Bristol for the 2015 season (The n00bs).  It’s super exciting because it is the first time we are all together and the energy in the room is electric.

Our directing staff also share with us all of the upcoming events we have as we build towards our summer return to the Bristol Renaissance Faire.  But before they do that, everyone (as with any meeting) shares who they are and how many years folks have been part of GSM.   (This is also when the disagreement of how many years vs. seasons occur.)

The best part of it?!?!  

We get to say why we do what we do.   What drew us to GSM.  What makes us come back.

Why we are with  the Bande.

Heather Last - Lady Morgan Gage

” I joined because in 1999 they decided to get rid of the street cast, and I had been hanging out with GSM after hours and getting to know them.  I had been asked by the director at the time to  join them to add to the entertainment down by them and in the streets. Right away I felt like part of the family. Over the years we have changed the way we do things and the focus of the groups is constantly growing and changing, but that sense of family is always there. I truly love being able to educate through entertainment. Watching a kid touch something they read about in a book and their face lights up; watching an adult have that “ah-ha” moment when we answer a question about something or they feel an item and see how it was used. We have the ability to leave a lasting impression on people in a matter of moments and that feels amazing. I come back because those feels are addictive. This groups means so much to me because of the people in it; they are my family of choice. I get to watch them grow and learn and touch people’s lives and that feeling is irreplaceable to my heart. Meanwhile they support me and my growth in the group and in life. They are there for me and I am there for them, always, no matter the distance.”

Michael Lamble - Sexton Michael Pride

“I really like making history come to life, and representing the lived experiences of people in the past. I keep coming back because I’ve made a lot of really close friends in GSM, and I have a lot of fun working with this group to create a dynamic and realistic portrayal of real life in the sixteenth century. Also, where else am I gonna wear my armor?”

” This is my life. I brought my children up with these people. I renewed my wedding vows in camp. I have been to or in weddings for these people, been with these friends for the highs and lows of their life.  
Shelly Kakouris - Maggie Olyver

Professionally, I can’t believe there is a place where I can share the joy I find in learning about our past in such a creative and personal way. History was a CHORE when I was in school. It had no meaning…no connection. Here, I can help to personalize our past and connect it to our present. I can show people that history is fascinating, relatable, and timeless.   I would pick these people above most others on earth. I can’t imagine any other hobby that could bring me so much joy or sense of accomplishment. ”  

Amy Carerros - Mistress Cecily Sawyer

“I’ve wanted to be a part of Bristol since I went for the first time when I was 8. GSM is my family. I’ve made so many fantastic friends here and love every single one of our members. GSM challenges me to be outgoing and has helped me build confidence.”

GSM is a great group of people. But what brings me back is the fact that we get together in an atmosphere of doing things.Jeff De La Rosa - Master Jeffrey Rose

  We’re not just a bunch of people who hang out together—we’re doing things together, whether it be fighting or marching orsinging or making things. In reenacting a time in which life was so much more focused around activity and community, we rekindle in one another something that has gone missing from our plugged in world.  

GSM is a community. GSM is a family.

“I joined because one of my good friends, Mike Hesek was involved.  I expressed interest in joining the group, I auditioned and was in GSM.   I always loved going to faire, and GSM was perfect because I loved the educational aspect.   I do this for multiple reasons, for the educational aspect and the entertainment aspect, but more so for the strong bond. It was with GSM that I decided I wanted to for sure be an educator.  It was my light bulb moment.  I knew that I loved and lived for that feeling of educating people that I had never met, and knowing that those one on one interactions or those large group interactions, I would be connecting with someone, whether I knew it or not.  With GSM, I have friendships and I have that familial aspect too.    GSM is a home.  ”

“Originally my best friend said we should go and do this thing during the summer. It will be fun. I rode with him to the director’s house and ended up meeting a lot of fun people.  My first summer, I found some acceptance and a ton of new friends who accepted me for me, not any construct of what I was in high school or college. I made friends that first year that I am still friends with 20 years later.  I guess that’s one main reason I keep coming back. I found a surrogate family that supported me without reservation. Now I get the chance to be that person for others that need that support.  I’ve always loved knights and dragons and fantasy, from a very young age. My mom encouraged that love and took me to the Faire when i was young, helped me find fun books, gave me every opportunity to express myself.  As I grew older, I fell in love with the real history of it. The ability to reach people and share with them the passion I have. Its invigorating to see people have a good time because of something you helped create. Its even more rewarding watching my people find that in themselves.10152439_10152716818372559_8130147232915889690_n   GSM more than any other group I’ve seen, encompasses that true meaning of team. Working together for the common good and the betterment of each other.

We don’t focus on the dollar at the end of the day, but the reward achieved BY our guests and ourselves.

The things I’ve learned through being a member of this group have shaped me more than almost any other event in my life, and quite honestly, I really like whom I’ve become and I want to help people find that in themselves.”

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In as simple of terms as possible, it’s the people.  Whenever I get to play with or teach someone who is excited to be there, that’s the best.   

This is why.  This is what makes us come back summer after summer, and event after event, and make not only a summer commitment to the Bandes, but a recurring one.   We find ourselves coming back together not only for the spring kickoff meeting, not only for the classes and workshops leading up to our summer at Bristol, but in all parts of our life.   We do this because we love what we do.  We love that we help people learn and help people understand.  We do this because we make a connection.  We bring history to life.   We make the past present.

And we do it together.   We do it as a group. As a community.  As a family.

I cannot wait to see what our family brings to life this season.

– Cheers –