Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, and Choristers
This guild elects its master every seven years, nominating only candidates from within its membership, and eliminating the least popular candidate in successive ballots until a Master Musician is chosen. The death of the guildsmaster sees transition of power to the Voice of the Council until the next election. Lonna Zesper recently seized the position from Khirta Halambar, whose family has been entrenched in the guild for more than a hundred years, so much so that the majority of guildmasters in the past century have borne the surname Halambar.
This guild admits only skilled, accomplished artisans as full members, and its members enjoy a good reputation for quality and command high fees as a result. Member performers gain a typical fee of 6 gold pieces/day. Member instrument-makers command high prices in the crafting of their goods, as well.
In Waterdeep, true professionals in music are not prima donnas with difficult tempers or a need for creative self-expression that overwhelms tact. Rather, they pride themselves on giving a client exactly what is desired or needed, performed superbly. Often clients write terrible tunes or lyrics for a guild member to perform at private parties, weddings, or other ceremonies. Members of this guild may embellish such efforts to make them sound better (previewing them in private before the performance for the client's approval), but they never change a client's work because "they know better." It is just not done. Apprentices unable to cure themselves of such rashness will forever remain apprentices.
Guild members do tutor nonmusicians, and do give their own concerts. Among Waterdeep's wealthier inhabitants, hosting (and sponsoring) such concerts of an evening is a popular pastime.
Certain members of this guild create instruments of quality known throughout the Realms (especially a number of craftsmen of the Crommor noble clan). Guild members have a standing contract with the Lords to provide the signal-horns (also known as "war horns" or "battle trumpets") for the guard.
- Guildmaster Lonna Zesper: Zesper's Woodwinds. Newly-elected in 1489 DR and full of fiery ambition, Lonna won her seat on the promise of things done differently than under the Halambar guildmasters. A graduate of New Olamn, she has already secured the guild quite the coup: the bardic collegium has established a promise to have its students and staff only purchase instruments from guild-accredited crafters, in exchange for a slight discount. Non-guilded crafters have cried foul, but the magistrates upheld the deal; as a result, the guild has seen an influx of such crafters, many of who made their livings almost exclusively by selling to New Olamn's musicians.
- Voice of the Council Nunevus Rernran: Having served under two previous Halambar guildmasters, Nunevus is a voice of reason and sanguine good-will. When Guildmaster Zesper asked him to convince her to keep him as Voice, he told her that he would welcome a replacement, and that if his work didn't speak for him already, no words he could summon should suffice. She kept him on, and has had cause to be thankful for doing so even just two years into her tenure.
- Master Khirta Halambar: Halambar's Lutes & Harps. The ousted guildmaster Khirta has retired from guild politics to her shop. By the laws of the guild, she is not permitted to run for guildmaster again, although she has several children coming up in the guild that no one doubts she is working to prepare for their own attempts.