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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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What I Remember and What I Know

My Filk Hall Of Fame plaque

Allison will be posting about Urban Tapestry's experience at FilKONtario in her Livejournal and I'll be posting some highlights as well, but I did want to write about our Filk Hall Of Fame experience this past weekend from a personal perspective.

As some of you will already know by now, Urban Tapestry was inducted into the Filk Hall Of Fame a few days ago. Allison, Jodi and I are deeply honoured.  The award is given to those whose contributions are seen to enrich filk music or the filk community. In order to be eligible for the award, a person, group or organization needs to be nominated. Nominations (new and old) are reviewed annually by a jury of judges representing filk conventions around the world. You can find out more about the details and process of Filk Of Fame induction on the Filkontario website.

Being inducted into the FHOF means a great deal to me. While Allison, Jodi and I spoke about some of the reasons we were honoured as a group this past weekend (though, um, coherency of my contribution was impeded by my embarrassing emotional meltdown at the podium), here are some of my personal reasons:

As Sally Childs-Helton said so well in her speech in 2003, this award is especially meaningful because it comes from the community. My own perception of the filk community has changed a great deal since I first discovered it over 20 years ago, through my friend Tom West.

In the beginning, I was just delighted to find people who liked making music with each other, and who were tolerant of those who may possess less-than-professional musical skills.

Years later, I'm convinced that I've become a better person because of this community.

What I Remember

I used to be so scared about performing in public that I would take my flute to a music circle, hide in the back, and not ever open the case because I was too intimidated. I remember Clif Flynt and Mary Ellen Wessels encouraging me, then dragging me into the limelight. I remember the kind words from filkers about my playing, even when I screwed up.

I remember being astonished when Mike Stein invited me to perform with him at one of the early OVFF conventions in Columbus, OH, and the thrill when I saw a recording of our performance appear on the OVFF cassette tape that year.

I remember the joy of discovering how well Jodi, Allison and I worked together as songwriters and musicians, and the greater joy in our growing mutual friendship. How even if we had no upcoming gigs, we'd still want to get together just to catch up.

I remember how encouraging our local filk community was when Urban Tapestry first began performing as a group.

And then...

I remember the caring and support that flowed from the filk community when I lost my brother and his wife. I've seen this happen many times since, for others -- we may have our occasional bickering and politics but when it counts, the community always comes together. We're like one big dysfunctional family: some drama but lots of fierce love.

What I Know

The filk community has made me much more appreciative of different lifestyles, cultures and personalities. To be wary of judging too quickly. To look past the rough bits on the surface to find the gold beneath.

Being a filker helps remind me, over and over, of the sheer joy of music -- in listening, in performing, in collaborating. To make music for the pure fun of it.

Being a part of the filk community has given me much more confidence in myself, and the benefits have spilled over into every part of my life: professional and personal.

Being around for so long has also given me perspective on how much filk has changed, and how it hasn't. One thing that never changes: the delight in watching a nervous newbie grow in confidence and skill, nurtured and encouraged by other filkers.

I am SO proud to be part of this amazing community.

I may not be able to attend as many filk conventions as I used to but for me, the filk community will always feel like coming home.


If you're unfamiliar with filk and want to know more, feel free to read my What Is Filk post over on the Urban Tapestry Filk FAQ.

To find out more about the Filk Hall of Fame, please visit their website.

Reader Comments (2)

This is a very interesting post to read,thanks for sharing.-superior Versace watch

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdives

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