found fandom, in 1973, when he joined the Stilyagi Air Corps. Given his love of music, it’s no surprise that he soon found filk in at ConFusion in1975. He has become a mainstay of the Midwest filk scene since then.
Mark wrote his first filk song in 1975, and has written many well known songs over the years. They range from humorous (“Dorsai Rover”) to serious (“Love is the House”). His spoken word pieces are varied: some feature outrageous puns like “A Hief Bristory of FiSci”, and some are serious like “7/20/69” about watching the first lunar landing; it pulls at the heartstrings. In 1993, Mark won a Best Filk Song Pegasus for his musical setting of Robert Heinlein’s “The Green Hills of Earth”, a setting that had Heinlein’s own blessing.
Mark is one of the few a capella singers who can grab and hold an audience’s attention for an hour’s solo concert. He is inevitably funny – or punny, or both – as a performer, but caps his wit with one of filk’s really outstanding voices. His love of the stage shows in those vocals and his stage skills. This was acknowledged by a Pegasus nomination for Best Performer in 1991. He released an album of his own and others’ material, called Tusks are Optional.
Aside from performing, Mark has served on the ConClave Committee, has headed up the music track at Confusion since 2011, and at DetCon One (the 2014 NASFIC). At other cons, he has worked as an auctioneer for Interfilk and as a Dorsai Irregular, as security at convention Art Shows.
His greatest contributions are as a teacher and facilitator and mentor for people who are new to filk, or for those with little experience. He is always encouraging new performers, and has developed voice workshops for complete beginners; “Shallow End Filk Circles” (a welcoming place for new filkers to perform with no pressure), and a panel “Powderfilk Biscuits”, described as “giving shy filkers the strength to stand up and sing what needs to be sung”.
When he’s not busy performing, listening to concerts, or in a filk circle, Mark can frequently be found in the con suite, where he can be readily engaged in conversation about his latest favourite books, movies, TV shows, or ventures into musical theatre.
For these contributions to Filk Music and the Filk Community, Mark Bernstein is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this ninth day of April, two thousand sixteen.
You can read Mark’s wonderful acceptance speech here.