entered fandom in 1974 and has been involved with filk for most of that time. In many ways, Gretchen embodies the meaning of ‘community’.
She has written or co-written lyrics for a large number of songs, including “Library Song”, “Brain Sludge”, and “My Husband the Filker,” which won a Pegasus award in 2003. In her collaborations with Bill, she is responsible for far more insanity than her demeanour would have you believe. To see their interplay on these songs is to watch a pair of masters at work. It is less widely known that Gretchen is also a delightful performer in her own right.
Gretchen started The Secret Empire with a partner in the mid-1980s, selling stuffed animals and similar fan items. When the opportunity arose to move into filk dealing in 1986, she and Bill bought out her former partner and have been selling filk and related merchandise at conventions ever since. Gretchen does much more than just display albums on a table and sit there. She has influenced countless fans by focusing on making the best match of music to each person who passes her table and not just recommending what she herself likes. In this way, she increases the chances that her customers will find themselves enjoying filk music in general.
While Bill is the public face of Dodeka, Gretchen is the person who makes certain things get done. She is fantastic at getting behind a project and pushing it to completion. She doesn’t do this in a noisy or obnoxious manner; she just keeps on top of everything.
Gretchen has run filk at various conventions in the Chicago area, most recently organizing the filk programming at Capricon in 2005. She also helped run the filk at WindyCon for many years. In addition, she hosts house concerts, helps others host concerts, and actively supports the local fannish and filk community. She is a strong, vocal advocate for keeping filk close to filkers, and works to prevent the kind of cultural wall that can grow between “professionals” and “amateurs” of musical performance. Gretchen has played auctioneer for Interfilk, as well as donating items to the auctions themselves. She was made a member of the Dorsai Irregulars in 2001.
Gretchen has been promoting filk music for more than 20 years. Our community is larger and richer because of her work.
For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Gretchen Roper is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this first day of April, Two Thousand and Six.