first encountered filk at Balticon in 1989, when he heard Julia Ecklar perform a song in the con suite. Despite that auspicious beginning, he didn’t attend his first actual filk sing until two years later at Balticon in 1991, wandering into the back of the room and listening for a while, intrigued by this whole “filk thing”. Gary has said that his “official” entry into the filk community was at Phrolicon 6 (a Philadelphia area relaxacon) in ’91 when he spent the better part of both evenings in the filk circle. He and a friend performed a song together, which was a filk debut for both of them, and by the end of the convention Gary was hooked.
For more than 16 years, Gary has contributed significantly to the growth and development of Mid-Atlantic Coast filk fandom, playing a significant role in organizing and running Conterpoint since 1996. He has worked programming, guest liaison, publicity, publications, and hotel liaison, and has chaired Conterpoint twice. In addition to Conterpoint, he worked on The Second Concerto in ’97, EveCon, CastleCon, Disclave, and Bucconneer ’98. Since 2006, he has run filk and music programming for Balticon.
Gary has helped maintain a continuing tradition of local house filks in his community by regularly hosting them. He has also promoted filk among the local folk community. Through his online journal, Gary has always shown an enthusiasm and love of filk and filkers, whether it is for the conventions he’s helping to run, local housefilks, or the camaraderie of filk circles. He is a gracious host, billeting filkers and finding local events that are of particular interest to his guests.
He is a talented and versatile songwriter with an impressive range from funny to heartfelt to inspirational, and even co-wrote a filk song before he knew what filk was, helping a friend write “The Dalek Song”
(to the tune of “The Lumberjack Song”) while they were college students.
He has contributed his songs to many songbooks. It is moving to him to share his songs with other singers who might identify with the themes in the song.
An enthusiastic and confident solo performer, Gary is also willing to accompany anyone and has provided instrumental and vocal support for many in the filk community. He is always a keen participant in filk circles, sharing his own songs with other filkers.
He is one of the most positive people in filk. His enthusiasm for filk just glows; he seems to take the good with the bad and always seems so happy with his place in the filk community.
For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Gary Ehrlich is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this twenty-first day of April, Two thousand and twelve.
Photo Credit: Debbie Ohi