entered the filk community at Conclave in 1982. Before long, she was working and living at Off Centaur Productions, doing background harmonies, helping with song books, and whatever else needed doing.
Over many years, at conventions in her native Michigan – notably Confusion – she has organized or helped to organize filk tracks and conventions and published convention songbooks. She introduced to that area, and helped to refine, the “Insta-band” and filk lounge concepts.
She’s always willing to share her knowledge with those interested in learning and has done a great deal to instill in others the confidence to sing, both through workshops she has held at numerous conventions and in her personal contacts.
Mary Ellen’s backups and harmonies are legendary. Their impeccable quality contributed to the success of many recordings. Her discography runs to several pages. She has honed this skill by intense devotion to her craft.
She has now also established herself as a featured artist. She has her own album, “Current Obsessions,” which, although a folk album, features several songs by filkers; and she is the principal vocalist in the Black Book Band, and featured on their album, “First Contact.” An active folk singer, she has helped to introduce filk songs to non-filk audiences. She also has a way of finding non-filk songs that touch the filk community and leave a lasting impression.
She was Midwest Director on Interfilk’s Board from 1993 to 1998. She created the concept of the “Interfilk Wench,” and still serves as Chief Wench and as a general consultant.
Her abilities, her love for music, her conviction that music belongs to everyone, and her unfailing enthusiasm make her a valued and loved member of the community.
For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Mary Ellen Wessels is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this twenty-seventh day of March, nineteen hundred and ninety-nine.
Photo credit: Susan Wilson