This is probably going to be a long one, so prepare yourself! Get a snack; I’ll wait…
I’ve always been a performer in one sense or another. I had a not-insignificant role in my 5th grade play. I was in a community theater production of Annie when I was in middle school. I was a cheerleader (don’t judge me! And if a cheerleader hurt you in your formative years, let me apologize on behalf of all nice-girl-cheerleaders everywhere…)
I never really thought of myself as a performer in the musical sense. I had been scared off of singing by an experience in middle school (Even after getting a role in Annie, I was cut from the middle school show choir. I ask you, who does that? It was middle school, and it’s not like I went to a performing arts school or it was super competitive or anything…but I digress.) When I went to college, I joined a sorority that took music very, very seriously, and I declared myself a founding member of the “tone deaf club.” Now, to be fair, I knew I wasn’t actually tone deaf, because people who are actually tone deaf have no idea that they’ve hit the wrong note. For us, it was about being people with no musical/vocal training among people who had been singing in choirs their entire lives. I was intimidated. I wasn’t very good at harmonizing. And so, I went merrily on with my life, singing when I had to (at things like Greek Sing, or other sorority events), but otherwise, singing along with the radio or my CDs was about it.
Well, it’s probably no surprise that the longer I hung around in filk, the more people started to express an interest in hearing me sing (*coughdebbieohicough*). I protested at first, but little by little, people started to wear me down. The first time I sang at all was in a very tiny circle very late at night at GAFilk in 2007. I blame Amanda.
Amanda is one of my co-editors at Toasted Cheese, and the reason I sort of kind of knew what filk was before I even met Rand. We had been online buds since…ummm…I’m going to say 1999? But this was the first time we had met in person. Anyway, Amanda had written a short filk of “One Singular Sensation” and she asked me to sing it with her. We practiced it a few times, and then went looking for a small circle to sing it in. So, a handful of people in that room heard me sing that night.
I think it might have been the following year (at GAFilk again) that Rand convinced me to sing a bit of a Flaming Lips song with him–not “Yoshimi,” but “Fight Test,” which has a chorus with overlapping parts that becomes counterpoint at the end. The Flaming Lips are kind of known for having a singer who can’t really sing, so I figured it was pretty low pressure. (Actually, here’s a post I wrote about that.)
After that, he convinced me to try “Yoshimi,” which would have me singing lead. We worked on it, and I sang it in a circle at FKO in 2009.
(Photo by Brooke Lunderville)
People seemed to enjoy that, so I was encouraged. Rand and I kept singing “Yoshimi” in circles, but I was a little worried that people were going to start to get sick of hearing it, so I never really pushed for it.
In 2010, Rand and Adam were nominated for a Pegasus award, and Adam was unable to attend the convention to perform it. Rand asked me if I wanted to try to do it. “Um…” I said. I agreed to work on it with him (and I think I only freaked out and had a meltdown once!) We went ahead and did it, and but for the fact that I was later informed that Rand’s microphone wasn’t working, I think it went okay.
(Photo by Walter Korynkiewicz)
Fast forward to last year, when Tom contacted Rand to invite us to be this year’s Filk Waifs. We started putting together a list of things we might be able to sing together, as well as ideas for songs (mostly parodies) that we might be able to write. I bought a ukulele last August, thinking that I might get good enough at one or two things to play it in the concert. (that…did not happen. It will, but I was more focused on the singing. Did I mention I was nervous about the singing? I ended up taking voice lessons from a former colleague, which was a HUGE help. Thanks again, Shelley!)
(practicing in UT’s room Saturday morning. I’m playing a melodica–also known as a hooter. Photo by Allison Durno)
Fast forward again to the day of the concert. The Filk Waif concert is the first concert on Saturday. After having breakfast, Rand and I met up with UT to rehearse a song they were going to be performing with us, and we showed them a couple of other things we were going to be performing as well. It was really, really good for me to have a chance to warm up. After that, there were a couple of workshops. I ran one on calligraphy and paper crafts. Tim Walker ran a percussion workshop at the same time, which I am super bummed I couldn’t attend! I’ll write more about the workshop later. After the workshop, we grabbed a quick bite to eat in our room, and then it was go time!
(Photo by Debbie Ohi)
Here’s the set we played:
- Star Wars That I Used to Know (parody of “Somebody that I Used to Know” by Gotye. Credits can be found at the YouTube link)
- My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors by Moxy Fruvous
- St. Brendan’s Way by Lowest of the Low
- Actually Ironic (parody? sort of? of “Ironic” by Alanis Morrissette)
- Dear Seanan (parody of “Dear Gina” by Seanan McGuire written by me and Merav Hoffman. Video and lyrics at the link.)
- Crackstatic by Ron Hawkins
- Yoshimi/Space Oddity/Major Tom mashup (Flaming Lips, David Bowie, Peter Schilling)
- Cliffs of Insanity (parody of “Green Hills of Harmony” written by me with help from Rand and an assist from Amanda. More info in my previous post, linked.)
- Still Can’t Buy Me Love by Ookla the Mok (with Urban Tapestry)
If you’re interested in the lyrics (other than the parodies I wrote/co-wrote, which can be found at the links), they can all quite easily be found by googling. I’m tired.
I’m pretty sure it was a success. After we left the stage, Tim and Annie (who knew how nervous I was) ran over to us and gave us gigantic hugs, and everyone we talked to seemed to enjoy the performance. So…singing! Win! Right now, the “Dear Seanan” video is the only one I am aware of. I’m sure other things will appear eventually, and I’ll let you know!
Here’s Allison’s post about Saturday at FKO. I’ll have more later. Stay tuned!