Consonance, 2021

Special Listener Guests

Bob and Lindy Laurent

Bob and Lindy are deceased, September 2020. Sing well wherever you are, and hearts will listen still.

Bob Laurent: Father of Consonance and Interfilk

"Some men see things as they are and say 'Why'?
I dream things that never were and say 'Why Not'?"
(Robert Kennedy, after George Bernard Shaw)

by Alan Thiesen

Is Bob Laurent psychic or what?

A few old-timers will remember that before Consonance, there was Bayfilk. Somehow Bob knew that Bayfilk 1989 would be the last one. So that the Bay Area wouldn't be bereft of filk cons, he decided to run a con of his own. Prior to Bayfilk, he selected guests for the first Consonance. At Bayfilk, within seconds after the folks running Bayfilk announced that they would not do so again, Bob whipped out the flyers for Consonance 1990.

And the rest is history.

In 1991, Bob invented Interfilk. It was his idea, and he served as its first President. We all know that Interfilk raises funds to enable filkers to travel to filk cons where their repertoire is not well known, and they also hold remarkably entertaining auctions. But wait, there's more! Interfilk has recently amended their bylaws so that they can fund grants for projects that benefit the filk community.

As the proprietor of Wail Songs, Bob recorded a decade of filk music that might otherwise have been lost. Beginning in the 1980s, when audio cassette tapes were a cutting-edge technology, Wail Songs published con anthology tapes for a wide variety of cons: Worldcon, Marcon, Westercon, NASFIC, Confusion, Congenial, and just about all the filk cons, including, of course, Consonance. Wail Songs also published several studio tapes, featuring Clif Flynt, Mary Ellen Wessels, Cynthia McQuillin, and other fine performers. Over the years, Wail Songs published a total of 50 filk tapes.

Wail Songs also published songbooks. It co-published Stave the Wails, which collects many excellent filk songs of the 1980s, and the Julia Ecklar songbook Dreamer.

Bob bequeathed his unpublished master tapes to the Harold M. Stein Memorial Filk Archive. We are just beginning to explore this great gift to the filk community.

Bob was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in its second year of existence. We, too, are delighted to honor Bob Laurent, the founder of Consonance and Interfilk. When Bob came up with the idea of Interfilk, he dreamed something that never was, and his dream benefits us all.

Lindy Laurent

by Steven Joel Zeve

I first met Lindy 33 years ago. This was before filk found her. In fact, I believe that I can reasonably lay claim to having infected Lindy with filk. On the other hand, she was a regular convention attendee and very folk music oriented before I met her, so filk was probably predestined to find her.

In the years before Lindy moved to the West coast, our house became the traditional location for local (Baltimore/DC) post-con dead dog filks and the occasional house filk. In many ways, the local filk community developed from just such get-togethers at our house.

After a couple or three years of filking at East coast conventions (Arisia, Balticon, Boskone, Castlecon, Darkover, Disclave, Evecon, Noreascon 3, Philcon, Shore Leave), in 1990 we opted to attend Concerto, the first of the floating NorthEast Filk (NEFilk) conventions. It was at Concerto that Lindy first said, “We should have a Filk GoH at Balticon!”, Balticon being our home convention. (Making that happen was aided by Kathy Mar committing to be our Filk GoH before we even broached the idea to the ConChair for the then upcoming 1991 Balticon).

As anyone who has ever worked on any SF con knows, the quickest way to be saddled with responsibility is to say, “I have a great idea for the con …”. Needless to say, Lindy wound up with official responsibility for running filk at Balticon or several years. (Balticon has had an official Filk/Music GoH every year since 1991 with two exceptions: 1992 where there was an unofficial Filk GoH funded by the local filk community and 2010 where the ConChair, i.e. me, went for fishing for too large a white whale and wound up without a Filk GoH).

Lindy’s visibility in filk was increased when in 1992 ConCertino invited her to be the convention's Listener guest at the first instance of the ConCertino strand of the floating NEFIlk convention.

During the effort to stand up the 3rd NEFilk convention, Conterpoint in 1993, Lindy was officially the ConChair but with significant support from other East Coast filk SMoFs and soon to be SMoFs. That support was critical as Lindy moved to the SF Bay area in the fall of 1992 to live with Bob Laurent with whom she still lives. Lindy worked on that Conterpoint from Oakland, CA, returning to the Baltimore/DC area for the actual convention. (This was the first instance of the Conterpoint strand of NEFilk).

After moving to the SF Bay area, Lindy became involved in supporting the operations of Wail Songs, duplicating Wail Songs tapes, packaging Wail Songs tapes, and working on production of three tapes of East Coast filk:

  • The Programmer and the Elves (East Coast I),
  • Shoot the Moon (East Coast II), and
  • Harbors (East Coast III).

Once Lindy was in the SF Bay area, she also began attending filk at West Coast conventions (e.g., BayCon, LosCon) as well as additional filk conventions (such as OVFF and Consonance). For many years Lindy ran Children’s Programming at Consonance with an educational, arts, and crafts orientation. (Bitten once again, this time by believing “We should have a Children’s Program at Consonance!”).

Lindy has had a strong and long lasting impact on filk in the Baltimore/DC area as well as more than 25 years of involvement in filk on the West Coast.

(At your own risk, ask me sometime about the two daughters we planted firmly into filk until they grew up and escaped. I have not yet given up any purported nefarious plans to lure them back in).