Barry and Sally Childs-Helton – Legendary Filk Guests

Barry and Sally Childs-Helton
photo by Michael Pereckas

Barry and Sally Childs-Helton, both lifelong readers of science  fiction, made their first contact with fandom in grad school. He was  finishing a dissertaTion on folklore and technology; she was studying the concept of time in musical performance as an ethnomusicologist.

Longtime  musicians both, they began filking at InConJuncTion in 1985, starting  with some songs he’d written that had SF and aerospace motifs and  predated his awareness of fandom. Fortunately, the audience liked them. So Barry and Sally brought his vintage 12-string, her conga  drums, and an eclectic folk-rock style to OVFF in 1986. Before long they were writing fannish parodies and new SF songs, concertizing and filking at cons around the Midwest.

By 1989 they had produced two studio filk tapes and served as the first Filking Guests of Honor at Marcon XXIV. They led guitar and percussion workshops at cons,  and — as a duo, with filk-rockers The Black Book Band, and later with eclectic-Celtic-and-filk band Wild Mercy — were musical guests in locations as diverse as Xanadu in Tennessee, the UK’s Conthirteena, Capricon XXIX, FilkOntario 21,  GAFilk 11, and FilkCONtinental 2016 in Germany.  

As songwriters, performers, and band members, Barry and Sally have won five Pegasus Awards. They became Filk Hall of Fame inductees in 2003.

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