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Thursday, 23 November 2017
 
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Guest of Honor : Bill and Brenda Sutton
Bill and Brenda Sutton Bill and Brenda Sutton met in 1984 on Compuserve's SF forum, back when it was a new and novel thing for people to actually meet and strike up close friendships with total strangers on a computer network. They chatted online for more than a year before accidentally meeting each other at Bay Filk III. In all their many online conversations, the topic of filking had never come up. Even after talking together for several hours in a hall filk (where Larry Niven was schmoozin' Brenda, and Bill was schmoozin' Larry Niven), they didn't realize that they were old Compuserve buddies until Brenda stood up to leave, whereupon Bill noticed her name badge for the first time. "Hey, I know you!" "Right, I know you!" They've been pretty much inseparable ever since.

These talented singer/songwriters started performing together in filk and folk circles right away. They have recorded four solo albums (Bill - Past Due, Shake the Dust Off, Passing Through; Brenda - Strangers No More) and one album together (Owling at the Moon), as well as numerous individual performances recorded on over 20 compilation albums. In 1989, the Suttons branched out into Irish pub music as the duo Bed & Breakfast. Brenda joined up with Teresa Powell and Gwen Knighton to form the award-winning trio Three Weird Sisters in 2000. TWS's first two CDs, Rite the First Time and Hair of the Frog (released by Bill's publishing company Bedlam House www.bedlamhouse.com), receives international airplay and is one of the better selling folk/acoustic albums on the small press market. The trio’s third CD, Third Thyme’s a Charm, will be released soon.

Bill is accomplished on guitar, mandolin, flute, penny whistle, and he's working on the violin. Brenda also plays guitar, but her forté is the Irish frame drum, the bodhrán, which she plays with an innovative style all her own. Bill won Pegasus Awards for Best Male Filker in 1986 and Best Techie Song for “Do It Yourself” in 1989, and A Little Bit Country for "Stray Dog Man" in 2009, as well as nominations in several other categories. Brenda garnered her share of Pegasus nominations, winning awards for Best Song for “Strangers No More” in 2001, Best Spine-Chilling Song in 2002 for “In a Gown Too Blue.” She shares a Best Performer award with her Three Weird Sisters band mates, which now includes Dr. Mary Crowell (www.threeweirdsisters.com).

Bill is president of Interfilk, a philanthropic organization that funds cross-cultural music by sending talented though largely unknown filkers to music conventions they wouldn't ordinarily be able to attend. Brenda is the organization’s treasurer and maintains their web site. The Suttons founded and still help run GAFilk, the relaxafilk convention held in Atlanta the first week of January. Brenda is the conchair for Chambanacon, the longest running Midwest relaxacon, and is helping with publications for the Chicago Worldcon.

The Filking Hall of Fame inducted the Suttons in March 2001. Quoting from the induction award, "Their easy relationships and comfort with many different kinds of people from all walks of life is an inspiration. They support local filks and often seem more interested in hearing what other people are doing than in showing off what they've been doing... You can't ask for better advisors on music, lyrics, presentation, arrangement, and any number of other things. They make people feel good just by being around."

Bill and Brenda have raised five children and three grandchildren. Bill is a Senior Consultant for telecommunications networking with Hewlett-Packard. Until they stunned their friends and family by moving from Atlanta to Danville, Indiana, Brenda ran the office and website, edited and published Mythic Passages, the e-zine of Mythic Imagination Institute. Now she works as Office Manager for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and publishes Soup’s On, a bimonthly periodical for the Interfaith Hunger Initiative.

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