Mary Ellen Wessels
An (Almost) Straight Bio (By Judith Hayman)
The temptation is to think of mew as that 6'1 blonde from Michigan, with the incredible voice and crazy sense of humour and forget that underneath the party girl is a real brain and beyond the raw talent is a formidably trained musician.
While she recently recieved a degree (cum laude) in Children's Literature and Drama Theater for the Young (she has a special interest in having taught preschool), mew has also studied music, drama and voice for years at high school, at university and privately. She has performed in a wide variety of choral groups, and consorts from early music to her current role with the Black Book Band (a filk/folk rock group). Mew gave me a list of her musical tastes and interests that would double the length of this bio. Let's just say she's VERY ecclectic in taste... She is a fine guitarist (though she denies it -- and aks her about the new blonde guitar), plays recorder, pan pipes, tin flute, bodhran, doumbek and several other instruments. But her best and most unforgettable instrument is voice.
Mew's voice has been legendary in filk since she started recording with Off Centaur in the early 80's. She has graced recordings by Kathy Mar, Cindy McQuillin, Larry Warner, Clif Flynt and many many more (including non-filk recordings), most recently with Steve Macdonald on his recent tape. She has created and performed harmonies that adorn both the song and the singer, so much so that her growing talent as a lead artist has been overlooked far too long. That is changing as mew is recognized with toastmistress and GoH invitations. Mew's voice is rich and true and always comes from her inner self, whether she is singing of love or banana slugs. Mew says she was "A music major who discovered SF and stayed". Far more than a performer, mew has given to the filk world as a con com member and as part of the Off Centaur Staff. Her performance anxiety workshops are an exploration in self-discovery and enlightenment. Her wit and humour and gift with storytelling make her a joy to have in any group. Few of us will forget her professionalism at OVFF, 1993, when Mew continued with her duties as toastmistress despite the death of her father that weekend.
Mew says she "likes Star Trek, I just don't LIVE it!" Uh -huh. But she admits that Ds9 is, so far, her favorite. Funny how she seems to know so much about the show, the plots the characters... And of course she has a number of REAL Trek fans as friends, like our previous two filk guests and (dare I say it) me. And she truly reads very widely in SF and fantasy, as well as half a dozen other topics. She's a pretty good friend too.
It is mew's gift to bring not only the best of herself, but to encourage others to do the same. To liberate the creativity that is within each of us.
(from Toronto Trek VIII programme book - 1994)