Bios


Musical Sherpas

Nora Willauer is a cellist and documentary songwriter. In 2017, she was awarded first prize at the Groningen Music Festival in the Netherlands. With Alex Wilder and Will Foote she pioneered documentary songwriting sessions in Spain. She is a cum laud graduate of the University of Oregon. Her thesis on cello arranging for documentary songwriting earned the university’s highest award and has been placed in the university library’s permanent collection. Her email address is nwillauer@docsong.org

Chloë Isis is a songwriter and vocalist. In 2018, she composed and recorded with the Bay Chamber-Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project. Chloë conducted the first-ever live documentary songwriting session on radio and has the honor of being the most played vocalist on Scot Cannon’s program on WERU. She is earning her undergraduate degree at Warren-Wilson College. Her email address is cisis@docsong.org

Caroline Rex-Waller pioneered the first-ever documentary songwriting workshop in a high school. Under her leadership, 37 students generated 37 lyrical and melodic sketches in 4 days. She directs the curriculum design project for Documentary Songwriters. She teaches at the Portland Village Waldorf School in Oregon. She graduated from Smith College and is currently enrolled in a long-distance Master’s program at Middlebury.Her email address is crexwaller@docsong.org
Malcolm Brooks, PhD, is a composer and documentary songwriter. His work is heard on PBS, NOVA and the History Channel. He has written music for films that have won honors, including two Emmy nominations and a Peabody award. He has performed documentary songs in a range of venues, from the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley to Carnegie Hall in New York. He serves on the faculty at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School and holds degrees from Columbia, Berkeley, and Prescott. His email address is mbrooks@docsong.org

Melodi Var Öngel is the recipient of the Davis for Peace Project grant, which funds her 2018 documentary songwriting project with Turkish and Greek factions on Cyprus. She has also pioneered documentary songwriting sessions in retirement communities and has taught music to Croatian refugee children. She lives in Adana, Turkey and studies at Bennington College in Vermont. She writes documentary songs with people who live in conflict zones and countries, as well as with communities who have limited interaction with each other. Her goal is to use music as a way to increase the communication construct alternative futures. Her email address is mvarongel@docsong.org


Mimi Bornstein is a documentary songwriter, singer, pianist, and choral director. She serves as Director of Music Ministries at Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia. She is the founder of the 100+ singer Midcoast Community Chorus, which raises money through yearly concerts and then donates the proceeds to causes in Maine. This year, Mimi has partnered with Charles Brown to form the Voices United Community Chorus, a multi-racial interfaith chorus in Arlington. Her email address is mbornstein@docsong.org


 

Alex Wilder is a producer and songwriter. He has arranged and produced recordings for the bands Mostly Brothers and the Push Farther Project, as well as for solo artists, including Chloë Isis, Hazel Delehey and Yiyu Cui. He has led presentations and sessions in documentary songwriting, both in English and Spanish, in the U.S. Cuba, and Spain. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College. You can read more about Alex at alexwilder.com. His email address is awilder@docsong.org

Will Foote is a vocalist and songwriter. He organized the first ever concert of documentary songs at a university folk festival. In the role of a story source, he has composed melodic themes live on radio. He has traveled to remote regions in upstate New York to document in music the emotions and experiences of contemporary farmers. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and currently leads songwriting sessions and workshops along the coast of Maine. His email address is wfoote@docsong.org

Joaquin Contreras is a multi-instrumentalist and documentary songwriter. He focuses on writing documentary songs with families and communities in order to help them preserve their histories and cultures. He attends Bennington College, where he works with a student-led organization called Ganas, focusing on providing support to Latinx migrant workers in the greater southern Vermont area. Through this program, he has incorporated his music by hosting an interactive drumming workshop for young students in the families that Ganas works with, and hopes to do similar community work with his music in his hometown of Houston, Texas. His email address is jcontreras@docsong.org

Tori Arau is a documentary songwriter, pianist, and vocalist. She current heads up the podcast project for Documentary Songwriters. Tori attends Gordon College in Massachusetts and has conducted research in the analytical chemistry of perovskite nanoparticles at the University of Alabama. She is the recipient of a 2018 summer research position in analytical chemistry at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Department of Energy in Washington. Her email address is tarau@docsong.org


Chris Finn is a documentary songwriter and guitarist who has sung and played in churches since childhood, spending 13 years leading a Los Angeles based contemporary music church band. He currently serves as Director of Global Development for Storm Warriors in Camden, Maine. Chris has a technical certification in Radiologic Technology, is a USCS licensed 100 Ton Captain and holds a B.S. from the University of LaVerne. His email address is cfinn@docsong.org



Board of Directors

Anastasia Fisher serves on the Board of Directors and as Secretary for Documentary Songwriters. She is the founder and Chief Experience Officer of Total Experience Solutions. Anastasia pioneered and designed the first-ever website for a major U.S. bank. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Bowdoin College, with a major in History.


Monica Kelly serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for Documentary Songwriters. She is Executive Director of Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School. She is also the founder of the Odeon Orchestra, the first youth orchestra for young instrumentalists in the midcoast of Maine. She is graduate of Bowdoin College, with a major in Visual Arts and Art History.