Bios



Nora Willauer is a cellist, songwriter, and vocalist. She has performed in a variety of ensembles, from Conservatori Liceu’s Schubert Cello Quintet in Spain, to the Push Farther Project in Maine, to the Eugene Symphony in Oregon. As cellist at the University of Oregon, she was awarded first prize for her interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo variations. In July of 2017, she was awarded first prize at the Groningen Music Festival in the Netherlands. With Alex Wilder, she negotiated her way through cultural and language challenges and pioneered documentary songwriting sessions in Spain.

Malcolm Brooks, PhD, is a composer and documentary songwriter. His work can be heard on PBS, NOVA, and the History Channel. He has written music for films that have won a number of 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. Malcolm lives in Rockport, Maine, with his wife Barbara.

Chloë Isis is a writer and singer. She performs with Clio Berta and together they have experimented with writing documentary songs with children as young as eight. In 2016, Chloë and Malcolm Brooks traveled to the White Mountain School in New Hampshire to teach documentary songwriting to high school students. As a musical sherpa, Chloë conducted the first-ever live documentary songwriting session on radio. She has the honor of being the most played vocalist on Scot Cannon’s program on WERU. She has toured with Village Harmony throughout the Northeast and in South Africa.


Melodi Var Öngel is a pianist and songwriter. She has led a range of documentary songwriting sessions, including ones with a sea captain, a visual artist, a choral director, and a car enthusiast. She has 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.


Joaquin Contreras
Joaquin Contreras is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He attends Bennington College in Vermont, where he continues to work on expanding his repertoire of instruments, performing experience, and studio work. He has worked in the community during his time at school, specifically with a student-led organization called Ganas which focuses 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.



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 soloists, including 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 graduate of Oberlin College. He currently lives in Rockport, Maine, and performs regularly as a vocalist and bassist.


Will Foote is a vocalist, songwriter, and sailor on the high seas. 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 College and currently makes his home on a 1929 sailing vessel.

Caroline Rex Waller
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 graduated from Smith College and is currently working on her Masters at Middlebury. Caroline is currently somewhere in a camper in transit westward towards Oregon.

Chris Finn
Chris is a documentary songwriter and guitarist whose musical journey has taken him from his folk roots in New York City to jazz improvisation in Los Angeles and finger-style guitar studies in Maine. He more recently has embarked on expanding his instrumental capabilities by studying bebop when the house is empty except for his Gibson ES-339 and Fender Twin Reverb. He has sung and played in churches since childhood, spending 13 years leading a Los Angeles based contemporary music church band. Chris has a technical certification in Radiologic Technology, is a USCS licensed 100 Ton Captain and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of LaVerne. He and his family live and sing in Camden, Maine.

Tori Arau is a songwriter, pianist, and vocalist. She writes her own music as well as serving as a musical sherpa. When she isn’t exploring midcoast Maine, she is at a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts and will be at Cardiff University for the next year studying environmental chemistry and collecting stories to give songs to.



Advisors


Rohan Edwards is a songwriter, vocalist, and podcast designrr. He has composed with Tori Arau, Chloë Isis, and Malcolm Brooks and has produced two albums of his own work. He currently lives and studies in Bennington, Vermont.

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Rushmore DeNooyer is a composer and filmmaker. His music and films have been heard and seen regularly on PBS and other television channels since 1994. He has won nearly every award in the film industry. He is a graduate of Brown University and lives in Searsmont, Maine.


Clio Berta
Clio Berta is an artist, songwriter, and vocalist. She has released two CDs of her musical work and exhibited her art at numerous galleries. She has pioneered the “story to art” approach of creating art-films for documentary songs. Her style can be seen in the film for the documentary song “Raspberries on the Burnt Ground.” She lives and works in Tucson.

Nate Martin
Nate Martin is a composer and bassist. He performs and tours with the Palaver Orchestra in Boston and teaches at the Bay Chamber Music School. He was educated at Boston University and New England Conservatory and lives in Swanville, Maine, with his partner and violinist, Anna French, and his new dog Louie.