The yearning to give can be so strong, especially in times of unexpected solitude.

Mimi Bornstein – story source
Malcolm Brooks – teaching artist

Hands are made to help us to live
My hands long to give
 
My hands are empty
They long to share
With someone
Alone out there
Alone out there
 
Hands can dress a wound after a fight
And caress at night
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Before you knew them, someone you love had suffered beneath the hands of others. A father feels so much tenderness for his adopted daughter. He doesn’t always know how to help her, but he finds joy as she discovers her own unique gifts that she uses to overcome her past.
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Writers:
Anonymous – story source
Khalid Taylor, Alex Wilder, Malcolm Brooks – teaching artists
 
Performers:
Alex Wilder – vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and percussion

She showed up on our doorstep
Way out in the country
My little baby, baby in the rain
 
Innocent and broken,
The child of a broken woman
My little baby, baby in the rain
 
Oh it’s hard
‘Cause she’d been kicked around
Oh, dear God
What am I gonna do now?
What am I gonna do now?
 
She fights like the devil
But she prays like Elijah
My little baby, baby in the rain
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One family shares their path west to freedom and safety in Belgium. From crossing a deadly river and borders, they find that being together and sharing their story become their main purpose.

Zeynep and Kemal Yilmaz and their young daughter – Story sources
Will Foote and Jonny Westhorp – Teaching artists
Will Foote – Lead Vocal and guitars
Mimi Bornstein – Backing vocals
Nora Willauer – Backing vocals and cello
Malcolm Brooks – Bass

Also, please read Zeynep’s writing that she published after we worked on this project together.
Bitter Journey

There was moonlight
On the river Meriç
Shallow but dangerous
It can swallow you
Looks calm but deep down
Stepping in the boat
Be so silent
And invisible
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How much can and should one person do? Caleb Edwards asks a heartfelt question that may be on your mind, too.
 
Caleb Edwards– story source
Malcolm Brooks, Will Foote, Caleb Edwards – teaching artists
 
When I listen to the news in the morning
It always makes me feel trapped
And it scares me
That people who can do enough won’t
 
And me, I’m letting everyone everyone down
By not working harder
I want to go to bed at night
Not dreading the day to come
 
I want to come home and sit down
And say that was a good day
Now I can rest
I want to come home and sit down
And say that was a good day
I did my best
But can my best be good enough?
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Someone you’ve known for a long time may have another side to them. Forgiveness may not be easy.
 
Teaching Artist: Hazel Delehey
Story Source: Anonymous
 
He was being accused
All the things were true
He’d been stealing the money
From the charity
For a very long time
I’m not good at forgiveness
Got to live with it, got to deal with it
Keep going
With an arm’s length of love
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As part of the Documentary Art Project, Hannah Wells offers her artistic interpretation of a recording by Hazel Delehey, Genevieve Roby, and Will Foote.
 
Back story: At a middle school in the Ukraine, Genevieve Roby sees a group bullying her friend Anja. Genevieve takes a stand and intervenes, but she is one against many.
 
I was in middle school
Friend from India
Named Anja
She was made fun of
For how much hair she had on her arms
Coming from one girl to another
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A precursor to a full-fledged documentary song, “I Lay My Eyes on You” relates Hannah Batley and Malcolm Brooks’s impressions of Barbara Brooks’s work balance with 2 year-old Ian in childcare.
 
Clio Berta selected this song to illustrate as part of the Documentary Art Project.
 
Hannah Batley – vocals
Nora Willauer – cello
Malcolm Brooks – guitar, bass, and mandolin
 
I fill my coffee cup
The work is piling up
How am I going to get through this?
I see your photograph and breathe easy
Another marathon and then
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Gabrielle Attra left a home, a cat, and a relationship. She considers whether to begin anew in the depths of winter.
 
Gabrielle Attra – story source
Lois Anne, Sandy Weisman, Grant Andreaus, Kathrin Seitz, Rich Anderson – co-writers
Will Foote, Malcolm Brooks – teaching artists
Workshop hosted by Kathrin Seitz and Rich Anderson.
 
I woke up
My immediate thought was
About the cats
It’s so cold
Not loving another
Would only hurt me
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The Push Farther Project – Live at Union Hall, December 2019


Belfast, Maine: Alex meets a potter named Dehmie and they become friends. She makes and glazes a colorful oval pot as a gift for him. Alex senses that the gift may be a sort of communication between two like-minded artists.
 
Dehmie calls the clay pot a “boat” as she gives it to him and says, “Whenever you look at this boat, think of how I believe in you.”
 
Alex told this story to Khalid and Will, who collaborated with him to create this documentary song. The recording is a run-through after the first draft of the song was completed.
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As part of the Documentary Art Project, this song was selected by Anna French for creating a series of panels. The song was written before documentary songwriting became an established method. It expresses Hannah Batley and Malcolm Brooks’s approach to life.
 
Hannah Batley, Meredith Batley, Anna French, Danji Buck-Moore, Ian Brooks – vocals
Sophie Davis –violin
Nora Willauer – cello
Rushmore DeNooyer – bass, guitar, percussion
Malcolm Brooks – guitar
 
Produced by Rushmore DeNooyer
Mastered by Pat Keane
 
Come with me
Walk with me
I’m off to find peace
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Utah and Colorado: Hazel Delehey and friends are hiking for miles and Hazel has fallen ill. She and her friends call themselves the “Stoke Train” to keep them going.
 
I got a bad cold
Terrible heat for 18 days
My feet hurt, my throat hurt
 
I got a fever in the night
I wanted to go home
Every day was a struggle
for me to keep going on
 
Single file and singing
Everyone’s on the stoke train
Stoke train keep on moving
Keep me from sitting down
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