Riley Duggan

Riley Duggan

Camden, Maine


Riley Duggan was one of the first songwriters to explore Documentary Songwriting at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School.
Story Source: Riley Duggan
Musical Sherpas: Cooper Krause, Orion Krause, Cody Prandelli


The Good Parts of My Life

Riley Duggan weaves four experiences into a philosophy.

It’s sort of interesting
How you feel life’s full of stories
But when you actually have to think of one
Nothing comes to mind
Although I don’t have a specific
Story to tell I do
Have a good amount of memories
And moments and good times

I guess I’ll have to mention
One of the first good days of the year
When it was sunny out
And we were outside at the back of the school
Working on this Old Man John song
And it was a pretty good time
Although the song was pretty much done
We all laughed and once we heard
Brennan’s deep bass we knew we had it


Another time I can remember
Was the day at my house and we traveled
Along in this field and got to this rocky beach
And although it was snowing
It was warmest day we’d had in a while
And we sat on the beach on my jacket
And looked up at the snow
We had a philosophical discussion
And talked about philosophy and talked about life for awhile
Even though we were just sitting on the beach I swear
For a moment we really were there in hyper space
With the falling snow


Another memory i can’t forget
One about the burning grilled cheese incident
At my house
We were distracted for 20 minutes – too long
And we all smelled a peculiar stench
Only to remember burning grilled cheese.
I ran to the kitchen
And to my surprise
A blanket of smoke flew into my eyes
I ran out the door and had quick snack
And told my friends
That sandwich ain’t coming back


I guess also remember this one moment or time
When I had to leave for the summer
It was one of these last spring nights
I was skating around with my friend Mike
Dwelling on the unfortunate situation of my leave
And although I was sad to leave
It was a good moment after all
Because Mike made me feel so much better about it

So I guess I didn’t really have a story at all
But I did have a few moments off the top of my head
Probably more meaningful than any story I could have had
Even though they are simple
Even though they are simple
They really represent
The good parts of my life


Rhianna Claire

Rockland, Maine

Two Rollercoasters
Rhianna Claire – story source
Malcolm Brooks – musical sherpa
Rhianna Claire and her partner may be breaking up, but they can’t get the timing right.

It’s harder to talk from a place of not knowing
I’m questioning things I don’t want to question
And finding what they say is true,
Your first heartbreak hurts the most
But still I can’t really feel that feeling

I didn’t have time for my heart to fully break
It’s like we’re each on our own roller coasters
And we’re trying to bring them together into one ride but
Two roller coasters just can’t be one ride.


There’s times when I feel
Everything is more that fine
I feel a sense of freedom
And there’s a mystery to life
Then a country song comes on
And I don’t like country except with him
And I wish I could still call him mine




There’s two huge loops
I am the bottom going up
He’s at the top about to go down
He’s about to leave
Then I’m about to leave
Then we all start again


Comfort Food
Rhianna Claire stands up to doctors, psychics, and family members.
Rhianna Claire – story source
Malcolm Brooks – musical sherpa

Rhianna Claire – vocal
Malcolm Brooks – guitar, bass

My mother said I have to go off gluten
Can you believe that she would be so evil
And gluten has always been
Kind of my favorite food
And so I cried and cried and threw a fit
I was so angry
Do you have some pasta
Do you have some crackers
Do you have some bread
I’ll eat it before I go home
Or hide it under my bed
I’ll go anywhere and everywhere for gluten
It’s my favorite comfort food.
She’d been talking to a medical intuitive
And thought that maybe he had hacked into my mind
And discovered my favorite food
And told me for that reason that i could no longer eat it
And so I rebelled
Do you have some pasta…
And so I later
Figured out
That I in fact
Was not allergic
To gluten
But only to GMOs
I eat a lot of bread now and I feel healthy
In fact I had some for lunch
It makes my tastes buds happy
And my stomach happy
And I am not considering running away
And my stomach happy
And I am not considering running away
Do you have some pasta…


Warren, Peter, and Jillian Galloway – Hope, Maine
Blanca Martínez – story source
Nora Willauer – musical sherpa
Alex Wilder – musical sherpa
Will Foote – musical sherpa
Mariel Dowland – language consultant
La Tortuga (Era mi mejor amiga)
Live performance (from a smart phone) by Warren, Peter, and Jillian Galloway at Union Hall, Rockport, Maine
Blanca Martínez remembers losing her childhood best friend to a fall from a terrace in Barcelona. Her best friend was her turtle.
Yo era pequeña,
cuatro años, cinco
Dije Mamá yo quiero una tortuga.
Pues, al final,
compró -na tortuga.
Era mi mejor amiga.
Un día de verano,
mi padre, estaba
Cambiando el agua
de la tortuguera
La tortuga estaba
en la terraza
Era mi mejor amiga.
Papá, se va a caer,
El dice no, no es ton-ta.
al cabo de un segundo
escuché. ¡Pam!
cayó del primer piso.
Pero la tortuga
Ella estaba bien
De la nariz
Un poco de sangre
Pero en mi mente
Me hice un trauma
Era mi mejor amiga.
Papá, se va a caer,
El dice no, no es ton-ta.
al cabo de un segundo
escuché. ¡Pam!
cayó del primer piso.
Y Eric Clapton,
así murió su hijo
En la canción, tears in heaven.
no tengo miedo
de las ventanas
era mi mejor amiga.
Papá, se va a caer,
El dice no, no es ton-ta.
al cabo de un segundo
escuché. ¡Pam!
cayó del primer piso.



Ghent, New York
Rohan Edwards – Story Source
Chloë Isis and Malcolm Brooks – Musical Sherpas


Working as a counselor at a summer camp, Rohan Edwards and his fellow counselors discover that one of them is stealing suitcases from the girls’ cabins.


First report of a missing suitcase
From the girls cabins
A few days later someone else
Had theirs stolen
Then someone found all the suitcases
Hidden in the woods
We figured out who it was
Taking people’s stuff


Wish I could understand what’s going through her head
Wish I could tell her what she’s doing’s wrong (x2)
I want to feel control again
I want to feel release
I want the world to make sense
Wish I could breathe


They made her work in the kitchen
She never apologized
She didn’t seem any different
After she was caught
When I’d walk past with my campers
She would come right out
She would give them cookies
Trying to win them over


Wish I could understand what’s going through her head….


I wonder if she thinks about it now
I wonder if she regrets what she did
I wonder if she’s changed
I wonder if she thinks about it now


Now, a year later,
The summer’s really good
A total switch from the year before
Because she’d moved on
But i still wonder, how could she make that
Trouble and mistrust.
I’m still stuck in the past
Still stuck in the past


Wish I could understand what’s going through her head…

Clio Berta discovers her own feelings are stronger than she had anticipated.
Seasons changed and you went away, but I still remembered you
Months did pass and you saw me less, but I still remembered you
Old friend, I didn’t know
Old friend, I didn’t know I’d fall in love with you so fast,
and four years passed,
and I couldn’t forget that smile
That one night in the warm yellow light you looked at me for a while
Old friend, I didn’t know
Old friend, I didn’t know
Old friend, I miss you so
Old friend, I miss you
Winter beach, I wet my feet while you told me about your life
And as it snowed and we got so cold, I wanted you to know
Old friend, I fell for you
Old friend, I still love you
Old friend, I miss you so
Old friend, I miss you
Clio Berta – story source, vocals
Malcolm Brooks – teaching artist, guitar

Marieke Slovin – teaching artist, vocals and ukulele
Malcolm Brooks – story source
Malcolm Brooks looks up at the moonlit sky and confronts his own vanity.
My eyes are looking at the moon.
They are hiding behind these glasses.
Want to throw them down, smash them on the ground,
So the moon could really see me, the moon could really see me.
Well, I can see the moon but it can’t see me.
My glasses are always in between.
There’s weakness written all over my face.
It keeps me feeling so far away.
My eyes are looking at the moon…
I know I’m not supposed to feel this way.
You can call me week, you can call me vain.
It’s not, I swear, it’s not vanity.
I want the world to see what I want it to see.
My eyes are looking at the moon…
In my imagination, I am standing someplace.
I take my glasses off, show the moon my face.
The moon says, “Hey now, where you gone?”
“I can’t see you without your glasses on.”
My eyes are looking at the moon.
They are hiding behind these glasses.
Want to throw them down, smash them on the ground,
So you could really see me, you could really see me.

Dagmar Gmachl (on the left in the photo) from Salzburg, Austria – Story Source
Malcolm Brooks – teaching artist
To explore the rhythm of languages, Dagmar Gmachl told a personal story in Greek, English, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. She chose the Greek for singing.
Μετά το πανιγύρι
ξάπλωσα στην ταράτσα κάι κοιτούσα το φεγγάρι.
Ξαφνικά ένοιώσα πως κάποιος πλάγιασε πίσο από την πλάτη μου.
Γύρισα να δώ σκέφτοντας πως θα’τανε η φίλη μου η Αμαλία.
Και όμος είδα έναν ξένο νεαρό.
Ρώτησα: εσύ τι κάνεις εδώ;
Eκείνος έιπε: μένω εδώ, είναι σπίτι μου. Του είπα όχι,
και θέλω να είμαι μόνη μου και να βλέπω τον ουρανό.

After the dance
I lay down on the terrace looking at the moon.
When I turned around on my side
I felt somebody behind me, laying behind me.
I turned to see, expecting to see my friend Amalia,
But it was a young man I didn’t know.
I asked him, what are you doing here. He said this is my home,
And I said no, I want to be alone and watch the stars.

Nach dem Tanz
lag ich auf der Terrasse und sah zum Mond hinauf. 
Da fühlte ich jemand hinter mir sich hinlegen und drehte mich um. 
Ich dachte, es wäre meine Freundin Amalia,
aber es war ein fremder junger Mann. 
Ich fragte ihn, was tust du hier?, er sagte: das ist mein Haus. N
ein, sagte ich, und ich möchte allein sein und Sterne schaun.

Dopo la festa
mi ero coricata sulla terrazza a guardare la luna.
Poi sentí qualcuno coricarsi dietro alla mia schiena. 
Mi girai pensando che fosse la mia amica Amalia,
ma vidi un giovanotto che non conoscevo. 
Cosa ci fai qui?, gli chiesi, lui rispose:
questa è la mia casa. No, gli dissi,
e vorrei essere sola a guardare le stelle.

Après la danse
Je me suis allongé sur la terrasse pour regarder la lune.
En suite j’ai senti quelqu’un s’allongeait auprès de moi
Et j’ai tourné pensant que c’était mon amie Amalie,
Mais j’ai vu un jeune homme inconnu.
Je lui ai demandé qu’est-ce que tu fais là.
Et il m’a répondu ici je
suis chez moi.
J’ai dit non et je voudrais rester seule à regarder le ciel.

Depois da dança 
Deitei-me no terraço a olhar para a lua.
Senti alguém deitar-se ao meu lado 
E voltei pensando que era a minha amiga Amália,
mas vi um rapaz desconhecido.
O que estas a fazer aqui? perguntei,
ele respondeu: aqui moro.
Não, disse, não, e quero ficar sozinha a olhar o céu.

Despues del baile
Me acoste sobre la terraza a mirar la luna. 
Senti a alguien acostarse detras de mi. 
Me giré pensando que era mi Amiga Amalia pero vi a un joven desconecido. 
Que haces aqui? le pregunté.
El contestó: está mi casa. 
Le dije: no, me quiero quedar sola mirando al cielo.


Jess Day
Jessica Day,
Lincolnville, Maine

Source: spoken personal story
I Would Love for Her to Let Go
About my daughter Chloe
Just about to turn eight
She’s a deeply feeling child
Just like her mama
She’s a real worrier
Just like her mama


And I would love for her to let go
To be free, to feel peace


She was born an Aries,
I’m a Sagittarius
We are both fire signs
Trying to be grounded
She’s a lovely singer
Such a beautiful voice


And I would love for her to let go…


We have a ritual and bedtime
We sing a song about angels
She says stop, do it again
Your smile isn’t right.
So we sing it again
She says your smile’s still not right


And I would love for her to let go…


About my daughter Chloe
She reflects my worry
From my busy self
She calls me to be here
To be present, to listen
To slow down and see her


And I would love for her to let go…




Rosemary Logan – story source

Flagstaff, Arizona
Marieke Slovin – vocalist, musical sherpa
Malcolm Brooks – musical sherpa
Canyon Song (Cottonwoods in the Distance) (live iPhone recording)
Rosemary Logan hears what people say she should do, but she also feels inside what she herself must do.
There’s a place in the desert
I’ve gone to for years
Every time I go visit
A journey to myself
It’s just a dry desert wash most of the year
When you start hiking, signs of life appear
Can I find the courage
To part with you, my love
And nurture my own spirit
You’re part of me, my love
Each day you bring joy to my life, little one
Leaving you is the hardest thing, I’ve ever done
There are cottonwoods in the distance
Water in the wash
Birds are singin’ if you listen, there are
Bright yellow and orange rocks
Saguaros are hanging on the cliffs and
Everything sorts itself out right here
Somehow everything sorts itself out right here
I wasn’t sure just what to do but I was
Losing my mind
Peaceful nights disrupted
My own needs cast aside
People trying to tell me how to love
What gives them the right to judge, love?
So leaving was a severing
Then the greatest joy
It was the first time I left my baby
The first time on my own
It was the first time I got my body back
In a year
The first time I’m returning


liza with parakeet

Liza Dale-Hallett, story source

Melbourne, Australia 

Marieke Slovin – musical sherpa, vocal

Malcolm Brooks – musical sherpa
I Need to Feel This Place (live iPhone recording)
At a conference at Concordia University in Montréal, Liza Dale-Hallett told how she had traveled from Australia to the U.S. in hopes of understanding her sister’s emigration over 3 decades ago.
A story about my sister
Who marries an American
And her new life in America
In a house i have not seen
She was creating something new
But going to something old
I need to see this house,
I need to see this street,
My sister has been in America
For nearly 30 years.
To feel connected with her
I need to feel this place
The street was marked in my imaginings
By the fact that a few doors down
There lived a convicted murderer
Who wore a bracelet.
Her husband had an array
Of weaponry for feeling secure.
I need to see this house..
Three thousand cooking books.
There was so much in that house
It was sort of broken. loved to death.
It was sinking.
That is my image of the house
And my sister’s new life
I need to see this house…
She’s been living on the other side of the world
Now she has moved on
I’m gonna go now to that house
even if she’s gone
I need to see this house…



Isaiah Doble
Isaiah Doble,

Rockport, Maine:

Battle Song

Source: spoken personal reverie

I’m a young man
I am in the war.
I’m a blue.
I am one of the elite,
One of the strong and the brave
And the fast and wise.
Sword and shield clashing
War cries
Arrows flying,
Sounds of horse hooves, armor clattering,
Victory and defeat,
It’s our only castle
And we want to keep it.
if we share
We will starve.
We must fight
And defeat the foe.
We must fight
And defeat the foe.
Sword and shield clashing..
Come and join me
In this disastrous war
Fight by my side
And together we will win.
We will fight
Till the last breath
And we will never leave your side.
Sword and shield clashing..

Mimi Bornstein
Mimi Bornstein, Washington, D.C. – story source
Malcolm Brooks – musical sherpa
Even experienced professionals experience self-doubt from time to time. Mimi Bornstein expresses how she handles it before an engagement in Florida.
I was down in Florida
To lead the music for a Sunday service
Working with a pickup choir
I was kind of terrified
Continue Reading


Eleanor Nicolás

Eleanor Nicolás,

Amsterdam, Netherlands:

This House Feels Like A Home

Story Source: Eleanor Nicolás
Musical Sherpas: Marieke Slovin, Malcolm Brooks
Vocal: Marieke Slovin
Artwork: Eleanor Nicolás

When Eleanor Nicolás was a child, her family moved so frequently that Eleanor told her parents where she herself had decided to grow up.
I was born in Botswana
But I don’t remember it
Then we moved to Zimbabwe
But I don’t remember that either
Dad was posted to Geneva
But we lived in France
At the school I was ignored
I want to say
This house feels like a home
This house feels like a home
Playing on the grass with my guinea pig
When they threw the excrement
I was scared to practice on my bicycle
‘Cause they would come and knock me over
Things got better in Virginia
I didn’t feel like a foreigner
I had lots of friends
I want to say
This house feels like a home
This house feels like a home
My dad got posted to Turkey
That was a terrible shock
My sisters and I were harassed
Because we were blue eyed and blonde
Then I told my parents
I was tired of moving
I want to go to England
I want to say
This house feels like a home
This house feels like a home
Sometimes I’m still migrating in my mind
But when I close the door
I can leave it all behind
I want to say
This house feels like a home
This house feels like a home



Deb Soule – story source
Rockport, Maine

Malcolm Brooks – musical sherpa, guitar

Chloë Isis – vocals

Will Foote – vocals
Mourning Doves Don’t Sing (iPhone recording)
For Deb Soule, mourning doves can be teachers of tenderness and healing, for people as well as for birds.
I found an injured mourning dove
Nestled in my compost pile
Keeping herself warm
Scattering sunflower seeds around
I lured her to the safety
The safety of my garden
Day after day
She came out from the trees
To sip the water
Held within the leaves
Of the teasel plant
The teasel plant
Mourning doves don’t sing
They coo
Cooing and reminding me
The veil Between birds and women
Is thin
Sometimes her mate would call her
Together they would converse
In their private way
One day she flew upwards
Answering her mate
Together they flew away
But that was not the end,
They came back.
All that summer
I could see
Them nesting in my garden
Nesting in my garden
Mourning doves don’t sing
They coo
Cooing and reminding me
The veil Between birds and women
Is thin
I went and got a bottle
Started to collect
The water of the teasel
To heal my people
To heal what has been broken
To heal what has been broken
Mourning doves don’t sing
They coo
Cooing and reminding me
The veil Between birds and women

Is thin


Cody Prandelli

Camden, Maine:

At the Midway Point

Source: spoken personal story

About two weeks ago
It snowed a good amount
I’m sledding with my mom
Over at Mount Battie
On the way up
No one can drive
We just take the sleds up by walking
So as you know of course
We had to bring along
Both our dogs Nellie and Harley
It usually takes a while
To get up to the top
Because we get where it’s pretty steep
And although it’s hard to walk
Through all the snow and ice
It’s nice to talk to my mom
And have a chat
Then we reach a point
Where we pick up great speed
We both prepare the sleds
So nothing slows us down
So we go down with great speed
Because the road is pretty steep
Especially at the midway point
And we have both dogs chasing us
Behind us like rabid squirrels.
it’s great to feel a cool breeze
Through my hair
We finally slow to a stop
And Harley catches up
We decide we should probably rest
If not he’d die
So we go down with great speed
Because the road is pretty steep
Especially at the midway point