Maxville to Vanport Creative team
Kalimah Abioto, Filmmaker
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Kalimah Abioto began playing the drums at age three, writing in elementary school, and makings films in high school centered around dreams, sexuality, and the nexus between Black people, humans, freedom, and the natural-spirit worlds. She received her BA in film and video from Hollins University and is a co-creator, along with her four sisters of The People Could Fly Project, a multimedia project documenting the dreams and stories of people in the African Diaspora. Abioto has worked with different artists and groups including Afropop Worldwide, Holy Mojo, The Black Portlanders, Spirit Law Center, Diamond Law, and others that value life force. She was a 2017 Artist in Residence at Open Signal.
Marilyn Keller, Vocalist
Marilyn Keller is a singer who performs a diverse range of jazz, gospel, and musical theatre throughout Oregon and abroad and was voted into Oregon Jazz Society’s Hall of Fame 2016. She joined Black Swan Classic Jazz Band in 1997 and has toured throughout Europe and the US. She has also remained active in a wide variety of other performance ensembles and styles: The Don Latarski Group, Darrell Grant’s The Territory, Thara Memory, Tall Jazz, Disciples in Song, and the Augustana Jazz Quartet among many others.
S. Renee Mitchell, Lyricist
S. Renee Mitchell is an award-winning writer and published author, multimedia artist, social justice advocate, and teacher/facilitator. Mitchell's more than 25 years of journalism experience has groomed her exceptional communication, analytical and grant-writing skills, yet, Renee is also a community-grounded visionary. She is the 2015 Yolanda D. King Drum Major Award winner in recognition of dedicated community service; was the librettist of “Sherman: A Jazz Opera;” has published a novel, children’s story, and several small-press zines; and teaches writing to children as the leader of the Saturday Academy Social Justice Camp as well as many other Portland institutions.
Gwendolyn Trice, Historian
Gwendolyn Trice founded Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center, a non-profit cultural heritage center in Wallowa County, Oregon and currently serves as its Executive Director. She also provided support and information for OPB’s 2009 video Logger’s Daughter. Currently, she serves on the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs and is part of a Leadership cohort for the Center for Diversity and Environment.
Ezra Weiss, Composer
Ezra Weiss has recorded seven albums as a bandleader, most recently “Before You Know It,” recorded live Portland, and composed songs and book for Northwest Children’s Theatre’s “Alice in Wonderland.” He has led his own bands at major venues throughout the U.S., including several week-long engagements at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club. He has won the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award three times and has been listed in DownBeat Critics Polls in the Rising Star Arranger category. He currently teaches at Portland State University and holds a Bachelors in Jazz Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory and a Masters in Jazz Piano from Queens College.