Rod MacDonald

LLS Jupiter Distinguished Faculty Award 2012

Music Appreciation and Performance

Rod MacDonald began his career as a singer/songwriter in Greenwich Village, NY in 1973. He has 21 songs in the Smithsonian Folkways collection and has released 12 CDs of his own songs, including 2018’s “Beginning Again” and three CDs with the Palm Beach County band Big Brass Bed. He performs in festivals, clubs and concerts locally and throughout North America and Europe and was named “Best Local Acoustic Performer” in Broward and Palm Beach counties by the New Times and “one of the ten magnificent musicians of Palm Beach County” by the Palm Beach Post. An instructor with Osher LLI at Florida Atlantic University since 2006, his previous series include Music Americana, The Great American Songbook and The Roots of Rock and Roll.

Learn more about Rod at

Music Americana:The Art of Popular Music

As great musical artists turn roots, tradition and inspiration into new songs, popular music has become the sound and voice of our culture. From Cahn and Van Heusen’s “High Hopes” to the sublime John Williams film scores for “Jaws,” “E.T.,” and “Schindler’s List”; from the brilliant piano improvisations of Bill Evans to the classical genius of violinist Itzhak Perlman; from Mitch Miller’s “follow the bouncing ball,” to the sensual tangos of Ástor Piazzolla; and from sunny Doris Day to Frozen’s Idina Menzel, music and song cut a trail through the wilderness, deepening our understanding of our time.

This course will examine the work, biographies and enduring importance of these musical artists, and attempt to sort myth from reality, using updated videos and excerpts from feature films, live performances and a few surprises.
Eight Lectures
  1. Behind The Song - Cahn & Van Huesen, Jim Webb
  2. Women Who Sing - Doris Day, Dinah Shore, Lesley Gore
  3. The Super Conductors - Leonard Bernstein, John Williams
  4. The Decision Makers - Mitch Miller, Clive Davis
  5. Women Who Rock - Janis Joplin, Laura Nyro, Linda Ronstadt
  6. The Vocal Instrument - Placido Domingo, Bobby McFerrin
  7. Women On The Verge - Idina Menzel, Jesse Mueller, Jackie Evancho
  8. The Beautiful Sound - Itzhak Perlman, Bill Evans, Ástor Piazzolla

Course # F8T5 — Full 8 Weeks
Place:Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Dates:Tuesdays, October 13, 20, 27; November 3, 10, 17, 24; December 1 2015
Time:2:30 - 4:15 PM
Fee:$68 / member; $98 / non-member

Course # F4T6 — Last 4 Weeks
Place:Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Dates:Tuesdays, November 10, 17, 24; December 1 2015
Time:2:30 - 4:15 PM
Fee:$34 / member; $54 / non-member

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Music Americana: The Songs of Carol King & James Taylor

Writers and singers of some of the most beloved songs of our time, Carole King & James Taylor took very different paths. While King was a wife, mother and Brill Building composer of such legendary hits as “Up On The Roof,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “It’s Too Late,” Taylor journeyed down “Country Roads” through "Fire and Rain," winning Grammies with his song, “You’ve Got A Friend.” Each is a pioneering singer-songwriter whose work is performed throughout the world, with Ms. King winning the Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress in 2014.

Join Rod MacDonald & the Humdingers for a fun and low-decibel tour through the lives, music and genius of these unique artists, as told in their songs.

Rod MacDonald & The Humdingers:
  • Rod MacDonald, guitar, has 11 CDs of his songs, including 2014’s "Later That Night," as heard on WLRN’s Folk and Acoustic Music. He performs frequently in South Florida and throughout North America and Europe, and is a lifelong devotee of popular song. He has been an instructor with LLS since 2006.
  • Bill Meredith, drums, is the backbone of several Palm Beach County rock and roll bands, including Big Brass Bed and Illumination. He has toured throughout the US and Canada, and appears on more than a dozen CDs.
  • Brad Keller, who has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and with Maynard Ferguson and the Ink Spots, is the jazz piano instructor at Palm Beach State College and has taught music in Palm Beach County public schools for twenty years. He is also the co-author of the “Jazz Cats” books used internationally to introduce young students to jazz.
  • Doug Lindsey, bass and vocals, has been playing in South Florida bands for 30 years.
  • John Smotherman, lead guitar, plays with Big Brass Bed, Illumination and several Palm Beach County bands. His exquisite solos caused the Palm Beach Post to label him one of the “Ten Magnificent Musicians of Palm Beach County.”
Register Early! There is a $5 charge for registering on the day of a one-time lecture or event.

Course # F1T6 — One Time Event
Place:Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Dates:Tuesday, December 15 2015
Time:7 - 8:30 PM
Fee:$25 / member; $35 / non-member

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 Last Modified 2/12/15