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 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 (FAU) since 2006, his previous series include Folksinging in Modern Times, The Great American Songbook and The Roots of Rock and Roll.

Learn more about Rod at

Music Americana: In Search of Greatness 4

From sheer talent, pioneering a new direction, or outselling all their rivals, a few artists are widely regarded as foremost practitioners of their art. Their songs are legendary through the years, their styles are imitated, but never surpassed, and their triumphs and losses are brilliantly conveyed through their music. From the exuberance of Sammy Davis to the glamour of Bette Midler, from the power of Pavarotti to the poetry of John Lennon, from the September 11 shock of "Come From Away" to George Martin’s quiet work of recording historic music, great musical artists inspire us in our time, and set the standard for future generations of musical performers.

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. Song and Dance Men - Al Jolson, Sammy Davis, Jr.
  2. Unforgettable Voices - Judy Garland, Miriam Makeba
  3. The New Classical Music - Luciano Pavarotti, Yo Yo Ma
  4. The Art of Rock & Roll Guitar - Chuck Berry, Keith Richards
  5. The New Broadway Musical - Hello Dolly, Come From Away
  6. Truth to Power - Pete Seeger, John Lennon
  7. Dueling Divas - Bette Midler, Renee Fleming
  8. The Producers - Phil Spector, George Martin

Course # W8T4 — Full 8 Weeks
Place:Auditorium, Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Dates:Tuesdays, January 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19, 26; March 5 2019
Time:3:45 - 5:15 PM
Fee:$80 / member; $110 / non-member

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Music Americana: The Songs of Johnny Mercer

The favorite songwriter of John Lennon, Johnny Mercer wrote some of the greatest lyrics sung by Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Hoagy Carmichael and many others, winning four Academy Awards. From the dreamy images of “Lazybones” to the wordplay of “Jeepers Creepers,” from the barstool weariness of “One For My Baby” to the wary manifesto “That’s Life,” he topped the charts and radio waves with witty, soulful and insightful lyrics co-written with top composers of his time. Today, the Songwriters Hall of Fame calls its top honor The Johnny Mercer Award, remembering the “Man of a Thousand Songs,” his work as popular as ever.

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.

About the band:
  • Rod MacDonald, guitar, has 12 CDs of his songs, including 2018’s “Beginning Again,” 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 Osher LLI 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 U.S. and Canada, and appears on more than a dozen CDs.
  • Brad Keller, keyboards, has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and with Maynard Ferguson and the Ink Spots. He is the jazz piano instructor at Palm Beach State College and has taught music in Palm Beach County public schools for 20 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, solo, and with 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 # W1R4 — One Time Event
Place:Auditorium, Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Dates:Thursday, January 17 2019
Time:7 - 8:30 PM
Fee:$25 / member; $35 / non-member

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 Last Modified 2/12/15