LLS Jupiter Distinguished Faculty Award 2012
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 11 solo CDs including 2014's "Later That Night" and "Big Tent" with the 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 LLS since 2006, his previous series include “Folksinging in Modern Times,” “The Great American Songbook” and “The Roots of Rock and Roll.”
The Search For Inspiration
Brilliant musical artists, drawing from classic and primitive sources and their imaginations, create the popular and profound sounds and songs of our time. What inspires them, and what moves us to reveal our secret hearts in return?
From Jule Styne’s politically incorrect “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and the late 40s cool of George Shearing, to the 1960s passion of Hair; from Mann & Weils’s “Who Put The Bomp” through the Bergmans’ “The Way We Were” to the sublime guitar of Dire Straits’ “Sultans Of Swing”; from the world- beat hipness of Herbie Hancock to the epic emotion of "Les Misérables;" from the honesty of Bernadette Peters to the glorious acoustic orchestra of Mumford & Sons, great music transcends categories and popularity, singing directly to us through the years.
This course will examine the early and recent work, biographies and enduring importance of these musical artists and works, with new videos and films, live performances and a few surprises.
The Songs of Paul Simon
With Rod MacDonald & The Humdingers
From his teenage years as a would-be rock and roll star, through worldwide renown with Simon & Garfunkel, to a Grammy-winning solo career combining folk, jazz, African and South American music with his own brilliant lyrics of love, loss, and discovery, Paul Simon has been at the forefront of songwriting for fifty years. His genius at bringing together his most personal and profound thoughts with inspired, powerful music is why the Library of Congress awarded him the very first Gershwin Prize, for a lifetime of achievement in
musical expression and cultural understanding. Join Rod MacDonald & the Humdingers for a fun and low-decibel tour through the life and genius of Paul Simon, with some of the most loved songs of our lifetime.
The Legacy of Popular Music
Great musical artists turn roots, tradition and inspiration into new songs, speaking for us through wars, social changes, technology growth, into a new century. From Harry Warren’s “At Last” and “Lullaby Of Broadway” to Elton John’s ”Your Song” and “Candle In the Wind,” from the Everly Brothers’ plaintive harmonies to the worldly explorations of Yo Yo Ma, from the emotional depth of Nina Simone to the plucky heroines of 21st Century Disney films, music and song cut a trail through the wilderness, deepening our understanding of our time. This course will re-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