Workshops & Lectures
Lifelong Learning Society, Florida Atlantic University

Updated December 21, 2016. Rod MacDonald also lectures for private organizations (see list of lectures)
and leads workshops for songwriters       

Begins January 2017: Jupiter (T 1/10), BR (W 1/11)
Course information on LLS website:   Boca Raton    Jupiter
Music Americana:
In Search Of Greatness

Instructor Rod MacDonald

Recipient of the LLS 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award
 
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 cool swing of Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole to the raw emotion of Tina Turner and Adele; from the modernism of Pierre Boulez to the dramatic re-imagining of Mozart and Alexander Hamilton; from the searing guitar of Jimi Hendrix to the soaring harmonies of the Beach Boys; from the hip lyricism of Johnny Mercer to the social content of Joan Baez and Bruce Springsteen, great 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.

1. The Legacy: Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole
2. The Songwriters: Johnny Mercer, Paul McCartney
3. The Legends: Sam Cooke, Jimi Hendrix, Prince
4. The New Classical Music: Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa
5. Truth To Power: Joan Baez, Cat Stevens, U2
6. Women On Top: Tina Turner, Adele
7. The Whole Story: Amadeus, Hamilton (The Musical)
8. The Survivors: Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys


Jupiter Campus
Course #W8T5
Place: Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus, Donald Ross Rd
Dates: Tuesdays — 1/10, 7, 24; 2/7, 14, 21, 28; 3/7
Time: 3:45 p.m.
Fee: $80 member, $110 non-member

(561) 799 - 8547 or click here

Boca Raton Campus

Course W384
Time: 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Date: Wednesdays, 1/11, 18, 25; 2/1, 8, 15, 22; 3/1
Location: Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Fees: $100 member / $130 non-member
Registration Info call  561-297-3171 or click here
          
    Biographical Information: Rod MacDonald began his career as a singer/songwriter in Greenwich Village in New York City in 1973. He has 21 songs in the Smithsonian Folkways collection and 11 solo CDs, including the  2014 releases "Later That Night" and "Big Tent" with Big Brass Bed. He performs at festivals and in clubs and concerts locally and throughout North America and Europe, and was named Best Local Acoustic Performer in Broward and Palm Beach counties by 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, The Roots of Rock & Roll, and Mastery Of The Art.
The Songs Of Elvis Presley

with Rod MacDonald & The Humdingers

Wednesday January 4, 2017  7 pm
Jupiter LLS Auditorium

Wednesday March 8, 2017  7 pm
Boca Raton LLS Auditorium

The most parodied singer in history, Elvis Presley had a great ear for songs, whether blending Memphis blues and rockabilly into rock and roll or finding new standards on Tin Pan Alley. From the raw power of “Heartbreak Hotel” to the tenderness of “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” from the longing for “One Night With You” to the get-down “Jailhouse Rock,” from “Loving You” and “Suspicious Minds” to a billion records sold, the songs of Elvis transcend imitation to stand above the crowd.

Join Rod MacDonald & the Humdingers for a fun and low-decibel tour through the life, music and genius of this unique artist, as told in his 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, keyboards, 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.”
Where:

Jupiter Campus

COURSE #WPW3 Time:     7 pm
Date:     Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Location:     Lifelong Learning Auditorium, Jupiter Campus
Info call  561-799 - 8547 or click here
Boca Raton Campus
COURSE #WPL384 Time:     7 pm
Date:     Wednesday, March 8, 2016
Location:     Lifelong Learning Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Info call 
561-297-3171 or click here
The Music Of Cape Breton

with Rod MacDonald,  Rex Blazer,
and Bill Walach

Thursday March 2, 2017  7 pm
Jupiter LLS Auditorium

Monday March 20, 2017
Boca Raton LLS Auditorium

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: One of North America’s most unspoiled areas, the Isle of Cape Breton, in the northeast corner of Nova Scotia, Canada, has a unique musical culture drawn from French, English, Scottish and Irish settlers, yet, somehow their music is distinctly New World. The small, close-knit population has a surprising number of musicians and singers known for their fiery fiddle tunes and songs of the fierce seas and breathtaking landscapes around them. Today, worldwide music festivals feature Cape Breton fiddlers and singers as a singular presence. Partially funded by a grant from FAU’s LLS Foundation, Rod MacDonald and fiddler Rex Blazer journeyed to Cape Breton in July 2016 to perform and refresh their knowledge from earlier such trips. Join Rod, Rex and mandolinist Bill Walach (the St. Patrick’s Day band at Paddy Mac’s in Palm Beach Gardens) for a musical journey through the tunes, songs and characters of beautiful Cape Breton.

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Rod MacDonald began his career as a singer/ songwriter in Greenwich Village in New York City in 1973. He has 21 songs in the Smithsonian Folkways collection and has released 14 CD’s, including the 2014 releases Rod MacDonald: Later That Night and Big Tent with his band, Big Brass Bed, and recently published his first novel, The Open Mike. He performs in festivals, concerts, and clubs locally and throughout North America and Europe. He was named Best Local Acoustic Performer in Broward and Palm Beach counties by the New Times and one of the “10 Magnificent Musicians” of Palm Beach County by The Palm Beach Post. Previous Music Americana courses include, "The Birth of Rock & Roll," "The Great American Songbook," and "Mastery of the Art."

Jupiter Campus
COURSE NO. W1RK       Time:     7 pm
Date:     Thursday, March 2, 2017
Location:     Lifelong Learning Auditorium, Jupiter Campus
Info call  561-799 - 8547 or click here

Boca Raton Campus
COURSE #SPL320 Time:     7 pm
Date:     Monday, March 20, 2017
Location:     Lifelong Learning Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Info call 
561-297-3171 or click here

Lectures
lectures at community associations and libraries...recent topics have included live performance/lectures such as "Songs of Greenwich Village" (solo),  "The Life & Times of Bob Dylan," (solo or with Big Brass Bed), and "The Search for the Birth of Rock & Roll"
(solo or with The Humdingers)
.....Lectures using dvds and video materials include "The Beatles: Coming to America," "Cole Porter/Johnny Mercer," "Frank Sinatra" and many other topics. To see a list of lectures, click here.

Songwriting Workshops
"Songwriting For Self Expression" and "Songwriting & Current Events" are for beginning thru advanced songwriters, to inspire and sharpen each writer's skill and ability to express oneself. At the New York Open Center, the Amp Shop in West Palm Beach, Common Ground on the Hill, the Southeast Unitarian-Universalist Summer Institute, the Endicott (NY) Arts Center, S Florida Folk Festival, etc, from one session to several, sometimes one evening a week.

Here's a recent article in Binghamton, NY: