This “now page” offers a big picture glimpse into my what I’m focused on at this point in my life.
To be granted a sabbatical leave from teaching and administration this semester is a true blessing! Frankly, I needed a break to recharge myself — mentally, physically and spiritually. I’m enjoying immersion in some new musical projects. I’m writing big band music for the Hartford Jazz Orchestra, and have also embarked upon a special project with the illustrious New England Jazz Ensemble. I’m loving the challenge and look forward to hearing this music fully materialized and brought to life.
We MacDonalds are still living in Connecticut, near UConn, where I’m a professor and Director of Jazz Studies. My wife and I are homeschooling our two teenaged children. I oversee math as well as trumpet practicing, which I do with my son. The trumpet has become a new preoccupation for me.
This past fall, I released a new album, titled “Consecrated!” For this project, I chose some of my favorite old hymns — ones where the lyrics express and mirror aspects of my own complex faith journey — and put new life into them with fresh harmonies and rhythms. (The desired effect is similar to putting an old picture in a properly-lit new frame, as a means to see the beauty and expressiveness in what was there all along.) The music conveys a wide spectrum of sentiments, ranging from reverence and gratitude to petition, pleading and lament.
This album is different from all of my others on a couple of fronts. It is the first where vocals are front and center. It features the voice of the phenomenal Canadian up-and-comer, Karly Epp. Secondly, this project brings together two parts of my life which I previously kept somewhat compartmentalized: my Christian faith and my musical artistry. In both, I pose and seek answers to a lot of questions. By uniting the two, the questions just become more thoughtful.
Running helps vanquish any stress in my life. If I can stay healthy and injury-free, I intend to run the Vermont City Marathon in May.
When time allows, I enjoy adding updated content to this website. I see value in sharing educational resources and igniting conversations that hopefully build community.