This “now page” offers a big picture glimpse into my what I’m focused on at this point in my life.

May 2024

The MacDonald family continues to make our home in Connecticut, nestled close to UConn. It’s mind-blowing to realize my son is now a high school senior, and my daughter a sophomore. Time truly flies! My wife Jana has embarked on a new journey, pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Peace & Justice! Additionally, Jana shares her insights regularly on Substack, at: Subscribe and it will come to your inbox each month.

(Although I have an aversion to faculty meetings,) I still find great satisfaction in my work at the University of Connecticut, teaching and overseeing the flourishing Jazz Studies program. Over the past few years, we’ve experienced an impressive expansion in the program, drawing in talented freshmen who are already playing at a high level. We’ve hired exceptional new adjunct faculty members, made meaningful curricular adjustments, introduced innovative degrees, and refined existing ones. The undeniable progress of the program is a source of great pride, and collaborating with my fantastic colleagues is truly rewarding.

Boston Marathon LogoTo maintain my physical and mental health I’m running about four days per week. I’ve successfully worked through most of my injuries from the last couple of years, thanks to a combination of physical therapy, targeted exercises, chiropractic care, and dry needling treatments. I’m still clinging to my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon one day. Perhaps it will be this fall.

In moments of downtime —whether driving, folding laundry, exercising, or tidying up—I enjoy listening to podcasts. My two current favorites are “Poetry Unbound” and the thought-provoking “Bible for Normal People.” For the later, I started from the beginning and am now up-to-date. This podcast has exposed me to diverse theological interpretations, which has helped me reconcile some long-standing cognitive dissonances. I wholeheartedly recommend this podcast to those navigating similar intellectual and spiritual journeys.

Artistically, my current project is writing art songs to perform and record with my colleague, Rod Nelman, a bass-baritone operatic vocalist. While my usual inclination leans towards instrumental composition, this time, I am driven to contribute to dialogues surrounding human rights, climate concerns, common-sense gun reform, and racial justice. To achieve this, I am setting carefully selected poems to music, aiming to amplify their emotional impact. Stepping out of my jazz comfort zone and venturing into uncharted musical territories is proving to be a challenge that I’m thoroughly enjoying! I hope to debut some of these works in the Fall. Stay tuned.

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