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James M MacDonald

July 16, 1952 March 12, 2016
James M MacDonald
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Obituary for James M MacDonald

James MacDonald of Chicago passed away on March 12, 2016 at the University of Chicago Hospital.
Mr. MacDonald was born in Hammond Indiana on July 16, 1952 to John and the late Phyllis (nee Koch) MacDonald. He was raised in Highland, Indiana where he graduated from Highland High School in 1970. He received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1974 from the University of Illinois (Urbana). He received a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting in 1980 from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. His career with Columbia College, Chicago began in 1986 as a Coordinator of Theory Curriculum and faculty from 1986 to 2001; Associate Dean, School of Fine and Performing Arts from 2001 to 2008; Associate Chair, Music Department from 2008 to 2010; Interim Director, Sherwood Community Music School, 2012; and Associate Professor of Music since 2001.
James was Musical Director of numerous groups and ensembles, including: the James Chorale (four seasons), Lutheran Choir of Chicago (three seasons), Northwind Ensemble (two seasons), Loop Group (four seasons), Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra (two seasons), Chicago Businessmen’s Orchestra (five seasons), Westminster Chamber Orchestra (three seasons), West Suburban Symphony (three seasons), Genesis Opera Group (two seasons), and most recently with the Elmhurst Choral Union and Orchestra (fifteen seasons).
He was also a Guest Conductor for the Sofia Radio Symphony (Bulgaria), Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra (Illinois), Academic Philharmonic Orchestra of St. Petersburg (Russia), Vratza Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), Congress Orchestra of St. Petersburg (Russia), Ho Chi Minh City Symphony Orchestra (Viet Nam), Ploiesti Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), Sochi Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Chicago Humanities Festival, Die Komische Kammer Oper Munchen (Germany), Karelia Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra (Wisconsin), New Music Chicago Festival, and the Chicago Society of Composers.
An accomplished composer, James was also responsible for the composition of Psalm 150 for choir, Children’s Choir, Organ, Brass, and Hand Bells premiered by the First United Methodist Church in October of 2014, as well as Pockets for Orchestra premiered by the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in May of 2012.
James was conductor and producer of recordings of M. William Karlins Elegy; Kimo Williams Symphony for the Sons of Nam and Buffalo Soldiers; and Michael Karasis Civil War Oratorio. He was executive producer of Gary Yerkins album Compass and Steve Laxton’s album Thursday Night at the Avenue Motel. James also provided his talents on keyboard and backing vocals on Steve Laxton’s recording. Additionally, he co-authored Essentials of Music Theory and Ear Training: Starting on the Path to Musical Literacy with William Russo and Asher Zlotnik.
Mr. MacDonald is survived by his beloved wife Jill A. Dougherty of Chicago, his dear father John MacDonald of Oak Park, his cherished sister Christine (Malcolm Love) MacDonald of Chicago, and his pet Yorkies, Glen and Livet.
Memorial visitation Friday, March 18th from 4 PM until time of service at 6:30 p.m., at Drechsler, Brown, & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Interment Private.
Memorial donations can be made online at www.colum.edu/givetosherwood or by mail to Sherwood Community Music School, 1312 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. Please note in the memo line that the gift is being made in memory of Jim MacDonald

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Previous Events

Memorial Visitation

Friday

18

Mar

4:00 PM 3/18/2016 4:00:00 PM - 6:30 PM 3/18/2016 6:30:00 PM
Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home

203 South Marion Street
Oak Park, IL 60302

Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home
203 South Marion Street Oak Park 60302 IL
United States

Memorial Service

Friday

18

Mar

6:30 PM 3/18/2016 6:30:00 PM
Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home

203 South Marion Street
Oak Park, IL 60302

Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home
203 South Marion Street Oak Park 60302 IL
United States

Memorial Contribution

Sherwood Community Music School

1312 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605
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