Rich MacDonald is a native of Port Huron, Michigan, and was heavily influenced by Motown and rock music in the 1960’s. While attending college at the University of North Texas in the late 1970’s, MacDonald was introduced to the classic jazz of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and John Coltrane; modern groups led by Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny; and a wide range of big band music. These influences continue to inform his playing today, as a drummer and vibraphonist, performing at jazz venues in the tri-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. He is also principal percussionist with the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Symphony Orchestra.
As a drumset and percussion specialist, Dr. MacDonald has presented clinics throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is an endorsee of Sabian cymbals and Vic Firth sticks and mallets, serving on their respective education teams. Some of MacDonald’s performance credits include: George Benson, Eddie Daniels, Slide Hampton, Milt Hinton, Arturo Sandoval, and three years touring experience with Ice Capades.
Dr. MacDonald earned his Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in Jazz Studies and his Master of Music (MME) in Music Education from the University of North Texas. His Doctorate (DA) is in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. MacDonald is a professor emeritus from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota – where he taught jazz studies and percussion from 1996-2020.