The gospel according to jazz
A student who began playing music for God is now playing on an international stage.
Doug McDonald, a senior majoring in communication, was introduced to music at the age of 5. McDonald credits his mother, Beverly McDonald, for introducing him to music.
“My mother has been a musician pretty much her whole life. She doesn’t play as much as she did when she was younger, but growing up in Jamaica her parents had a strong influence on her life, as far as they made sure she learned an instrument. She passed that down to me and my brother.”
McDonald started playing the keyboard at 6 years-old and he picked up the saxophone in the sixth grade for middle school band. He was also the drum major two years in a row in high school. “From there I just really grew fast,” McDonald said.
Since then McDonald has had the chance to play at all types of venues for thousands of people and has received several awards for his talents. “I’ve had the chance to play on the international stage, and I’ve received the John Philip Sousa Award and the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, and since then I’ve just been gigging and playing ever since. “
Even with all of that McDonald never forgot his roots. “Really, as far as my gifts and where I’ve gotten a lot of my expertise is from church. It’s from serving in ministry.”
McDonald has been studying the saxophone under Randy Corinthian, a music professor at Broward College, for the past eight years.
“My mentor was a beast! I had the awesome privilege of playing under him and just being around him. He would always throw pointers my way. He was tough on me at times, but it helped mold me into an awesome horn player,” McDonald said.
McDonald credits both Corinthian and his high school band director, Josh Bishop, for teaching him everything he knows about the saxophone.
“Bishop was phenomenal. He was a Marine Corps musician and he had a huge sound. He was really inspirational and he also helped me develop my leadership skills, which flowed over into ministry. Because a lot of the techniques I use in leadership I get from music, ”
McDonald said. McDonald’s continued passion for music can be traced back to his love for God and his passion for ministry. “Having the chance to play in ministry has made it that much sweeter and that much more fulfilling to me. Because I’m a very spiritual person, when I play there’s a spiritual connection for me. It doesn’t matter what I’m playing ;there’s always something deeper for me. I have a lot of meaning behind my sound. ”
McDonald is expected to graduate next fall and plans on attending graduate school afterwards. As for his plans right after graduate school, those are still somewhat undecided. One things for sure though, music and ministry will be at the forefront.
“As far as my career, my profession as in what I do, I would say music in general. I’ve grown and matured and gospel music will always be my roots and my heart, but I want to work in music period,“ McDonald said.
McDonald believes that music has the power to speak to people beyond the boundaries of culture and language and that it shouldn’t be restricted to a specific genre. “I believe that you are a Christian. You can’t put Christian as a genre,because that just diminishes everything that Christianity is about.”
McDonald hopes to one day own his own record company. “My dream is to, as I advance myself, be able to put other people on the platform. I want to send them out and see them blow up, because I believe God has given me vision so that I can see gifts and potential in people. I want to work with those people. And I want to get them to a place where that have the opportunity to shine their light and do what they do.”