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The Sound of Music. (The Goodness of America).

Victor and Laurie MacDonald of Orange, Massachusetts, met in 1981. From the first, Mrs. MacDonald recently recalled, "we knew that the Lord was going to use us as we combined our talents, Victor being a self-taught fix-it man and my having the abilities of homemaking plus my piano playing [she has a degree in applied piano]. We were both preachers' kids, so Victor and I have supported the church in music since we were teens. Now our children have joined us to reach out to the community."

Profiling the MacDonalds in the November 19th Massachusetts News, journalist Isabel Lyman described the family--whose concert repertoire features bluegrass, gospel, and classical--as the Bay State's version of the von Trapp Family Singers of Sound of Music fame. "Their rambling home near downtown Orange," Lyman writes, "has musical instruments and songbooks prominently displayed, and visitors might be treated to an a capella rendition of a favorite song." Victor "is the manager of the group, a trombonist, and a graduate of Gordon College in Wenham," while Mrs. MacDonald is not only a "whiz at the keyboard," but "a composer and arranger" as well.

The eight MacDonald children (Carol, Bonnie, Vincent, Peter, Nathan, Matthew, Daniel, and Hannah) range in age from three to 18. "Several of them play several instruments," Lyman notes. "Thirteen-year-old Vincent, for instance, handles the banjo, tuba, and trombone," while "fifteen-year-old Bonnie fingers the trumpet, saxophone, harmonica, piano, and flute." Members of the family ensemble meld their musical talents to provide "fun and wholesome entertainment" and "a welcome break from the status quo of our society where images of tawdry pop music icons and the Osbournes are ubiquitous."

The MacDonalds' community outreach includes appearances at churches, malls, a health care center, and "practice with a Klezmer band at the Jewish Community Center in Amherst."

Victor and Laurie decided early on to homeschool their children. Mrs. MacDonald told Lyman, herself a homeschooling mom and author of The Homeschooling Revolution (reviewed in the March 12, 2001 issue of THE NEW AMERICAN): "We always knew we wanted to homeschool even before Carol was born. Our style falls between unschooling and highly structured, so (in addition to academics) we enjoy crafts and fixing things like tree houses, soda machines, car transmissions and appliances."

According to Lyman, Carol "credits homeschooling for giving her a get-up-and-go mindset, a strong moral foundation, and, of course, a broad musical education."

Regarding the future, the family's "big dream involves travel. They hope to obtain a motor coach and bring their music and message across the country."
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Author:Lee, Robert W.
Publication:The New American
Date:Dec 16, 2002
Previous Article:The American miracle. (History-Struggle for freedom).
Next Article:Overdue honor. (The Goodness of America).

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