A lifelong native of East Tennessee, Mary McDonald has been playing piano since she was five years old. The youngest of six musical children, she became the family accompanist at holiday gatherings while the older children would sing. While growing up in a local Baptist church, Mary acquired a love for the church organ and, during her teenage years, began playing and arranging hymns for church. In 1974, she attended Carson-Newman College on a Home Economics scholarship but, upon hearing her play, was transferred into the Church Music department where she received formal study in organ. After graduation in 1978, Mary became church organist in an area church near Knoxville and began arranging and composing music for organ and eventually church choirs.
Today, Mary McDonald is a well-known composer of more than 1000 choral anthems and many keyboard collections. She previously served as sacred music editor for a major church publishing company and continues in an editorial consultant role. She is published with every major publisher for church music and has had numerous top-selling anthems. Her unique blend of heart, hands, and humor, combined with a wide range of writing and performing styles has kept her in constant demand for more than 40 years as a composer, keyboard artist, and as a choral clinician.
Mary is married to Brian, a Knoxville architect, and they have two married children and four grandchildren.