| When I moved to Stanley
as a senior in high school, I became one of Sybil McDonald’s piano students.
I was rather in awe, for I knew of others who traveled long distances
to study with her. But I soon leanred
that I had nothing to fear. Sybil
believed in teaching the whole student and was soon advising me on matters
other thn music. One day we were
working on a piece that I found particularly difficult when she sat back
and looked at me rather intently and said:
“I hear you are dating that Nelson boy.”
When I nodded in confirmation, she resignedly shook her head and
said,” Well I’m afraid that he will
never make a piano player.” Then
we went back to work. She listened
to my playing (shich I’m sure she could tell was in need of more practice,)
and rather than comment on my flaws, she would often say something of encouraging
gnature, such as “you have a strong sense of rhythm. “
Since poetry and music share the element of rhythm, I hope Sybil
is listening to the beat today and nodding with approval.
This poem was written for the dedication of the
Sybil McDonald center in Stanley, ND.