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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.