Dedication to Sybil McDonald Center


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 learned that I had nothing to fear. Sybil believed in teaching the whole student and was soon advising me on matters other than 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 (which 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 an encouraging nature, 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, North Dakota.

Life's Plan

She can fly and she can flutter-
She can be with us here at will.
She has conquered life and death.

No more can terror kill.

Her passing will be noted
By all the Sons of Man,
For it was written in the beginning
When she and God did write her plan.

To every life there is a purpose-
For every life there is a plan
That is made with God, the Father,
To refine the souls of Man. cont.