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The following article is archive material reprinted in the days leading up to Loreena's tribute in Morden.

Young McKennitt’s gifts evident early on
By Lorne Stelmach

As this area’s representative in the Manitoba Legislature, Peter George Dyck might lay claim to bragging rights about Morden-born musician Loreena McKennitt.
But the Pembina MLA is also among those who have a little more personal connection to McKennitt, as he was among those who encountered the young girl seemingly destined for global musical stardom.
Dyck recently recalled his days as a school band instructor when he encountered Loreena as a junior high school student.
“She often had these long red pigtails,” Dyck said of McKennitt, who was honoured by her home town this past weekend at a gala banquet in her honour.
Dyck said McKennitt played the flute in his band class, which he remembered being taught in the area which was later used for the rifle club range.
He recalled McKennitt as being not just musically inclined but also more eager to learn.
“She would come into class and was very intent on learning a new instrument,” said Dyck.

When, not if
That affinity for music seemed to be evident to many who were near to or grew up with McKennitt and her family.
Brenda Sloan, who was a neighbour to McKennitt and remembers her from school as well, also recalled McKennitt showing her musical inclination at a younger age.
Sloan recalled McKennitt being involved in the school musical productions.
“Music was a constant in her life. And her drive was always there,” she said.
In fact, the kind of success McKennitt has charted for herself “was more a matter of when ...not if,” Sloan suggested.

A gift
When you teach music for a few years, Dyck suggested, you would discover which students had the talent and motivation to really do something with it.
He got that feeling from the young McKennitt.
“That much I recall ... she really wanted to be there (in class),” Dyck said. “You can tell ... you know when where they want to go is music.”
Obviously, you don’t know then how far a student like McKennitt might go.
Now, in retrospect, it is not really a surprise to see how far she has gone with music, Dyck suggested.
“It’s something that seemed to come to her naturally. She had a gift for music.”