Sounds of Enablement: Baird McDowell’s Worshipful Response to Life’s Challenges

By Stan Friedman

DULUTH, MN (August 5, 2013) – Baird McDowell, who lives at the Our Place Covenant Enabling Residence, says he recorded his piano instrumental CD of traditional gospel songs and hymns in honor of his sister, Anna, who died from muscular dystrophy when she was 14 years old.

“The thing that really inspired me was, that was in a time when people were called physically disabled,” says McDowell, who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy. “She taught me that ‘disabled’ was a bad word. I prefer to call myself physically and mentally challenged.”

While recording the music, he gained an even deeper understanding of who he is. “God began to show me that I am just a tool in God’s hands,” he says. “There was a song several years ago in children’s church about kids being under construction. That’s what I am. I am a kid under construction.”

McDowell, 42, recorded the CD as a fundraiser for the enabling residence. Some of his sister’s artwork is included on the inside cover.

“Making the CD was an idea in its infancy for several years before becoming a reality,” McDowell says. It became a reality after his parents purchased studio time for his birthday.

McDowell says he loves playing the sacred music. “I try to get in at least thirty minutes of worship a day,” he says.

McDowell started playing piano when he was a child but took a break because it interfered with his school studies. He picked it up years later and now learns by ear.

It was his grandmother who inspired his piano playing. “She used to play for her church,” he says. “I played piano for her when I would go to her house.” Like his grandmother, McDowell now also plays at churches.

McDowell says he is considering recording more music, including a holiday CD for Christmas.

People interested in purchasing the current CD can do so by calling Our Place at 218-624-3097 or mailing a check to 322 North 60th Ave West Duluth, MN 55807. The cost is $15. To listen to a sample track, click here.

Our Place is home to eight residents. Covenant Initiatives for Care operates the home.




  • Baird is an amazing man! When I served Gethsemane Covenant in Duluth, Baird would come on our communion Sundays and play during the distribution of elements. People really appreciated the connection to God he helped them to gain. It was wonderful having a partnership with this joy-filled servant of our Lord.

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