I still can’t believe it!
by Yvanne Dandan
Yvanne opens Jed Medela’s concert in 2012. Photo by Maui Zamora, MP Studium
Surprise Bon Voyage Celebration hosted by Yvanne’s family and friends
Yvanne at age five, “composing” songs
Let me start off by saying that I’m writing this article from my apartment in Toronto. “Hello Winnipeg!” The reason I’m here is because I’m pursuing one of my dreams, which is to go to music school. Let me tell you a little bit about the journey.
I first discovered my passion for music at a very early age through the simple things. For example, it was very common for me to sing along to whatever was on the radio while sitting in the car seat in the back of our family van. Even if the song was new to me, by the end the car ride you can bet I had already memorized the song. However, it was not until high school when I started taking music more seriously. I was involved in every performing arts program you could think of and it truly made my high school years incredibly worthwhile! By the time senior year kicked in, it was time for me to start applying for post-secondary education and I was faced with a tough decision: “What did I want to do after high school?”
At the time, I already wanted to apply for music school but after discussing with my parents, together we decided it was not yet time. My parents were really insistent that I finish a degree first before I go ahead and pursue other goals. That was a tough reality for me to face and it took a while for me to accept that my dream of going to music school would have to wait. However, I respected my parents’ wishes and trusted that it was truly for my own good. With that said, I went on to complete a four-year business administration degree at the University of Winnipeg.
Looking back now, I can honestly say that staying back to complete my university education was one of the best decisions I ever made. This path may not work for everyone, but it definitely worked out very well for me. It was only during my studies in university that I became more heavily involved in the church and really recognized God’s presence in my life. I was given the opportunity to be a youth leader for the parish youth ministry and to coordinate the Christmas concerts, which gave me a platform to share my love of music and God. Through learning more about God and how He loves us, I better distinguished my talent in music as a gift from God and that it is to be treated as such. During this time I also discovered my talent for song writing and a lot of inspiration was drawn during these formative years.
At the same time, I was also able to land a job at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet teaching Hip Hop to children ages four to 14. After graduation, I decided that it was still “not yet time” and instead landed a full time job at the Heart and Stroke Foundation where I coordinated some of the major community engagement programs. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and I took it as an opportunity to gain more experience as well as to “fundraise for my dreams.” All in all, the years of university education, church, and work were integral to further build the foundation for me moving and going to music school. I would not have wanted to do it any other way.
In January 2016 I finally decided, “it’s time.” I applied to all the music schools on my list and, thanks be to God, got accepted to all of them! It was as if God was saying, “I know you have been waiting for this for a long time so here, have your pick!” I also had full support from my family, especially my parents, which felt incredible. Everything just seemed to land so perfectly that it was and remains so surreal. I still can’t believe it! I’m currently enrolled at Seneca College in the Independent Performance and Songwriting program. Another dream of mine is to have my own album of original songs. So I am looking forward to learning all about how to properly share my music and connect with fellow singer-songwriters. I cannot wait to see how this journey unfolds.
I suppose if there were any parting words I would like to include in this article it would be that some dreams really take time and we should not to be discouraged by how long it may take. Also, everything truly happens for a reason and we have to trust in our “big man upstairs” that He has a beautiful plan for us. Lastly, everyday is a gift and there is always something to celebrate.
So to all my fellow dreamers and doers out there: keep at it and don’t give up!
Yvanne currently studies Independent Performance and Songwriting at Seneca College in Toronto. She has also completed a Business Administration degree at the University of Winnipeg and an International Event and Wedding Planning Professional certificate (QC Career School). Search the #diaryofthedreamer on various social media to follow more of Yvanne’s journey.