Grant goes long way for Saanich musician

Funds help open doors to studies at Victoria Conservatory of Music

Saanich’s Amber Dayton

Life is moving along nicely for Saanich’s Amber Dayton.

Three weeks into the school semester, the 18-year-old is still trying to memorize her schedule at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Class times aside, the piano-playing Dayton is loving being enrolled in the conservatory’s diploma in music performance.

She made the jump straight from Claremont secondary, where she graduated in June. However, despite scoring near straight A’s at Claremont, it wasn’t a given that Dayton would be able to jump into post secondary.

Dayton grew up with her brother and her mom in the Glanford neighbourhood. Things were fine until a couple of years ago when substance abuse and mental health issues slowly grew in the home.

“It’s not until we were removed from the home that I realized the situation wasn’t normal, life creeps up bit by bit,” Dayton said.

Dayton began to carry anxiety and depression issues that threatened her school studies and weighed on her quality of life. She and her brother were taken in by family friends in Royal Oak where she spent her Grade 12 year and continues to reside. While she was at Claremont, Dayton enrolled in some of her courses through SD63’s Individual Learning Centre in Saanichton.

In the face of whatever issues she’s encountered, Dayton has been determined to succeed in her education and keep as many “academic doors open” as she could.

“The ILC made things easier, I could take precalculus without having to worry about deadlines, I could focus on it when I wasn’t quite so busy at Claremont,” she said.

Like many teens in their senior high school year, Dayton sat down in the winter to measure what she really wanted to do in her immediate future. She’s an accomplished pianist in level 10 of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s piano program, but hadn’t yet realized she could start her post-secondary education at VCM.

She applied for multiple grants, the District Fine Arts scholarship, $1,250; the District Education scholarship, $500; and her biggest, one of the Coast Capital Saving’s Youth Get it Awards, worth $2,500. She qualified for the latter award by boasting a high GPA, while overcoming challenges. She also works part time in a Broadmead restaurant.

The money allowed her to start at VCM, and she hopes to transfer after the two-year diploma is complete, possibly to Capilano College for the musical therapy program.

“I always wanted to dedicate myself to music even before I started the piano [six years ago],” Dayton said. “I love it here, you can connect with the instructor and you get a lot out of the small classes.”

In addition to having an increased focus on her classical piano training, Dayton is also exploring classical singing, though there’s a long way to go with that, she admits.

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich’s Marcus Davis hits old football ground Tuesday

Davis played for the Mount Douglas Rams before winning national title for UBC and making CFL

UPDATED: Police investigating possible link between shooting and crash in Langford

One person in custody, another driver fled following crash on Kelly Road

Saanich community association postpones meeting about University Heights

Gordon Head Residents’ Association president doesn’t know why University Heights project is on hold

Pacific FC puts its best foot forward for inaugural game

Players ‘counting down’ to kick-off day

Motorcyclist taken to hospital with undetermined injuries after crash in Oak Bay

Two-vehicle collision occurred Tuesday morning shortly before 11 a.m.

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

Most Read