We are so proud to be able to announce our three recipients of our 2016 Bursary Awards. There were many wonderful applications this year, and we do encourage applicants who were not successful to apply again in the future.
These three recipients all have very different and inspiring stories. We will be posting their stories on our blog this week, and we thank them all for sharing their experiences and wisdom. We also wish them the best of luck in their studies!
Our second Bursary Award Recipient: Daniel Wolak
I was born prematurely at 26 weeks gestation and weighed 707 grams. I am pleased to say that I have grown to 6’2” but unfortunately as a result of my premature birth I developed Retinopathy of Prematurity and am totally blind. My parents went to great lengths to save my vision and I had 7 surgeries, many in the United States. Blindness can have a rather large impact on the way a person goes through life. For me, I like to think that it has had little to no effect. There is the odd hurdle thrown in the way, but in a lot of cases I have come up with a way of getting around it. Blindness has made me strive further for things than I believe I would not have otherwise.
From an early age music has been an integral part of my life. It has become even more so in the last few years as I began to explore the possibilities that studying music at University could offer. Being a totally blind musician, music has been something that I could do without any restrictions. When people see a solo performance, they recognize the vocal talent that I possess rather than my lack of vision.
I have a great interest in teaching and leadership in music. I am currently the baritone co-section leader for the Harbourtown Sound. Volunteering is something I very much enjoy and I have been a part of the server’s guild at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church for the past 7 years. Another opportunity I have had is at Toys for Tots collecting funds and toys for children at Christmas, this was my tenth year. I have also performed at many fundraisers and church events.
In September I will begin my studies for an undergraduate degree in Music at the University of Bangor in Wales. I believe that studying music in the UK will provide many opportunities for enrichment that I would not have in Canada. I am confident that I have the ability to succeed at an undergraduate level and plan to go on to pursue postgraduate study.
Music education is my ultimate goal as I would like to share the skills that I have learned and truly shape the musical experience of others. My hope is to pass on the positive experiences that I have had and my ultimate goal is to be a music teacher and choral director. Music has truly changed my life for the better and I am excited at the prospect of taking my education further at University.