Marjon DayoIN the field of culture and the arts, Ang Misyon Inc.’s (AMI) Orchestra of the Filipino Youth has shown how cultivating the talents of the youth can lead to a better future as citizens of this country. Marjon Dayo shares his journey from salesman to printing shop worker and, finally, communication and partnership assistant at AMI.
When did you first join Ang Misyon? Kindly describe in detail the circumstances, and give a brief background of your education and family.
I heard about Ang Misyon in early 2014 through a close friend, one of the scholars of Orchestra of the Filipino Youth, Cathy Macalalad. She was the former principal oboist of the orchestra; she was an intern in Ang Misyon. After she graduated, she had a job opportunity and decided to leave Ang Misyon. That time, I was out of school and working at my friend’s small printing shop. She convinced me to apply to Ang Misyon as her replacement. Ms. Guia Tieng, the admin head of AMI, interviewed me and asked me to help in the satellite program because it was growing and needed supervision.
My parents are already retired but they run a small home-based food business. My two younger siblings are still in college and will finish by next year. I studied college twice, first in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasig and Marikina Polytechnic College. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish my degree because of personal matters. I still consider it a blessing in disguise because somehow I am able to help my parents pay the bills at home and sometimes even give my siblings allowance for school.
How long have you been with AMI? Describe your work.
I have been working in AMI for almost six years. From 2014 to 2018, I worked with the Satellites, Ang Misyon’s former program that supports external music groups. I used to go to each community in different areas such as Angono, Taytay, Cardona and Talim Island in Rizal; Caloocan, Las Piñas-Muntinlupa-Parañaque (or “LaMPara”) and Valenzuela in Metro Manila; and Antique, Cebu and Tacloban in the Visayas and Tacloban in the Visayas. My work includes coordinating with our satellite heads on schedules of lessons and performances, funding requirements, monitoring the progress and development of each group and maintaining the database of information of scholars.
In 2018, AMI satellites were restructured to another program, the Community Youth Orchestra Program (CYOP), wherein the community itself supports its own music group in terms of funding for meals and transportation, venue and mentors; in lieu of these, we give free workshops and seminars such as fundraising, training the trainors, and musical instruments grants.
My position has also changed from satellite coordinator to CYOP coordinator, and then to communication and partnership assistant. Basically, my job now is to help make content for Orchestra of the Filipino Youth’s social media accounts. Part of what I do is to take photos and videos, edit coverage of rehearsals and performances and even conduct some interviews with musicians to create content. For partnerships, I help in the monitoring of the donor database and distribution of the deeds of donation.
How do you find working there? What values did you learn and practice
In terms of working with the satellites and CYOs, it was an eye-opener. It helped me change my perspective in life and I became passionate about what I am doing. I’ve witnessed how the children struggled just to have their lessons every week. Some of them became part of Orchestra of the Filipino Youth and Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra. I firmly believe that music can uplift the lives of the youth especially those who are less privileged. At first it was tough because I had to do different and completely new tasks. But I found it fun because I am learning a lot of new things. I enjoy doing it now.
Things I have learned from working with this organization are: first, always be ready to go the extra mile. The scholars are very blessed to have an organization like Ang Misyon, which serves all that they need as musicians. They are provided mentors, an air-conditioned rehearsal venue inside Rockwell Business Center, meals and transportation allowance.
We practice bayanihan at work. We are only a small team so we have to build teamwork in order to get our jobs done quickly. For example, we, the AMI staff, are the ones who do the ingress and egress of all musical instruments during events instead of hiring outsourced help.
How did it change your life and that of your family? Please give anecdotes.
After I started this job, a lot of things changed in my life, like my habits, my priorities and culture. When I entered this organization, I had no idea what it was all about and all I knew were the staff and the requirement to play music. I was so amazed when I first witnessed the orchestra perform in front of hundreds of people.
Before, I was working in a mall’s department store. I used to work six times a week, even during weekends because that’s the time a lot of customers come by. I had to stand for eight to 12 hours straight and convince people to purchase my product. That was not an easy job but I didn’t have a choice. But now, I am glad because my work in Ang Misyon does not require me to report during Sundays and Mondays. I have my time for myself and for my family and I love what I’m doing. And for me that is more important.
Value of money: I always keep in my mind that the money I earn from this organization is coming from good and honest work. I am proud that somehow I can help my parents pay for food, house rental and monthly bills and still buy some personal items for myself at the same time.
When visiting satellites, I saw how the children worked hard even though they don't have a decent venue to use and don’t even have good instruments and materials for learning, but they were not complaining. It really hit me hard and I became more passionate about my work and appreciative of every little thing in my life.
It also helps me to become mature. I have learned to deal with challenging people and situations in a better way. I also watch and think about the results of my actions before I make decisions.
I am grateful to be part of this organization because working here really helps me to become a better person.
What message can you give to those working with you and the youth players surrounding you?
To my colleagues, I am grateful that you are my coworkers because I learn a lot from all of you. Your help has made my job much easier and more fun. I really appreciate your effort.
To all musicians surrounding me, to our scholars, be thankful to the people who help you to become a musician because without them you wouldn’t grow as much as you have through the years. Always practice, because it will lead you to the top one day. Don’t stop, chase your dreams and always keep your feet on the ground.
(Story/Photos by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)