Vina Dimayuga: a twinkling little star
A story of how love for music overcame fear
This month another young Filipina will make us proud as she makes it on the world stage in Hollywood, California. Vina Dimayuga was 10 years old when she bagged the first place award at last year’s Tuklas Talino in Winnipeg. This year she is competing at the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA).
Dubbed as the “Olympics of the Performing Arts” – WCOPA is a weeklong competition held yearly in Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world. This year it will be held at the Nokia Theater, home of American Idol and the Emmy Awards. WCOPA has brought out new Filipino stars including Jed Madela, Aria Clement, and Rhap Salazar. This year Team Philippines is bringing with them Joseph the Artist.
Representing Team Canada, Vina will join over 5000 participants from over 52 countries. She will be competing in the Junior Vocal Division in five categories including Pop and Broadway Musical, among others.
Vina Jalihn Marie Dimayuga was born to Jorge and Paige Dimayuga on November 11, 1999 in Winnipeg. Interestingly, it was 11 o’clock in the morning of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. Jorge is originally from Banay Banay, Cabuyao, Laguna, while Paige (Tamayo) Dimayuga was born here in Winnipeg.
The first of two children, Vina was like any other child, always curious and loves Barney. One thing stood out though, she was overly shy.
“When she was in day care all the way through to grade 2 she would not say a word in public,” her mom explains. “She would smile, listen and point to communicate but never speak.” Then the timid tot would transform as soon as she gets into the car as she sang her heart out to the music on the radio.
Vina was two years old when mom saw the first clue to this innate talent. As she sang the usual Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star before bedtime she remembered leaving the last note for her sleepy toddler. To mom’s surprise, she belted out this high ending note, perfectly in pitch.
“Baby, you will be a singer!” Paige turned to her in amazement. She had magically whipped her own arrangement at age 2!
Vina surprised her parents again at the age of six when she insisted on singing a songat her 7th birthday party. It was going to be her first time to stand, let alone sing, before a large group.
“I think it was because of her love for music that she overcame her fear,” Jorge Dimayuga recalls. He admits that neither he nor his wife aspired to be singers.
“It must have been her grandpas who both love music. One plays the guitar and encouraged her to sing for the church choir on several occasions, while the other liked to volunteer Vina to sing karaoke and eventually bought her own magic mic and karaoke machine,” he adds.
After her 7th birthday it became evident to both parents that singing was Vina’s path. They put her in voice lessons and have her join the Highlights and Magdaragat Performing Arts Groups. She has also been involved with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s musical theatre program.
To this day she takes voice lessons with Joy Lazo and devotes many hours every evening practicing at home.
“A week before a performance my mom puts Vicks on my throat and chest before going to bed,” she says in her giggly manner.
“Nothing cold, no dairy, no oily foods the day before the performance,” she adds with determination in her voice. “Sometimes I have to eat the yucky ginger candy, but I like to drink Tim Horton’s honey lemon tea!”
When requested to sing for us during the day of the interview, this sweet and innocent but charming little girl jumped up to her feet. After taking a moment to decide on what to sing, she gave a rendition of Chasing Pavements by Adele - a jazzy, sultry piece that she has been recently experimenting with. Every phrase was expressive, every note precise, her voice full and exuding confidence. No wonder her powerful voice moved grown men to tears when she sang the national anthem at a Bombers game.
Vina has a long litany of performances to boot: opening ceremonies at various national and local sports events like the Winnipeg Goldeyes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and Filipino Basketball Association games; Canada Day celebrations; and Folklorama. She has also graced various fundraising events to support Winnipeg Harvest, Siloam Mission, and Japan Concert of Hope.
“Hopefully when I get famous, I will have enough money to donate to Children’s Hospital and the Teddy Bear Picnic,” Vina shared her dream with a sparkle in her eye. She also would like to invite everyone to join her Road to Gold campaign.
This little child’s story is still unfolding; it’s the one to watch for. Just like a twinkling little star overcoming the darkest night, her love for music overcame fear and will continue to shine and inspire many.
Readers can join Vina’s Road to Gold campaign by visiting her website and making a donation at www.vinadimayuga.com