Evan John Jamisola is one of the flutists in the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY), Ang Misyon’s main performing arm. He is the second of four kids and resides in Carmona, Cavite, where he has spent the community lockdown with his family since the COVID-19 pandemic. Coming from a household that survives with just enough to fulfill their daily needs, Evan shares his struggles and small wins during these tough times.
Evan’s journey into music began when one of his friends invited him to join a local band in Carmona, Banda 46. From there he started to expand his horizons and met a lot of new people who encouraged him to pursue music after seeing his genuine talent. Aside from the flute, he also plays the piccolo and piano. Opportunities came his way including becoming an Ang Misyon music scholar, which he said really opened doors for him including traveling to different places and connecting with potential donors to support his education.
“Mas marami pang opportunity na dumating noong naging scholar ako ng Ang Misyon Inc. at member ng OFY. Nakarating ako sa iba’t ibang lugar, mas napalawak pa ang aking kaalaman sa musika, at nakapag-aral sa kolehiyo dahil sa tulong din ng Ang Misyon Inc. upang mahanapan ako ng sponsor sa tuition fee,” Evan shares.
He came at a crossroads when he thought his only choice was to defer going to school, but his Ang Misyon Mentor Ms. Crystal Milarose Concepcion encouraged him to look at other possible options. It was then that he stepped forward to seek financial help for his college education. With Evan being a diligent student and talented musician, he was able to receive a scholarship from Tanging Yaman Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization established by Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ, one of Ang Misyon’s Board of Trustees. His education grant covered his tuition fee at Philippine Women’s University (PWU) where he is currently a second year college student, working on his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance, Major in Flute.
At 20 years old with a full academic load, Evan still manages to take some shifts at a 7-Eleven store and tutor young musicians. He continues to be a working student to earn money for both his personal and his family’s household needs. Though it seems like a lot to handle especially with additional challenges during the pandemic, he splits his time by doing the night shifts at the store, which allows him to focus on his online classes and schoolwork during the day.
The realities of the newly mandated online learning also affect scholars like Evan because of difficulties with internet connectivity. The area where they live is located closer to farmlands, limiting their options for a proper internet set-up. But a high-spirited student like him, he says considering the on-off connections, “ilang ways na mas natututo ako sa mga music lessons ay sa one-on-one coaching, video tutorial at mga music theory websites.” (He learns better with the help of one-on-one coaching, video tutorials and music theory websites.) Specific to Evan’s modules in school, he pointed out that learning online means the sound quality is usually compromised. This makes it harder to distinguish what parts of the music he plays need improvement. He and his teachers are finding alternative, more efficient ways in exchanging audio files for their assignments.
Despite his full schedule, he makes it a point to spend quality time with his family on his days off. “Mas nagkakaroon kami ng quality time sa bahay dahil sama-sama na kami ngayon.” Given all the restrictions, he finds joy at home even in simple ways like watching television together and catching up on each other’s lives. One of the advantages of being at home more often is that he is rekindling his bond with his family. The lockdown has made Evan reflective of his life lessons so far. His journey keeps going, guided by his mentor’s advice on prioritizing his education. He realized that his inner strength has pulled him through challenging thoughts and difficult decisions and the only way is forward as he aspires to be a professional musician.
When asked what he hopes for in the near future, Evan prays that the orchestra can rehearse again so that Ang Misyon can continue its mission of creating social change and inspire people through classical music. “At makatulong pa sa maraming iskolar na mabago din ang buhay nila kagaya ko, na mabigyan pa sila ng maraming oportunidad upang matuto, at maibahagi sa kanilang mga komunidad ang natututunan nila.” (And for Ang Misyon to help change the lives of more scholars like myself, to give more opportunities to learn and to share these learnings to their communities.)
Similar to the other scholars’ sentiments, he says he misses the Saturday’s with OFY at Rockwell Business Center. He also wishes they can perform again in different places, since as a musician, it is important for him to express his talents and share his music to others.
Evan’s message to his fellow scholars and young musicians during these challenging times is: “wag nilang sayangin ang oras na ito upang mas maglaan pa ng time mag-practice ng kanilang instrument. Dahil ang musika ay walang katapusang pinag-aaralan, lalalim pa ito pagtagal ng panahon. Always remember practice never ends, and don’t stop doing it.” (My advice to my fellow scholars and young musicians is to make sure they make the most out of this time to still practice playing their instruments. I believe the musical journey is never-ending and we have to keep learning because music grows even deeper with us through time.)
During his early days in Ang Misyon, Evan shares a fun moment with his peers and mentor Ms. Crystal Concepcion (2nd from left)