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Local singer increasing popularity

Performing on stage helped Cassandra Danyluk overcome shyness and meet interesting new people.

CANORA — You’d never know it if you’ve seen Cassandra Danyluk on stage recently, but apparently she was really shy as a kid.

Danyluk, who graduated from Canora Composite School in 2021, said singing for audiences has helped her overcome her shyness, and turned it into a passion at the same time.

She had a successful performance at the GX94 Star Search at the Norquay Communiplex on June 3 which was hosted by the Norquay Cornerstone Youth Group, with proceeds going to the Highway 49 Chamber of Commerce.

“The GX94 Star Search was for local talent from Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” said Danyluk. “

“My parents and friends were there for support. It’s great to have people you know who cheer you on no matter what. There were six other performers and we each did two songs. I made it to the next round in Churchbridge.”

She is the daughter of Dan and Carol Danyluk, owners of Good Spirit Petting Zoo located southwest of Canora.

“I really enjoy working there,” shared Cassandra. “I get to meet lots of different people. One of the best parts is making little kids happy, it’s really rewarding.

“It was nice to finally be open at the end of May. That’s about two or three weeks later than usual but for a while we couldn’t even walk outside, it was so wet. Thankfully we had enough hay for the animals through the long winter.”

Danyluk said she can’t really remember a time when she didn’t enjoy singing.

“Starting at around age seven, I took lessons from Gillian Rice at Eighty-Eight Keys Music in Canora for about eight years,” she continued. “I sing at a lot of events and meet many interesting people. I like being on stage and sharing the music with people, building connections and building community.”

She has performed across east central Saskatchewan, and even ventured across the border to sing at the Swan River Rodeo. Venues have included a number of different talent competitions, restaurants, other rodeos, hockey games, and Remembrance Day services.

“One of the highlights was the Yorkton’s Got Talent competition,” recalled Danyluk. “I was chosen, with nine other performers, to perform at their local fair in front of an audience of about 400 people. That was probably my biggest crowd so far.”

Another favourite is singing O Canada at Canora and area events she used to attend as a youngster, such as Canora Cobras games.

“I used to go to hockey games and see the National Anthem singers. Then I’d think, ‘I would like to do that,’ and now I have, it’s really awesome.”

Danyluk recalls having a severe case of stage fright when she first started performing, but her determination has helped overcome that hurdle.

“I first started performing for an audience when I began voice lessons at age seven,” said Danyluk. “My first legitimate performance at a business was singing at Rawhides in Stenen for Valentine’s Day when I was around 15.”

In addition to singing, she has also learned to play the guitar and the saxophone.

“I love the saxophone because it works for a large range of musical genres, from blues to jazz and even classical. The guitar is really good for singing around campfires and for writing music.”

Danyluk has written a couple of songs so far, but said she’s not quite ready to break them out on stage yet.

Her involvement in music has opened unexpected doors, including being a member of the Canora Arts Council for the past three years.

“Alfredo Converso, who is one of the members, asked me and two other students to join as part of their efforts to get youth involved in the Arts. I loved it! I worked with great people and learned a lot about organizing concerts. I even got to help pick the performers in the Canora concert series this past year.”

Danyluk appreciated the opportunity to meet with performers who visited Canora and learn from their experiences.

“They go out there on stage to have fun, and use their time on stage to enjoy it. If the performer is having fun, chances are the audience is having fun too.”

For any students who are her age or even younger and interested in music, she encourages them to go after their dreams.

“If you’re passion about it, there are lots of ways to get your foot in the door. There are local talent shows and many other opportunities, just go for it. I mean, look at me, I was really shy when I was younger, and music helped me overcome that. It’s helped me make connections and meet lots of new people. It’s helped me with conversation, and other people skills.”

This fall, Danyluk will be heading to Saskatoon to pursue her education in agronomy at the University of Saskatchewan. But she is also focused on pursuing opportunities in music.

“I’m planning to perform locally in Saskatoons bars, talent competitions, just have more fun with it,” she concluded.