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Taipei American School hosts international music convention


From March 1-3, five schools from the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools participated in the annual Cultural Convention for music, hosted by Taipei American School.
Throughout these three days, IASAS music delegates came with prepared solos for their adjudications, and also played in the Coffeehouse, a Convention event where students perform their instruments in any genre of music. Select students also performed their solo pieces in a showcase recital. Violinist Ray Hou (‘19) says, “We were all excited to be the best we could be, especially because we hosted this year.”
In the final day of IASAS Cultural Convention at TAS, the delegates from every school formed a orchestra, band, and choir. TAS invited three guest conductors: alumna Tiffany Chang for orchestra; composer Dr. Andrew Boysen Jr. for band; and Richard Gill, music director of Sydney Chamber Choir, for choir.
The orchestra played the four movements from “Symphony No. 35 in D Major;” the band played “Sweet Like That” and “Three Folk Song Settings for Band;” and the choir sang “Amicus Meus,” “Four Slovak Folk Songs,” “Ching-A-Ring-Chaw,” and “Sanctus.” Four-year IASAS delegate Sarah Chin (‘18) says, “I liked that we got to play an entire piece, instead of singular movements like we had at previous IASAS [events].”
This year, the festival band had the opportunity to play music arranged by Dr. Andrew Boysen Jr. himself. “It has been so inspiring to see a composer who’s also a conductor…it is interesting to see how someone can transform into different personalities on and off the stage,” says festival band director Ms. Jennifer Anderson.
The festival orchestra also enjoyed having a new conductor, as they were able to experience a different teaching method. Sarah recalls how guest conductor Chang did not conduct for an exercise and made the orchestra start the piece by themselves. “This forced us to stare intently around the circle so that we would not miss the starting cue,” she says. “Afterwards, when we went back to our seats, we played more in sync than ever!”
Although the convention took over a year and a half to plan, Ms. Anderson believes that all the hard work and dedication was worth it. She says, “I’m incredibly proud of all our musicians and I’m so impressed that not only did they maintain the reputation of TAS as being incredibly strong in music, but I think they also raised the bar.”

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