The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Taipei American School students travel to Singapore for international music festival


This year, Taipei American School will be sending 20 student delegates to the Association of Music in International Schools’ High School Honor Band & Orchestra Festival in Singapore from March 14-18. The students will be accompanied by three teachers: Dr. Daniel Long, Mr. Stephen Abernethy, and Ms. Joan Pipkin. The band delegates include Andrew Chuang (‘19), Kyle Hodowany (‘20), Kevin Hsu (‘20), Justin Hu (‘20), Ray Ku (‘18), Selene Kung (‘19), Lena Shea (‘21), and Ting Yu Yeh (‘21). The strings delegates are: Derek Chan (‘21), Emily Chen (‘21), Mark Chen (‘20), James Ding (‘20), Anna Jurling (‘20), Christopher Liaw (‘18), Ryan Lin (‘19), Derek Shieh (‘18), Samuel Shih (‘19), Sophia Urbom (‘21), Eric Wang (‘21), and Philip Wei (‘19).
Mr. Abernethy, TAS performing arts department chair, says, “AMIS is an incredible experience for our students and an amazing opportunity.” Students at AMIS come together with delegates from 40-50 international schools and spend four days honing their craft by working with world-class conductors as part of an orchestra,before finishing the festival with a culminating experience. Furthermore, TAS students also get the chance to interact with different cultures. “Music students at TAS,” says Mr. Abernethy, “tend to be exposed only to the other IASAS schools, which are all within Asia. AMIS puts students outside their cultural framework. Delegates could be sitting next to someone from Berlin or South America.
AMIS delegates face a rigorous selection process. At the beginning of the school year, AMIS sends out audition scales and technical exercises for every instrument. In October, hopefuls upload their auditions. Music teachers fly in to London or a location in Asia to adjudicate these auditions. Only 200 students are selected from a pool of roughly 650-750 students. “As these are blind auditions, there are no quotas and no biases. Students selected are truly the best of the best,” says Mr. Abernethy.
The teachers accompanying the students also get the opportunity to better themselves at AMIS by attending tutorials and workshops held by their fellow music teachers. In addition, teachers also learn to be better teachers through osmosis as they are exposed to the same world class conductors their students are.
“I am absolutely proud of our delegates. I wish I had this opportunity in high school,” says Mr. Abernethy. “But, I wonder if I even would have been accepted.”

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