For the first time ever, KIS had students accepted into the prestigious Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) Honors Jazz Band. Three 10th grade students from KIS were represented, which is an amazing accomplishment given the fact that the band contained only 28 musicians and was open to schools from all over the world. AMIS is an organization that hosts festivals for talented band, choir, and orchestra students based on a rigorous audition process. This year’s Honors Jazz Festival was hosted by the United World College in Singapore from September 27th through October 1st.
Min Jun was selected as 1st trumpet for the band. Jason played 2nd trombone. And, Drew represented KIS on drum set, as well as being placed into the top jazz combo for the festival. The students were a bit nervous in the weeks leading up to the festival, as they were tasked with preparing college and professional level music. Jason says, “As an international school student in Korea, it is difficult to compare yourself with the rest of the world. The fact that students from all over the globe participated made it a humbling experience for all participants.”
As soon as the musicians started interacting, you would rarely see the KIS students congregating alone. Even though students were coming together from different countries, continents, and hemispheres, the magic of music allowed them to bond not only as musicians, but also as friends. Drew remembers, “AMIS Jazz was an experience that not only encouraged me to become a better musician, but also was one that brought together so many new, meaningful connections. I still have friends from the event that I contact, and we hope to see each other the next year.”
The festival hosts included a cultural trip to Singapore’s world-renowned Gardens by theBay, an amazing botanical garden that made them feel as if they were transported to Pandora from the movie Avatar. Another memorable experience was that the students were all housed by families from the host school, allowing them to learn about other cultures and try new cuisines.
The students endured three long days of rehearsals which culminated in an amazing concert which can be viewed online (see link below). Musically, the students also learned improvisation skills and were able to perform in an impromptu “jam session”. United World College also presented masterclasses in traditional world music, allowing the students to perform on instruments from Zimbabwe and Indonesia. Min Jun sums up the festival perfectly by saying, “AMIS Jazz was all about bonding with new friends by making music together. It was such a fun experience that I’ll cherish forever.”
Text and photos from Nate Bisco