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AMIS Honor Band to perform at Aberdeen Festival

Photo Courtesy of Carolyn Stock-Chapin
Middle and High School honor band members pose at the festival site in Aberdeen. The festival is to take place from March 14-16.

A selected group of 11 High School Concert Band members will travel to Aberdeen, Scotland to attend the Association of Music in International Schools Honor Band Festival from March 13-16. An additional 14 middle school students are also attending the festival to perform with other students in Grades 5-8 from international schools.

Band Director Carolyn Stock-Chapin said band members spend all five days rehearsing or performing with a few opportunities to explore Aberdeen.

“At the International School of Aberdeen Thursday morning, they rehearse all day long and then have some social time as well as study and homework time in the late afternoon,” Stock-Chapin said. “They do the same thing on Friday, Saturday, a little lighter rehearsal day with some cultural sightseeing or events.”

Stock-Chapin said students learned seven pieces in preparation for the festival. Students will learn from the festival’s guest conductor Ignatius Wang, who conducts music for the band in the Singaporean army.

Ryan Cushman (’24), who plays the clarinet, said the audition and preparation process for the festival has spanned nearly six months.

“You have roughly two months to practice the music and prepare it which usually includes a scale and an etude,” Cushman said. “Then by the start of November, you have to have it recorded and submitted.”

Kyle Moore (’25), who has attended the festival since Grade 6, said he is thrilled to perform alongside other passionate musicians.

“I’m quite excited, I’ve been going for the past couple of years,” Moore said. “It’s always a fun experience, and always a beautiful time to have all these incredible musicians get together for different events like this.”

Similarly, Cushman said he enjoys working and connecting with other students who have a high musical standard.

“I’m looking forward to the music mostly, it’s fun to be playing with such a strong group of musicals, and it’s a really great experience so I hope to have fun with that,” Cushman said. “It really does build community. There’s an AMIS community with the kids who go year on year and see each other again and again.”

Stock-Chapin said AMIS was founded at the school around 50 years ago by Band and Choir Directors Dick Basset and Georgia Basset. The festivals were first held in London and later expanded to other international schools.

Moore said students of all ages attend the festival, yet everyone is taken seriously regardless of “an age gap – it’s just a question of ability.”

Stock-Chapin said she thinks the friendships made during the festival are one of the greatest takeaways.

“AMIS is purposely named that because ‘amis’ means friends in French,” Stock-Chapin said. “It’s an opportunity to see the world outside of the walls of ASL and have friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Over the course of the festival, Stock-Chapin said she hopes students will bring back what they learn during the trip to the school’s Concert Band.

“I hope that working with a conductor they don’t work with every day shows them different ways of rehearsing,” Stock-Chapin said. “I hope that they grow musically from it and bring back that energy into our music program here at school.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Hsu, Media Team
Sophia Hsu ('26) is a member of the Media Team for The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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