TAISM Festival of Choirs


In March of 2004, TAISM founded the first ever Festival of Choirs held in the Middle East. The program was a vision of TAISM’s choral music teacher Melanie Brink and TAISM’s Director Kevin Schafer. The planning began in the fall of 2002 to organize an event that involved four high school choirs, and how sweetly it has evolved! ~ What makes Festival of Choirs uniquely special from other musical events? Instead of requiring individuals to audition, choral directors create a selective process of who will best represent their schools, as a vocally-balanced (SATB) ensemble - ultimately deciding what carefully nurtures the development of each program, in our own little corners of the world.

During the weekend together, participants are engaged in approximately 15 hours of rigorous rehearsals – polishing preparations in the weeks leading up to the Festival. Singers learn about endurance, voice care, and choral excellence. TAISM families host the visiting students in their homes, and organizers design special ways for the students to connect with one another through community-builders, games, challenges, and social events.  Promoting professional development for choral music educators, including the chance to collaborate, observe rehearsal methods and participate in workshops is a final key thread of the time spent together. The Festival carries with it the important ethos of lifelong learning in action. While TAISM Festival of Choirs emphasizes quality music-making, it whole-heartedly builds friendships, trust, and compassion around the globe.

The process of creating an ‘overarching story or title’ involves special attention to artistic design and programming. Often regarded as one of the core strengths of the Festival, this approach helps students who have never sung together arrive with a deep purpose and common goal. It nurtures the necessity of intimacy, celebrating the skill and risk taking that singing requires. In addition, it provides opportunity for reflection and a united focus.  Simply put, music is the tool we use to connect with one another and our audience as fellow human beings. And in just two days, that bond is created and never forgotten.

Through the years, over 2000 students, representing dozens of schools and nationalities, have shared in heart and song at TAISM’s Festival of Choirs. Such diversity enriches every facet of our students’ lives, and is among many of the joys and honors they receive from an international education. TAISM Festival of Choirs is an outstanding example of how schools can foster globally conscious life-long learners through a standard of excellence in choral music education.

If you would like to learn more about the Festival, please contact:

Melanie Brink, Artistic & Event Director



Artistic Programming & Guest Conductors

2004 An Instrument of Peace

Dr. James R. Johnson, Professor of Choral Music at Augustana College, South Dakota

2005 Hope For Resolution

Mrs. Cathleen Britton, O’Gorman High School Choral Director &  President of SD-ACDA

2006 Everybody Singing, Everybody Dancing

Dr. Timothy Peter, Associate Professor of Choral Music at Luther College, Iowa

2007 Turn The World Around

Dr. Christopher Aspaas, Professor of Choral Music at St. Olaf College, Minnesota

2008 I Dream a World

Dr. Christopher Aspaas, Professor of Choral Music at St. Olaf College, Minnesota

2009 Let Your Heart Be Staid

Dr. Therees Hibbard, Associate Director of Choral Activities at University of Nebraska

2010 From This House, To the World

Mr. Phillip A. Swan, Associate Director of Choral Studies at Lawrence University, Wisconsin

2011 World of My Devising

Dr. Lauren Fowler-Calisto, Director of Choral Studies at Christopher Newport University, Virginia

2012 Hearts All Whole  

Dr. Sandra K. Peter, Associate Professor of Music at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

2013 In Every Corner

Dr. Lynda R. Hasseler, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Capital University, Ohio

with Special Guests, Philomel, Capital University, Ohio

2014 In Sweet Accord

Dr. Anton Armstrong, Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, Minnesota

 2015 Though Many, One

Dr. Christopher Aspaas, Associate Professor of Choral/Vocal Music at St. Olaf College, Minnesota

2016 Heart of the World

Dr. Edith A. Copley, Regents’ Professor and Director of Choral Studies at Northern Arizona University

2017 Shine

Dr. Jeffery Redding, Director of Choral Activities at West Orange High School, Winter Garden, Florida



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