200 Students take part in annual Festival of Choirs at TAISM
The eleventh annual Festival of Choirs was hosted by The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) on February 28 and March 1 at the school’s Bosch Centre for the Performing Arts.
This year more than 200 high school students, representing 46 nationalities from 20 international schools, joined their voices in the two-day workshop. The crowning event of the Festival was the Grand Finale Concert on Friday evening, March 1, with hundreds of music lovers, proud teachers and parents in the audience.
Held annually since 2004, this music festival has been an exceptional educational experience for students desiring an opportunity to sing in a traditional American choral setting with girls and boys singing in four harmonic voice parts – (SATB) soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.
Additionally, the festival has created opportunities for international schools from around the globe to collaborate in the development of their choral music programs. This year’s guest conductor was world-renowned Dr Anton Armstrong, conductor of the St Olaf Choir from St Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, US.
Prior to coming to Oman, he led a 17-day southeast national tour (US) with his ensemble, and next week he will be conducting a choral festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Later this year, he will guest conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. While his agenda is demanding, he expressed that coming to Oman, working with the students, and being part of the TAISM Festival of Choirs was a very special highlight for him.
During the weekend together, participants engaged in approximately 15 hours of rigorous rehearsals. In addition to polishing what they had practiced back at their own schools, the singers learned about endurance, voice care, and choral excellence.
TAISM families hosted the visiting students in their homes, and organisers designed special ways for the students to connect with one another through icebreakers, games, challenges, and social events. Promoting professional development for choral music educators, the participating school teachers had the opportunity to collaborate, observe rehearsal methods and participate in workshops.
While Festival of Choirs emphasises quality music-making, it is the friendships of students and teachers across the globe which becomes a highlight for all involved.
TAISM’s Festival of Choirs has become an outstanding example of how international schools can unite their abilities to develop better understanding of the human spirit through the power of music.