Behind the Scenes of the One Time Combined AMIS-Interim

AMIS (The Association for Music in International Schools) is a music organization that strives to bring talented music students from international schools together as an orchestra and band after a rigorous audition process. After the first Honor Band Festival in 1975 in London and the first Honor Orchestra Festival in 1990, the first combination of Honor Band and Honor Orchestra into a Symphony Orchestra was held in 2015 at Singapore American School.

In French, the world “AMIS” means “Friends”. Photo credits: AMIS organization.

For as long as SAS can remember, music students have been participating in AMIS since 2012. This year, however, for the first time since 2012, there was a slight deviation to the AMIS schedule: because the dates for the High School Honor Band and Orchestra Festival (originally supposed to be held during March) was pushed forward slightly to February 13-16, the festival overlapped with SAS’ interim semester– also held in the second to third week of February).

This year, SAS students travelled to Salzburg for AMIS. Photo credits: AMIS organization

The 2019 High School AMIS was held in Salzburg, Austria, and since it was scheduled to be a month earlier than normal,  SAS’ participation in AMIS was initially expected to be cancelled. After months of debate, discussion, and organization with the SAS music department and the head of interim semester, Mr. Dan Skimin, the process with this issue went originally from 1) cancelling SAS’ participation 2) Students can go but must be enrolled in a Singapore interim and finally 3) offering a one time AMIS/Interim combined experience in Salzburg and Vienna.

After two rounds of competitive auditions, 13 strings students and 11 band students were selected to be part of the festival. Students Jiwoo Bae, Chris Kang, Brenda Lee, Jessie Ku, Derek Han, Sangitha Aiyer, Eric Choi, and Brandon Zhou played in the Symphony Orchestra; students Diana Yuan, Yoon Kang, Chris Kye, Edward Tang, YJ Eum, Ernest Wang, and Elizabeth Colwell played for the Band; last but not least, students Patricia Sutanto, Evelyn Zhang, Brianna Grant, Jonathan Wang played for Strings.

AMIS Festival Concert Day Rehearsal. Photo Credits: AMIS organization

Students were offered a one time AMIS/Interim combined experience in Salzburg and Vienna

As soon as the AMIS festival ended, our interim trip began: our tour of the city included going to Mozart and Beethoven’s birthplaces, salt-mines, tobogganing, watching Swan Lake, etc. With all these experiences noted, there are multiple reasons why this Interim should continue to exist in the future.

Without further ado, here are three cardinal reasons:

AMIS is only a three day festival: spending a mere three days is not enough to build lasting friendships and memories. In fact, because there was a week long interim after the three day festival, the people on this trip had the opportunity to bond with one another. The fact that people got to spend 10 days with each other made a solid contribution to friendships, memories, and experiences. Patricia Sutanto, senior at SAS, noted, “I was able to make friends over AMIS, but the true bonding actually began during the week- long interim with the fellow SAS students.”

Often times, the art of music is discounted; rarely do people realize the importance of music and its fascinating history behind it. As this trip was a music trip, we were able to gain an immense knowledge about the history of world-renowned musicians like Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, etc… This trip helped us not only learn about the inspiration and story behind each orchestra and band piece we played, but helped us encounter the importance of valuing music as well.

By no doubt, Austria is one of everyone’s top travel destinations. The Fortress Hohensalzburg, the Mirabell Palace, Cathedral, and simply the birthplace of Mozart itself make the experience completely majestic and life-changing. It is definitely a sight and experience that can never be seen in places like Southeast Asia, and any other interim trips. The Austrian atmosphere, culture, and traditions are indeed a valuable experience to gain when travelling to Europe.


Author: Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee is currently a junior, and this is her first year as a reporter for The Eye. This is her sixth year studying in Singapore American School, and despite coming from a Korean, American, and Hong Kong background, she considers Singapore her home. In her free time, she loves to indulge in bubble tea and consume food from all kinds of cuisine. In addition, she finds happiness in travelling around the globe and exposing herself to different cultures. She can be contacted at lee45288@sas.edu.sg.

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