IASAS Cultural Convention Review















Between February 27th and March 2nd, nearly 20% of High School students were involved in some way with this year’s IASAS Cultural Convention.

IASAS Debate and Forensics

At 5am on the Wednesday, 17 students left ISM bound for Jakarta and the IASAS Debate and Forensics part of the Convention. Over the three days, students competed in the various events which culminated  in finals on the Saturday. This year, the following students all made the finals in their respective areas:

  • Malvika Subramaniam for Oral Interpretation
  • Kerry Tinga for Oral Interpretation
  • Mia Kawazu for Original Oratory
  • Akshar Bonu for Impromptu speaking
  • Akshar Bonu for Extemporanous speaking
  • Ellice Tordesillas for Extemporanous speaking

The final results saw Kerry eventually bring home the bronze medal for her  insightful piece that took us into the mind of a middle aged man on the verge of a breakdown. Meanwhile, Akshar delivered an Impromptu speech that encouraged the audience to laugh, to think and to ultimately award him gold.


By 8am on the Wednesday, the 27 Music students was also bound for the airport, with Singapore being their destination. Throughout the convention, each music student completed a solo performance in front of a panel and then received a comprehensive critique, which is an invaluable learning experience. They also performed as part of one of ISM’s octet groups for strings, band or vocals. In addition to this, all students participated in large group music rehearsals with highly experienced workshop leaders. On the Friday night some students were also invited to perform in a Showcase Concert while others were invited to participate in the Finale Festival Concert on the Saturday night. ISM is proud to say that all three octets performed in both evening performances, which is a real credit to the depth of talent being fostered in the Music department. In addition to the octets, several students were invited to perform their solos in the showcase or were given honored positions in the finale:

  • Gaea Morales- Vocal solo
  • Moonie Sohn- Two vocal solos
  • Yifeng Yang- Flute solo
  • Jae Woo Jang- Flute solo
  • Jeongmook Lim- Oboe solo
  • Jun Woo Jang- Clarinet solo
  • Keum Seok (Steve) Nam- Tuba solo
  • Yining Zhang- Piano  for Festival Finale
  • Jimin Kim- Concert Master for Strings in Finale
  • Eun Jee (Nikki)  Kang- First Chair for Second  Violin
  • Jeongmook Lim- Festival Band Tuner

IASAS Art/ Dance/ Drama

Once the students had left for Jakarta and Singapore, groups from all the other IASAS schools started arriving for 4 nights in manila to participate in the Art, Dance and Drama section of the festival. Over the three days, six 20-minute dances, 6 45-minute Drama performances and a 125 piece Art exhibition were staged. It was a whirlwind of tech rehearsals, workshops with professionals and team pictures on the jeepney brought in to bring a local touch to the proceedings.  This year, Yek Barlongay, the ISM HS Dance teacher, and Tami Monsod, the ISM HS Drama teacher both staged original pieces inspired by Philippines history. The beauty of these pieces is captured by ISM teacher Brandon Hoover in his wonderful photographs of the event. Here is a link to the website where these pictures can be viewed and downloaded:


Beyond the wonderful exhibition and engaging performances, the most outstanding feature of the event for other schools seemed to be the hospitality and commitment of all the other ISM students involved in running the event. This started with a brave group of 20 singers, dancers and actors who opened the show with a variety act that aimed to introduce Filipino culture to our visitors. There was also a team of  students who helped the visiting schools with all the technical elements of the show from programming lights to making set changes possible. There was of course another large group who were dedicated to documenting the event through photography, video and writing. Here is a link to the special edition of the Bamboo Telegraph put together especially for the event:


Then there were the ushers, the host families, the t shirt sellers, the food organisers and the guides who all committed their time and energy to making sure ISM was perceived as welcoming and helpful. Such a large event requires a lot of coordination  and flexibility; the adult tech crew, the Fine Arts Office staff and the wonderful Fine Arts Council have been invaluable in all aspects of bringing the show together.