Category Archives: Music

Romeo and Juliet: Director’s Notes


 

The 2011 HS production of Romeo and Juliet is not what you may be expecting from a  production that is using the “traditional” text.   Read on to learn more about the Director’s vision and ISM’s take on the play.

(from the Romeo and Juliet program)

Why bother staging a 400-year-old soap opera?

In a society where people believe strongly in the ability to create their own destiny, a play about two young lovers who are “fated” to die for each other may seem outdated. Yet there is still much that is relevant to a modern audience in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. If we read the play in a certain way, fate can be seen not as mysterious supernatural force but as something created by people for others. As ISM students move from school into critical roles within a truly worldwide community, it is important for them to not only celebrate being masters of their own destiny but to also understand the responsibility of being people who have the power to determine the destiny of others. Viewed from this perspective, the true tragedy for both Romeo and Juliet lies in the fact that their parents always had the power to end their dispute (indeed, it seems they are keen to do so throughout the play), yet are too slow in exerting the precious influence needed to encourage peace. The message seems clear: make and take opportunities to be an agent of change NOW because tomorrow it may be too late.

So why are there four couples and what’s up with the cheesy love songs?

In order to bring the theme of fate to the forefront of the production, we’ve cast not one but four “star-crossed” couples. Whilst the modern incarnations of Romeo and Juliet are busy falling in love with someone who is supposed to be their “great enemy”, the other three couples from previous time periods are brought back to life to watch the past tragedy of their love and eventual death reenacted. Throughout the play Romeo and Juliet constantly refer to fate as guiding them or, in more intense moments, as an adversary to face in battle. On one level the characters from the past are physical manifestations of fate but on another level the couples, which appear as statues at the beginning of the play, come to signify the lessons we could learn from the past but choose to ignore. The macabre imagery of the old saying “If your ancestors could see you now, they would turn in their grave” seems to be captured by having the “star-crossed lovers” of the past forced to standby and watch as yet another young couple suffers for the same mistakes that their deaths were supposed to have remedied.

So will “the two hour’s traffic of our stage” be all doom and gloom? NO. The play’s optimism springs from the potential that love has to make great changes in society. Romeo and Juliet are two teenagers who choose to look beyond conflicts of the past. Their simple, heartfelt love does seem extremely idealistic but sometimes it takes idealism to solve seemingly complex issues. We hope to express this idealism by incorporating a lot more music into the show than was originally intended. Right from the beginning, music is given the power of breathing life into statues. From this point on, an eclectic range of music is used: jazz standards, original compositions and also a liberal dose of, dare I say it, ‘cheesy’ love songs.

Many people believe that a powerful message needs to be wrapped up in convoluted language to achieve gravitas; however, the most powerful moments of this play are when characters express their ideas and wishes in simple terms. Indeed, Juliet at one point tells Romeo to “swear not by the moon” but to “swear by thy gracious self”; she understands the need for plain, honest words when making important decisions about her future. At other moments, it only takes the pulse of a drum or quiver of a violin to speak plainly to the heart. So, in a sense, we’ve combined the words of Shakespeare with music because both mediums share the capacity to move people, unite people and help them envisage a future beyond a seemingly predestined fate. It is not the words or the melody themselves but the capturing of the imagination that makes all music and drama, whether it be ‘cheesy’ or majestic, powerful in its own right.

Putting it all together….

This show has been the product of countless hours of collaboration between staff, students and friends of the Fine Arts Faculty. It has certainly been a pleasure to learn from each and every contributor as they have woven their magic around a skeleton of ideas to produce engaging characters, original compositions, soulful arrangements, expressive choreography, creative designs and seamless interactions.  As both a Theatre and English teacher, it has been especially rewarding to watch a fresh set of eyes reimagining a 400-year-old text. Long live William Shakespeare’s wisdom and creativity!

Marsha Hillman

(Director)

 

IASAS Vocal Audition Details (Oct. 19 & 20)


VOCAL AUDITIONS

OCT 19-20

IASAS Cultural Convention: MUSIC

Taipei American School, Feb. 29 – Mar. 4

Music Style: Classical

Repertoire to learn: 8 pieces: Solo (1), Small Ensemble Octet(2) and Festival Choir (5)

Guest Conductor: Jin Ling Tan (USA)

IASAS Vocal Coach: Ms. Hausman, Rm. 1128

Audition Requirements: Prepare at least half of a classical song you would potentially choose for your IASAS Solo.  Demonstrate your understanding of vocal technique and classical style through your performance.  Additional vocal exercises will also be included, to assess your dynamic control, pitch range, tonal memory, and ability to sing and hear harmonic context.

Please sign up for a time slot on the Audition board behind the FAT.

Good Luck!

UPDATE: IASAS Music Auditions


Updates have been made to the IASAS Music Audition dates.  Please see below.  For more information on the auditions, please see the IASAS coach for that group or visit the original post HERE.  Audition times and locations are also posted on the FAO Google Calendar.

The 3 pianists will be serve as accompanists for ISM ensembles and soloists as well as be adjudicated as soloists themselves.

Auditions for each of the Music Ensembles will be held at the following times.

Band: Round 1:  September 29 and 30. See Mr. Nazareno for details or check out his blog.
Round 2: October 17 and 18.

Strings: November 3 and 4. See Mr. Odendaal for details or check out his blog for more details

Vocal: October 19: 3pm to 5pm and October 20 2:45 – 4:30 in 1128 (Ms. Hausman’s room).

Piano: October 12 and 13. Sign up on the Audition board behind the FAT or see Mrs. Gander for more information.

All Audition information can also be found on the FAO Google Calendar

 

IASAS Piano Auditions: October 12 and 13.


It’s Audition Season!

We will be auditioning for 3 IASAS Piano delegates to complete our IASAS Music team for Cultural Convention 2012  at Taipei American School. Auditions will be held October 12 and 13 after school in Room 1129 (Ms. Gander’s Room).    Please sign up for an Audition on the Audition board behind the FAT.  Audition requirements are below.

Your audition will consist of:

  • Piano solo piece of your choice
  • Sight-reading piano music

After passing the audition, in consultation with the Piano Coach, piano delegates will choose  a Piano solo piece which is a maximum of 8 minutes and is of the “classical idiom and not of the ‘popular’ or jazz idioms.” (as per IASAS Handbook 2011)

Important Note:

IASAS Piano delegates will perform one solo piece at Cultural Convention.  Additionally, each Piano delegate will be required to accompany 2 IASAS Vocals, 2 IASAS String, & 2 IASAS Band delegates on  their solo pieces.

In addition to learning the accompaniment for CulCon team members, piano delegates must be available to meet with their assigned vocal, strings and band musicians to rehearse on a regular basis.  Piano Delegates must also meet with the IASAS  Piano coach at least once a week as they work on the pieces for the convention.

Piano delegates may also be selected to participate in the Festival Ensembles  (Vocal, Strings or Band) during the convention.

Good Luck!

 

Performers needed for Friday Night Lights!


photo via Flickr cc fensterbme

Calling all musicians, singers, jugglers, bands, dancers and performers of all sorts.

Peer Helpers is looking for performers for their first Friday Night Lights event.  It will be held in the HS courtyard after school (3 pm – 4:30 pm) on Sept 30.

There is a great opportunity for soloists and small ensembles/bands to perform.  There will be lots of wonderful food food provided by the PTA,  great music and other performances provided by our very talented ISM HS students and after the event, everyone can stick around to support the X-Country Twilight meet.

If you are interested in performing, sign up sheets on bulletin board behind the FAT.

Deadline for sign ups is Thursday September 22 at 3pm.

If you would like more information,  contact Ms. Mohr or any of the following Peer Helpers: Bianca E., Bianca C., Moonie S., Luke S., Henny K., Shivani P.  or Yihua L.

 

AMIS Music Auditions


Attention Middle School Musicians:

Auditions are coming up for the AMIS (Association of Music in International Schools) festivals.  ISM will be participating in 3 AMIS Middle School Festivals this year.

1.  MS Honor Mixed Choir:  January 18-22 at American Embassy School in New Delhi, India.

2. MS Junior Honor Orchestra:  February 1-5 at Jakarta International School (JIS) in Indonesia.

3. MS Honor Band:  February 8-12 at Singapore American School (SAS) in Singapore.

Participation in all festivals is by audition only. Students  auditioning for Honor Mixed Choir will be selected by Music Faculty at ISM.  Students chosen for Junior Honor Orchestra and Honor Band will be selected by an outside panel appointed by AMIS.

Audition dates are as follows:

Honor Mixed Choir: Info Sessions Sept.  21 at lunch time in Room 1128 (Ms. Hausman‘s Room) Download Mixed Choir Audition information:  Here

Auditions: Sept. 23 & 26  3 pm in Room 1128 (Ms. Hausman’s Room).

Junior Honor Orchestra: Oct. 17 & 18 at 3 pm in Room 1126 (Mr. Odendaal‘s Room)

Honor Band: Oct. 17 & 18 at 3 pm in Room 1127 ( Mr. Howrey’s Room)

 

Find out more about AMIS by visiting HERE or by visiting the Music Teachers’ Blogs by clicking their name in this post.

Students will have to get their parents to sign a permission form to participate in the auditions.

Priority for AMIS Strings, Band and Choir will go first to students in grades 7 and 8, but grade 6 students are welcome to audition and may be chosen in “exceptional circumstances” (AMIS  Handbook). ” Students who audition for AMIS festivals must be in good standing with the music department of the school they attend.  Where possible, they should be members of the relevant performing ensembles. “(AMIS Handbook)

Good Luck

IASAS Music Auditions


IASAS Music Convention will be held at Taipei American School March 1-4, 2012.

ISM will send 27 delegates to the convention:

8 Band (Winds+Percussion)
8 Strings
8 Vocal
3 Piano

The 3 pianists will be serve as accompanists for ISM ensembles and soloists as well as be adjudicated as soloists themselves.

Auditions for each of the Music Ensembles will be held at the following times.

Band: Round 1:  September 29 and 30. See Mr. Nazareno for details or check out his blog.
Round 2: October 17 and 18.

Strings: November 2 and 3. See Mr. Odendaal for details or check out his blog for more details

Vocal: October 19: 3pm to 5pm and October 20 2:45 – 4:30 in 1128 (Ms. Hausman’s room).

Piano: October 12 and 13. Sign up on the Audition board behind the FAT.

All Audition information can also be found on the FAO Google Calendar

IASAS Jazz and Dance Exchange


20 ISM Dancers and Jazz Musicians will be participating in the IASAS Jazz/Dance exchange this weekend. JIS has arranged to stream the final concert live over the internet.  You can see your friends/sons/daughters perform from the comfort of your own home (and it is a lot less expensive than a ticket to see the concert live!). I cannot guarantee the quality of the stream or the broadcast, but we do appreciate the effort that JIS has made for those of us staying at home this weekend.

From JIS:
The concert will start at 7:00PM Sunday Jakarta time (8:00 pm Manila time)
Jazz band, and one tune combined jazz / dance. Should last about an hour

Dancers will be performing one number with the Jazz musicians, but nothing on their own.

This the link for Concert streaming
https://www1.jisedu.or.id/webapps/temp/concert/index.php