In early February, TIS secondary music teacher Guime Odendaal conducted the Asian Middle School Honor Orchestra in Beijing, China. The music festival was sponsored by the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) was hosted by International School Beijing.
The orchestra consisted of 86 middle school students (grades 6-8) from 11 international schools within Asia, playing the violin, viola, cello or bass. The students were required to pass a rigorous, competitive music audition on their respective instrument in order to participate. Once accepted, they needed to practice the music prior to attending the festival. The students then rehearsed the music as an orchestra for three days and concluded the festival with a concert for the International School Beijing community on Saturday night, February 7.
Guime actively prepared for this festival for a year, first carefully selecting the repertoire so that it is technically appropriate for the ability of the musicians and then studying the music. Tango Espressivo by Matt Turner and Concerto in D for Strings by Antonio Vivaldi are two pieces he conducted at the festival, which were recently performed by the TIS Chamber Orchestra during the recent Secondary Winter Concert.
Another piece Guime conducted includes an original piece he composed, titled Epic Cosmos. On his return to TIS, he now hopes to also arrange that piece for the Chamber Orchestra so that they can perform it as well.
“One of the great privileges of conducting an AMIS orchestra is that I can further develop my professional teaching skills and methods,” said Guime. “As I will need to rehearse and inspire so many talented musicians, I am pushed to try new ways to motivate them as well as help them grow in their love of music. As I have attended the festival for three years now, I am always impressed by what the musicians are capable of accomplishing in such a short amount of time. I look forward to gaining new ideas that I can apply to the curriculum here at TIS, which further encourages TIS musicians to continue growing and learning.”
More information about the festival and the organization can be found at http://amis-online.org/festivals/asian-middle-school-honor-orchestra/
Guime joined the TIS staff in August 2014. Before TIS, he taught music at international schools in Pakistan and the Phillippines. He has also worked in Chicago. Guime holds a Bachelor of Arts in music composition with an emphasis in piano and violin and a Masters Degree in music education with an emphasis in instrumental conducting. Guime boasts a vast music background including playing orchestral violin, singing in choirs, and playing electric guitar and keyboards in rock bands.