European Middle School Honor Band April 11-15, 2018

AMIS European Middle School Honor Band Festival

Colby Hilker, Host
11-15 April 2018

Dr. Mary Ellen Cavitt, Guest Conductor


View additional images from the 2017 festival in Bonn

View the 2017 concert video

About This Festival

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This auditioned event is for talented band instrumentalists in grades seven and eight who come together to work as a concert band with guest conductors from the international community. The first AMIS Middle School Honor Band Festival was held at The American School in Paris in 1999. In order to accommodate the increasing number of participating schools, the festival was split into a European and an Asian festival in 2006.

Host schools and conductors for the European Middle School Honor Band have included

  Conductor Host
1999 Eric Measells American School of Paris
2000 Neal Yocom Frankfurt International School
2001 Jim Yarnell American School of Paris
2002 Mhairi MacInnes Bilkent International School, Turkey
2003 Brian McAuley American School of Warsaw
2004 Paul Hopkins International School of Luxembourg
2005 Tod Lawlis International School of Aberdeen
2006 Peter Lutkoski Zürich International School
  ••• 2007: European Middle School Honor Band Created •••
2007 John Leonard American School of Paris
2008 Edward Elkins Rabat American School
2009 Laura Reese Zurich International Middle School
2010 Gordon Graham International School of Düsseldorf
2011 Kent Walter International School of Düsseldorf
2012 Carolyn Stock-Chapin Munich International School
2013 Bill Gilfry American International School of Bucharest
2014 Paul Hopkins International School of Brussels
2015 John Leonard American School of Doha
2016 Kent Walter American International School Vienna
2017 Brian White Bonn International School

The 2018 European Middle School Honor Band Festival will be hosted by Josh Yaniw at the American School of Milan, and conducted by Dr. Mary Ellen Cavitt of Texas State University.


AMIS Festivals support the music programs in schools whose primary purpose is to serve expatriate children in various world locales. Applications are not accepted from students whose schools are outside of this international school community.  

Participants must be active members of the relevant performing ensembles within their school. Any exceptions to the above must have prior approval from the Executive Director in order to audition.

Seventh and eighth grade members of their school bands are eligible to audition for this festival. Alternates as well as full members will be chosen for each instrumental group. Alternates would be expected to practice the music and would then be ready for a full band  place should one of the participants be unable to participate. Students in grade 6 who are of exceptional ability may also audition, however directors are cautioned against submitting auditions from sixth graders who are not truly well beyond their years in playing ability.

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All AMIS auditions for 2017-18 are from Set 4. Do not use audition materials from previous years.

Click Here for Audition Materials and Instructions.
SmartMusic files to support all MS Set 4 Band Auditions can be found HERE.

All audition files must be uploaded by 16 October 2017.

Role of Directors

A director who submits students for audition or enrolment does so with the understanding that he or she will be responsible for all local arrangements for participation, including but not limited to musical preparation, travel arrangements, fee payments, and communication with the Executive Director and the parent community.

A student may not participate in any festival unless accompanied by his or her director. If the director is unable to attend the festival, the student’s school will inform the Executive Director of the approved substitute chaperone.

Click HERE for more information about directors, chaperones and visiting parents.



Full payment for the festival is due on 15 December 2017.  A list of fees can be found here.

Invoices are issued in pounds sterling with the exception of those schools located in the euro zone, who are billed in euros. The euro amount will be determined by the exchange rates quoted by the AMIS bank on the day the invoice is issued.

Alternates do not pay a registration fee until offered a place in the ensemble

Please be advised that registration fees for AMIS events are never refundable.

Questions regarding fees and payment should be addressed to Tim Germann, Chief Operating Officer.

Applications for AMIS Financial Aid must be submitted no later than 15 November 2017. 

Student Housing 

All student participants in the festival will be housed with host families from the American School of Milan for the 4 nights of the festival, starting Wednesday, 11 April. Any group arriving in Italy prior to that date must make their own arrangements for accommodation until Wednesday.  If a student does not require housing on concert night, this must be clearly stated when registering students for rooming preferences.

Members of the Festival accept that staying with host families in other parts of the world is an important part of the AMIS philosophy, and a major part of the total festival experience in which they are to participate.  Teachers make roommate recommendations when registering their students. Students are housed in pairs. No student will be housed individually. In some cases, it may be necessary to pair a student with a student from another school. A school can request that three singers be housed together, but this request cannot be guaranteed. If a student does not require housing after the concert on Saturday night, this must be clearly stated on the housing request form. This status cannot be changed.

Adult Housing


Registered teachers and chaperones will book directly through the RoomTrust System. A credit card will be necessary to secure your reservation. If you would like to extend your booking to include nights outside of the festival booking window, book your room as usual and send your specific extension request directly to RoomTrust, quoting your booking reference number. Please do not contact the hotel directly regarding your booking.

Enter the RoomTrust Booking System Here
Use Booking Code

The RoomTrust booking system is only for teachers and chaperones who are registered for the festival. Parents and friends may not book rooms through this system.


Successful auditioners must accept their place in the band, or their alternate status, no later than 8 November 2017 via the link provided below

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13 December 2017 is the final date for submitting all information about participants & alternates, housing requests and arrival and departure information via the online database, including

• emergency contact information
• allergies and/or dietary restrictions
• nationalities
• T-shirt sizes
• rooming preferences for host families
• arrival and departure information

Directors should print out this festival acceptance agreement for each of their students and present the documents, signed, to festival registration on 11 April 2018.

Click HERE for more information about directors, chaperones and visiting parents.


AMIS European Middle School Honor Band 2018
Mary Ellen Cavitt, Conductor

Members of the Honor Band will be posted here on 1 November 2017


To be announced


About the Conductor

Mary Ellen Cavitt is Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean in the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Texas State University where she recently received the Texas State University Alumni Teaching Award of Honor, Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Teaching Award, Presidential Awards of Distinction in Service and Teaching, and the College Achievement Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activity.  Dr. Cavitt received Bachelor and Master degrees in horn performance from The Juilliard School and Ph.D. in music education from The University of Texas at Austin.  She is a 2013 graduate of Harvard University’s Management Development Program for higher education leaders.  She has served as Director of Graduate Studies in Music and Associate Director of the School of Music at Texas State University.

During her tenure in the Texas public schools, she was named Outstanding Young Bandmaster of the Year at the Texas Bandmaster Convention in San Antonio.  In addition to her work at Texas State, she serves as adjunct Assistant professor of horn at Texas Lutheran University.  Dr. Cavitt has served on the music education faculties of Michigan State University, The University of Arizona, and The University of Texas at San Antonio and as an administrator of instrumental music for North East ISD in San Antonio, Texas.  She is an active clinician and adjudicator, and her research has been presented at regional, national, and international conferences.  She served as editor for the Texas Music Education Research Journal for 13 years and is past Chair for the Instructional Strategies Research Interest Group for the National Association for Music Education. In 2012, Dr. Cavitt compiled and edited the acclaimed On Teaching Band:  Notes from Eddie Green published by Hal Leonard.  Dr. Cavitt’s teaching responsibilities at Texas State University include instrumental techniques, educational methods, graduate music education courses and supervision of student teachers.

Concert Information

The Gala Concert will take place at 7 pm on Saturday, 14 April at

The American School of Milan
American School of Milan
Via Karl Marx 14
20090 Noverasco di Opera
Milan, Italy
Tel. +39 02 5300001


The concert will be live-streamed.

Please ensure that guests are aware that the use of video is prohibited for all AMIS concerts. Recordings of the concert will be made available to the participating schools.

Concert dress code should be made clear to all your students and their parents.

Girls: White blouse with sleeves, long black skirt or dressy full length black trousers; black shoes.  No bare shoulders.  No bare midriffs.  No mini-length skirts.

Boys:  Plain white, long-sleeved dress shirt, necktie, black trousers, dark shoes and dark socks, preferably black.  No athletic shoes.

For Friday Assembly concerts it is customary to wear jeans and the festival t-shirt.

Arrival and Departure Information

Late arrivals on Wednesday and/or early departures on Sunday cause an inconvenience to our hospitable host families; please take this into consideration when making your travel plans. This may mean opting for a more expensive flight option.

Host family pick-up time is on Wednesday, 11 April at 4pm at The American School of Milan. If airline connections are exceptionally difficult and a late arrival is unavoidable, it might be prudent to consider arriving a day early, staying in a hotel and doing some sightseeing with the students in advance of the start of the festival.

Host families are relieved of responsibilities at 10am on Sunday morning.  If your departing flight is late in the day, you will likely want to arrange a program for the day with your students. Please do not book a flight that departs prior to noon on Sunday without first consulting the AMIS Executive Director.  If an exceptionally early flight on Sunday is unavoidable, you may need to arrange for your group to stay in a hotel on Saturday night.

Visa Information

It is the Director’s responsibility to check on the status of their students’ passports and, where necessary, visas. In many countries, it is now necessary, in addition, to have 6 months’ validity in the passport AND residence visa of your home country (if applicable) in order to apply for a visitor visa for another country. You should take care of visas as soon as the festival participants are chosen. If your visa application requires a letter of invitation, you will need make a request directly to the festival host, providing the following information:

  • Full name of the student or teacher
  • Birth date (Spell out Month)
  • Nationality
  • Arrival and departure dates for Italy
  • The name of the adult who will be traveling with the student
  • Address and fax number of the consulate from which you are obtaining the visa

Once again, this is the director’s responsibility.

AMIS Financial Aid

Funds for AMIS Financial Aid are provided by contributions and gifts. A limited number of financial aid grants to for students from AMIS member schools are available during each academic year.  Applications may be submitted for all band, choir, and orchestra festivals.  Financial aid is not available for workshops or for Solo & Ensemble Festivals. It is dependent upon the music teacher from each school to ensure that applicants are in true financial need, and that without a grant from AMIS, participation would be impossible.


  1. Alternates are not eligible to apply.
  2. A student cannot apply for financial aid for the same festival in two consecutive years.
  3. A student cannot apply for two festivals in the same school year.
  4. In general, financial assistance will be offered to no more than one student per school for any given festival, although the Financial Aid Committee may, in exceptional circumstances, decide to award assistance to more than one student from the same school.
  5. It is assumed that a student whose family members have the means to attend the festival are not in need of financial aid.
  6. Only those students who attend an AMIS member school are eligible for financial aid.

Application Procedure

  1. The financial aid application forms are available HERE
  2. Prepare hand printed or typed teacher and parent reports in large type. The parent of each student applicant is required to complete the parent financial aid request form and to return it to the music teacher.
  3. The music teacher must scan the 2 documents and email them to
  4. Both forms must be received before a student’s application can be considered.
  5. The decisions of the committee will be sent by e-mail to teachers making financial aid applications.


The deadline for financial aid applications can be found on the calendar for each individual festival.


  1. The maximum award is 50% of student travel/hotel expenses, not to exceed €500. In most cases the amount granted will be less than the maximum possible amount.
  2. AMIS will credit the applicant’s school in the amount of the award.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding alternates can be found HERE.

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