Article By: Sarah P
Edited By: Liz S
Visual By: Allison L
February 26, 2020 marked the first day of IASAS Cultural Convention (CulCon) Music performances and Forensics and Debate showings. In the following days, IASAS Dance and IASAS Drama delegates will perform their previews, and the next week, all CulCon delegates will showcase their performances and pieces for the final time at ISM.
A few weeks earlier, ISM celebrated its best IASAS season yet with second season sports tennis, basketball, rugby, and swimming. Considering all the excitement that surrounded the sports competitions, CulCon seems to be a little lacking in comparison. So, it begs the question: Should CulCon be considered a real IASAS?
To gain more insight into the contrast between the athletic and artistic sides of IASAS, Bamboo Telegraph interviewed two ISM students: Woosuk K., who has represented ISM in both IASAS Swimming and Music, and Eion C., a former cross-country runner who has taken band for the past four years and is representing ISM as one of the three piano delegates in this year’s upcoming IASAS Music.
Firstly, both touched on why they enjoyed their IASAS experiences. “Although I love both [swimming and music] equally,” Woosuk began, “I love them for different reasons.” With regards to swimming, he explained, “I love the competitive nature of the sport. As for CulCon, it’s really more of a chill vibe… We get more time to bond with our octet team and people from other schools.” Eion observed that IASAS Music “provides an opportunity for students to discover a passion for music, and later on, hone their artistic expression. Additionally, students are able to do this alongside their peers, and thus, learn from each other.”
Next, although it is evident that IASAS requires a participant’s utmost effort, the two compared the differences in commitment. “In terms of pure hours, swimming is a bigger commitment,” Woosuk stated after some deliberation. “The seven [weekly] practice sessions usually involve meets to practice our IASAS events, so that adds to the rigor of swimming.” With CulCon, he continued, “we have to find time to practice on our own [and] we do a lot of performances during school time like assemblies and previews.” Eion spoke to his own experience, saying, “I personally put in a lot of time into attempting to perfect my piece and getting better as a musician every day. I think what enables me to consistently practice long hours every day is my passion for and enjoyment in playing music.”
Finally, Eion expanded on the difference in general popularity between sports and arts. “In my opinion, sports are, understandably, far more popular,” he said. “I personally enjoy watching ISM sports and other professional sports.” Eion also expressed his thoughts on classical music’s potential appeal to a wider audience. “I believe that anyone could also find enjoyment in classical music if they take the time to listen to what it has to say to them and let the composer’s emotions speak to them.”
In the end, IASAS is not defined by being a sport, or even a certain activity. It is a conference that allows exceptional students to collaborate with others, meet new people, and feature their personal talents; and CulCon meets all of these criteria. Clearly, there remains no question that both IASAS athletes and delegates are extraordinarily dedicated, regardless of whether it is for a sport or fine art.
Looking forward, hopefully, the entire ISM community will be able to appreciate CulCon in the same way it supports its sports teams for many years to come. Best of luck to our 2020 CulCon delegates!
What was your favorite part about your sport/fine art?
In my opinion, the music classes in ISM provide a much-needed opportunity for students to discover a passion for music and, later on, hone their artistic expression. Additionally, students are able to do this alongside their peers, and thus, learn from each other. IASAS music serves a similar purpose, but also provides another medium for which more developed musicians can learn from experienced professionals in the field.
Although I love both equally, I love them for different reasons. I love how close knit the swimming community is as everyone cheers everyone on through the difficult races. Also, getting into the finals is super fun cuz it’s hype
Basically I also like it cuz I love the competitive nature of the sport
As for culcon, it’s a really more chill vibe. We are not as busy so we get more time to bond with our other octet team and ppl from other schools.
Which do you think is a bigger commitment?
I personally put in a lot of time into attempting to perfect, or at least improve on, my piece and getting better as a musician every day. I think what enables me to consistently practice long hours every day is my passion for and enjoyment in playing music. I believe that this level of commitment could also be found in many athletes, who push their bodies to their physical limit day after day in an attempt to reach for excellence.
I think in terms of pure hours, swimming is a bigger commitment. For swimming the requirement is a minimum of 4 practices a week (there are 7 training sessions a week). However, even though culcon is only 2 practices a week, we have to always find time to practice on our own and schedule practices with our pianist who accompanies us during our solo. Also, we do a lot of performances during school like assemblies and previews.
Oh and the 7 practice sessions usually involve meets to practice our IASAS events so that adds to the rigor of swimming.
Which do you think is more popular?
In my opinion, sports are, understandably, far more popular than classical music, which appeals to a more niche, esoteric audience. I personally enjoy watching ISM sports and other professional sports leagues such as the NBA, as do many people. However, I believe that anyone could also find enjoyment in classical music if they take the time to listen to what it has to say to them and let the composer’s emotions speak to them from many decades past.