Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Auditions and Selection Process
The final round selection committee is comprised of an ECA representative, an alumnus or alumna of recent State Department touring programs, two leading musicians from a variety of musical genres and one member of the American Voices staff.
How many bands will be selected overall?
From the 40 finalist ensembles, approximately 10-12 trios, quartets or quintets will be selected for the American Music Abroad 2013-2014 tour season. In addition, 2 alternate ensembles will be chosen in case one of the finalist bands is unable to tour.
How and when will groups be notified if selected?
The 40 ensembles selected for the final round auditions will be notified on February 8, 2013. The group leader of each selected ensemble will be notified by both phone and email. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by e-mail with the week of February 8, 2013.
Tours will take place from September 2013 through May 2014. Program activities will focus on younger and underserved audiences in approximately 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Central and South America and the Middle East.
Selected groups will answer a questionnaire matching their regional preferences and schedule availability with regional interest and availability of U.S. Embassy and Consulate posts. The precise dates of travel for each ensemble will be determined jointly with the musicians, American Voices and ECA, and are subject to final approval by ECA. Fulfillment of ensembles’ regional preferences cannot be guaranteed.
How long is the tour?
Each tour will run for approximately 35 days including pre-tour orientation, pre- and post-tour invitational and community performances in the Washington, D.C. area, and post-tour evaluation.
What takes place on tour?
During the international phase of the tour, bands conduct public concerts, media interviews, television and radio performances and interviews, workshops, lecture-demonstrations, jam sessions with local musicians and social media outreach.
Prior to the respective tours, each ensemble will conduct a home-town kick-off event followed by the American Music Abroad @Home program in Washington, D.C., which includes series of performances and workshops at local schools, immigrant and other community centers and foreign embassies.
What sort of travel and performing conditions should we expect?
Applicants must be willing and able to undertake a demanding travel schedule and sometimes challenging performance conditions. Certain countries or entire touring regions may present challenging climates, infrastructure and other conditions not normally found when touring in the United States. Ensembles are given full and partial rest days during the tour. On program days, there is normally more than one event per day: performance, workshop, media interviews, etc.
Does anyone accompany the musicians on the tours?
In general, musicians must be self-sufficient. However, American Voices will be providing accompanying support to the ensembles when in pre- and post- tour activities in Washington, DC. In addition, American Voices will provide an accompanying project manager for several of the most challenging international tours by one of our experienced full-time staff. The project manager will help with transportation issues, scheduling, sound and light, problem-solving and support social media outreach by the ensembles (film video, photograph, etc)
In addition, there is continuous support available from the U.S.-based American Voices head office, ECA, and, in particular, from the diplomats and staff of the U.S. Embassies and Consulates sponsoring your tour.
Expenditures for oversize instrument/excess baggage are reimbursed upon return via submitted original receipts. The exact charge(s) will vary and are sometimes negotiable depending on the countries visited.
Hotel and travel arrangements
All flights are booked according to the Fly America Act where applicable in economy class. Embassies will book musicians in quality hotels that meet State Department security and per diem standards.
Finances and Insurance
Touring musicians, when abroad, are covered by a standard State Department medical and accident coverage.
What is the compensation?
There is a $200 honorarium per tour day, per musician. Most tours will last for approximately 35 days making compensation per musicians approximately $7000.
Do musicians receive a per diem?
Each musician will receive in advance of the tour a sum to cover a daily per diem for meals and incidentals as well as lodging based on State Department guidelines specific to each city. Musicians will be expected to travel with credit cards or cash to cover these expenses over the 35-day period. More information about foreign per diem rates can be found at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Per Diem Rates by Location page.
What are the musicians’ out-of-pocket expenses, if any, while on tour?
The only expenses musicians can expect to incur are personal ones such as souvenirs, etc.
You will have provided your technical rider to American Voices with your application. We will provide basic backline equipment and sound system for the live auditions. Groups are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they prefer. However there is no budget for excess baggage charges for any extremely heavy equipment.
What equipment is each band expected and/or required to bring on tour?
If selected, musicians must be able to provide and transport their own backline to all touring destinations. Funding is provided for limited overweight baggage expenses. Musicians are required to travel as lightly as possible while still covering their musical needs. Upright basses, full drum sets and other oversized equipment and instruments are highly discouraged and often impossible to transport.
If an ensemble, or an individual musician, has already toured 3 times in the last 5 years on ECA/State Department touring programs [Rhythm Road; American Music Abroad; Jazz Ambassadors], they are ineligible to tour again.