Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Auditions and Selection Process

Who comprises the audition committees?

The final round selection committee is comprised of an ECA representative, an alumnus or alumna of recent State Department touring programs, two leading musicians and educators from a variety of musical genres and one member of the American Voices staff. American Voices assembles panels reflecting the artistic, geographic and ethnic diversity of the United States.

How many bands will be selected overall?

From the 35 to 40 finalist ensembles, approximately 15 ensembles will be selected for the American Music Abroad 2018-2019 tour season. In addition, two alternate ensembles will be chosen in the event that one of the finalist bands is unable to tour.

How and when will groups be notified if selected?

The 35 to 40 ensembles selected for the final round auditions will be notified in April. The group leader of each selected ensemble will be notified by phone and unsuccessful applicants will be notified by e-mail within the week.


When and where will the tours be conducted?

Tours will take place from September 2018 through May 2019. Program activities will focus on younger and underserved audiences in approximately 45 countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania, Eastern Europe, Central and South America and the Middle East.

Selected groups will provide their available 20-day time periods which will be matched with the  interest in their genre and the 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 20 days including pre-tour orientation and community performance 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.

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, sound systems 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: performances, workshops, media interviews, etc.

Does anyone accompany the musicians on the tours?

During an AMA tour 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. In general, musicians must strive to be as self-sufficient as possible. However, American Voices will be providing accompanying support to the ensembles when in pre- and post- tour activities in Washington, D.C. In addition, American Voices will provide an accompanying tour manager for several of the most challenging international tours by one of our experienced full-time staff. The tour manager will help with transportation and logistical issues, scheduling, sound and lighting, general problem-solving as well as support social media outreach by the ensembles (film video, photograph, etc).

How can we travel with our large instruments?

Ensembles may tour with pre-approved over-size and overweight instruments. Airlines fees are either advanced to the group leader or reimbursed upon return via submitted original receipts. Bands may also travel with one or more pre-approved equipment cases as needed. For acoustic double basses, American Voices provides a Chadwick folding bass, and AV typically purchases an extra seat for air travel with cellos.

How do hotel and travel arrangements work?

All flights are booked according to the Fly America Act, where applicable, in economy class. Embassies book musicians in quality hotels that meet State Department security and per diem standards.

Finances and Insurance

Will I have travel insurance?

Touring musicians, when abroad, are covered by a standard State Department medical and accident coverage. Musicians are encouraged to take out travel insurance for loss or damage to their instruments. American Voices can assist with finding coverage at reasonable amounts.

What is the compensation?

There is a $200 honorarium per tour day, per musician. Most tours will last for approximately 20 days making compensation per musician approximately $4,000.

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 20-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.


What equipment is each band expected and/or required to bring to the live auditions?

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. In addition, American Voices provides an acoustic double bass (Chadwick folding), drum set, piano, and/or keyboard. Groups are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they prefer. However there is no budget for excess or overweight baggage charges for any extremely heavy equipment being transported to the live auditions.

What equipment is each band expected and/or required to bring on tour?

If selected, musicians must be able to transport their own instruments and desired extra equipment (microphones, pedal boards, in-ear monitors, cables, etc) to all touring destinations. Funding is provided for limited pre-approved overweight and oversized baggage expenses. Musicians are required to travel as lightly as possible while still covering their musical needs, with one carry on piece and one 45 lb. suitcase.

Can I apply for a repeat tour?

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; Jazz Ambassadors], they are ineligible to tour again.