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St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in the Community 2016/2017

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra community initiatives impact people’s lives, both on and off the stage of Powell Hall. Here’s a snapshot of some of those initiatives in the 2016/2017 season …

SLSO SymphonyCares

Through SLSO SymphonyCares, musicians touch the lives of patients in cancer centers, kids in area children’s hospitals, senior citizens in retirement centers, and offenders in prison. SymphonyCares is sponsored by Marilyn & Sam Fox with support from United HealthCare.

Six Years of SLSO SymphonyCares at Saint Louis University Cancer Center
Since 2011, musician duos from the SLSO have been performing on a monthly for patients in the Infusion Center at SLU Cancer Center. More than 1,000 patients have heard their music so far.

Associate Concertmaster Heidi Harris and Principal Double Bass Erik Harris in the Infusion Center, December 2016.

SLSO SymphonyCares for Kids with Angie the Violinist and Claire the Clown
Violinist Angie Smart and Circus Flora’s Clowns on Call Claire Wedemeyer Panopoulos continue to bring smiles and giggles to children at Mercy Children’s Hospital, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital at BJC HealthCare.

Angie and Claire during a visit to Mercy Children’s Hospital.

SLSO SymphonyCares Prison Project
In 2004, a group of SLSO musicians visited Missouri Eastern Correctional Center to play for incarcerated offenders. In 2015, we heard from a former inmate who was present at that concert. He told us what an impact our performance visit had on him and the other offenders more than a decade ago.

In December 2016, we returned to MECC with a string quartet and performed for 100+ offenders in the chapel. The former inmate accompanied us to tell his story and introduce the SLSO musicians.

From left to right at MECC: Autumn Boyer, former inmate Ron Boyer, Alvin McCall, cello, Wendy Rosen, violin, Ann Fink, violin, Leonid Gotman, viola and member of the 2004 visiting quartet.

Letter from one of the offenders after our December 2016 visit to MECC.

We returned three times to MECC after the December concert with percussionist John Kasica who provided percussion lessons to some of the offenders.

SLSO SymphonyCares for Seniors
When area seniors can no longer visit Powell Hall to attend concerts, musicians of the orchestra bring the music to them.

Principal Harpist Allegra Lilly explains the harp to seniors at Covenant Place

SLSO SymphonyCares – Creative Music Making
Each spring, musicians from the orchestra collaborate with Maryville University Music Therapy students and faculty, and with participants from St. Louis Arc to create an inclusive music variety show and perform it for family and friends.

Creative Music Making 2017 was part of the March 8 SymphonyCares Showcase at Powell Hall

SLSO Music Without Boundaries

The SLSO has a long-time partnership with the International Institute of St. Louis, helping to welcome resettled immigrants and refugees from war-torn regions of the world to their new community. The musical welcome activities take place at Powell Hall and at the IISTL. This season, local ambassador families from St. Louis Mosaic Project joined our welcoming efforts at Powell Hall. Music Without Boundaries is supported in part by MetLife Foundation.

Resettled families are our guests for Family Concerts at Powell Hall

Local St. Louis families connect with resettled families to offer welcome

Welcome concert for clients at the International Institute of St. Louis in April


The IN UNISON Scholars and Fellows program has at its heart mentorship of African-American college students to become music leaders in the community. Between 8 and 10 Scholars and Fellows are part of the program each season, most of them remaining in the program thoughout their college careers. Mentorship is tailored based on each student’s goals and area of focus.

The Vaughans – IN UNISON students Valencia Branch, Charlene Mesona, Malena Smith, and Maria Ellis - perform at First Baptist Church of Webster Groves

IN UNISON Graduate Fellow Terrence Abernathy (emphasis in conducting) gains insight from Music Director David Robertson

SLSO in Outlying Communities

Through Symphony In Your Neighborhood and Symphony In Your College, SLSO musicians travel to communities that are geographically distant from Powell Hall. In 2016/2017, these efforts brought us to the communities of Hillsboro, Rolla, St. Peters, Lebanon, Pacific, Hermann, Columbia and Greenville where musicians worked with students from colleges and high scholls, and performed free chamber concerts for the communities.

SLSO brass and percussion musicians work with Hillsboro High School students and music students at Jefferson College in November

SLSO musicians rehearse side-by-side with students at Hermann High School to prepare for a collaborative evening performance for the community in March

SLSO Double Bass David DeRiso discusses technique with bassist from Pacific High School prior to a collaborative concert for the community in March

Special SLSO Concerts for the Community

Several extra special concerts took place in 2016/2017 that were free and open to the public.

Equal Play: Celebrating Women Composers at Washington University in St. Louis in January. From left to right in back, SLSO musicians Jennifer Nitchman, flute, Kristin Ahlstrom, violin, Eva Kozma, violin, Anne Fagerburg, cello, and Beth Chu, viola, with composer Joan Tower center. Equal Play comes to Powell Hall in 2017/2018 – date and details will be available in August, so please check back.

Music of Our Great War Allies to mark the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into WWI. From left to right, Angie Smart, violin, Andrea Jarrett, violin, Elizabeth Chung, cello, and Morris Jacob, viola, at St. Louis Public Library: Central Library on April 6.

Joining Forces On Stage at Powell with members of the USAF Band of Mid-America, the 399th Army Band, and winds, brass and percussion of the St. Louis Symphony on May 17.

SLSO Arts Advocacy

Each year, SLSO staff, volunteers, and people whose lives are touched by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra travel to Jefferson City to advocate for the arts with state legislators.

Joining the advocacy trip this year from left to right: SLSO Public Relations Manager Anthony Kiekow, IN UNISON Graduate Fellow Terrence Abernathy, and former inmate Ron Boyer

2017/2018 Community Programs
Please check back in August to learn about SLSO community programs for the upcoming season that will be made free and open to the public. We hope to see you!

Join Our Mission

Although SLSO Community and Education programs are free of charge to our partners and audiences, they are not free for us to produce. Join our mission today so that musicians from the SLSO can continue to make a difference - both on and off the stage of Powell Hall.

Thank you for your support!