St. Louis Symphony Orchestra updates program to connect area music students with local college

Symphony In Your College – College Connections, inspired by local music teacher, gives St. Louis-area middle and high school music students access to college tours with free SLSO chamber performance

To download this release, click here.

(October 17, 2018, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced an update to its Symphony In Your College program: the creation of College Connections, which links music students from area school districts with St. Louis-area higher education institutions. Using SLSO chamber concerts as a catalyst for college visits, students from selected schools will experience a free one-hour chamber music performance by SLSO musicians, plus a comprehensive college visit, including an overview and tour of the college and complimentary lunch.

Partner institutions include the St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP), Goldfarb School of Nursing, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Southwest Illinois College, McKendree University, and Harris-Stowe State University. Partner school districts are located in St. Louis City, north St. Louis County, and rural southern Illinois.

The SLSO has provided free chamber concerts through Symphony In Your College for years. The idea for SLSO College Connections developed when Grace Fitter, orchestra teacher at Ferguson Middle School, began taking her students to SLSO Symphony In Your College chamber performances.

Maureen Byrne, SLSO Senior Director of Education and Community, said, "After the great experiences that Grace's students had at both Goldfarb and STLCOP, we realized the unique position of the SLSO to serve as a special bridge to connect music students with area colleges during their formative years. Colleges are very aware that students involved with school music programs are among the most likely to perform well academically in high school and go on to college. A lot of credit goes to our college partners. They were immediately supportive of the whole idea and were very generous in their willingness to host young music students."

Grace Fitter, Ferguson Middle School orchestra teacher, said, "The Symphony In Your College series has been such a treat for my students and me since my very first year of teaching; I was looking for a low-cost, musically-relevant field trip opportunity during the daytime, and our first experience at Goldfarb School of Nursing was so memorable that we have attended a performance each year since 2015. Everyone was, and has continued to be, so gracious, and my students have really enjoyed being able to visit and envision themselves in various college campus settings, not to mention getting to experience the talents of St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians up close."

SLSO College Connections is another facet of the existing Symphony In Your College program, which gives college students access to SLSO chamber performances free of charge.

Tentative dates and locations of SLSO College Connections visits are:
October 30, 2018 | St. Louis College of Pharmacy
November 19, 2018 | Goldfarb School of Nursing
December 7, 2018 | University of Missouri-St. Louis
January 29, 2019 | Southwest Illinois College
February 4, 2019 | McKendree University
February 26, 2019 | Harris-Stowe State University

SLSO College Connections is one of several ways the SLSO fulfills its mission to enrich lives through the power of music. Going beyond performances at Powell Hall, SLSO musicians reach thousands of people each year through the orchestra's free education and community programs, including:
• Music Without Boundaries – a welcome program for new Americans
• SymphonyCares – for listeners in assisted living centers and hospitals
• Symphony In Your School – partnerships with local school music programs
• Symphony In Your Neighborhood – free chamber concerts by SLSO musicians throughout the region
• Symphony Where You Worship – chamber concerts in houses of worship throughout the region

About the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Celebrated as one of today's most exciting and enduring orchestras, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 139th year with the 2018/2019 season. Widely considered one of the world's finest, the SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community connections – all in service to its mission of enriching lives through the power of music.

In addition to its regular concert performances at Powell Hall, which has been the permanent home of the SLSO for 50 years, the orchestra is an integral part of the diverse and vibrant St. Louis community, presenting free education programs and performances throughout the region each year. It presents St. Louis Symphony Live at the Pulitzer, a four-program series at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. The SLSO also serves as the resident orchestra for Opera Theatre Saint Louis, with this season marking the 42nd year of their partnership.

The Grammy Award–winning SLSO's impact beyond the St. Louis region is realized through weekly Saturday night concert broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio, acclaimed recordings, and regular touring activity. A sought-after artistic partner by preeminent musicians and composers from across the globe, as well as by local and national organizations, the SLSO enjoys a long history of robust and enduring artistic collaborations that have developed and deepened over the years.

Today, the SLSO builds on the institution's current momentum on all fronts, including artistic, financial, audience growth, and community impact, and looks toward the future with Stéphane Denève. Denève, who has been a frequent guest conductor with the orchestra since 2003, begins his tenure as Music Director with the 19/20 season, following this season as Music Director Designate. For more information, visit

#   #   #