News & Notes - June 2014

From the SVA President

I’d like to revisit an old saying as the STL Symphony's 2013-2014 season winds down—"the more you know, the more you know!”

  • The SVA bylaws provide volunteers the opportunity to learn how a committee operates and gradually assume leadership positions
  • Moving committee vice chairs into chair positions is ideal but not essential for filling leadership positions
  • Experienced leaders can learn new positions quickly because leadership skills are transferable

Retiring committee chairs need to meet with their incoming replacement to make sure there is a smooth transition for positions on the 2014-2015 Board. The more retiring chairs share what you know the easier the transition will be for your new chairs.

Chairs will be asked to set a goal for the new season and to try to make a positive change in the operations of their committees. Setting an attainable goal that will both challenge your committee but also be achievable just makes sense rather than having the Executive Committee proscribe goals for you. While setting these goals, also search for a change you can make in the operation of your committee that will make a difference.


  • Change how you notify committee members of meetings, training, and hours collection
  • Decide to communicate with your committee on a monthly basis
  • Be more vigilant about keeping your own hours and your committee hours
  • Delegate committee planning to various members to encourage their taking a greater leadership role, such as hour collector, hospitality, thank you notes, training leader
  • Phone a committee member who you have not seen or heard from
  • Send handwritten or email thank you notes to let your members know how valuable their work is
  • Increase percentage of participation on your committee
  • Increase school participation on an education project
  • Make a change in an award ceremony
  • Encourage your committee to "go green"
  • Plan additional training sessions

The Executive Committee will ask that this goal setting and plan for a change will be sent to your VPs by Friday, August 1, so we are set and ready to go in time to be included in the fall issue of KeyNotes. Reminders will be sent out about this assignment and forms supplied to make the task easier.

The “more you know, the more you know,” and you can follow the lead of experienced chairs on any SVA committee for examples of how to make a difference. Think of serving in the SVA as an opportunity to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Make new friends
  • Attend more events
  • Experience the joy of helping an institution we truly love—the STL Symphony


Sara Fabick
St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association
p: 314-822-1183


A Wine and Appetizer Reception for the STL Symphony Staff was given by the SVA board and team leaders on Thursday, May 15. Thirty-five members of the STL Symphony staff, as well as SVA Chairs and Team leaders, gathered on the beautiful fourth floor of the Centene Center for Arts and Education. Becky Brown established this event last year, and it will obviously need to be an annual event. First, it is just so much fun to get to talk to the staffers. After all, they are so instrumental in the behind-the-scenes operations that put our beloved STL Symphony on the stage. The staffers are very generous with their compliments and thanks to the SVA. The SVA is very grateful to the STL Symphony staff for their dedication and hard work.


The Spring Membership Meeting on Friday, May 2, at the Log Cabin Club was a delightful event. Retiring Membership Chair Libby Weinman and Vice Chair Dotti Fischer outdid themselves in their planning. Pris McDonnell was our gracious host and Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post Dispatch music critic, was the guest speaker. Miller’s remarks included her life story of how she became a critic and interesting anecdotes about her job. She also fielded many questions from the audience.

Special thanks go to Libby Weinman who has completed two exemplary years as Regular Membership Chair with planning outstanding General Meetings, serving on a restructuring membership team, assisting with orientation and leadership training for members, and personally filling membership committee assignments. The saying goes, “Ask a busy person, if you want to get a job done!” Libby certainly fills that description to a TEE. Thank you, Libby, friend and mentor!


You just had to be there to experience the 42nd running of Gypsy Caravan. Every description needs a superlative:

  • Best volunteers
  • Most people
  • Best signs
  • Grouchiest vendors
  • Happiest vendors
  • Wettest volunteers
  • Strongest winds
  • Most broken tents
  • Best food
  • Most people who changed their minds about any topic
  • Worst parking
  • Worst traffic jams

Really I personally have sat through many an opera that did not have as much drama as this year's Gypsy Caravan and at all times we were getting full press coverage. When an organization has being doing an activity for 42 years, there are very high expectations. Chairs Janice Seele and Dan Gogel fulfilled so many of these expectations with the help of a very high-energy steering committee. Incoming chairs Kent and Jane McNeil were there through the whole event learning and taking notes. (Remember, “The more you know, the more you know!”) Whenever Becky Brown, former SVA president and Gypsy chair arrives at any SVA event, it’s as if an angel of mercy flew in on the winds. Becky and many, many intrepid volunteers did amazing work on Monday, May 26—a day in SVA history.

Needless to say, parking and traffic patterns are being studied as we speak.

In the meantime the Gypsy steering committee should be congratulated for putting on one of the most exciting events ever. Stay tuned for more news about Gypsy Caravan in the July issue of News & Notes.


  • Finalize your hours for 2013-2014
  • Set goals for 2014-2015
  • Plan to make a change in your committee
  • Begin planning for a new season
  • Most important of all: Relax and enjoy your summer. Volunteers deserve a break, too.


SVA Office Location and Directions
Centene Center for Arts and Education
3547 Olive St., Suite 370
St. Louis, MO 63103
Office Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm

SVA committee meetings can be scheduled at the SVA office with Amee Colvin, Director of Volunteer Activities.

A member of your SVA committee should be available in the Centene Center lobby to let you into the building. If you arrive late and no one is there, use the call box at the street entrance. Scroll down to "Symphony Volunteer Association," hit the call button, and Amee will respond. You may also call the office directly at 314-289-4168 for building entrance.