News & Notes - June 2015

From the SVA President: Janice Seele

I am honored to serve you as your Symphony Volunteer Association president this coming year and can only hope that I can be as fully there for you as Sara Fabick has been.

In a year of tremendous transition, Sara has filled the gaps between the SVA and the St. Louis Symphony, for a time acting as the de facto director of volunteers in addition to her duties as president. As SVA president, she worked alongside every committee chair to make sure that each project ran smoothly and established teams and team leaders to allow our volunteers to be more effective. Her focus on communication, leadership and training for all committees and teams, coupled with her good nature, great skills and unfailing encouragement, have enabled the SVA to emerge from this transition with great optimism for the coming year.

The 2015-2016 board is fortunate to be coming in at this time. The excitement around Marie-Hélène Bernard’s arrival as the new President & CEO of the STL Symphony is palpable. I am personally delighted about her past successes in educational outreach and deepening community ties. Laura Dwyer has already proven to be a treasure as our Associate Director of Volunteer Programs. Arriving just as our programs began to peak, Laura swiftly learned the ropes—and communications streams—infusing graciousness and warmth into all of her interactions as she helped move SVA programs forward. John Easley has shared plans for a strategic planning process to begin this summer that will include SVA representation.

The official purpose of the SVA is to “support the St. Louis Symphony through special fundraising projects and educational programs." I’d like to suggest that a secondary, yet extremely important, purpose of the SVA is to strengthen connections to the STL Symphony, its mission, and to others who share a love for and belief in the power of music. As a group working together, I’d like us to also strengthen our connections to one another. We are dependent upon one another to accomplish everything we do. Together, we can help make wonderful things happen for this amazing orchestra. As we help the STL Symphony reach out to engage others, I’d like us to also reach in and further engage all of our own members in meaningful and satisfying programs.

This summer, we will be sending out a survey to find out how we can best engage each of you in the SVA. Your answers will help direct future programs and operations. Please be looking for it and answer swiftly.

In short, I am looking forward to the coming year—and hanging onto my hat.


Janice Seele
St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association
c: 714-642-3376

SVA Board Notes

The outgoing SVA board outdid itself, hosting a Cocktail Party for STL Symphony staff and board on Wednesday, May 13, in the fourth floor ballroom of the Centene Center. More than 40 people were in attendance as both outgoing and incoming board members mingled with STL Symphony staff members in this now three-year-old tradition—a wonderful opportunity to get to know one another better, put faces to phone voices, exchange ideas and strengthen relationships. 

Board Members and Team Leaders for the 2015-2016 season were named at the Spring Membership Meeting on Friday, May 8. The following officers, chairs and vice chairs were elected; team leaders shown below are by appointment:

Executive Committee
President: Janice Seele
Secretary: Ann Bader
Education VP: Margaret Lahrmann
Membership VP: Penny Bari
Fundraising VP: Gerry Frankenfeld

Education and Community Programs
Express the Music
Chairman: Cecelia Webber                
Vice Chairman: Teri Steinberg

Picture the Music
Chairman: Linda Seibert
Vice Chairman: Agnes Levin

Powell Hall Opportunities
Chairman: Dennis Brommelhorst
Vice Chairman: Ellen Brommelhorst
     Boutique: Team Leader: Ellen Brommelhorst
     Bus Ambassadors: Team Leader: Marilyn Gordon
     Coffee Concerts: Team Leader: Rosemary Schweer
     Powell Hall Tours: Team Leader: Alan Fiddleman  
     Youth Orchestra: Team Leader: Margie Knapp

Gypsy Caravan     
Chairmen: Kent and Jane McNeil
Vice Chairman: Bev Cox

Regular Members
Chairman: Dotti Fischer
Vice Chairman: Jarmaine Migala

New and Prospective Members
Chairman: Sara Fabick
Vice Chairman: Terri Ciccolella

Chairman: Anne Carman
Vice Chairman: Jamieson Spencer
      Membership Directory: Team Leader: Susan Pribble
      Photography: Team Leader: Brian Nedwek
      Playbill: Team Leader: Cindy Vespereny

One & Done Opportunities
Chairman: Kathy Borges
Vice Chairman: Kathryn Snodgrass


The Spring Membership Meeting took place on Friday, May 8, at The Saint Louis Woman’s Club with 82 SVA members and STL Symphony staff members present. John Easley, Interim Co-President/CEO and Vice President for Development, shared some of his insights and intentions for the future and introduced our keynote speaker, incoming STL Symphony President & CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard, who will officially join the staff on Wednesday, July 1. Marie-Hélène shared a bit about herself along with her objectives to further connect the STL Symphony with the community, making it more accessible and relevant to more people, developing new audiences, appealing to a more diverse audience and helping the organization continue to thrive as an innovative model of excellence. Marie-Hélène spoke of plans to engage in surveys and strategic planning upon her arrival to facilitate specific goals and directions. Both John and Marie-Hélène expressed their commitment to including the SVA in planning as a partner in the outreach and support of the orchestra.

The SVA is grateful to Dotti Fischer, Regular Membership Vice Chair, for planning and to Membership Chair Anne Carman for hosting this lovely event.

Karen Schleicher, Director of Development Operations, has been working along with Laura Dwyer to update the SVA membership information in the Tessitura system after learning that the Membership Committee had identified discrepancies in the database. The Membership Committee is developing plans to reconnect with and engage existing and prospective members who may have been miscategorized and to institute a system to ensure regular maintenance of member information.

Please check the printed Membership Directory and the online version to verify that your entry is correct. Report necessary changes to Director Laura Dwyer. Only you can make this Directory correct. If you did not receive your 2014-2015 Membership Directory, please stop by the Powell Hall Boutique (open one hour before concerts and at intermission).


The Picture the Music traveling exhibit has ended and the artwork has been returned to the winning artists, but you still have another chance to see the work of these amazing young artists. Fifty pieces of artwork were selected by the Sheldon to hang in a special exhibit, Picture the Music: Director’s Choice V. The Sheldon hosted a delightful opening reception in the Sheldon Galleries on Friday, June 5, for the exhibit which will be on view through Saturday, August 1. Picture the Music is funded by the Employees Community Fund of Boeing St. Louis and the exhibit at the Sheldon Art Galleries is made possible in part by our own SVA member Peggy Symes.

On Wednesday, May 11, SVA bus ambassadors and tour leaders assisted as hundreds of students from area schools attended the Link Up: The Orchestra Sings concert.  Prior to this amazing concert, students in grades 3-5 practiced pieces that were to be played by the orchestra. During the performance, the students joined in, playing with the orchestra on their recorders and in song. The Link Up concert is a wonderful example of the ways in which our orchestra reaches out to truly engage its audience. What a life memory for these students!

Instrument Playground has been busy throughout the year, with two more events planned in combination with the STL Symphony's partnership with the Nine Network.


To all of the dedicated volunteers who made the 43rd Annual Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day such a success, THANK YOU! Very special thanks go to our Gypsy Caravan Chairs, Kent and Jane McNeil, Co-Chair Bev Cox and to our skilled and dedicated Steering Committee. Planning and executing an event of this magnitude, involving a large, multi-area site, off-site parking, coordination with both the venue staff and local authorities, and the coordination of, communication with, and care of vendors, and the general public takes a huge amount of effort and volunteers. Countless volunteers supported our Gypsy Caravan Steering Committee’s efforts during the weekend of the event, including SVA members, friends and family of SVA members and STL Symphony staff. Thanks to the efforts of all, this year’s Gypsy Caravan featured 267 vendors from 13 states and played host to thousands of shoppers. Very importantly, the committee resolved the major traffic and congestion issues that emerged at last year’s event at The Family Arena, allowing vendors and shoppers to focus on the fun and excitement of the day.

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