News & Notes - September 2015

From the SVA President

The St. Louis Symphony's 2015/16 season opens this month and the SVA has been gearing up to support it. There is a saying that “Spring has Sprung," but I think it’s more the case that this Fall has done so. Every week, there are committee Meet & Greets, committee kick-off meetings and committees moving forward on their chartered tasks. Our Membership Committee is in the thick of it, updating member information, putting committee lists in order and getting them to their respective chairs and updating current and prospective information materials for this coming year.

While we would love to have your survey back, the most important thing is to get you connected to your committee(s) of choice. If you’d prefer to simply send back a committee preference form, you may download one from the website. Be sure to scroll down the page a bit to the section entitled “News and Member Resources” to find it. Chances are, if you were on a committee last year, your chairman is planning for you to be back, but we want you to have the opportunity to join new ones and move about.

The link to the volunteer page of the STL Symphony in the paragraph above gives you just a taste of the information that you can find there, though for many, navigating your way through the website can be dizzying. Please scroll down to the Membership Section of this e-publication where, under Communications, we’ve included a “walk” through the volunteer page and the information to be found there.

I hope all of you had a chance to read the email sent a couple of weeks ago detailing some of the wonderful press that our staff and musicians have been receiving lately. Our new STL Symphony President & CEO, Marie-Hélène Bernard, has been busy not only within the organization, but out in public as well; she was recently featured in several publications and on-air. The following links will take you to some of the articles where you can find out more and get to know some talented people a bit better yourself. 

  • St. Louis Magazine
  • Ladue News
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch GO!

On a fun note beyond the more typical arts world, Marie-Hélène threw out the first pitch at the Monday, August 31, St. Louis Cardinals game, with a pre-game interview on KMOX, expanding STL Symphony presence with a different audience. Her pitch was admiringly described in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as “high and straight”, with kudos going also to her pitching coach, STL Symphony VP for External Affairs, Adam Crane.

In other good news, the STL Symphony exceeded its 2015 Annual Campaign goal of $7.2 million. Thanks to strong community support from donors and friends we raised more than $7.3 million to support the 135th season and community programs. The Annual Campaign is the STL Symphony’s largest source of operating funds and is vital to keeping the STL Symphony one of America's most excellent. Thank you to all of you who contributed to the campaign’s success!

The new season is about to start with an incredible schedule of performances beginning with Joshua Bell. Please be sure to invite other music lovers to join in the excitement by purchasing their tickets for any of the many concerts planned for the season. As was begun last month, there is a section at the end of News & Notes listing free concerts that you can share with others to introduce new prospective audience members to the STL Symphony. 

This really is an exciting time for the STL Symphony and the SVA. Please take a few moments to read further about what is going on in each area and spread the word about our orchestra and the SVA! You are our best advocates!


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

SVA Board Notes

A board training retreat is scheduled for Saturday, September 12, from 9am-noon at the SVA office at Centene. 

The recently added committees and teams are taking shape under the direction of their newly elected chairs and newly appointed team leaders. We are grateful to these members who have agreed to serve in the following areas and look forward to the strides forward that they will make:

By-Laws Chair: Jean Saunders
Nominating Chair: Carolyn Farrell
Friends Chair: Vi Steinmeyer
Gala Chair: Christine Henry
Special Events Chair: Sharon Ward
Tech Team Leader: Kathy Borges
Membership Engagement Team Leader: Marjie Smith


Membership Survey and Committee Selections
Have you returned your SVA survey and committee preferences? It takes 5-10 minutes; please click here to complete. Your thoughts, opinions, and preferences matter. Please make them known.

Many of you volunteer in positions where your SVA nametag is very important. If you have lost yours and would like another, please send a note to Laura Dwyer asking for another nametag. Nametags are $10, payable with a check made out to the SVA, with "nametag" in the memo line, and mailed to Laura at Powell Hall. She will make it available for easy pick up before your next volunteer shift at the guard desk (Delmar side of Powell Hall) and can take any remaining nametags to Fall Membership Meeting on Wednesday, October 14. (Note: Nametags take two weeks to produce.)

Fall Membership Meeting
The Fall Membership Meeting is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, October 14 at The Clubhouse at the Probstein Golf Course in Forest Park. The Fall meeting always provides a great opportunity to re-connect and socialize with other members.  This year’s program also features STL Symphony cellist Bjorn Ranheim plus a surprise musical guest (shh! It’s Marie-Hélène Bernard)! In addition, the SVA Board has been working on a number of new programs and initiatives to share at the meeting. Be sure to put this one on your calendar!

New and Prospective Members and One & Done
One & Done volunteers will assist STL Symphony staff at the St. Louis Art Fair on September 11-13, promoting the STL Symphony and the SVA to a huge culturally-minded crowd. 

Both New and Prospective Members and One & Done volunteers will also be in full force at the upcoming STL Symphony concert in Forest Park on Tuesday, September 15, staffing a table promoting the STL Symphony and the SVA and assisting concertgoers with logistics and directions. Whether volunteering or simply enjoying the concert, all can expect a fabulous evening under the stars.

Tech Team
The Tech Team is gearing up to present at the SVA Board retreat on Saturday, September 12. They will share overviews and tips for many of the programs and systems used by the various committees, including a new Google calendar, Google Drive as an archive of SVA records, PowerPoint, Flickr, Doodle, Gmail, and mail merge. While this might seem a bit overwhelming, the good news is that the team is ready to consult with those needing help so that we can all improve our skills and make our volunteer work more efficient and rewarding.  

Membership Directory
The 2015-2016 Membership Directory is soon going to press with the intention of being available for distribution at the Wednesday, October 14 membership meeting.  Please check your contact information in the current directory and send any changes to Susan Pribble by Tuesday, September 15.

When is the last time you looked for SVA information on the web site? It holds a wealth of information about SVA programs, events, committees, members, bylaws and history and archives—but many have expressed some difficulty in finding it. The easiest and most direct way is to type into your browser, which will take you straight to the SVA page within the STL Symphony website.  Scroll down the page to the header “Volunteer Opportunities," where you’ll find links to Picture the Music, Express the Music, Instrument Playground, Gypsy Caravan and KeyNotes. Scroll down a little further to see upcoming SVA events. Scroll down further still and you’ll find “News and Member Resources," under which are links to the membership directory, committee sign-up form, committee descriptions, hours reporting and bylaws. Looking at the right hand column, a click on any year under News & Notes will bring up the archived issues by month and a click on the month will take you straight to that issue.

The most difficult thing about the SVA web page is finding it from within another section of the STL Symphony website. Each page within the website contains the STL Symphony logo in the upper left hand corner with a red bar immediately under it. The red bar contains different sections of the website. Click on the words “Support the Symphony” and a drop down menu appears. The last item in the drop down menu is “Volunteer." Click on “Volunteer” and you’ll be met by the smiling faces of Helen Hume and Anne Carmen along with all of the information previously noted. So click around. You might be surprised at what you find.


Instrument Playground
Instrument Playground kicked off to an early start to its season on Monday evening, August 24, when it provided 45 minutes of hands-on instrument experimentation for children and adults prior to a concert by The 442's. The venue was the Public Media Commons, a beautiful outdoor space between the Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio on Olive Street. Thanks to amazing support from the Nine Network staff led by Allie Magee, the dozen IP volunteers staffed four tables and demonstrated and instructed strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion to a constant flow of eager children, several of whom were so pleased that they brought their parents and grandparents back to the tables to show what they could do. The event was such a success that IP has been invited back for the next concert, featuring the trombonists of the STL Symphony, on Monday, September 28. Many thanks go to the IP volunteers, who provide this service throughout the year at schools as well as at Powell Hall. If you are interested in joining this enthusiastic group and bringing real instruments to the children of our communities, please email

There was a full house in attendance at the recent Boutique meet & greet. Dennis and Ellen Brommelhorst shared procedures and the news that some new and exciting merchandise is expected, including the return of the popular pashmina scarves. More unique items are also under review for possible inclusion in the mix. Boutique volunteers were ready to get back to the job they love—selling STL Symphony merchandise and greeting the many concert patrons that come to the Boutique counter. While they have a large overall pool of Boutique volunteers, Dennis and Ellen are looking for a few more lead cashiers in order to make scheduling easier. Please contact Ellen at 314-965-0768 if you are interested in this fun position.

Youth Orchestra
On Saturday, August 29, SVA volunteers had the pleasure of serving lunch in Powell Hall to the Youth Orchestra members and their parents during their annual orientation. With a variety of sandwiches and delicious desserts, no one left hungry. Margie Knapp, Youth Orchestra Team Leader, was pleased to pull her team together to assist, which allowed the staff to focus on other portions of the orientation. With roughly 40% of the Youth Orchestra new to the group, orientation gave the members a chance to get to know one another while they covered vital information. The YO staff made the day fun for the youth as well, structuring their Powell Hall “tour” as a scavenger hunt. SVA members were happy to be part of the event to let the Youth Orchestra members, their parents and the staff know how much they are appreciated.

Powell Hall Tours
While their talented offspring were busy with lunch, the proud parents of this year’s Youth Orchestra members were given the grand tour of their children’s new second home. Team Leader Alan Fiddleman organized an hour-long tour covering areas as varied as the glamour of the Met Bar to the working quarters of backstage, with many fascinating stops in between. Five SVA volunteers led over 50 appreciative parents, who were delighted to learn more about the history of Powell Hall and become more familiar with the areas that their children will be talking about as Youth Orchestra members.


Vi Steimeyer, Chair of the new Friends committee, organized 15 SVA members for a thank-a-thon on Tuesday, September 1, calling Friends of the Symphony level donors to thank them for contributing to the just completed Annual Campaign. After enjoying some pastries and coffee together, volunteers received an update on the success of the Annual Campaign from John Easley, VP for Development, and a brief overview of the morning’s goal—simply thanking donors for their support—from Associate Director of Annual Giving, Marianne Franz. The response to the phone calls was sheer pleasure at being told that their support was appreciated, with one donor telling the volunteer that if he had a million dollars, he’d donate it to the Symphony. Another donor shared that he’d increased his donation by $2,000 because of the STL Symphony’s community outreach and education programs. Volunteers contacted 400 donors in an hour and a half, keeping the SVA office abuzz with activity and shared goodwill.

STL Symphony Free Community Events

The following are free concerts taking place throughout the area over the next couple of months. Click here for more information about these concerts and to view the full schedule. These concerts provide great exposure for our orchestra, enriching the community and helping with audience development. Please plan to attend and share the information with others who could become future subscribers

Thursday, September 10, 2015 10:30 AM
Symphony In Your College at Goldfarb School of Nursing

Sunday, September 13, 2015 7:30 PM
Symphony In Your College at Washington University in St. Louis

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 7:00 PM
Forest Park Concert

Monday, September 24, 2015 7:30 PM
The Trombones of the STL Symphony at the Public Media Commons

Friday, October 2, 2015 7:00 PM
STL Landmarks Series: Saint Louis Art Museum

Friday, October 9, 2015 12:00 PM
STL Landmark Series: Old Courthouse

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 7:00 PM
STL Landmark Series: Central Library

Thursday, October 29, 2015 7:00 PM
Webster Arts at Eden Theological Seminary

SVA Office Location and Directions

Centene Center for Arts and Education
3547 Olive St., Suite 370
St. Louis, MO 63103
STL Symphony Office Hours: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Associate Director of Volunteer Programs Office Hours: Mon-Thurs, 10:00 AM-3:00PM

Upcoming Events

Executive Board Meeting
Wed, September 9, 10am
Centene Center

Instrument Playground Season Kick-Off
Fri, September 11, 9am
Centene Center

STL Symphony Booth at St. Louis Art Fair
Fri, September 11-Sun, September 13
Downtown Clayton

SVA Board Retreat
Sat, September 12, 9am-noon
Centene Center

Forest Park Concert
Tues, September 15, 7pm
Art Hill

Gypsy Caravan Kick-Off Meeting
Thurs, September 17, 4:30pm
Home of Kent and Jane McNeil

Opening Weekend Gala Celebration with Joshua Bell
Sat, September 19, 5pm

Instrument Playground
Mon, September 28, 6:30pm
Public Media Commons

Fall Membership Meeting
Wed, October 14, 6pm
Probstein Golf Club in Forest Park


total volunteer hours
contributed during the 2014/15 season (as of 7/31/15).