News & Notes - January 2016

From the SVA President

Happy New Year! December was certainly the icing on the cake of an incredible concert season to date. What a treat to see all of the families bringing their children to Powell Hall to experience the magnificence of this orchestra—and what a treat to experience it ourselves! The STL Symphony will head to both Northern and Southern California for a five-concert tour at the end of January to give the West Coast a taste of the brilliant musicianship we can experience all year. It’s been quite the whirlwind season.

January ramps up for St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association committees, with both Picture the Music and Express the Music taking in entries for their programs and beginning the intensive cataloging and judging processes for awards ceremonies in the spring. Both committees have been hard at work all fall updating and revising teacher contacts to expand the reach of these wonderful education programs.

Fundraising committees, too, are in full swing. This Memorial Day’s Gypsy Caravan opens up its applications to vendors at the end of January and has been busy finalizing all of the contract details. The Four Seasons of Fashion show on Monday, April 4 is moving forward quickly and promises to be a fun, glamorous event.

SVA members enjoyed a lovely evening on Wednesday, January 6 at Winter Heat.  The food was delicious and Roger Kaza was an incredible treat, as were the words from STL Symphony President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard. Additional upcoming opportunities to gather include an Open Chorus Rehearsal on Tuesday, February 16 and our Winter Membership Meeting on Saturday, February 27. I hope you take note of, and introduce yourselves to, the many new members we have welcomed into the SVA in recent months. I am amazed at the talents, interests and experience that these new members bring with them and look forward to all of us helping them make the SVA their new volunteer home.

On a business note, please click here to review, “Policy and Guidelines for the Protection of Minors for Employees and Volunteers with Regular Contact with Minor Children." These guidelines have been put into place for the protection of minors as well as for our own volunteers and employees.

Please take a look below at what is going on in specific areas of the SVA. Your committees are busy. If you are still looking for a place to “plug in," just send me an email and we will help you find your spot.


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

Board Notes

SVA Board Meeting
The next full SVA board meeting will take place on Thursday, January 14 at 11:15am in the SVA office at Centene. Elizabeth Crosby has joined the board as the new One & Done chair and we are delighted that she has agreed to serve in this position.


New Members
We are delighted to welcome the following new members to the SVA: Jeffrey Carter, Susan George, Betty Guarria, John Huber, Fran Krame, Terese Messman, Susan Nall, Joyce Peipert, Ed Vega and Emily Williams. We hope you have had the opportunity to meet some of these interesting and talented people at some of our events and I know you will enjoy meeting and working with them in the future.

One & Done
December ushered in a wealth of One & Done opportunities for SVA members, particularly in support of the many Holiday Concerts, where volunteers had the pleasure of acting as Santa’s helpers. Volunteers also assisted with a holiday mailing and with prep for the fabulous New Year’s Eve Concert. Thanks go to Chair Susanne Mertens and Vice Chair Kathryn Snodgrass for seeing to these holiday requests. The committee also welcomes Elizabeth Crosby as the new One & Done Chair, effective January 1, 2016.

Save the Date: Winter Membership Meeting
Be sure to save the date for our Winter Membership Meeting on Saturday, February 27, 10:00am-12:00pm. Our winter meeting has traditionally been a delicious brunch—a warm gathering in a cold month—and this year is no exception. This year’s brunch is being planned at the Neiman Marcus Zodiac Room! Popovers anyone? More details will be forthcoming.

Open Chorus Rehearsal and Reception
On the evening of Tuesday, February 16, SVA members and their guests are invited to attend a rare Open Chorus Rehearsal with Amy Kaiser and the St. Louis Symphony Chorus as they prepare for performances of Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The rehearsal begins at 7:00pm, with a break at 8:30pm, during which SVA members can enjoy wine and appetizers in the Whitaker Room. Look for more information in the coming weeks.


Picture the Music
The Picture the Music Committee is poised to spring into action this month toward inviting 100 excited finalists to the Picture the Music Awards Ceremony on Thursday, March 3 at Powell Hall! On January 29 and 30, the committee will receive and catalog hundreds of visual art entries from K-6 grade teachers across Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. The following couple of weeks will be spent preparing files, forms, and procedures for judging day, which will take place on Tuesday, February 9.  Judging day is always an exciting, activity-filled event requiring many volunteers to assist with artwork handling, presentation and cataloging while the judges, all with art and/or art education backgrounds, have the difficult job of selecting finalists and specific award winners from a pool of wonderful student art. The judges look not only at the technical art skills, but also for the way in which each entry interprets the music selected as the inspiration for this year’s competition, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Then preparations begin for the awards ceremony. It’s a flurry of work and many volunteer hours toward a most satisfying outcome, welcoming the eager children and their families to the awards ceremony and seeing the amazing array of art that will then become a traveling exhibit displayed in locations across the St. Louis area. 

Volunteers are needed for a wide variety of dates and activities. Chair Linda Seibert will soon send PTM committee volunteers a request for specific date availability.

Express the Music
The Express the Music Committee is also gearing up for its major activity period and awards ceremony. The entry deadline for receipt of 6-12 grade essays and other written works is Friday, January 29. As with Picture the Music, receipt of the entries is just the beginning of the judging process, with the next few weeks spent cataloging the entries for initial screening and judging. The program uses the same musical inspiration source as this year's Picture the Music, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Many volunteers are also needed for reading day at Centene on Saturday, February 27, when entries are read and screened by volunteers toward selecting essays to be sent to the program judges, all professionals in the English and writing field. Following final judging, many preparations are made for the Express the Music Award Ceremony at Powell Hall on Wednesday, April 13. 

Additional volunteer readers are always welcome and needed. Please contact Chair Cecelia Webber if you are available to be a volunteer reader on February 27.  No prior experience is necessary.

Education Concert Ambassadors
Education Concert Ambassadors are also ramping up to support the wonderful Education Concerts provided by the STL Symphony. As a reminder, Education Concert Ambassadors assist with guiding young K-6 students from buses into Powell Hall. Many buses deliver many hundreds of students on concert mornings, all arriving on the Delmar side of the building. The safety of these students is of primary concern, so our Education Ambassadors act as friendly greeters who gently steer students in the right direction of the building and keep them on the sidewalk, out of the path of buses and traffic. 

Education Concerts take place at 9:30am and 11:00am on performance dates. Volunteers meet at the Delmar entrance at 8:30am to greet and guide the students to the correct entrance. These concerts last 45 minutes and volunteers can watch the concert until the second set of buses begin arriving for the 11:00am concert, roughly at the end of the concert itself. Volunteers are free to leave as soon as all of the second groups have arrived.

Five concerts are coming up in February for which Education Concert Ambassadors are needed:

  • February 9, 10, and 11, featuring Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Sleeping Beauty, Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King and selections from Beethoven's Fifth and Ninth symphonies. 
  • February 23 and 24, featuring performers from Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and music from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Additional volunteers are always welcome and needed. Please contact Team Leader Marilyn Gordan at 314-966-4452 if you can assist.

Instrument Playground
Instrument Playground will be gearing up again in support of the upcoming Family, Education and Tiny Tunes Concerts, setting up in the lobby of Powell Hall to delight children with hands-on exposure to the instruments they will hear in concert.

Instrument Playground has a committed and energetic group of long-time volunteers and has been delighted to welcome a number of new members to the committee this year. They provide a wonderful hands-on opportunity for children to learn about instruments and have great fun while doing it. With all of the upcoming IP opportunities this winter and spring, the committee is always looking for new members who want to share their enthusiasm and love for music. Those interested should email


Fashion Show
Four Seasons of Fashion, a new STL Symphony and SVA fundraiser set for Monday, April 4, is taking shape, including a chamber concert within the fashion show itself.  With a ”vintage” theme and fashions provided by Cameron Silver, the new fashion director for H by Halston and H Halston brands, framed by a gorgeous performance of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons led by Concertmaster David Halen, the event holds huge appeal for both fashionistas and music lovers. Proceeds will benefit the STL Symphony and its education programs.

Be sure to place this fun and exciting event on your calendar and look for your invitation in February!

Gypsy Caravan
The Gypsy Caravan steering committee has been busy planning for this year’s event since the summer. Soon, this year’s program will go “live” as the vendor contracts become available online at the end of January, with several changes to the event to make it easier and more comfortable for vendors and guests. One item of note is that the “Peek and Purchase” on Sunday evening has been eliminated as it was determined that the additional revenues from “Peek & Purchase” were not sufficient to offset the resource needs and complexities in set-up. The committee has been actively recruiting new and unique vendors to keep the event fresh and exciting and looks forward to offering a very attractive array of merchants to guests on Memorial Day.

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, January 14, 2016 at 7:00pm
City of Crestwood

Friday, January 15, 2016 at 7:00pm
Second Baptist Church

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 7:00pm
On Stage at Powell: Brian Owens

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 7:00pm
Symphony Tuesdays in Tower Grove Park

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 7:00pm
On Stage at Powell

SVA Office Location and Directions

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

Upcoming Events

SVA Board Meeting
Thu, Jan 14, 11:15am-1pm
Centene Center

Nominating Committee Meeting
Thu, Jan 14, 1:30pm
Centene Center

Gypsy Caravan Steering Committee Meeting
Tue, Jan 19, 4:30-6pm
Home of Kent and Jane McNeil

Picture the Music Art Intake
Fri, Jan 29, 3-6pm
Sat, Jan 30, 9am-1pm
Centene Center

Express the Music Entries Due
Fri, Jan 29, 5pm
Centene Center

One & Done: Greeters
Fri, Feb 5, 10am
Powell Hall

Picture the Music Judging Day
Tue, Feb 9, 8:30am-3pm
Centene Center

Open Chorus Rehearsal and Reception
Tue, Feb 16, 7pm
Powell Hall


total volunteer hours
contributed during the 2015/16 season (as of 12/31/15)