News & Notes - June 2016

From the SVA President

Congratulations to all and a huge thanks to Kent and Jane McNeil and the entire Gypsy Caravan steering committee for another successful Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day! This enormous event requires the dedication of skilled logistical planners in the months leading up to the event, and a host of friendly and responsive volunteers on site. This year’s planning was largely focused on continuing the improvements seen last year in parking and shuttle access—and these plans, including the addition of the Edward Jones parking garage in Maryland Heights—worked beautifully. Over the course of Gypsy’s 44-year history, it has raised more than $3.8 million in support of the STL Symphony’s education and community programs and we eagerly await final numbers for this year’s event.

Next, please remember that your renewing gift to the Annual Campaign of $75 or more is due by Thursday, June 30. This is the first time we’ve moved the entire membership to a single renewal date, which will vastly improve our recordkeeping and allow our Membership volunteers to focus on keeping our members engaged and informed. As a reminder, David and Thelma Steward have generously pledged $150,000 to establish The Steward Family Challenge in which your new or increased gift of $75 or more to the STL Symphony’s 2016 Annual Campaign will be matched dollar for dollar, through June 30, up to $150,000. Plus, SVA members who increase their donation vs. last year will receive a special SVA tote bag. If you have not yet renewed with your gift to the Annual Campaign, you can click here to make your donation online.

This was a rewarding year in which membership was strengthened, education programs reached more students and we held another fundraiser that raised significant dollars for the STL Symphony. The year has truly sped by.

Summer will be a season of review and planning for next year and I look forward to sharing final results vs. the goals set at the beginning of the year. I am very fortunate to have worked with an Executive Committee comprised of Anne Bader, Penny Bari, Gerry Frankenfeld and Margaret Lahrmann, each of whom brings a different set of skills and viewpoints to our meetings and plans, all delivered with thoughtfulness and good humor. 

The STL Symphony has had a wonderful year, a stellar season in which tickets for the classical season were up by 2%, with ticket revenue up 3.4% vs. last year. The program for next year has been announced—another exciting season. Please be sure to not only purchase your own subscriptions and individual tickets, but also invite your friends to experience the STL Symphony for themselves. Your enthusiastic support of the STL Symphony can do wonders in terms of bringing in new audiences. In addition to classical and Live at Powell Hall programming, next year’s Gala date has been announced, moved to the spring. Please save March 25, 2017, for the Gala and save September 15, 2016, for a 2016/2017 Opening Weekend event. 

Laura Dwyer has been a gracious liaison in addition to providing direction to the SVA and its activities. The support and communication that has been extended by the STL Symphony staff from Marie-Hélène Bernard on down the line has been most appreciated. It has been a privilege to work more closely with the STL Symphony staff, who are not only smart and dedicated, but also wonderful individuals who do a remarkable job of keeping this excellent orchestra operating at a world-class level without the benefit of big-city funding available to many of its peers. At the beginning of my term, I felt both honored and a bit intimidated to be working with them. Now I simply feel honored. While my admiration for what they do has, if anything, increased, their openness and inclusiveness have taken away the intimidation I’d initially felt as we work together to support the STL Symphony.

Speaking of staff, I have a couple of changes on the Philanthropy team to share. Christina Weyers, Senior Director, Individual Philanthropy, is leaving to take on the position of Director of Development for the Churchill Center & School. Christina has been leading the Individual Philanthropy team and the positive results being seen point to the success of her efforts. Christina's last day with the STL Symphony will be Thursday, June 23. We wish her great success in her new position. In addition, the STL Symphony has created and filled a new position, Director of Stewardship and Events, reporting to Amy Drummond, Associate Vice President, Philanthropy. Kristin Lambrecht will take on this new role. Kristin has served for 13 years as the Saint Louis Art Museum's Director of Museum Events, leading a team that produced all public and donor programs, special events, galas and openings. The STL Symphony will benefit greatly from Kristin's expertise and I am excited about the events ahead!

In short, thanks to all of you, both SVA members and staff for what you do every day to support the STL Symphony and each other.


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

SVA Board News

On Thursday, June 9, the SVA Board will meet to close out programs for the year and pass binders to new incoming chairs. Assisted by the Tech Team, outgoing chairs have prepared their files for archiving and uploaded them to the STL Symphony server, which ensures that our records are both safe and accessible.


New & Prospective Members
This month, we are pleased to welcome new members Rachael Badell, Marlene Becker, Kenneth and Pamela Burns, Roger Frederickson, Maria Gianino, Peggy Greene, Charles Guenther, Jim Johnson, Nancy Kalishman, Jean Light and Debbie and Ron Neustadt. The New & Prospective Members committee is busy assisting these new members find their place within the SVA and we look forward to getting to know them better at future activities.

Membership Renewal
As we began discussing in October, we have changed our renewal timing to be consistent with our SVA planning calendar. Your gift of $75 or more to the STL Symphony's 2016 Annual Campaign by June 30 will renew your SVA membership for the coming year—and this timing will allow us to put our membership records, committees and directory in order to start our 2016/17 SVA year off and running! The Annual Campaign supports one-third of the orchestra’s budget and the participation of all SVA members in this effort is very important. Your renewal by June 30 is much appreciated! Donate Now

Membership Meetings
Membership meetings were extremely well attended this year, largely due to the emphasis that Chair Dotti Fischer and Vice Chair Jarmaine Migala placed on better communication, interesting programs and attractive locations. If you know of, or can help us secure, a great location to hold roughly 100 people for a future membership meeting, please email Liz Hapin, our 2016 Membership Chair.

Committee Signups
There are a wide variety of committee opportunities for members throughout the year and members are encouraged to “try on” a new one now and again. Whether you are still looking for the perfect committee "home" or have been volunteering with a particular committee for a long time, please review the list of committee descriptions and complete a sign-up form to let us know where you’d like to serve in the coming year, if you have not done so already.


Youth Orchestra
Final auditions for the STL Symphony Youth Orchestra will take place at Powell Hall over the course of seven days between June 5-16; 180 young musicians will audition for these coveted spots.


Gypsy Caravan
The 44th Annual Gypsy Caravan took place at The Family Arena in St. Charles on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, and it was a huge success! Thoughtfully considered improvements to vendor booth mapping meant easier setup for vendors and more comfortable shopping for guests. The addition of the Edward Jones parking garage on the east side of the Missouri River, plus revised shuttle schedules, meant much shorter transit and wait times for guests, even during peak times. Guests enjoyed a wide variety of food while they shopped for unique items and unbelievable bargains outside and inside the arena—and most were delighted to tell the volunteers at the exit gates what bargain they were able to secure. Inevitably, (for this IS Gypsy Caravan) it began to rain toward the end of the event, but the stellar planning that went into setting up the event extended into its efficient close as well.

Gypsy Caravan requires incredible logistical planning along with a healthy dose of good humor and flexibility. The Gypsy Caravan steering committee began planning in late summer to ensure that this year’s event ran even more effectively. Kudos and huge thanks go to the entire committee of Kent and Jane McNeil, co-chairs; John Carr, vice chair; Kathy Borges, Bev Cox, Dotti Fischer, Gerry Frankenfeld, Darryl Fabick, Sara Fabick, Liz Cox Halpin, Steve Knapp, Bruce Gardiner, Dan Gogel, Margaret Lahrmann, Jean Light, Marjie Smith, Kathryn Snodgrass, Jim and Glenna Schindler, Nelson Wainwright and Brent and Gail Young for planning the event, to Laura Dwyer and Karen Schleicher for staff direction and follow through and to the numerous SVA and STL Symphony volunteers who worked to make the event successful.

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