News & Notes - October 2016

From the SVA President

In pulling together and preparing information for our September board training, it struck me how much the newly adopted strategic plan is already changing the direction of the St. Louis Symphony in both dramatic and subtle ways. The increased focus on audience experience is reflected in improvements to Powell Hall, organizational structure and even organizational terminology.

Recently, the name of the marketing department was changed to Marketing and Patron Services. This seemingly minor change has major implications for the direction for the entire department, placing patron services prominently at the center of what they do.  Even more striking is the shift of front of house staff from the operations area into the marketing and patron services department, emphasizing the patron experience component of the logistics of box office and front hall responsibilities. Facilities updates completed over the summer include changes to improve the patron experience at Powell Hall, including heaters in front of the box office and a freshening of the exterior of the building, in addition to some needed structural and equipment improvements.

There is no doubt that patrons of the STL Symphony are treated to world-class performances. With ever-growing patron expectations in terms of the total experience–witness the growth in club style seats at movie theaters as just one example–the STL Symphony is looking at ways to increase the hospitality and amenities offered to concertgoers to create a total patron experience more commensurate with the caliber of the orchestra itself.

Additionally, education and community programs are being reviewed to determine how the STL Symphony can make more of an impact in the area. 

These initiatives are already beginning to affect the ways in which the STL Symphony is requesting volunteer assistance and it is exciting to anticipate how we can support the organization in reaching its goals. Several STL Symphony programs are in the planning process and will soon be shared with the SVA to determine how to best support them.

The SVA reporting structure has also changed. Previously, Laura Dwyer, Associate Director of Volunteers, reported to the Senior Director, Individual Philanthropy. She, and therefore we, now report in through Director of Stewardship and Events Kristin Lamprecht and Director of Education and Youth Programs Jessica Ingraham. This shift better reflects the areas in which the SVA functions and should lead to better integration with STL Symphony programs and faster responses to questions that may arise. That being said, the position of Senior Director, Individual Philanthropy, which has been open since June, has been filled and we welcome Betsy Malinak to this role. Betsy has a long history in development, most recently providing support for capital and planned giving campaigns for schools and nonprofit organizations.

As for current SVA programs, committees have been running full force preparing for the start of this season. In addition to the usual full season activities, October will be particularly busy for the Education area. The October calendar features several Education Concerts, which require a host of volunteers to keep things running smoothly for the busloads of students expected. The Membership area has also been particularly busy getting membership records in order under the new renewal processes and planning general membership and new member events. And all of the large programs that are so visible in the spring are busy planning in the fall. I encourage everyone to read further into this newsletter to see what is going on in specific areas.

I look forward to seeing where the STL Symphony’s outreach efforts continue to take us. As an interesting side note, as recently reported by Christopher Livesay on National Public Radio, “Starting this month, Italy is offering its 18-year-old residents the equivalent of $563 to spend on culture, from concert tickets, books and museum admission to other qualifying events.” We don’t have the luxury of introducing younger audiences to the STL Symphony with such a generous offer, but we can all be passionate advocates and promoters. 


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

SVA Board Notes

Nominating Committee
This year’s Nominating Committee has already begun meeting to secure new leaders for the many positions needing to be filled this year, including the Executive Committee. This year’s Nominating committee consists of Chair Dotti Fischer, Fundraising representative Vi Steinmeyer, Education representative Linda Seibert, Membership representative Terri Ciccollela, Executive Committee representative Janice Seele, and At-Large representatives Anne von der Heydt and Elizabeth Crosby. 

Centene Center Building Use
The management team at the Centene Center has asked us to remind all of those using the SVA offices that the building has a security system that is armed from midnight-6:00am for the safety of all tenants. Each time the building is entered or exited between these hours, an alarm is sent to A&E management and the police. Due to the large number of tenant breaches this past year, effective immediately, any organization that breaches the alarm system by entering or leaving the building between midnight and 6:00am will be fined $100, with this fee being placed against the account of the organization owning the door code used to enter or exit between these hours.


New Members
The SVA is pleased to welcome the following new members: Cathy Bailey, Pam Belloli, Connie Bennett, Jim Moore and Barbara Toumayan. Please make sure to introduce yourself to these new volunteers when you have the opportunity.

Membership Rolls
The new membership renewal process, while at times confusing, has been completed and has resulted in an accurate database of members and their committees for the first time in at least three years. Importantly, the membership records held by the SVA now match those of the STL Symphony. Susan Pribble, Directory team leader, is working with STL Symphony staff to update and share records on an ongoing basis. The current membership stands at 358 members, down from the number recorded last year largely due to purging membership rolls of those who had not renewed in several years. Meanwhile, the New & Prospective committee worked hard to follow up with many interested members who had not been officially brought into the fold and began several outreach programs, resulting in 50 new members in 2016. Communication will continue this coming spring to help ensure that membership renewal for 2017 is as painless as possible, greatly assisted by familiarity with the new procedures. In the meantime, please let Susan Pribble know of any changes to your contact information as it occurs by contacting her at

Name Tags
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 a replacement 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) Note: Nametags take two weeks to produce.

General Membership Meeting
On Thursday, October 6, SVA members gathered at the Missouri Athletic Club downtown for the Fall Membership Meeting. Beautifully planned and executed by Chair Liz Halpin and Vice Chair Rebecca Gorski, the meeting featured a musical performance by STL Symphony trombonist Jonathan Reycraft and his wife, violist Laura Reycraft, a presentation about the STL Symphony’s successful marketing initiatives by Vice President of Marketing and Patron Services David Nischwitz, and an update on the organization’s direction by President & CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard. The Membership committee was committed to making sure that all members had an opportunity to attend, even assisting some members with transportation arrangements.  The result was a full and lively meeting with 98 members and staff who enjoyed the historic ambiance, fabulous music, informative program and a delightful evening in each other’s company.

Open Rehearsal and Reception
Furthering the goal of providing more opportunities for SVA members to socialize, learn more about the orchestra and introduce guests to the STL Symphony and SVA, a special open choral rehearsal is planned for Tuesday evening, October 25. SVA members and their guests are invited to a wine and cheese reception in the Whitaker Room prior to the rehearsal, beginning at 6:00pm. The rehearsal will begin at 7:00pm.  Those planning to attend are asked to contact Laura Dwyer with their names and those of any guests by noon on Friday, October 21. 


Last month, Jessica Ingraham, Director of Education and Youth Orchestra, hosted an education kick-off for all STL Symphony members wanting to learn more about the STL Symphony and SVA’s education programs and how they could fit in, including some new initiatives. In addition to sharing information about the programs, she discussed the importance of SVA support, especially their guidance to and support of the thousands of students who attend Education Concerts. With education programs and outreach constituting a critical component of the STL Symphony’s strategic plan, Jessica requested additional assistance from SVA members and distributed a skills survey to the 42 volunteers attending the meeting. If you are interested in supporting education initiatives and were not able to attend the kick-off meeting, please click here to download an education skills survey and return your completed form to Laura Dwyer.

Instrument Playground
Instrument Playground will begin its events for the year in support of the Family Concert on Sunday, October 30. Future events will include several presentations at area schools in conjunction with Symphony In Your School programs.

Picture the Music/Express the Music
Both the Picture the Music and Express the Music committees have spent the past few months updating teacher records and program materials. Picture the Music is a program that integrates music with visual artistic expression and is open to K-6th grades. Express the Music integrates music with written expression and is open to 6th-12th grades. Promotional postcards are now in the hands of teachers and online materials are available for download.

Education Concert Ambassadors
At the recent education kick-off meeting, Jessica Ingraham shared the results of teacher surveys distributed following Education Concerts. Surprisingly, the biggest “stressor” faced by teachers attending these concerts was reported as finding and then leading their students back to the buses at the end of the concert. Jessica asked the SVA to provide volunteers to assist with this “back end” function in addition to the guidance provided upon arrival. Assistance from the SVA in helping teachers lead their students safely into and out of Powell Hall for these incredible concerts can keep the experience positive from arrival through departure. Anyone interested in helping with these morning concerts is encouraged to contact Marilyn Gordon at

Powell Hall Opportunities
Powell Hall Opportunities are flowing smoothly, from Boutique scheduling to Coffee Concerts and Powell Hall Tours. Virtually the entire Powell Hall Opportunities committee will be busy throughout the month of October between Education, Family and Coffee Concerts in addition to the regular concert schedule. Following a successful test run last spring, a shuttle will run from the St. Louis County Library headquarters to Powell Hall, bringing guests to every Coffee Concert. These shuttle hosts will be requested through One & Done. Powell Hall Opportunities volunteers have been essential in providing a welcoming presence to concert guests.

Youth Orchestra
Youth Orchestra volunteers lent a hand with the Youth Orchestra orientation last month, both checking in young members and assisting with a scavenger hunt designed to help Youth Orchestra members get their bearings in a fun and novel way. The first Youth Orchestra concert is scheduled for Friday, November 11, at 7:00pm. Tickets are free with a $1 processing fee through the box office.

From the Desk of Advocacy Chair Margaret Gilleo
In case you haven’t heard, this is an election year! And we all know who’s running for president. But, although it’s not nearly as dramatic, it is also essential to follow state and local elections.

I recently met State Representative Michael Butler at a Missouri Arts Council/Missouri Citizens for the Arts event held at the Contemporary Art Museum. He represents the 79th state congressional district, home of Powell Hall. He gave a talk in support of the arts and spoke about the necessity of knowing and maintaining contact with one’s state senators and representatives.

I need not emphasize the significance of the arts to all of us. Whether it be the major arts institutions, such as our world-class orchestra, or any of the myriad of other large and small organizations, the arts are a vital part of St. Louis’ cultural, educational and economic scenario.

Many of us have gone to Arts Advocacy Day in Jefferson City. This is important, and there will be information about it as we approach the February 8, 2017 date. In the meantime, please check the websites of your state and national senators and representatives. Where do they stand on funding for the arts? If they’re supportive, by all means send them an email to thank them and tell them you’ll be voting for them. If not, let them know how much the arts mean in all of our lives and how indispensable arts education is for children and young people. Click here for more information.


Whole Foods 5% Day
The St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra will be the St. Louis Whole Foods 5% Day recipient on Tuesday, October 25! Once a quarter, Whole Foods selects a nonprofit to benefit and this year the Youth Orchestra will receive 5% of sales from all three St. Louis area Whole Foods stores on October 25. Anticipated proceeds from this day for the YO are expected to well exceed $10,000! All volunteers can help boost the donation by shopping at Whole Foods on October 25 and by sharing the information with friends and family. Let them know how their grocery and specialty goods purchases can benefit the STL Symphony!

Additionally, the SVA and Youth Orchestra parents will staff a table at each of the three St. Louis area stores–Central West End, Brentwood and Town and Country–from 11:00am-7:00pm. Volunteers will promote the Youth Orchestra and other STL Symphony programs and concerts and, via a laptop, present a video of the Youth Orchestra in performance. An “enter to win” box for Holiday Celebration tickets will also be placed at each location. Volunteers at the tables will do what they do best, speak enthusiastically about the STL Symphony and share that passion with others. 

This program is a “win” for the STL Symphony on several levels, as a fundraiser and as a promotional vehicle for concerts and educational programs. Julie Ferrie, Director, Sponsorship Programs, is delighted with the involvement and support of the SVA, without whom this type of program could not take place.

More and more often, SVA volunteers are being asked to extend the reach of the marketing and philanthropy staffs, acting as personal ambassadors to different groups of potential audiences and donors. Plans are underway to develop this type of STL Symphony support into a formal Speaker’s Bureau with the support and training of the marketing and philanthropy departments.

Friends of the Symphony
On Thursday, September 22, SVA volunteers had the pleasure of calling more than 500 Friends level donors to thank them for recent gifts to the STL Symphony and to let the donors know that their gifts helped balance operating expenditures on a cash basis for the first time in more than 15 years! Donors were grateful for the thanks and for the news, with a few expressing pleased shock that their gifts were recognized with personal calls!

Gypsy Caravan
Gypsy Caravan volunteers who contributed two or more shifts to the event over Memorial Day weekend will enjoy a reception and concert together on Saturday, October 29.  Evite invitations were sent to those eligible for the concert and reception based upon their volunteer hours for this event.

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

Express the Music Meet & Greet
Sat, Oct 15, 9:30-11am
SVA Office

Whole Foods Ambassadors
Mon, Oct 17, 10am
Tue, Oct 18, 10am
Whole Foods, Town & Country

Education Concert Ambassadors
Tues, Oct 18, 8:30am
Wed, Oct 19, 8:30am
Powell Hall

Powell Hall Tours
Tue, Oct 18, 11am
Wed, Oct 19, 11am
Powell Hall

Whole Foods Ambassadors
Tue, Oct 25, 11am-7pm
St. Louis Whole Foods locations (3)

Open Rehearsal & Reception
Tue, Oct 25, 6pm
Powell Hall

One & Done: Ushers
Tue, Oct 25, 6:15pm
Piper Palm House

One & Done: Link Up Workshops
Wed, Oct 26, 3:30pm
Powell Hall

Powell Hall Tours
Wed, Oct 26, 5pm
Powell Hall

Coffee Concert
Fri, Oct 28, 10am
Powell Hall

One & Done: Shuttle Hosts
Fri, Oct 28, 8:30am
St. Louis County Library Headquarters

Gyspy Caravan Volunteer Reception
Sat, Oct 29, 5:30pm
Centene Center

Instrument Playground: Family Concert
Sun, Oct 30, 3pm
Powell Hall

One & Done: Family Concert Crafts
Sun, Oct 30, 3pm
Powell Hall

Education Concert Ambassadors
Tue, Nov 1, 8:30am
Wed, Nov 2, 8:30am
Powell Hall

Powell Hall Tours
Tue, Nov 1, 11am
Wed, Nov 2, 11am
Powell Hall

Executive Committee
Wed, Nov 2, 11am
SVA Office


total volunteer hours
contributed during the 2015/16 season (as of 8/31/16)