News & Notes - December 2016

From the SVA President

The holidays are just around the corner! Volunteers are busy assisting the St. Louis Symphony staff in making sure that the thousands of people streaming into Powell Hall for Mercy Holiday Celebration concerts have the warmest welcome and best possible experience. Welcoming people to Powell Hall is one of the areas where STL Symphony volunteers shine, and with the large crowds of adults and children, the staff is very appreciative of the extra smiles on hand. For many, these holiday concerts are a long-standing tradition. For others, this may be their first introduction to the STL Symphony and Powell Hall. For all, these concerts can become cherished memories and set a pattern for future attendance.

I hope each of you saw the wonderful article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently that featured the STL Symphony's Music Without Borders program, managed by Maureen Byrne, Director of Community Programs. The program is the result of collaboration with the International Institute of St. Louis and reaches out to immigrants and refugees. Not only did the article shine a light on a portion of the truly amazing outreach the STL Symphony does to enrich lives across the region, but it also highlighted the remarkable kindness of STL Symphony musician Thomas Jöstlein. Thomas followed up with one of the refugee families to donate a keyboard, and a Syrian-speaking medical student and pianist (and Youth Orchestra member roommate), Karam Khaddour, who will give the family lessons. To extend the impact of this generous gesture, the SVA will support Maureen Byrne in partnering with Music For Lifelong Achievement (MFLA), a nonprofit that collects new and used instruments and donates them to schools and community music programs working with underserved youth. If you have an instrument for donation, or know someone who does, please contact me at Music truly has the ability to bring people together and help make them whole. This touching story also links perfectly to a recent article by Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras.

Click here to read the full article about the place of the arts, that I believe is worth sharing. Jesse's closing words, “Together, we can realize both our musical and our human potential to instill empathy, understand today's complexities, and imagine a new future," point to the type of work that the STL Symphony does to enrich lives through the power of music. As SVA members, we can help take this forward and out into the community. 

Beginning in January, interested SVA volunteers will be trained as ambassadors to help further community engagement efforts of the STL Symphony. Please read below for more information and look for your invitation in the coming weeks to training sessions on January 17 and 19. 

In the meantime, one additional way to be an ambassador is by inviting others to the STL Symphony. The holidays are the perfect time to give a gift certificate to the STL Symphony and one size fits all. Click here to order and let those you love create more wonderful memories at the STL Symphony.

See you in January at Winter Heat! 


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

SVA Board Notes

General Board Meeting
The next SVA general board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 15 at 11:30am, preceded by 15 minutes of social time, during which a light lunch will be served. If you have any questions or topics for clarification/discussion, submit them to Janice Seele prior to the meeting.


Winter Heat
The start of the new year brings Winter Heat, the annual cocktail reception presented as a thank you to the SVA by the STL Symphony staff. If you have not done so already, RSVP now to join us in the foyer of Powell Hall on Thursday, January 5, from 5:30 to 8:30pm. The food is always delicious and this year’s program looks terrific, featuring a performance by harpist Allegra Lilly and a presentation by Adam Crane, Vice President for External Affairs. This event is a member favorite and a presents a great opportunity to catch up with friends.

Membership Directory
The 2016/2017 Membership Directory will be available for pick up at Winter Heat. Copies will also be available at the Boutique for those who are unable to attend. Member contact information is also listed in the online directory, accessible via the SVA page within the STL Symphony website. This online directory is password protected and never communicated via email in order to keep member information private. You may call Laura Dwyer or your committee chair for the password if you do not have it available. While any changes in contact information for the printed directory were due to Susan Pribble, Directory Team Leader, by December 2, Susan will update the online directory on a continual basis. Please contact her with any changes to your information throughout the year at 

One & Done
One & Done is set to help make cherished holiday memories again this year, acting as Santa’s helpers for Mercy Holiday Celebration concerts, December 16-18. One & Done opportunities are also available for ushering at the Piper Palm House, preparing holiday mailings and helping with preparations for the New Year’s Eve concert. One & Done volunteers are essential throughout the year, but additional events and projects in December make the extra hands and hearts even more appreciated by STL Symphony staff and patrons.

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.


Instrument Playground
Instrument Playground took its hands-on fun to St. Gabriel the Archangel, in conjunction with the Symphony In Your School program, on Friday, December 9, thrilling the students with the opportunity to try their hand at the instruments demonstrated. As always, the program rounds out the experience for the children, bringing them closer to the whole idea of making and listening to music. Instrument Playground will next be available at the Family Concert on Sunday, January 22.

A variety of new gift items are available at the Powell Hall Boutique. One of the most popular is a gorgeous piano wire necklace, available in both black and white pearls. An illustrated children’s book, Goodnight, St. Louis, features Powell Hall among its many landmarks and is selling briskly, as is a soft teddy bear wearing a conductor’s tuxedo. Holiday note cards featuring the beautiful lobby of Powell Hall decked in its holiday finest and the new 442s holiday CD are also now available. Patrons attending the holiday concerts can be sure to find something special to take home. 

Youth Orchestra
This month, Youth Orchestra committee volunteers will be sharing their baking talents by providing cookies for a reception for the members of the Holiday Festival Chorus. The Holiday Festival Chorus is comprised of approximately 130 talented young singers who come from all over the region to participate in Mercy Holiday Celebration concerts. The cookie reception will take place on Wednesday, December 14, after the chorus rehearsal. Susan Patterson, Manager of Choral Activities, leads these young singers and has graciously invited the volunteers to stay to meet and greet the chorus.

A New Year’s Gift to the Symphony and the Entire Community
From Chair Margaret Gilleo
And we’re not talking about money! The annual Arts Advocacy Day in Jefferson City is February 8, 2017. We are looking for your gift of time and your willingness to share your enthusiasm for the arts as we share with our state legislators why funding of the Missouri Arts Council is so integral to the success and growth of our arts community.  Please consider volunteering to go to Jefferson City. It’s easy and fun; you’ll share the day with your fellow music lovers and other arts patrons.

The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis and Missouri Citizens for the Arts are organizing bus transportation, a “how-to” session about advocacy, our 2017 Legislative Agenda (or talking points) and even lunch. More information will be forthcoming concerning details and meeting schedules.

Also, please mark your calendars for Friday, January 13, 12:00-1:30pm, when Missouri Citizens for the Arts and the Regional Arts Commission will host “State of the Arts," a luncheon that will include advocacy training, as well as offer an opportunity for you to meet several of our state legislators. “State of the Arts” will take place at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop. Email for more information.


New Ambassador Training
A new opportunity is available for those who love to share their enthusiasm for the STL Symphony with others! In response to the STL Symphony’s goal to increase community engagement, SVA members are increasingly asked to represent the orchestra at a variety of functions in the community and at Powell Hall. STL Symphony staff cannot begin to reach all of the community groups and activities desired without the help of SVA volunteers.

In order to ensure our volunteers feel fully equipped to represent the organization, the STL Symphony and SVA are developing a new Symphony Ambassador program.  Ambassadors will serve as hosts for watch parties, on shuttle buses, as presenters at various community organizations or corporate groups and in a variety of capacities at Powell Hall. 

Training for this new program will be offered on either January 17 or 19 from 4:00 to 5:00pm at Centene, led by STL Symphony leadership. Training will cover a wide variety of areas including: the STL Symphony’s mission and importance to the community, programs and presence in the community, the history of Powell Hall, as well as the types of concerts, concerts packaging, patron services, philanthropic efforts and customer service. The goal is to ensure that volunteers are well-informed representatives for the STL Symphony, comfortable and able to answer any question, even when the answer needs to be a gracious, “I don’t know, but we will get back to you.”

The first planned activity for ambassadors will be watch parties at selected retirement homes in the metro area the first Monday in February when the STL Symphony is broadcast on the Nine Network at 7:00pm. Additional watch parties will follow. Many former subscribers and SVA members reside in these communities and can no longer attend concerts at Powell Hall as they used to. A hosted watch party can help give these residents a shared audience experience and keep them feeling connected to a cherished STL Symphony community. 

The STL Symphony is also planning other opportunities for volunteers to share their knowledge of and enthusiasm as the number of trained ambassadors grows.

Additional training will be offered in the future, with a goal of participation by all SVA volunteers by the beginning of next season, regardless of the area in which they serve. Look for an invitation to training via email soon. RSVPs will be requested so that training materials can be prepared for all attendees.

Whole Foods 5% Day
The total is in for the Whole Foods Markets 5% Day, held on Tuesday, October 25. With the help of the Whole Foods Day volunteers, $10,265.75 was raised to support the Youth Orchestra. In addition to these significant dollars for the Youth Orchestra, volunteers were able to talk to customers about the many wonderful STL Symphony programs and concerts offered.

Gypsy Caravan
The Gypsy Caravan team is already deep into planning next Memorial Day’s event toward a target of making information available to potential vendors by Wednesday, February 1. The team is always looking for new vendors in order to keep the event fresh and exciting for shoppers. If you are aware of vendors who might be a good fit for Gypsy Caravan, please notify Chair Ed Vega at

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

Reception for Holiday Festival Chorus
Wed, Dec 14, 6pm
Powell Hall

General Board Meeting
Thu, Dec 15, 11:15am
SVA Office

One & Done: Shuttle Hosts
Fri, Dec 16, 12:15pm
Sat, Dec 17, 12:15pm
Sun, Dec 18, 12:15pm  
Powell Hall

One & Done: Santa’s Helpers
Fri, Dec 16, 12:30pm & 6pm
Sat, Dec 17, 12:30pm & 6pm
Sun, Dec 18, 12:30pm 
Powell Hall

One & Done: New Year’s Bag Stuffing
Fri, Dec 30, 10am
Powell Hall

SVA Executive Committee
Wed, Jan 4, 11am
SVA Office

Winter Heat
Thu, Jan 5, 5:30pm
SVA Office

Gypsy Caravan Steering Committee
Wed, Jan 11, 4:30pm
Powell Hall

Free Community Events

Live Broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio 90.7 KWMU


total volunteer hours
contributed during the 2016/17 season (as of 12/10/16)