News & Notes - April 2017

From the SVA President

I hope that everyone will be able to join us for our Spring Membership Meeting on Friday, May 5, at the Saint Louis Club. Always an enjoyable event, our May meeting is particularly important as it celebrates the year, begins committee sign-ups for the coming season, presents the new slate of officers for a vote and marks the official transition of Jeff Kaplan into the office of president. A lovely meeting is planned and we look forward to welcoming you there. Please click here for reservations. 

I have been very pleased over these past two years at the increasing integration of SVA and STL Symphony department programs. Jessica Ingraham’s increased involvement with SVA has made our programs better and we have been integral to education department programs. With this in mind, we invited Jessica Ingraham to speak at the May meeting to share information about the STL Symphony's education department objectives that are so dear to the membership’s hearts. She has been a dynamo, leading the STL Symphony into new education areas and strengthening those already in place. 

Some of you might also notice an oddity in the musical programming for our meeting. We have been incredibly fortunate to have STL Symphony musicians perform at our membership meetings and also give us an idea about life as an orchestral musician.  While we will again have a very special performance at our meeting, scheduling the specific musicians for the May meeting must wait until opera season rehearsals have been set. Our musicians play for both Live at Powell Hall and for Opera Theatre Saint Louis after the classical season has ended and opera scheduling is still taking place, with different musicians playing for different operas. We will send out specifics as soon as our musicians can commit, but you can be sure that it will be a performance to remember.

The online version of KeyNotes has been updated and members can click here to view it. KeyNotes gives a general overview of the SVA’s programs—very useful for recruiting new members. As we look to the next season and your own choices for involvement, I encourage everyone to look through KeyNotes to see if there is a new committee that might pique your interest before committee preference forms are distributed in May.

The STL Symphony just returned from Carnegie Hall after presenting a stunning performance of John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Carnegie Hall had contacted John Adams, wanting to celebrate his 70th birthday with a piece of his choosing. He chose The Gospel According to the Other Mary and specifically requested that the STL Symphony play the piece. It was another magnificent performance leading up to the end of the classical season, which concludes with the much-anticipated Flying Dutchman on Thursday, May 4 and Saturday, May 6. Live at Powell Hall concerts continue through June offering a wide variety of musical programming and presenting another opportunity to introduce friends and family to the Powell Hall experience and the awesome talents of the STL Symphony. Whether the classical series, family series, or Live at Powell offerings, one of the most supportive things you can do as an SVA member is to invite others to experience the STL Symphony that you enjoy so much. You can also spread the word about the STL Symphony and programs wherever you are. Click here for a link to the new series, Stories from Backstage, produced by Anthony Kiekow.

Membership renewal notices will be going out later this month. Please make it easier for next year’s membership committee by making your qualifying donation by June 30. They—and all of our dedicated committee chairs—will thank you for it.

While several of the SVA’s larger programs have wound down, the coming weeks still represent a hive of activities for many committees, particularly those falling under Powell Hall Opportunities, whose members, whether guiding or serving, make guests feel comfortable and welcome at the STL Symphony. And, of course, Gypsy Caravan will cap off the year over Memorial Day weekend, during which we will need the help of volunteers, their friends and their families to make this huge fundraising event successful. Look for your volunteer request soon—and respond.


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


2017-2019 SVA Board Slate
The Nominating Committee, led by Chair Dotti Fischer, did a yeoman’s job this year, filling both a new Executive Committee and the greater part of the full board for the next two-year term. Thanks go to Dotti, Terri Ciccolella, Elizabeth Crosby, Linda Seibert, Janice Seele, Vi Steinmeyer and Anne von der Heydt for their thoughtful analyses and patient recruiting in putting together a strong board to support the SVA for the next term. The slate will be presented for vote by Dotti Fischer at the Spring Membership Meeting (Annual Meeting) on Friday, May 5. Per the bylaws, additional nominations for any elected office may be made by written petition of fifteen (15) members qualified to vote, provided such petition is filed with the Chair of the Nominating Committee ten (10) days prior to the Annual Meeting. Please look for an email containing the slate of officer nominees late next week.

Spring Membership Meeting
We hope to see you at the Spring Membership Meeting on Friday, May 5 at 11:00am in the Ballroom on the 16th floor of the Saint Louis Club (7701 Forsyth Blvd.). Liz Halpin and Rebecca Gorski have planned a delicious lunch, followed by a presentation by Jessica Ingraham, Director of Education and Youth Orchestra, remarks by President & CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard and a special musical performance. The slate of officers for the 2017-2019 SVA term will also be presented for vote. Complimentary parking in the underground garage is included with the price of the luncheon. Simply present your parking ticket for validation at registration. The cost of the event, including the meal, presentations, performance and parking, is $40/person. The Spring Membership Meeting is always a wonderful celebration of a full and eventful SVA year! Click here to reserve your spot.

New & Prospective Members
Sara Fabick and Terri Ciccolella coordinated a delightful New & Prospective Member party on Monday, March 13, at the home of Janice and Steve Seele. In addition to an evening of delicious appetizers, lively conversation and an overview of the SVA, attendees were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime performance. SVA musicians Chris Dwyer and Thomas Jöstlein surprised everyone with a set of achingly sweet duets on Thomas’s 12-foot long alp horns, instruments so long that Chris and Thomas stood in one room while the guests—and the ends of the horns—were in another! What a tremendous introduction to the SVA for these new and prospective members.

We are delighted to welcome new members Erik Buschardt, Debbie Dillon, Myra Hart, George Leighton, Jr., Dennis Paradee and Karen Trinkle.

Membership Basics
Membership Directory: Printed directories remain available for pickup by members at the Boutique. As always, please contact Directory Team Leader Susan Pribble with any changes to your information throughout the year at so we can keep your record current and make sure you don’t miss out on any news or events. 

SVA Webpage: A great way to stay informed is via the SVA webpage. To access the wealth of information found on the SVA page, go to The red band across the top of the home page will take you to the SVA page when you hover over “Support the Symphony” and then click on “Volunteer,” the bottom listing on the pop up tab. The webpage is a great place to keep up-to-date and you are encouraged to “click around” to your heart's content.

Nametags: 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.

Membership Renewals
This month SVA members will be reminded to make a donation of $75 or more (Sonata level) by the end of June to the 2017 Annual Campaign. All SVA members must be Sonata level or higher donors to the STL Symphony to initiate and/or maintain membership. Many of you have already made your qualifying donation to the STL Symphony for the year (thank you!). While all members will be mailed an Annual Campaign appeal letter, the letters going out to members who have already made their Sonata level donation will make it clear that they have already made their qualifying gift, though additional donations to the Annual Campaign are always welcome.

We are requesting that donations be made by Friday, June 30, so that our Membership Committee has time to update records and committees toward the goal of producing an accurate directory committee listing at the start of our program year, which begins September 1.


Picture the Music
The 27th annual Picture the Music Awards took place on Wednesday, March 29, to a hall filled with family and friends of the 100 PTM winners. Chair Linda Seibert and Vice Chair Bev Cox had the whole program humming seamlessly. A crew of committed volunteers made sure that all in attendance were enthusiastically welcomed and the evening flowed smoothly. Long-time emcee Ron Klemm again led the awards portion of the program with his boundless energy and warmth, making every child feel special as their names were called and they crossed the stage happily, shyly or with great bravado! Participating schools included 80 public, parochial, private and home schools who submitted 506 pieces of art for judging from among the thousands of students responding to the Largo from Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," with creative drawings and paintings. Attendees enjoyed the art display in the lobby, taking pictures with children posed in front of their winning artwork. On Thursday morning, the display was whisked away to begin its tour through the Metro area per the following schedule:

  • St. Peter’s Cultural Arts Centre: March 30-April 10
  • St. Louis Public Library. Schlafly Branch: April 10-April 17
  • Plaza Frontenac: April 17-April 23
  • The Magic House: April 24-May 1
  • Boeing Headquarters: May 1-May 8 (private for Boeing employees)

Everyone is encouraged to check out the display as it travels through the area. New volunteers are always welcome, especially with transporting and setting up the many displays, a fun activity that introduces volunteers to partner sites and allows them to show their creativity! Please contact Linda Seibert at or 314-991-9811 if interested. The program was sponsored by the Employees Community Fund of Boeing, as it has been for the past several years.

Education Ambassadors
In addition to the musicians who make the STL Symphony’s concerts for children so magical, these concerts require the support of many staff and volunteers to set the stage. Tiny Tunes concerts were held March 13 and 14, bringing in little ones for three short concerts each day. These young children were given a wonderful interactive experience, waving scarves and responding physically to specific musical cues in the program. The program was also an intimate one for the children, who sat on stage with orchestra members. Education staff guided the children through the cues and responses prior to the musical program and a reading of Giraffes Can’t Dance, complete with a dancer playing the part of the giraffe. Education Ambassadors helped direct the children in and out of Powell Hall, while One & Done volunteers set props for the children between performances. These volunteers act as important supporting players, allowing the focus to be a meaningful encounter with music for the students.

LinkUp! concerts are set for Thursday, May 10, for which teachers have been preparing their students since the fall. Students attending the LinkUp! concerts arrive prepared to join in with the orchestra musicians during key portions of the concert, playing their parts on the recorders on which they’ve practiced for months. It’s a memorable event for the students. As with all of the education concerts, Education Concert Ambassadors will greet and guide the students and teachers to and from the building so that the teachers and staff can concentrate on creating an exceptional musical experience.

Instrument Playground
Instrument Playground has had a full year of providing an immediate connection with instruments, bringing their enthusiasm and humor with them to give children the thrill of understanding how to make noise from an instrument—and maybe spark an interest in creating music. The program, always a huge hit before Family Concerts, could prove hectic as children scramble to move from one instrument to the next, and the Education Department and IP team were determined to improve the process. A new instrument table design flow and a fun, scavenger hunt-style map at the most recent Family Concert in March made navigating through Powell Hall much easier for attending families. The IP committee will make its final appearance for the year at Our Lady of Lourdes School on Wednesday, April 26. Additional volunteers for the committee mean shorter lines and more available instruments for each instrument encounter. Additional volunteers are always welcome to help demonstrate, or to simply help clean the instruments. Regardless of the task, the eagerness of the children makes the experience richly satisfying to committee members. 

From the Missouri Arts Council: Funding for the Missouri Arts Council has survived the first two rounds of the budget process for Fiscal Year 2018. Governor Greitens recommended $4.8 million to fund the Missouri Arts Council for the July 2017-June, 2018 budget year. The House Appropriations Committee for Economic Development recommended the same $4.8 million funding level. Please thank Governor Greitens and Chairman Craig Redmon and his committee for their support.

The House Budget Committee will begin their markup of the budget this week. Please contact your State Representative and respectfully request their support for MAC funding. 

Philanthropy and Stewardship

New Ambassador Training
More than 65 SVA members have already gone through Ambassador training and additional training sessions are being planned for the summer. For those who’ve attended, Ambassador training has been very informative. Even longtime, deeply involved members have walked away with new information to share with others both as they serve in their official SVA volunteer capacities and as they meet and socialize with others wherever they go.

The first Ambassador assignments took place on Monday, April 3, as Ambassadors hosted “watch parties” for The Nine Network's “Night at the Symphony" broadcast.  These volunteers took cookies to retirement communities, hosted a short social time and chatted with the residents attending about their experience with the STL Symphony and the concert for the evening. Five retirement facilities took part in the pilot event: Aberdeen Heights, Bethesda Barclay House, Laclede Groves, Sunrise on Clayton and The Willows at Brooking Park. Volunteers were eager to share the music they love with these residents, many of whom can no longer attend the STL Symphony concerts at Powell Hall, and the residents appreciated the opportunity to gather with other music lovers for the concert. The next set of watch parties are planned for Monday, May 1. Additional retirement facilities will be added as the pool of trained Ambassadors grows.

As an extension of the Ambassador program, trained volunteers will assist with the STL Symphony booth at Earth Day in Forest Park, reaching out to introduce the orchestra to new audiences.

Gypsy Caravan
Mark your calendar for Memorial Day weekend to volunteer for the 45th Annual Gypsy Caravan! This enormous craft, antique, and vintage market has raised close to $4 million for STL Symphony over its long history and we need your help at the event this year to raise this figure ever higher. Gypsy Caravan is open to the public on Monday, May 29, from 7:00am-4:00pm, and volunteers are also needed on Sunday, May 28, as we check in and welcome our vendors for setup. 

Similar to last year, volunteers who give two or more shifts to the event that weekend—or do so as a family unit—will receive a voucher for two to attend a concert and pre-concert reception in the fall. Last fall’s concert and reception was great fun for all attending, and a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to get to know one another better outside of the event.

Advance sale wristbands will be available at area Dierbergs Markets beginning Monday, May 1. Not only do these wristbands offer advance purchasers a 10% discount vs. on-site gate prices, but they also speed up entry into the event itself—and those early birds in particular want to avoid lines and start shopping. Free parking on site and at off-site locations is available and free shuttles to and from off-site parking make this option convenient.

Gypsy Caravan is still accepting new vendors as well. If you are aware of vendors who might be a good fit for Gypsy Caravan, please forward the information to Ed Vega at or direct them to the Gypsy Caravan webpage where they can find out all relevant information and register online.

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

Gypsy Caravan Steering Committee
Wed, Apr 12, 3:30-5pm
SVA Office

Picture the Music: Display Transfer
Mon, Apr 17, 7:30am
The Magic House

One & Done: Bus Hosts
Fri, Apr 21, 8:30am
St. Louis County Library Headquarters

Coffee Concert
Fri, Apr 21, 10:30am
Powell Hall

One & Done/Ambassadors: Earth Day
Sat, Apr 22, 12:45pm/2:45pm
Forest Park

Picture the Music: Display Transfer
Sun, Apr 23, 7:30am
St. Louis Public Library, Schlafly Branch

Picture the Music: Display Setup
Mon, Apr 24, 7:30am
Plaza Frontenac

Instrument Playground
Wed, Apr 26, 5:30pm
Our Lady of Lourdes

One & Done: LinkUp! Teacher’s Reception
Fri, Apr 28, 7pm
Powell Hall

New & Prospective: Open Rehearsal
Sat, Apr 29, 10:30am
Powell Hall

Picture the Music: Display Transfer
Mon, May 1, 7:30am
Plaza Frontenac

SVA Executive Committee Meeting
Wed, May 3, 11am
Home of Janice Seele

Spring Membership Meeting
Fri, May 5, 11am
Saint Louis Club

Picture the Music: Display Transfer
Mon, May 8, 7:30am

Education Concert Ambassadors
Wed, May 10, 8:30am
Powell Hall

Powell Hall Tours: LinkUp!
Wed, May 10, 11am
Powell Hall

Gypsy Caravan Steering Committee Meeting
Wed, May 10, 3:30-5pm
SVA Office

Free Community Events

Live Broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio 90.7 KWMU


total volunteer hours
contributed during the 16/17 season (as of 3/31/17)