News and Notes - December 2017

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Marie-Hélène Bernard Brainstorming Session Kicks off Discovery Process - St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard met with SVA members on November 14 for a brainstorming session focused on identifying SVA members' strengths and how to leverage our diverse skills in support of SLSO goals. This was the first-ever working meeting between an SLSO CEO and the SVA. Thirty-five of our members engaged in a lively discussion, contributing ideas about our purpose, our strengths, and our goals.

In follow-up, the SVA has formed a Discovery Committee, under the leadership of Vi Steinmeyer. The committee will meet with Marie-Hélène in the near future to be briefed on SLSO's strategic plan, after which they will pursue ideas for expanding the SVA’s contribution to SLSO's success. The goal is to formulate a plan by April, to be implemented in the 2018/2019 season.    

About our Statements of Purpose - A key SVA goal for 2017/2018 is the production of an SVA Members Handbook, to be used by veterans and newbies alike. The vision is for the Handbook to include information about our many committees and how they function, as well as member contact information. Each of our existing committee descriptions will be enhanced with a Statement of Purpose. This will provide understanding to those looking for an activity to become involved with – not only what the committee does but also why it does it and how it fits into the overall mission of both the SVA and the SLSO.

Winter Heat is January 5 - SVA Members will soon receive their online invitations to this year’s ever-popular: Winter Heat. For newer SVA members, Winter Heat is a cocktail reception held in the magnificent foyer of Powell Hall, given by symphony staff for SVA members as a thank you for all we do. The food is always delicious, and this year we will be treated to performances on both oboe and piano by Principal Oboist Jelena Dirks. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with SVA friends.

All the best,

Jeff Kaplan
President, St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association
c: 610-613-8527


SymphonyCares Has an Active December - Members of the SLSO continue to demonstrate their astonishingly strong commitment to the community by taking their music to worthy organizations. Here is a sampling of their December schedule:

For Seniors

December 4 - Crown Center for Senior Living with Ann Fink, Wendy Rosen, Leonid Gotman, and Alvin McCall
December 7 - St. Agnes Home with Tom Drake, Jeff Strong, Thomas Jöstlein, Jonathan Reycraft, and Gerry Pagano

In Your Neighborhood

December 5 - Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park with Elizabeth Chung, James Czyzewski, Yin Xiong, and Alvin McCall
December 8 - St. Louis County Youth Detention Center with Ann Fink, Wendy Rosen, Leonid Gotman, Alvin McCall, Brian Owens, and former inmate and now SLSO SymphonyCares collaborator Ron Boyer. This concert was not open to the public.

Music Without Boundaries

December 17 - International Institute St. Louis (IISTL) with Cortango Orquesta (Cally Banham, Asako Kuboki, Chris Tantillo, Melissa Brooks, David DeRiso, and Adam Maness) in partnership with the IISTL, St. Louis Mosaic Project, World Trade Center St. Louis, and Missouri History Museum.

Youth Orchestra on TV

During the month of October, Channel 9’s Night at the Symphony broadcast The St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra 2016/2017 season finale concert. An estimated 25,000 viewers tuned in for each show. If you missed it, click here to stream the broadcast online.

SVA Notes

Membership Directories - Copies of the 2017/2018 Membership Directory will be distributed at Winter Heat on January 5, 2018. After that, you can pick up your copy at the Boutique.

Education and Community Programs

Express the Music Launches 2018 Program - Members of the ETM committee met on November 11 to launch its 2018 campaign. Members practiced using the revised preliminary judging rubric, discussed the implications of splitting poetry and prose entries, and learned how the finalist judges will be evaluating entries. Members also heard and discussed this year's music prompt, “Overture to School for Scandal, op. 5” by Samuel Barber. Listen to it here with Leonard Slatkin conducting the SLSO. 

Invitation cards were sent in September, and ETM associate chair Sharon Voss followed up in October and early November with over 1,000 calls and emails. Please help by inviting teachers you know to enter their students in Express the Music.
Contact: for a suggested set of contact Q&As.

ETM is for students in grades six through twelve. The deadline for entries is Friday, January 19, 2018. The downloadable Teachers Guide that includes entry forms is available here.

Philanthropy and Stewardship

Ambassadors - The Ambassadors next Watch Party for Channel 9’s Night at the Symphony will be February 5 at eight senior retirement centers in the St. Louis area. Ambassadors and guests alike have been enjoying the experience of watching SLSO concerts in a community setting, and having a bird’s-eye view of the musicians on stage and of beautiful Powell Hall. At the completion of the program, hosts and guests have the opportunity to share their thoughts about the music and ask questions.

Because we have a three-month hiatus from hosting parties, now is a good time for Ambassadors to attend concerts, listen to classical musical on the radio and CDs, and increase our knowledge about different composers and their music. Those efforts will help us have more to share with our audiences. Reading SLSO Playbills and Board Notes, as well as checking the SLSO's website are other ways to become more familiar with the symphony’s work.

Ambassadors can request to shadow an experienced presenter at a February Watch Party. As we add more residences to our schedule, we’ll need more trained presenters.

Laura Dwyer is making arrangements to have the symphony staff create an attractive Watch Party poster to help us keep residents informed of when Watch Parties will be held.

Another Watch Party Training will be held in a few months (date TBD) so ambassadors can get more insight on how to host a Watch Party. Remember, ambassadors do not have to be music majors to host a Watch Party. We’re simply hosts and guests listening to the SLSO perform and enjoying each other’s company.

Boutique - The Boutique is dressed up for the holidays, so stop by and say “Hi.” Looking for some great holiday gifts for family and friends (or yourself!)? New items include: 

● CDs
● Earrings
● Black pashmina scarf
● Note-cards
● David Robertson posters (in black & white or color – buy one of each and get a discount)
● T-shirts celebrating Powell Hall’s 50th Anniversary
● Pearl piano-wire necklace (a perennial favorite that’s back in stock)

Gypsy Caravan - On a night that featured a spectacular performance of Beethoven’s masterwork, Missa solemnis, Music Director David Robertson took time at the beginning of the concert to publicly recognize and thank SVA volunteers who’ve worked on Gypsy Caravan over the past 45 years. With a nod from the stage to the 2017 volunteers (who were sitting together), David noted the hours of hard work all volunteers made over the years and their total contribution of over $3.5 million for the SLSO. His announcement brought cheers from both the audience and the orchestra. After the concert, the Gypsy Caravan group enjoyed a dessert reception at the Met Bar and posed for a group photo around a new plaque in Powell Hall commemorating Gypsy’s 45 years.

SVA with Gypsy Caravan

Upcoming Events

SVA General Board Meeting
Thursday, December 14, 11:15am
Whitaker Room, Powell Hall

Our quarterly General Board Meeting will begin with a light lunch, followed by our regular SVA General Board Business Meeting.

Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianos 
Sunday, January 28, 7:00pm

Washington University Great Artists Series
Featuring Stravinsky, Debussy, & Ravel

560 Music Center, Trinity Ave, St. Louis, MO 63130

Special pre-concert talk and complimentary glass of wine for SVA members!