News & Notes - February 2017

From the SVA President

The rush of the second half of the year is upon us. Express the Music, Picture the Music and Gypsy Caravan are running on all cylinders, our volunteers advocated for arts funding in Jefferson City and our new Ambassador program is off and running—and that doesn’t include all of the work being done by all of the volunteers on other committees that operate all season long. 

Additionally, Membership has a very busy couple of months ahead with a variety of member and guest-only events including: a tour, reception and concert planned for Saturday, February 25, in collaboration with The Nine Network volunteers; the SVA Winter Membership Meeting brunch on Saturday, March 4, at The Saint Louis Woman’s Club; and a New & Prospective Member party on Monday, March 13. Along with these SVA events, the STL Symphony's 2017 Gala Celebration is taking place on Saturday, March 25, at The Ritz-Carlton and to honor David Halen and his remarkable 25 seasons as concertmaster. I look forward to seeing many of you on these joyful occasions and hope you will invite friends to the New & Prospective Member Party to learn more about our many activities. More information about all of these events can be found further in this publication under Membership.

The STL Symphony is currently on tour in Spain, with the Carnegie Hall concert in New York coming swiftly on its heels. Both trips will further solidify the STL Symphony’s international reputation.

On another exciting note, I hope you were all able to read the recent email that the STL Symphony, the musicians and their AFM Local have agreed upon a five-year contract ending August 28, 2022—and seven months ahead of schedule! The agreement allows the STL Symphony to continue to attract and retain some of the best musicians in the world, offering the musicians greater and more nationally and globally competitive financial benefits and, in return, securing some greater flexibility in programming and projects. This agreement was made possible by the strengthened financial position of the STL Symphony and right on target with the goal of building capacity and investing in the organization’s most important resources—its musicians.  The agreement places the STL Symphony on solid footing to continue to grow its artistic excellence, programs, and reputation. The agreement is built upon the STL Symphony management’s belief that we can continue to strengthen our financial position through annual giving, strategic investments, endowment building and legacy giving.

We can support this orchestra with not only our volunteer time on specific projects, but also as well-informed and passionate advocates throughout the community.  Highlights of some of the points presented in the recent Ambassador training are included below. We hope you’ll share them with others.


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


Winter Membership Meeting
If you’ve not done so already, make your reservation now for our Winter Membership Meeting to be held on Saturday, March 4, in the second floor ballroom of the gracious and historic Saint Louis Woman’s Club in the Central West End. Following a delicious plated brunch, members will be treated to a performance by LACE, an all-female vocal quartet featuring our own Carolyn Farrell, and music from The Great American Songbook. We will also hear about the STL Symphony's recent Spain and, of course, we will be presenting the SVA president-elect. 

The morning will start with registration and social time at 10:00am. Seating for brunch will begin at 10:30am with the meeting and program following the meal. The brunch is $35/person, which includes valet parking. Click here to RSVP; reservations and payment are due by Monday, February 27. We look forward to seeing you!

Nine Network Event
The STL Symphony is working to increase outreach and collaboration within the St. Louis cultural network and Laura Dwyer has partnered with her counterpart at The Nine Network to introduce our respective volunteers and programs to each other. On Saturday, February 25 at 4:30pm, SVA volunteers are invited on a tour of The Nine Network. Volunteers from The Nine Network will then join SVA members at Powell Hall for a reception in the Met Bar at 5:45pm, followed by the 7:00pm pre-concert conversation and the evening’s concert featuring Walton's Belshazzar’s Feast

Tickets for the event are available to SVA members through the STL Symphony Box Office and are $20 each, using the promotion code “VOLUNTEER." Included in this $20 ticket price is the tour of The Nine Network, light appetizers in the Met Bar (beverages will be available for purchase) and Orchestra level seating for the concert. While there is no limit to the number of volunteers who can attend the reception and receive the special concert price, The Nine Network tour is limited to no more than 45 guests, so buy your tickets early if you’d like to take the tour. Tickets must be reserved by February 20; parking and further instructions will be emailed to ticket buyers.

New & Prospective Member Party
A New & Prospective Member party is planned for 6:30pm on Monday, March 13, at the home of Janice Seele for both new members and those interested in joining. The New & Prospective Membership Committee has been busy promoting the SVA wherever STL Symphony lovers gather. All members are encouraged to invite those who might be interested in joining, and to attend themselves to welcome and engage with new and prospective members. Amid plenty of time to socialize with others, committee heads will give brief overviews of their areas and be available for questions.

This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce others to the SVA! If you would like to attend and bring a friend who might be interested in joining, RSVP by Thursday, March 9, to Sara Fabick at 314-822-1183.

Membership Basics
Membership Directory: If you were not able to pick up your 2016/2017 Membership Directory at Winter Heat, copies will be available at the Winter Membership Meeting. Directories are also available at the Boutique. Additionally, member contact information is contained in the online directory, accessible via the SVA webpage. 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. 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: Well-informed volunteers are happier volunteers, and 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.


Express the Music
With nearly 20 volunteer readers, the Express the Music reading day went smoothly and swiftly. While volunteers listened to this year’s musical inspiration, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," each student entry was reviewed by three different readers, who scored the entries against a prescribed rubric. Following this initial screening, scores were tabulated and the top entries were mailed to a panel of judges, all professionals in the field of English and writing. These final judges will choose the top winners from the finalists reviewed. 

In an exciting change this year, the ETM ceremony will take place as part of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra concert on Friday, March 3. Finalists, families, teachers and principals will be invited to the Youth Orchestra concert, with a tour of Powell Hall prior to the concert. Following intermission, finalists will be honored on stage in front of the entire Youth Orchestra audience. 

The genesis for this integration was twofold. First, the ETM committee wanted to enliven the ceremony for the finalists and their families. In addition, with the increase in special programs and the production time needed to stage these special events, it was difficult to find a convenient evening for the ETM ceremony to take place. A casual conversation between Vi Steinmeyer and Margaret Lahrmann led to the brilliant yet simple integration of the Express the Music ceremony with the Youth Orchestra concert, an “aha” moment that should make the event more meaningful for finalists and their families.

Picture the Music
Picture the Music entry intake took place on February 3 and 4. In addition to receiving artwork at the SVA office, committee volunteers also accepted entries at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters and the St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre. Judging will take place on Tuesday, February 14, in the 4th floor ballroom of the Centene Center, beginning at 8:30am and ending between 2:00 to 3:00pm. New volunteers are always welcome, particularly those with good knees to assist with laying down and picking up artwork during judging! Please contact Linda Seibert at or 314-991-9811 if interested.

Education Ambassadors and Tours
The next series of Education concerts take place on February 21 and 22. These concerts will be supported by the efforts of SVA volunteers who help guide teachers and students safely into Powell Hall and back to their buses, a role that does wonders in reducing the anxiety that teachers face in shepherding a group of children to an unfamiliar location. Feedback received by the education department following concerts in the fall specifically mentioned how these efforts improved the overall experience for teachers and their students. Following the 11:00am concert, Powell Hall tour guides will provide a heightened Powell Hall experience for classes registering in advance, making a memorable day even more so.

On Wednesday, February 8, Advocacy Chair Margaret Gilleo led a team of seven SVA volunteers to join STL Symphony staff in reaching out to legislators about the importance of funding the arts. Funding for the arts looks dire nationally and in Missouri as reported in this recent communication from Missouri Citizens for the Arts:
“Traditionally the Governor unveils budget priorities as part of the State of the State Address. As Governor Greitens is transitioning into office, he is not expected to propose a budget until early February, and the House is waiting to file budget bills until they receive Greitens' recommendations. 

The Governor did make his first announcement on the budget this week, withholding over $146 million from the FY 2017 budget. This is in addition to the approximately $200 million withheld by Governor Jay Nixon. Higher education bore the brunt of the withholds, with $55 million restricted from four-year schools and about $12 million withheld from community colleges.

For the Arts and our Cultural Partners, he restricted $1,050,000. This means another $610,000 from the Missouri Arts Council, in addition to the $610,000 former Governor Nixon withheld earlier this fiscal year. Governor Greitens also restricted $181,875 from the June, 2017, Missouri Fine Arts and Missouri Scholars Academies. $3 million was restricted from Tourism.

Greitens said these withholds were needed to address the FY 2017 revenue shortfall, which stemmed in part from a greater-than-expected reduction in corporate income tax revenue as well as growth in tax credits and expenditures. 

Based on current spending and revenue projections, the House Budget Committee said the FY 2018 budget will remain very tight, with a possible state revenue gap of over $400 million. The House Budget Chair does not expect withheld items to be funded next year. House and Senate Committees will begin hearings on the FY 2018 budget this month, and the House will vote on budget bills in early April. The House and Senate must have the budget submitted to Governor Greitens by May 5.“

Missouri Citizens for the Arts needs your voice to support funding for Missouri's arts programs! Please contact your legislators. You matter and can make a difference.


New Ambassador Program
More than 40 SVA members attended the first training sessions for the new STL Symphony Ambassador program offered on January 17 and 19. Staff members, including Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer John Easley; Vice President of External Affairs Adam Crane; Vice President of Marketing and Patron Services David Nischwitz; Associate Vice President, Philanthropy Amy Drummond; Director of Stewardship and Events Kristin Lamprecht; and Associate Director of Volunteer Programs Laura Dwyer, all took part in presenting key information for volunteers to share while representing the STL Symphony both inside and outside Powell Hall.

Attendees were presented a wealth of information by staff for volunteers to share, including information from marketing on the types of concerts, subscriptions and benefits available; updates from External Affairs on community and education programs as well as a fascinating update on future plans. Those present were extremely excited about what they heard and are eager to get out to share what they learned with the public.

The first planned activity for the Ambassadors will be acting as hosts during Monday evening Night at the Symphony broadcasts at selected retirement homes where many former subscribers and SVA members reside. The “watch party” hosts will bring trays of cookies, interesting concert notes prepared by STL Symphony staff, and—of course—their own enthusiasm and love for the STL Symphony. Residents will enjoy a shared audience experience even if they can longer attend concerts at Powell Hall. Now that the first group of Ambassadors has been trained, the SVA is reaching out to retirement communities to begin setting up the watch parties, to be scheduled for April 3, May 1, July 12, August 7, September 4, October 2, November 6 and December 4. 

Ambassador training will be offered again on Wednesday, March 15 at 9:30am and Tuesday, March 28 at 1:00pm in the Whitaker Room. Training will soon be offered on a Saturday morning, with the specific date to come, as well as scheduled for summer prior to the next season.

As the trained pool of volunteers grows and more opportunities for outreach are identified by staff, SVA Ambassadors will expand into other areas.

Gypsy Caravan
Gypsy Caravan merchandise and food vendor contracts are now available online. Gypsy Caravan is always looking for new vendors in order to keep the event fresh and exciting. 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

Picture the Music: Processing & Mailing
Feb 16, 17, 20 & 21, 9am-12pm
SVA Office

Express the Music: Tallying & Book Completion
Feb 17 & 18, 9am-12pm
SVA Office

Education Concert Ambassadors
Feb 21 & 22, 8:30am
Powell Hall

Powell Hall Tours
Feb 21 & 22, 11am
Powell Hall

Express the Music: Certificate Processing
Wed, Feb 22, 9am-12pm
SVA Office

Picture the Music: Certificate Processing
Thu, Feb 23, 3pm
SVA Office

New & Prospective: Friends Appreciation Event
Thu,Feb 23, 6pm
Powell Hall

Picture the Music: Mailing
Fri, Feb 24, 3pm
SVA Office

The Nine Network/SVA Event
Sat, Feb 25, 4:30pm
The Nine Network & Powell Hall

Express the Music: Finalist Envelope Stuffing
Wed, Mar 1, 9am-11am
SVA Office

SVA Executive Committee Meeting
Wed, Mar 1, 11am
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 2/10/17)