Top Stories

Busy Months for the SVA – February and March were amazingly busy and successful for the SVA. Several of our signature programs reached their climaxes, and the entire SVA was running in high gear. This is what we’re all about: providing amazing projects that engage many people in supporting the SLSO’s goal of enriching lives through the power of music.

Winter Brunch -- Our unbelievably talented Membership Committee, led by Phyllis Traub and Rebecca Gorski, put together a Winter Brunch that absolutely knocked our socks off.  The table decorations were a celebration of the SVA:  every table represented a different committee, with artifacts, photos, and decorations specific to that committee, put together in the most clever and artistic way imaginable.  With a terrific brunch, a presentation by Gemma New, and a musical performance by the SLSO’s Trombone Section, this event was the icing on the cake to an absolutely terrific month for the SVA!

Picture the Music (PTM) & Express the Music (ETM) Award Ceremonies – In the past two months, each of these well-loved Education programs held its annual awards ceremony. It was a big year for both programs.

Nearly 12,000 students from 67 schools in the bi-state region participated in 2018’s PTM. Students created artwork based on what they envisioned when listening to Olympic Fanfare and Theme by John Williams. Six judges then chose the top 100 pieces of art: 66 special recognition awards, 25 blue ribbons, six St. Louis Symphony awards (one each for grades K-6), and two Maestro awards (one for K-3 and one for grades 4-6). Awards were given out at a special ceremony held at Powell Hall on February 26. After the ceremony, the 100 pieces of art went on tour around the region, with the final display being held at Frontenac Plaza from April 4 through April 16.

Participation in ETM was up markedly this year. Seventy-eight teachers from 59 schools submitted a total of 691 entries from their students. Each entry was read by three separate reviewers. The 63 finalists were selected by tallying the scores from those 2,073 evaluations. (That’s a lot of reading!) Two teams of final judges, composed of published authors and editors, then evaluated the finalists' compositions and picked the three top winners in each category. Those cash prize winners came from 11 Missouri and Illinois middle and high schools. The ETM awards ceremony was held in conjunction with the Youth Orchestra concert on March 4.

Congratulations are in order for our PTM committee, led by Bev Cox and Andrea Tegencamp, and our ETM committee, led by Terry Gates and Sharon Voss. Both committees did tons of work, and their dedication showed in the excellent and flawless ceremonies that capped their seasons.

Gala Weekend - Two events are being held the weekend of April 14 and 15 to celebrate David Robertson's 13-year tenure with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and his ongoing legacy. The SVA will be helping with the black-tie gala on April 14, and we’re hosting a celebratory brunch on April 15. I encourage all SVA members to attend the brunch, which will honor David and also mark the Orchestra's 50 years at Powell Hall.

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

SVA Notes

Education and Community Programs

Powell Hall Tours - The Powell Hall Tours group now has 16 active guides and nine “shadow” ones (members in training).

So far in 2018, the committee has provided opportunities for nearly 1100 people to learn more about our beautiful and historic Powell Hall during these six events: community tours as part of Powell Hall at 50, a private tour for Leadership St. Louis, student tours following three Education Concerts, and as part of the ETM Awards/YO Concert event.

An additional 300+ participants are anticipated during events already scheduled for this spring, including a private tour for St. Louis Realtors and one for a senior citizens group. Future public tour dates will be announced soon on the SLSO website.

If you are interested in joining the Powell Hall Tours group, please contact group leader Becky Brown at

Youth Orchestra - St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra volunteers have been busy this winter. They provided desserts after the YO's successful side-by-side rehearsal with the SLSO (and surprise guest Stéphane Denève!) and helped with a pre-concert luncheon before the YO’s sold-out second concert (where patrons were treated to a fantastic display of musicianship as YO members rose to the challenge of playing a demanding repertoire).

Looking toward the rest of the season, volunteers will be at Clayton High School on April 18 and 19 to assist with preliminary auditions for the 2018/2019 season. They will also host a pre-concert luncheon before the final concert of the season on Sunday, June 3. (That concert features a viola performance by the winner of the YO's concerto competition.) Volunteers will also be at Powell Hall to help with the final auditions for next season, beginning with the string sections on June 5 to 7 and ending with the remaining sections on June 11 to 14.  

Coffee Concerts - The Friday Coffee Concerts Committee will again be serving coffee and doughnuts at the final Coffee Concert this spring.

Our rotating roster is always open to interested volunteers. These hosts and hostesses bring enthusiasm and joy to concert goers as a prelude to the magical sounds that fill the concert hall. For more information, contact Correne Murphy at 314-576-7974 or

Philanthropy and Stewardship

Ambassadors - In March, Ambassadors served as hosts at a Meet-and-Greet for an organization that serves foster children and their foster families. The event was held in the Whitaker Room following the March 18 Pinocchio’s Adventures Family Concert. On March 23, Ambassadors were pleased to serve as hosts at Equal Play, an On Stage concert at Powell. (Thanks to Janet Preston for serving as Lead Ambassador at this latter event.) Ambassadors will also be serving as hosts for the April 15 Champagne Brunch honoring David Robertson’s tenure with the SLSO.

Whether or not you’ve attended Ambassador Training, all SVA Members are natural Ambassadors for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Be sure to take a look at the SLSO website and read News and Notes, Playbill, and St. Louis Symphony Notes to keep informed about the exciting happenings at Powell Hall. Ambassadors make a difference by helping inform the public about our marvelous St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.


Group Activites

Membership Meeting – Mark your calendar!

Friday, May 11 at the Westborough Country Club