News and Notes - September - Hero.jpg

Top Stories

Welcome to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s 2018/2019 season! We're off to an amazing start with the Forest Park concert last Wednesday on Art Hill. This annual concert draws thousands of St. Louisans, some of whom are being introduced to the SLSO for the first time. This year the SVA's Ambassadors, as usual, assisted SLSO staff at the information table.

But that's just the beginning.  Here's more:

New SVA Volunteer Opportunity: Group Hosts – As announced in the August News and Notes, the SVA has been asked to assist with providing hospitality to our Coffee Concert patrons arriving by buses from retirement centers and senior activity centers, and for the Mercy Holiday Celebration, December 21.

This new Group Hosts team is part of Powell Hall Opportunities.  Volunteers will greet patrons and assist with giving building entry directions to groups arriving and departing by shuttle for these nine concerts (8 coffee concerts + 1 holiday concert). Volunteers will receive a complimentary ticket to the concert.

We need two volunteers to help at each Coffee Concert, and six for the December 21 holiday concert. As with the Coffee Concert volunteers and Education Ambassadors, we are striving for a pool of volunteers to assist with the dates, and we'll spread the opportunities among that pool.

We hope you will join us a Group Host volunteer and help us extend the warm, welcoming hospitality of the SLSO family to our patrons. The appreciation from these concert attendees is truly gratifying and will help the SLSO offer a safe and smooth experience for those arriving and departing by shuttle.

Coffee Concerts | 10:30am

Oct 05:  Beethoven’s Pastoral  Feb 08: Mozart and Brahms 
Nov 16: Copland’s Third  Mar 22: Franck’s D Minor 
Nov 30: Bruckner’s Ninth                 Apr 05: Mozart and Strauss 
Jan 18:  Beethoven and Schumann  May 03: Tchaikovsky’s Sixth

Mercy Holiday Celebration: December 21, 2:00pm

If you would like to be part of this new team, please email Debbie Dillon, Powell Hall Opportunities Chairman, at, or call 314-276-6816.

Busy time for our Ambassadors – The Ambassador Committee has hit the ground running this month. Not only have they led the way in helping at the Forest Park concert, but they are also supporting the Opening Weekend on September 22 and 23. Under the coordination of our Ambassadors, SVA members who attend will wear red boutonnieres to identify ourselves and publicize the SVA, and we'll help hand out Champagne during intermission. 

September: Time to Get Active – The months of September and October are filled with kick-off meetings of our various committees, which are good opportunities for committee members to catch up and get to know one another before serving together, and to reacquaint themselves with the project at hand. Upcoming SVA events are listed in the right-hand column of this newsletter. Please participate as much as you can – the more you do, the more fun you'll have and the more you'll help our SLSO. Volunteer needs tend to congregate around key dates—especially Education Concerts—so the more volunteers on hand, the more we’re able to help.

Another item that might have slipped by during the summer break is membership renewal.  All it takes to be an SVA member is to be a Friend of the Symphony via a $75 (or more) donation. If you have not already done so, please take this moment to renew now by simply clicking on this secure link: Donate Now. This is an exciting time for the SLSO, and we want you to be a part of it!

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

SLSO News 

SLSO and Blues Team Up Again –The St. Louis Blues and SLSO Orchestra partnered over the summer to host National Anthem auditions. This is the second year in a row for this contest to find a local singer or musician to perform the National Anthem at a Blues home game during the 18/19 season.

More than 100 performers of all ages submitted a video online to enter. Approximately 20 finalists were invited to an in-person audition at Powell Hall to perform live in front of a panel of judges: Blues National Anthem singer Charles Glenn, Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus Amy Kaiser, SLSO musician Gerry Pagano, and James Bertels – one of last year’s winners.

The judges selected Matt Pentecost, a music teacher at the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District Early Childhood Center, to perform The Star-Spangled Banner at a Blues home game this season. The Blues produced a video on the auditions and finalists, which you can watch here

SLSO Partners with American Voices and SLU – Since 2009, the SLSO has partnered with American Voices and Saint Louis University to host college-age musicians from war-torn regions in the Middle East to study in St. Louis. American Voices selects students and facilitates their travel and living; SLU guarantees university admission for students so they can study and learn English; the SLSO offers seats in the Youth Orchestra so students can build their musicianship skills in an excellent educational setting. For the last several years, visas have been denied for selected students, so there have been no students in this program since 15/16. Visas were, however, granted for two students this year, and Resident conductor and YO Music Director Gemma New and the entire YO and SLSO family look forward to welcoming them. Look for an upcoming announcement from the SLSO and move information in next month’s News and Notes.

SVA Notes

Fall Membership Meeting
 – Please join us on October 4 for our first full membership meeting of the season. The Membership team is putting together a fun and informative evening. Watch your email for your invitation.

Kick-off Meetings Commence
 – This is the season when our committees get together to re-connect, to introduce new members, and to plan the upcoming season. Here are some planned or accomplished kick-off meetings:

  • Instrument Playground: IP's Kickoff event was held on Wednesday, August 29 in the Whitaker Room at Powell Hall. The team met Alex Chang, the new Education Programs Coordinator. There's still time to join IP for the 2018-2019 season: just email IP Chair John Malvin at 
  • Express the Music: Mark your calendar for the Express the Music 2019 Launch Meeting, Saturday, November 3 at 10 a.m. in the Met Bar at Powell Hall. We'll go through changes in the program this year and discuss ways to make ETM 2019 even more successful. We'll be finished by noon.
  • Powell Hall Tours: Powell Hall tour guides conduct tours for school children attending Education Concerts in the fall and spring of each year. They also conduct tours for selected donor, subscriber, and other special events when requested by Powell Hall staff. In the first quarter of 2018, free public tours were also added to the group’s responsibilities and typically occur once or twice a month. Tour guides educate participants on the fascinating history of Powell Hall, promote music appreciation, and encourage return visits to future concerts.

The Tours team had a kickoff meeting to discuss updated training materials and information in late September. If you would like to learn more about this SVA team, contact Group Leader Becky Brown (

Liz Halpin, Vice-President

New & Prospective
 – When you started with SVA, did you know anyone in the group? Wish you’d had someone to “show you the ropes?” If you would enjoy welcoming new volunteers and helping them find their niche, consider becoming an SVA Mentor. (And if you were lucky enough to have someone guide you at the beginning, maybe now’s the time to pay it forward.) Contact our committee leadership Connie Wepfer and Jim Moore for more information at

Education and Community Programs
Glenna Schindler, Vice-President

St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra – St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra volunteers got an early start to the 18/19 season, holding an informational meeting at the end of June. With the 50th anniversary of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra less than two years away, outgoing Youth Orchestra manager Michael Gandlmayr provided a preview of some of the planned events, and volunteers had the opportunity to engage in a lively discussion about the evolving needs of the Youth Orchestra and the potential for the SVA to play a role in fundraising for the Youth Orchestra's anniversary tour. Mr. Gandlmayr expressed his gratitude to the SVA for its dedication and service, and underscored how much our volunteer work has benefited the Youth Orchestra. Volunteers learned that the partnership between the Youth Orchestra and SVA dates back to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Women's Association (precursor to the SVA), whose members had the foresight to establish the Youth Orchestra. Our partnership remains strong, and as the SVA's role continues to expand with the Youth Orchestra we will count on this unique relationship as we look forward to working with interim Youth Orchestra Manager Joseph Hendricks on orientation for the Youth Orchestra's 18/19 season and make plans to help support the effort to celebrate its 50th year.  As part of the orientation on September 8, the SVA's Tours Team provided tours of Powell Hall to 104 YO members and families.

Picture the Music – Picture the Music will be meeting soon to discuss our upcoming year. This season, students will explore Manuel de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance, which the SLSO will be performing at the family concert on October 14th as well as the education concerts on October 16th and 17th. The postcards have been mailed and we have been updating our data base. The website is up and running so if you’re speaking to any teachers, be sure to let them know!

Upcoming Events

Fall Membership Meeting
Thursday, October 4, 5:45pm
Missouri Athletic Club