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Board Chair Norman Eaker visits Winter Heat! For the first time, a sitting Board Chair of the SLSO attended our annual Winter Heat celebration. Norm Eaker thanked the SVA both with words (expressing his recognition of and appreciation for our volunteer efforts) and with gifts (providing a Bread Company gift card for everyone in the SVA). If you didn't pick up your gift card at Winter Heat, you can get it at our Winter Meeting on Saturday, March 3. Norm spent the entire evening with us and left us with our new slogan: "More Gratitude, Less Attitude!" Thank you, Norman!

Marie-Hélène Bernard Inspires the Discovery Committee - SLSO President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard met with the Discovery Committee on January 22, clarifying the vision of the SLSO and the SVA’s role as volunteers. In a true spirit of camaraderie, she took the time to answer questions and encourage discussion. She noted that the SLSO’s Strategic Plan is not just a financial plan; it’s a three-fold vision that includes art, capacity, and corporate culture.

Marie-Hélène reviewed several lists prepared by Committee Chair Vi Steinmeyer (including ideas the Discovery Committee has generated, past SVA projects, current projects other orchestras are doing, and brief bios of the committee’s members). She also shared information about the operation of a world-class orchestra that we, as volunteers, might not normally consider.

The takeaway? Everyone on the Committee left feeling that SVA is a valued part of the SLSO family and that we have an important role to play: focusing on bringing in patrons to fill the seats, showing hospitality to all who enter the doors of Powell Hall, and growing the pool of symphony supporters. Marie-Hélène noted we should strive ultimately to make music a part of people’s lives from conception to the grave.

Busy Time for the SVA - February is a big month for both Express the Music (ETM) and Picture the Music (PTM) as judging concludes and the PTM awards are presented on February 26. Education Ambassadors will be greeting students at concerts, our Tours Team will be leading several tours of Powell Hall, and our all-important Advocacy Committee traveled to Jefferson City to make the case for supporting the Arts.

March brings our annual Winter Meeting. Also in March, Instrument Playground and the Tours Team have activities scheduled, ETM awards will be presented, and the PTM road show continues.

Stay tuned for information about even more SVA activities.

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

SVA Notes

Membership Committee - The Membership Committee is excited to host the SVA’s next General Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 3, 10:00am at the Highlands Golf & Tennis Center in Forest Park. Join us for a vibrant performance by the Trombones of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.  Also, SLSO staff member Suzanne Leek, Executive Assistant to the Music Director, will reflect on her 30 years of working with SLSO conductors. SVA members and guests will enjoy a delicious buffet brunch as we reconnect with fellow volunteers and celebrate our support of the symphony.

Education and Community Programs

Picture the Music - On January 20, while other SVA volunteers were busy supporting the Powell Hall anniversary celebration, SVA’s Picture the Music committee was hard at work in Powell Hall’s Green Room, St Peter's Cultural Arts Center, and the St. Louis County Library receiving and sorting artwork for this year’s Picture the Music program. Many of the teachers who dropped off students’ art pieces told the committee how excited their students had been to participate and how hard it was to choose only seven pieces of art (the maximum number of submissions allowed per school).

After the February 26 awards ceremony at Powell Hall, the top 100 pieces of art will be exhibited at the following venues:

Feb 27 – Mar 12 | St Peter’s Cultural Arts Center
Mar 12 – Mar 19 | Schlafly Library
Mar 19 – Apr 04 | The Magic House
Apr 04 – Apr 16 | Frontenac Plaza 

A small sample of artwork submitted for this year’s Picture the Music. The students’ art was done in response to what they heard and/or felt while listening to John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme.”

A small sample of artwork submitted for this year’s Picture the Music. The students’ art was done in response to what they heard and/or felt while listening to John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme.”

Powell Hall Tours - As mentioned last month, we’ve added monthly tours of Powell Hall for adults to the existing set of tours. Requests for these tours will be made via the SLSO website, and each tour will be limited to 70 people, which allows for a capacity of seven simultaneous tour groups. Dates for the tours are:

Friday, Mar 30 | 9:00am – 1:00pm
Monday, Apr 099:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday, May 05 | 9:00am – 12:00pm
Wednesday, May 23 | 1:00 – 5:00pm

On January 20, we also offered tours as part of the day-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the SLSO at Powell Hall.

Now is a great time to become a tour guide. Contact our new Tour Team Leader, Becky Brown, at

Philanthropy and Stewardship

Advocacy Day - On February 7, a group of SVA members traveled by bus from Plaza Frontenac to Jefferson City for the annual Missouri Citizens for the Arts Day. Upon arrival, they attended a briefing session, followed by individual meetings with assigned legislators. Several weeks before the trip, the Missouri Citizens for the Arts hosted an Arts Advocacy Reception.

State government funding for the arts, as well as grants to the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, are the lowest they’ve been in the past five years. 


State-Wide Arts Funding

State Grants to SLSO
















Now more than ever, it’s important to let our legislators know how much the arts mean to Missouri. It’s not only about the beauty and richness the arts bring to our state. It’s also about education … and economic development … and tourism … and a host of other benefits. 

Ambassadors - Thanks to the SVA’s new Discovery Committee, our Executive Committee, and Powell Hall Staff, the Ambassador Committee is excited about its new volunteer opportunities.

In January, Ambassadors served as hosts at “Keep on Pushing: The Music of Curtis Mayfield,” starring Artist-in-Residence Brian Owens. Plans are in the formative stages for them to assist with several Powell Hall events in February and March, and many other events are on the horizon. (There are currently 66 Ambassadors, so the Committee should be able to fulfill requests without overtaxing any individual volunteer.)

Ambassadors don’t provide “lectures.” They simply keep their background knowledge* up to date so they feel comfortable greeting guests at events and exhibiting their appreciation for the SLSO.

The Ambassadors Committee is alive and well, and its members are excited to be a part of the SLSO/SVA community’s mission to “enrich people’s lives through the power of music.”

*As SVA members, we’re all SLSO ambassadors. Here are a few tips from the Ambassadors Committee on how they stay up to date:

  • Attend Symphony concerts and events at Powell Hall, as well as those offered off site.
  • Read Marie-Hélène Bernard’s Symphony Board Notes.
  • Read each issue of News and Notes.
  • Read each issue of Playbill.
  • Get acquainted with Symphony musicians by reading their bios in Playbill and talking with them at On Stage and other community concerts.