News and Notes - January 2018

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Happy New Year from your Symphony Volunteer Association! The SVA is off to a busy start in 2018, and we're looking forward to interesting and exciting activities during the remaining winter months. We've already enjoyed Winter Heat (our annual SVA Appreciation Event). The remainder of January features a celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Powell Hall, a Family Concert at which SVA will provide Instrument Playground (IP) opportunities, and the beginning of the judging process for Express the Music (ETM).

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

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

Scroll down for more information about these events and stay tuned for information about upcoming SVA activities.

SVA HQ Relocation Complete - Our SVA Relocation Committee, led by John Carr, has completed the work of moving out of the Centene Center for the Arts. We now have work and storage space in Powell Hall, plus a climate-controlled off-site storage unit for our PTM/ETM equipment, our IP instruments, and other bulky items. Thanks to John and his committee (Bev Cox, Darryl Fabick, Terry Gates, Margaret Lahrmann, and Kent McNeil, with valuable help from Sara Fabick, Gerry Frankenfeld, and Nelson Wainwright) and Laura Dwyer for their planning and exhausting physical labor—which included taking up over 800 square feet of carpet squares!

SVA to Lead Tours of Powell Hall for Adults - As we continue to expand our contributions to SLSO outreach and patron experiences, we’re adding monthly tours of Powell Hall for adults to the existing set of tours (for students after Education Concerts and occasional patron tours). Requests for these tours will be made on the SLSO website, and each tour will be limited to 70 people, which allows for a capacity of seven simultaneous tour groups.
Upcoming dates for the tours are:

Monday, February 5 | 9:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday, February 109:00am – 12:00pm
Friday, March 309:00am – 1:00pm
Monday, April 99:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday, May 59:00am – 12:00pm
Wednesday, May 23 | 1:00 – 5:00pm

On January 20, we will also offer 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

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


SLSO Celebrates 50 Years at Powell Hall - Throughout this season, the SLSO is celebrating its 50th Anniversary at historic Powell Hall. Formerly known as the St. Louis Theatre, the hall was built in 1925 as a vaudeville theater and movie house. In 1966, the St. Louis Symphony Society purchased the building and spent two years remaking it into the celebrated concert hall it is today. When it reopened in January 1968, Powell Hall became the first permanent home of the SLSO. 

The Symphony has invited the public to join in a celebratory Open House on January 20, featuring activities saluting the SLSO's iconic home. More information here.

SVA Notes

Membership Directories - Copies of the 2017/2018 Membership Directory were distributed at Winter Heat (January 5). If you didn't get a copy then, you can pick one up at the Boutique the next time you’re at Powell.

Education and Community Programs

Picture the Music - Picture the Music (PTM) is an educational program that invites students in grades K-6 to listen to a piece of orchestral music, then respond by creating “pictures” (paintings and drawings) that represent what they heard and/or felt while listening to the music. Each year, a different piece is chosen. In anticipation of the upcoming Winter Olympics, our musical selection for the 2018 PTM is John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme.

Artwork entries will be submitted in late January, with judging taking place in early February. An awards ceremony will be held at Powell Hall on February 26. For several months after the annual awards ceremony, the top 100 pieces of art are displayed at several venues in the area.  
The 2018 PTM viewing schedule is:

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

Artwork will only be shown at Powell on the day of the awards ceremony.

Express the Music  - We’re so excited! In January, we get to see the payoff of all our hard work for Express the Music 2018. Entries are due January 19. We’ll open them on the 22nd, organize them on the 25th, and do the first read-throughs on the 27th. This year the students are writing their essays after listening to Samuel Barber’s Overture to The School for Scandal.  

For the first time, over 20 readers from the ETM Committee will divide into two teams, one for Poetry and the other for Prose. They’ll be using a revised rubric to select finalists for consideration by two panels of judges. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first three places in each category, and those winners will be honored at Powell Hall on March 4.

Chair Terry Gates pointed out that many people worked hard to make ETM 2018 a reality. In particular, he noted that during the fall and early winter, Sharon Voss recruited participants by making over 2000 phone calls and emails to teachers. Laura Dwyer's and Jessica Ingraham's help has been invaluable, especially with the move to Powell Hall. Terry also expressed gratitude to Bev Cox and Cecelia Webber for sharing vital information and giving sound, timely encouragement. From Terry’s viewpoint, the ETM Committee is “the best committee in the world.”

Philanthropy and Stewardship

Memorabilia - Committee Chair Jean Saunders has succeeded in amassing a collection of Powell Hall memorabilia in support of the St. Louis Central Library’s upcoming 50 Years at Powell Hall exhibit. The Library is partnering with the SLSO to create the anniversary exhibit, which runs January 16 through March 17 at the Central Library (1301 Olive Street). We encourage all SVA members to visit and relive our history. And congratulations to Jean on accomplishing so much in so little time!

Discovery Committee - On December 18, our Discovery Committee, chaired by Vi Steinmeyer, held its first official meeting. Their goal for the day was to prepare for a January meeting with Marie-Hélène Bernard. Items to be discussed in January include the SLSO’s Strategic Plan, the SVA’s current activities, our overall goals, and preliminary ideas for future projects. The 10 committee members generated a wealth of information to share with Marie-Hélène, so watch this space for ongoing reports.

Ambassadors - Ambassadors have had an unexpected turn of events with their project, “Night at the Symphony” Watch Parties, held at several senior citizen residences in the St. Louis metropolitan area. PBS Channel 9 will begin airing “Night at the Symphony” on the first Sunday evening of most months at 5:00pm instead of the previously scheduled time of the first Monday evening at 7:00pm. Because this new time slot is during the dinner hour for many residents and volunteers alike, we are cancelling the Watch Party Program. This decision has not been an easy one, as you can imagine.

Ambassadors are trained by symphony staff and experienced volunteers to promote the SLSO at community events, host events that showcase the symphony, speak at various organizational meetings throughout St. Louis about the immense outreach programs of the SLSO, and relate the joy of attending SLSO performances at Powell Hall. This is all to help the symphony fulfill their mission to “enrich people’s lives through the power of music.”   

The Discovery Committee, under the leadership of Vi Steinmeyer, is working with Maureen Byrne, Director of Diversity and Community Affairs, to arrange for Ambassadors to assist with receptions following Community Programs that are scheduled on Friday evenings when there is a Coffee Concert in the daytime. Over a dozen ambassadors are already scheduled to assist with the reception on January 12, with more events to come.

Ambassadors are a key element of SVA's outreach program, and we are expecting that more opportunities to promote the SLSO will present themselves soon.

Group Activities 

Powell at 50 Celebration
Sat, Jan 20  
11:00am - 7:00pm

Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianos
Sun, Jan 28

Washington University Great Artists Series 
560 Trinity Ave, St. Louis, MO 63130

Annual SVA Winter Event
Sat, March 3 

The Membership Committee is planning the final details, which will be announced in early February. Mark your calendars for this annual event!