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SVA Fall Membership Meeting – As this issue goes to press, our skilled Membership Committee, led by Phyllis Traub and Susanne Mertens, is making final preparations for our annual Fall Membership Meeting. By the time you read this, it will have already occurred. This year, we were at the Missouri Athletic Club - West, and we were extremely fortunate to feature a musical performance by Ethos Violin, a violin duo made up of Youth Orchestra musicians Theo Bockhorst (son of SLSO violinist Angie Smart) and Ethan Mayer (who led the quartet that entertained at last April's Gala Brunch). Keep your eyes on these two: they're destined for fine musical careers. Our keynote speech was a collaboration between SLSO Staff members Maureen Byrne, Jessica Ingraham and Joseph Hendricks. The Membership committee continues to provide our members with wonderful food and amazing programming!

We Need Volunteers – Our SVA is lucky to have almost 350 members, but not everyone is equally active, and some of our committees and teams are so busy that they could really use some more help.  In particular:

  • Group Hosts: This new team assists groups arriving by shuttle bus for Friday morning Coffee Concerts and special holiday-season concerts. Email Team Lead Sherry Moschner at
  • Education Ambassadors: Education Ambassadors provide a warm welcome and assure the safety and expedient arrival and departure during education concerts. This year, our responsibilities are growing and we could use another dozen volunteers so that we can take turns and not have to work every education concert. Email Team Lead Elizabeth Crosby at
  • Youth Orchestra: This team supports the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra by assisting with auditions and orientation and various performance-related activities as requested by the Youth Orchestra Manager. We expect a greatly expanded role in connection with YO's 50th Anniversary, so get in on the ground floor by joining now.  Email Team Lead Martha Duchild at

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


New Musician Joins SLSO
We have a new Associate Principal percussionist: Alan Stewart.  Alan actually joined the Orchestra last December. Before that, he was a freelance percussionist who worked with orchestras throughout the country, including the SLSO, the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco and Kansas City symphony orchestras.  Alan studied at the Manhattan School of Music and Northwestern University. He and his wife, Nicole, live in South City.

Three Musicians Retired after Last Season
Three longtime orchestra members retired at the end last season. They are:

  • Clarinetist Tina Ward, holder of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair, who was a member of the SLSO since 1970. Tina performed frequently around the region via the orchestra's education and community programs; she coached the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra; and she taught clarinet as an adjunct at Webster University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Washington University. She's also the co-author of a book on the science of reeds and their musical applications for woodwinds. Tina was awarded the aptly-named Reeder chair in 2016; the title is given to an SLSO musician every five years to honor artistic excellence and community leadership.
  • Violist Christian Woehr, who joined the SLSO in 1986, was long the associate principal in his section. Before coming to St. Louis, he was principal viola of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Woehr is also known as a composer and arranger, writing primarily for string ensembles. Both his original works and others have been performed by his group the Strings of Arda, and by orchestras around the country.
  • Principal tuba and holder of the Lesley A. Waldheim Chair, Michael Sanders became a member of the SLSO in 1991 after a stint as principal tuba of the San Antonio Symphony. Sanders lectured and gave master-classes on orchestra performance at the Keystone Brass Institute, the National Orchestral Brass Symposium, the University of Michigan, and the Manhattan School of Music.

Powell Hall Facilities
It was a very busy summer for the Facilities staff. This year's summer projects included two highly impactful but not readily apparent upgrades.  First, the Grand Foyer chandeliers had their bi-annual cleaning (every crystal is cleaned by hand), and every bulb was replaced with new LED bulbs.  You may have seen the photo and article on the front page of the Post-Dispatch.  Second, a spectacular new sound system was installed in the Hall.  While the Orchestra does not use amplified sound during regular performances, the new sound system will greatly improve patron experience for movies, Live at Powell Hall, and all other amplified events.

SVA Notes

Liz Halpin, Vice-President

New and Prospective Members
Planning is currently underway for the fall New and Prospective Members party.  A date in early November is anticipated but not finalized. We are currently accepting suggestions for prospective member invitees. If you know someone who would be interested in joining the SVA please forward their name and contact information (email address preferred) to

Education and Community Programs
Glenna Schindler, Vice-President

Youth Orchestra
The SVA Tours and Youth Orchestra volunteers joined forces to welcome the incoming St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians at their September 8th orientation.  SVA Youth Orchestra volunteers provided a warm welcome while assisting with the collection of registration materials.  After SLSO staff members Joseph Hendricks (Interim Youth Orchestra Manager), Maureen Byrne (Senior Director, Education & Community Partnerships), and David Nischwitz (VP, Marketing) offered an introduction and overview to Youth Orchestra members and their families, our wonderful Tours volunteers led guests on comprehensive tours of Powell Hall, educating them on the building's history as well as offering insights and answering questions at each stop on the tour. Family members and musicians had the opportunity to see the Hall from different vantage points, and gained a better appreciation of the enriching experience Youth Orchestra members gain while playing at Powell Hall.

As noted above, the 2018/2019 season for the Powell Hall Tours group started on September 8 with a tour for the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians and their families. Seven experienced and four “shadow” guides showed these valued members of the SLSO family the beautiful splendor of Powell Hall and shared its rich history during the Youth Orchestra’s annual orientation. 

The public tours schedule has been set through January, 2019. Interested groups can peruse the SLSO website for available dates and make reservations for a tour. 

The Tours Team will be providing tours for elementary school children following Education Concerts in October.

The kickoff meeting for Powell Hall Tours volunteers was held on Friday, September 21 but we can still welcome new members to the Team. All SVA members who are interested in participating with this group should contact Group Leader, Becky Brown for more information at

Express the Music
Express the Music's Steering Committee met on September 21, followed by the kick-off meeting of the new ETM Recruiting Committee. Led by Sharon Voss, vice-chair of ETM, they'll call or email schools during October to encourage their participation and to update our database of teachers and schools.

The ETM Launch meeting will be on Saturday, November 10 at 10:00 in the Met Bar. We'll look at what's new in ETM, including the 2019 music prompt, the Finale movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. The Youth Orchestra will be performing the whole symphony at the ETM awards ceremony on March 23, 2019.

Picture the Music
Where will the music lead your students’ imaginations? Picture the Music invites students grades K-6 to discover orchestral music and respond with paintings and drawings that express creative thought and emotion. This season, students will explore Manuel de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance. For more information download the 2018/2019 Picture the Music Teacher's Guide. All entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Artwork may be mailed in or dropped off the January 18-19, 2019

Last season, 67 schools and more than 12,000 students participated in the free competition. 432 submissions were reviewed, and from this group 100 finalists representing 36 schools were selected. Finalists were honored at a special awards ceremony at Powell Hall and their works were featured in a traveling exhibition.

Postcards will be sent to the schools to encourage the teachers to participate in the 29th year of Picture the Music. Students will be able to listen to the music via recordings or attend the family concert on October 14th to hear the SLSO perform our music selection.

Philanthropy and Stewardship
Kent McNeil, Vice-President

The SVA Boutique Volunteers are thrilled to once again be supporting our wonderful Symphony throughout this new season. 48 volunteer workers are scheduled in teams of three at each concert to offer a variety of lovely music-themed items for sale, including CD’s of some of last season’s performances. Boutique volunteers consider themselves to be additional ambassadors who present a friendly, smiling face to concert-goers.

September's Ambassador Training was very informative and well attended. Vicki Boutwell, SLSO VP of Communications, used a comprehensive and interesting Power Point Presentation to update Ambassadors’ background knowledge of and current plans for the orchestra. 

SVA Chairs discussed with Ambassadors what the expectations were when volunteering at Powell Hall and other locations. The main purpose is to help create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for patrons and guests. It is also important that Ambassadors use available resources on the SLSO website and in SLSO and SVA publications to stay well informed when speaking to family, friends, and acquaintances about the symphony’s wonderful and varied programming and its impact on the St. Louis community and beyond.  An evening Ambassador Training session is planned for early October.

Ambassadors also supported: 

  • Concert in Forest Park
  • Symphony Prelude
  • Opening Weekend Classical Concert Performances

New opportunities are in the planning stages for Ambassadors. There are 73 Ambassadors on the committee, so hopefully everyone will find some time to serve and promote our favorite organization, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.