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News and Notes - August 2019

Editor’s note: The SVA’s “News and Notes” newsletter is a quarterly publication that reviews the previous quarter’s accomplishments and provides a preview of activities to come. Comments and suggestions are welcome at SVACommunications@slso.org.

Notes from the President:

To my SVA Family, Hello (or perhaps I should say, bonjour!)
The HandoffI am very honored to write my first article as your new Symphony Volunteer Association President. I am thrilled that Jeff Kaplan, our Immediate Past President, will carry on as Communications Chair, so you won’t miss a beat and will continue to get the latest info on all the SVA and SLSO activities. Just a word about Jeff – not only was he an outstanding President, but he has been a wonderful mentor to me and has spent many hours helping me navigate through this transition period (and he only rolled his eyes a few times as he was trying to teach me new computer skills!). If you attended the May luncheon, I hope you noticed the many Past Presidents who were there – this was quite a tribute to their continued involvement, and I feel fortunate to be able to call upon them for their expertise as well! 

He’s almost here!
This is a very exciting time to be your SVA President. In September, Stéphane Denève will become SLSO’s Music Director. As he remarked at his last concert in May, “We will have the wedding – so start buying your dresses now!” Of course, he entered the stage that night wearing a Blues Hockey jersey, and he won over the audience immediately. I know that Stéphane (as he likes to be called) and our SLSO musicians will create many magical, musical moments in the coming year.

Youth Orchestra turns 50!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra (YO). If you haven’t heard them play, you are truly missing out on a wonderful musical experience. Many of these talented students go on to play professionally. As a matter of fact, six former Youth Orchestra members currently play in our own St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. We will have many opportunities to support the YO and celebrate this special milestone together (photo: YO Students at March Luncheon sponsored by SVA). Watch for exciting details in the near future! FYI – Both Stéphane and the Youth Orchestra were listed in the July issue of the St. Louis Magazine Readers Choice A-List Winners!

YO Students at SVA LuncheonOur YO team completed its final activity of the season in mid-June, as they helped welcome young musicians to their final auditions at Powell Hall.  What a wonderful opportunity for those returning YO musicians and those who made it through preliminary auditions to play onstage at Powell Hall in a blind audition. Congratulations to all, including those who will be a part of the 50th anniversary St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra!

Thanks to all our wonderful YO volunteers for contributing in so many ways this past season!

My Personal Goal
It’s worth repeating the official purpose of the SVA – “to provide a means for individuals to support and advance the mission of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra: to enrich lives through the power of music.” As SVA President, I would like to add another personal goal: to strengthen our SVA community by building stronger relationships between and among each other. That is key to having a successful organization. You can make these connections by volunteering on committees, coming to membership events, supporting SVA activities and programs, and of course, attending SLSO and Youth Orchestra concerts. I plan on using future News & Notes to “introduce” you to our Executive Committee, our Chairs and team leaders, our Past Presidents, and last but certainly not least, our fantastic staff liaison, Laura Dwyer. Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see covered in News & Notes.

One last thought…
I am here to serve you – I need your input, your suggestions, and your concerns so together, we can create a meaningful year ahead. Let’s begin our year on a high note and think outside the Bachs because you are all so clef-er. Let’s always stay in tune with each other, for we all share the belief that life without music would b flat!

All the best,

Phyllis Traub
St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association
C: 314-477-3718

Membership News

Meetings and Events
The May luncheon at the St. Louis Club was very well attended. Congratulations to the committee! It was a pleasure to have Marie-Hélène Bernard, SLSO President and CEO, as our guest speaker and we so appreciate her taking the time out of her busy schedule for us.

The tentative schedule for upcoming events is:
Thursday, October 3, 2019, for the Fall Membership Dinner
Saturday, March 7, 2020, for the Winter Brunch
Friday, May 1, 2020, for the Spring Luncheon

The Meetings and Events committee is working on venues. If you are willing to sponsor (or know someone who would sponsor) an SVA meeting at a private club, please let Meetings and Events chair Judy Brown-Rowden know as soon as possible at SVAMembership@slso.org.

New and Prospective Members
New and Prospective MembersNew and Prospective held their spring party on April 9, 2019, at Powell Hall. Seven guests attended in addition to several SVA members. The party was followed by a tour of Powell Hall. The tour is very popular, providing valuable information about the SLSO and hall and energizing new member’s enthusiasm for the SVA.

As a summary note, 14 new members joined during the 2018/2019 season under the outgoing team of Connie Wepfer and Jim Moore (photo). Suzanne Seibel and Elizabeth Hahn will be assuming the N&P reins going forward. They can be reached at SVANewandProspective@slso.org.

One and Done
One and Done - Pride FestivalFive volunteers took the shifts from 11am-5pm at the Tower Grove Pride Festival on June 29. They, along with some SLSO staff, talked with people about the SLSO and the upcoming season. A prize wheel (pictured) was used to give out ticket vouchers. Volunteers reported that they enjoyed the experience and (fortunately) the good weather.


Philanthropy and Stewardship News

Advocacy Committee
Advocacy Bill SigningSVA Advocacy Committee co-chairs Patty Kaplan and Mark Mittleman are shown in this photo at the signing ceremony for the new Missouri Arts Council legislation with the bill’s sponsor, Representative Mary Elizabeth Coleman of Arnold, and Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, whose office will now administer the Council’s programs.  Last year MAC awarded a total of more than $4 million to almost 500 grantees, including the SLSO.

Patty and Mark got an early start on our 19/20 season advocating for the SLSO by attending the signing of Missouri House Bill 612 on June 27. The signing took place at the St. Louis Art Museum in front of George Caleb Bingham’s Jolly Flatboatman in Port. The Bill transfers The Missouri State Council on the Arts from the Economic Development Committee to the office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Education News

Powell Hall Tours
Lafayette IN Arts Group at Powell HallThe 18/19 Powell Hall Tours season recently concluded. Our busy tour guides were engaged in presenting Powell Hall and its incredible history to 1205 people during this time. During April-June, the tour guides conducted tours for 519 individuals (116 for Public; 366 for Education; 37 for PH Events). We welcomed eight different groups for the Public tours that included The Willows, AAUW, New Neighbor Club of STL, Lafayette (IN) Arts Group, SIU-E Alumni (photo), and individual family-and-friends groups.  

We now have 37 guides (23 experienced and 14 “shadows”). Two new SVA members joined the group in May. Overall, our group has logged 324 volunteer hours in support of the SLSO.

PH Tours will be on hiatus during July and August while planned maintenance and updates are conducted at Powell Hall. The 19/20 kickoff meeting for PH Tours will be held Friday, September 6. For additional information about volunteering with this group, please contact Becky Brown, Group Leader, at SVATours@slso.org.

Education Hosts
The Education Hosts worked the last two education concerts "The Orchestra Moves" - on May 7 and 8, 2019. The concert is very interactive, with students playing recorders with the orchestra. There were more than 5,540 attendees over the two days and three concerts. Think of the impact the music, the musicians, Powell Hall, and the experience meant to all of those students, teachers, and parents!

SVA Bus DutyThe volunteers helped with getting students into Powell and returning to their buses. There are four new inside volunteer positions implemented during this year's concerts - we have two volunteers greeting home schoolers in the ticket lobby and two volunteers inside Powell Hall helping students leave the hall. If you've been reluctant to join us because you don't like working outside, please reconsider joining us this fall for one of the inside positions! The SLSO also implemented new color signage that helps teachers locate the correct door to enter and bought feather flags (seen in the picture) to help teachers find their buses. The SLSO staff keeps working on ways to improve the entire process and the feedback from teachers has been tremendously positive. We have the summer off and the next set of education concerts are October 22 and 23 with Peter and the Wolf. Come join us in the fall! 

Express the Music
Express the Music (ETM) is well on its way to a new year. Over the past three months, the baton has been passed from Chairman Terry Gates and Vice-Chair Sharon Voss to Chairperson Glenna Schindler and Vice-Chair Liz Halpin. Terry and Sharon smoothed the way for the 19/20 ETM season by working with the SLSO staff to develop a new ETM schedule and selecting the music ETM participants will use to inspire their prose and poetry entries.

Express the Music Ceremony The Committee members worked very hard to ensure a successful finale honoring those students chosen for their outstanding prose or poetry. Seventy-five finalists were chosen with three winners in the Prose Junior category (Grades 6 – 8) and three winners in the Poetry Junior category. There were also three winners in the Prose Senior category (Grades 9 – 12) and three winners in the Poetry Senior category. The winners were honored at the last Youth Orchestra Concert on March 23, 2019 (photo). Those who read the entries agreed it was a difficult task to pick out 12 winners from the 75 finalists. It is certain to be as difficult for the 2019/2020 entries also. However, the Committee is looking forward to the challenge.

Picture the Music
The story below appeared in local papers after this year’s PTM ceremony:

SLSO Fosters Art Through the Generations

Area students win honors in annual SLSO art contest, including great-granddaughter of former longtime SLSO violist

Members of the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association arrange entries in the 2019 Picture the Music contest.Members of the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association arrange entries in the 2019 Picture the Music contest.

Art runs deep in Zofia Kulikowski’s family. The second grader at St. Justin Martyr School in Sunset Hills was recently named a Top 100 artist in the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association’s “Picture the Music” contest.

The annual contest – now in its 29th year – invites elementary students from the St. Louis region and beyond to create a work of art in response to hearing a piece of orchestral music. This year, thousands of students from more than 70 schools participated in the contest, including some as far away as Springfield, Missouri. The students created works based on Manuel de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance. The piece, a movement taken from de Falla’s ballet El amor brujo (The Bewitched Love), furiously depicts a ceremonial religious dance, with frenetic trills, chromatic runs, and musical ornaments.

The talented young artists, ages 5 -12, created works with bright colors, musical imagery, and deft translation from the audial world to the visual. Zophia’s piece, The Fox Feeter, features a landscape scene with towering mountains and a blue/purple sky.

Judges for the contest reviewed more than 400 works submitted and selected 100 of the top works from students in Kindergarten through sixth grade. They were honored at an awards ceremony hosted by the SVA at Powell Hall on February 25. The SVA has organized the contest every year for 29 years, working with St. Louis area - and statewide - art teachers, collecting submissions, recruiting judges, and mounting and transporting the artwork. The SVA also run the annual Express the Music contest, which asks middle and high school students to respond to a piece of classical music in poetry or prose. Volunteers support the SLSO in its mission to enrich lives through the power of music.

Among the winners was Zofia. While looking through the Top 100 pieces displayed recently in Powell Hall’s Wightman Grand Foyer, Zofia and her mother were also able to consider a deeper connection to the SLSO. Zofia’s great-grandfather was Herbert van den Burg, SLSO violist for 40 years. He joined the SLSO in the 1931/1932 season as Principal Viola, a position he held through the 1967/1968 season. He retired from the SLSO in 1971. Zofia may also have a future in art, as well. Her piece received a Special Recognition Award in the Picture the Music contest.

Upcoming SVA Events
Summer is a time of planning and preparing for your SVA Executive Committee and General Board. Your VPs, committee chairs, and team leads have already begun to meet both with their SLSO Staff counterparts and other SVA members to plan the Fall's kickoff events and activities.

If you haven't already joined a committee or taken on an activity, please visit the SVA web site, and scroll down to view the committee descriptions and signup form and choose what you'd like to do. You'll work with great people, you'll have fun, and you'll help the SLSO with its mission toenrich lives through the power of music. It doesn't get any better than that!