News and Notes - November 2019

Editor’s note: The SVA’s “News and Notes” 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, bonjour! So many wonderful things have happened since I wrote my last column in August. Where to begin…? I’m just going to give you a few highlights—you can get all the details in the committee reports that follow.

While you may have been vacationing in the summer, the SVA Board was gearing up for the new year with board meetings and two board orientations. Of course, the highlight of the summer was welcoming our new Music Director, Stéphane Denève, as he arrived at the airport (banner photo at the top). SVA members carrying homemade signs greeted him, and as tired as he must have been traveling from Brussels,he welcomed us with hugs, smiles, and stories. Laura has the signs in her office, so next time you’re at the Hall, stop by and see our incredible artwork! Many thanksto Kent McNeil for corralling all the volunteers!

Stéphane Fan

Next came the incredible outdoor concert at Forest Park. Our SVA volunteers stood out in their new lime green t-shirts as they helped with the buses, welcomed concertgoers, and passed out SLSO brochures. Many took home a souvenir “Stéph-fan” (very clever!) with a large photo of Stéphane on the front and his conducting schedule on back. Many thanks to Debbie Dillon for arranging the many volunteers. If you didn’t make it to the concert this year, be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s date.

SVA Members

October was filled with many SVA sponsored events. Our Fall Membership Dinner on October 3rd was a big success. Held at the AlgonquiGolf Club this year, the evening featured a delicious dinner, guest speaker Vicki Boutwell, SLSO VP of Communications, and a special musical performance by Andrew Cuneo, our Principal Bassoon. Kudos to the Membership Committee’s “October Team” who did an outstanding job making all the arrangements: Barb Ferman, Margie Franz and Anna Lea Kerckhoff. 

The SLSO musicians enjoyed a repeat performance of last year’s SVA Appreciation Breakfast on October 17. What a wonderful way to build a strong relationship with our symphony members.

Some of you have asked me, “When are we going to do another fundraiser?” The answer…October 24! We held our $50 for 50 fundraiser on behalf of the Youth Orchestra’s 50th anniversary which will be celebrated throughout this year. Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks prepared by SVA volunteers at the beautiful historic home of Dr. Ken and Marjorie Smith as well as a wonderful musical performance by some very talented Youth Orchestra musicians. $50 for 50 was a great success!

I’ve only given you bits and pieces of some of our activities. Be sure to read through all the committee reports in this News and Notes. You will be amazed at the amount of volunteer projects that our members have undertaken. If you’re not currently involved in any of the committees, please give us a second look. It’s not too late to sign up and lend your support!

Pop Culture Trivia Night fundraiser—Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm.  

Be sure to mark this date on your calendar—better yet, get a table of 8–10 people and come to this fun-filled evening! It’s unique, it’s musical, it’s not your typical trivia night! All the proceeds will benefit our Youth Orchestra. How can you help? Well, let me count the ways! Consider being a sponsor ($100, $250, or $500); bring in an item for our silent auction (gift certificates are great); help us collect “freebies” for door prizes that your banks and businesses give away (pens, mugs, hats, sports items— anything and everything!). We need YOUR help to make this successful. Contact Martha Duchild, our chairperson, for any questions or to volunteer: mduchild@hotmail.com.

One Last Thought…

In an effort to continue our theme of building strong SVA relationships, our Executive Committee members have each written a few sentences to introduce themselves. I guarantee you will find something about each one of them that you did not know before you read their introductions.

As always, if you have any suggestions, concerns, or compliments!) please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I always look forward to your feedback!

À bientôt!

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

Meet Our Executive Board

Secretary Elizabeth Crosby
Elizabeth CrosbyI joined the SVA in 2013 to volunteer with my mother, Marilyn Gordon, who was an active SVA member. Together, we co-chaired the education concert’s bus ambassador team. I then went on to chair the One & Done and education ambassador teams in the following years. My love of classical music started at my home in Annandale, Virginia (suburb of D.C.) where my parents would often play symphonic records and sometimes take me to see the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. My work career prior to having a family was in accounting, banking and financial reporting.

My husband, Rick, our two sons and I moved to the St Louis area in 2000 to be closer to my mother and start a business. We currently live on a 22-acre farm in Millstadt, IL with our dog and 3 horses. My passion for riding horses began at an early age and I’ve been riding with The Bridlespur Hunt since 2013, where I am currently the treasurer for the organization. I enjoy trail riding, biking, gardening, skiing, taking care of their farm, travel and golf—as well as being a dedicated volunteer for the SLSO.

VP of Philanthropy and Stewardship Debbie DillonDebbie Dillon
In 2017 a friend encouraged/recruited me to get involved in the SVA. I was and am still an SLSO novice but enjoy being part of such a passionate and talented organization that supports our world-class symphony, which is truly the crown jewel of St. Louis. I love working with smart, caring people that unite around promoting the SLSO in our community. There is something in the SVA for everyone who dares to get involved.

I am retired from a fun career in global sales for technology companies specializing in strategic enterprise educational software solutions for Fortune 500 corporations. I had the opportunity to work with amazing people around the world who have many of the same qualities I see in our volunteers and the SLSO— dedication, passion, commitment.

Currently my role in the SVA is VP of Philanthropy & Stewardship. Our team includes Advocacy, Ambassadors, Boutique, Discovery, and Friends. This being the inaugural year of Stéphane Denève and the 50th anniversary of the SLSO Youth Orchestra, our team is fully engaged and energized in supporting the SLSO. There is new excitement in all the SLSO is doing. It is contagious and we hope you catch it!

I am married to Todd Dillon, a commercial insurance executive. We are the proud parents to two adult children— Kelly who lives in Washington, D.C., and Paul who lives in St. Louis.

In addition to volunteering with the SVA, I enjoy spending time in Colorado, gardening, and with Todd and our family, friends, and our golden retriever. Life is good and I am thankful.

VP of Education Kent McNeil
Kent McNeilI moved to St. Louis in 1981 to marry my wife Jane. One of the first steps of our marriage was to subscribe to a season series of the SLSO. It became an important part of our lives. Jane and I met at an American Bankers Association graduate banking program taught at Rutgers during the summer. She was living here and I in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As part of my new home and career I moved up the ranks of the Landmark Banks and became the President and CEO of the Landmark Bank of St. Charles.

In the early ’90s we merged Landmark with Magna Bank. I decided to pursue my banking career elsewhere. At the time, I did not understand where “elsewhere” would be. At a fellow banker’s suggestion, I contacted KPMG Consulting because he had done some work for them in Poland. My introduction quickly led me to doing some consulting for them in Moldova, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. That quickly turned into a new career as an international banking consultant helping developing countries—most of which had been part of the Soviet Union—form effective banking practices and banking systems. Within a couple of years, Jane left her job and joined me.

This right turn in our careers lasted twenty years and enabled us to work in or visit seventy countries. When we retired in 2013, one of the first steps to re-acclimate ourselves into the St. Louis scene was to renew our subscription to the SLSO and join the SVA. One and Done led to volunteering for Gypsy Caravan, which led to our being asked to be Co-Chairs of Gypsy. We so enjoy our work with many of the wonderful programs of SVA and, especially, all the great friends we have developed.

VP of Membership Connie WepferConnie Wepfer
Hi everyone. My name is Connie Wepfer and I’m the new Vice President of Membership. I joined the SVA in 2015 and have tried to make the most of my membership, getting involved in many teams and committees. Prior to this position I was Chair of the New and Prospective Member Committee.

Of course, I like classical music; I played the violin for eightyears and was a visitor to Powell Hall on a school field trip many decades ago. I remember I had never seen such a beautiful place before. 

I’m a born and raised St. Louisan. I graduated from Lindbergh High School in case you’re wondering. My husband and I met at AT&T and both retired from there a few years ago. We enjoy good food and wine, whether at home or in a restaurant. And as most know, I love to ride horses. I enjoy riding my horse Henry, and before him Smokey Joe, through the woods around Pacific. 

One thing you don’t know about me, I met Colonel Harland Sanders in a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant; he did not disclose the secret 11 herbs and spices. 

Membership News

DirectorySVA Directory
Help us help you stay informed!

If you didn’t take a Membership Directory at the Fall Membership meeting, you can pick up a copy at the Boutique.

In the interest of making sure that we are able to keep you up to date on the activities of both the SVA and the SLSO, please let us know any changes to your contact information—new home address, email address, phone number, etc. A simple email to SVADirectory@slso.org will do.

Need help accessing the online Membership Directory? Call your committee chair, VP, or Susan Pribble at 270-792-6220 for instructions and the password.

New and Prospective
The New and Prospective Members Committee is currently in the “hurry up and wait” mode. We have received numerous inquiries from potential SVA members and we are looking forward to hosting an opportunity for these people to meet our membership and to learn firsthand about the opportunities within the SVA.

We would like to encourage the current membership to serve as recruiters for additional new faces and new energy to increase our membership along with building a larger pool to draw participants from. It appears that some committees still need more people to participate in their activities, such as Education Concert hosts for example. This is only one place where an increase in membership would be a most welcomed perk!

Seize the opportunity! Strike while the iron is still hot! If you find yourself talking with someone that shares your love and enthusiasm for the SLSO ask the question or make the suggestion, “Have you ever thought about volunteering in Powell Hall?” Make that connection and reel them in! And follow-up on your catch, making sure they know that they would be an appreciated part of the SVA and the SLSO.

Contact us at SVANewandProspective@slso.org.

Susanne Seibel, Chair
Elizabeth Hahn, Vice Chair

Philanthropy and Stewardship News

BoutiqueIf you are working in the Boutique and a particularly enthusiastic and chatty patron is at the counter, or you hand an enthusiastic person a donut or cup of coffee on a Friday morning, drop the suggestion, “Have you ever thought about volunteering with the SLSO? We could use your energy and excitement!” You never know who might join our cause and what that person may potentially bring to the table. There truly is strength in numbers!

Contact us at SVABoutique@slso.org

Jim Moore, Chair
David Sperber, Vice Chair

Ambassadors Committee
Greeting TeamOur SVA Ambassadors have begun the season with a bang, and without the Chair and Vice Chair (who had previous travel plans) in town! Thanks very much to those of you who met our new conductor at the airport on Sept. 9th. “Welcome Stéphane” banners were raised, smiles were in abundance, and our new leader was absolutely delighted with his introduction for the 2019–2020 Season. This photo shows Stéphane taking pictures of our greeting to show his family, because it was the first time this had happened to him!

Following the airport welcome, our volunteers were there among the throng of thousands at Forest Park on September 12, distributing information including old fashioned hand fans with a smilingStephane Stéphane on one side and concert schedule on the other. Who could resist? Again, although it was a hot night, it was a wonderful event and Marjie and I thank those who stepped up to the plate with their presence.

BUT—Marjie and I are back, and Ambassadors have only just begun. There are five more things on our Ambassador plates that we are aware of before the end of this year. So stay tuned. We will need lots of help and will be sending out a call.

Contact us at SVAAmbassador@SLSO.org.

Violet Steinmeyer, Ambassador Chair
Marjorie Smith, Ambassador Vice Chair

Friends Committee
The Friends Committee Kickoff Meeting was held at the home of Sara Fabick on September 4, 2019. Joe Drexelius, Individual Giving/Annual Campaign Assistant Director, was the main speaker. Joe repeatedly thanked the Friends Volunteers and explained how important making personal phone contact or leaving phone messages was for encouraging donors to continue their support of the SLSO. SVA VP Debbie Dillon, SVA President Phyllis Traub, and past Friends’ Chair Susan Hoffman spoke to the group and had suggestions for speaking with donors. Other experienced committee members gave suggestions to the committee.

Friends’ volunteers were encouraged to spread the enthusiasm for the upcoming SLSO Season with our new Music Director Stéphane Denève, new branding, and a lot of buzz and excitement about the plans for the year.

We made almost 400 phone calls to donors in September with all volunteers reporting in promptly. We’re off to a good start! Our next assignment is in early December.

Contact us at SVAFriends@slso.org

Sara Fabick, Chair
Jamie Spencer, Vice Chair

Education News

Youth Orchestra
Youth Orchestra volunteers welcomed the incoming 50th anniversary YO musicians and their parents/guardians on Saturday, September 7. In addition to collecting registration forms, our volunteers handed out YO t-shirts which were specially designed for the anniversary season.

Youth Orchestra Manager Samantha Sachtleben generously included an opportunity for SVA YO team lead Martha Duchild to speak to parents/guardians about the SVA, and the integral role it plays in the success of YO and the SLSO. It was exciting to be able to share the many positive experiences of volunteering, as well as the many benefits afforded to those who decide to join. Much to the delight of the SVA YO team, we were able to recruit two new YO parents to the SVA!

The story of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra cannot be told without also mentioning the Symphony Volunteer Association. It may come as a surprise that the shared history of the two groups began when the SVA, then known as the Women's Association, sponsored as part of its mission the creation of the YO, founded in 1970 by former music director Leonard Slatkin. One of the SLSYO's first managers was SVA member Edith Houghland, who served in that role for 10 years. This upcoming season the YO will be celebrating five decades of music education and performance, with many special activities planned to honor this remarkable anniversary. Thanks to the unique bond between the YO and the SVA, our preparations for this celebratory season are infused with pride.

The SVA has been anticipating this special season for months, from helping the SLSO plan for YO50 events to assisting with those activities as we pull from the incredibly diverse talents of our membership. Our teams are already in high gear, from the Ambassadors helping to host a fundraising evening featuring performances by YO musicians, to the Tours team slated to share their considerable knowledge of Powell Hall during the upcoming play-in concert featuring YO alumni from across the country. Included in this group of alumni will be the six SLSO musicians who have the distinction of playing for the very orchestra that supported and inspired their careers as young musicians. All teams will be in action on February 22, 2020 to support the first SVA pop culture trivia night, which promises to be an unforgettable evening of fun featuring live music incorporated into the trivia questions.

Youth OrchestraConductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin (shown here leading a YO rehearsal) provided inspiration for our young musicians during a rehearsal last spring when he announced to them that they could do something that even doctors could not: Bring the dead (music notes on a page) back to life. Think about it: 50 years of young musicians keeping classical music alive by bringing music notes to life as part of this cherished orchestra. As early advocates for the YO, the SVA helped ensure that the SLSO would continue to “enrich lives through the power of music.” The SVA is honored to have played a role in fostering the YO legacy, and looks forward to using the many talents of our members to support its mission over the next 50 years. Please join us!

Contact me at SVAYouthOrchestra@slso.org

Martha Duchild, Team Leader

Education Hosts
Janice Greeting BusesIt’s all about the flow…. That could be the mantra for the Education Hosts this year. And it was definitely the mantra for the committee’s kick-off at Powell Hall on September 10. New and returning committee members gathered for refreshments before taking in the presentation of new volunteer training materials for the Education Concerts.

Last year the Education Department led a team consisting of all the departmental areas involved with the education concerts, including Elizabeth Crosby from the SVA, to understand and improve logistical stress points at the Education Concerts. From there they developed a new Education Host volunteer staffing program with each position addressing a specific concern identified in logistical studies and post-concert teacher surveys. Needless to say, there are many volunteer staffing positions and removing even one can cause flow problems elsewhere as each position provides vital support.

Keeping the flow of students and teacher going smoothly, safely, and happily to and from the education concerts is the main goal of this growing committee. It takes a lot of volunteers to greet and guide guests, removing any possible confusion and stress caused by arriving at an unfamiliar place with 50 children in tow—who are merging with hundreds of other children from other schools.

What this all means is that we need more of YOU to help greet, guide, and safely send off students and their teachers. Introducing children to the magic of classical music and the SLSO can be life changing for them and is instrumental in creating the next generation of classical music lovers.

Future Education Concerts are scheduled for the mornings of February 19–20, 2020 and May 12–13, 2020. Please consider joining the Education Host Committee by contacting Janice Seele at seelestl@aol.com.

Instrument Playground
Linda Assisting Child with Instrument PlaygroundThe Instrument Playground held its yearly kick-off on August 8, 2019 in the Whitaker Room. Food and drink were shared as we discussed the upcoming season for IP.

On August 29, Instrument Playground traveled to Ellisville to help the Assistance League of St.Don with tuba Louis. In a two-hour period, we worked with over sixty young people. The Assistance League staff was extremely helpful to us. The young people were very excited with the many instruments. They were especially excited about Don Franz's tuba and the green trombone (our P-bone, donated by the SLSO’s trombone section). Many students wanted to have a second turn on the instruments. We were certainly impressed by the work of the Assistance League. They supply clothing, books, school supplies and many more items to the young people. This program was a great experience for everyone. The photos show Linda Seibert helping with violin, Don Franz and his tuba, and IP chair John Malvin with the green P-bone.

Instrument Playground

Contact us at SVAInstrumentPlayground@slso.org

John Malvin, Chair
Jim Schindler, Vice Chair


Picture The Music
“Inspiring Students to Get Involved and Stay Involved in Music” is the SLSO Education Department's tagline for student outreach programs. Picture the Music is one important way we help fulfill this mission. 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 Waltz from Khachaturian's Masquerade Suite

In a recent meeting, Jessica Ingraham, Director of Education, stressed the importance of Picture the Music to the SLSO's education outreach efforts. During the previous symphony season, over 12,000 K-6 students in Missouri and Illinois created art inspired by that year's musical selection. From the more than 12,000 pieces of art created, teachers submitted almost 500 pieces to the Picture the Music art competition from which the top 100 finalists were chosen and recognized at the Awards Ceremony. The impact of this education outreach program is second only to the SLSO education concerts!

Picture the Music JudgingAlthough student artwork will be submitted in January 2020, there's been a flurry of behind-the-scenes activities finalizing details and setting the stage for the 30th year of Picture the Music activities that will occur from January through May, 2020. To ensure our Picture the Music mailings reach the correct recipients, teacher and/or principal contact information for approximately 1200 schools was updated and submitted to the SLSO Education team. Appreciation and thanks to Bev Cox, Debbie Eldridge, Margaret Lahrmann, Jane McNeill, and Janice Seele for completing these updates. Picture the Music committee members have been invited to attend one of two training and orientation meetings scheduled for October 29 and November 11. Kudos to all of our dedicated SVA committee members who have contributed to the success of Picture the Music for the past 29 years! We are looking forward to the 30-year anniversary of working with elementary students as they create artwork and experience the joy and inspiration of music!

Contact us at SVAPicturetheMusic@slso.org

Sherry Moschner, Chair
Debbie Miali, Vice Chair

Express The Music
Express The Music (ETM) is well on its way to completing the review of schools and teacher contacts. Emails were sent to each teacher contact by the ETM volunteers, and post cards were sent to the school contacts by the SLSO as reminders of this exciting opportunity for students in grades 6—12. Several teachers and parents have been in touch to ask questions. Each has stated how excited their student(s) are to participate in this activity. Thanks go to Bev Cox for keeping all the data organized and to Becky Brown, Jamie Spencer, and Jane McNeil for reviewing school and teacher information. To Karen Tinkle, Cheryl Havlin, and Sharon Voss who stepped forward at my urgent plea, I thank you and may still need you before this process is complete.

Express the MusicThe University United Methodist Church has agreed again this year to allow us to use their facility for Reading Day. We can’t thank them enough for their gracious hospitality. Contracts with the Church will be completed shortly.

The official launch of the 2019–2020 ETM Committee is from 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9 in the Whitaker Room at Powell Hall. It will be wonderful to have as many of the Committee members together as possible. At the launch meeting we will review all the activities for the year and discuss a course of action for each important date.

January is not only the start of the New Year it is also the start of ETM’s busy schedule. There are three important ETM January dates. Friday, January 17 ETM entries are due; Monday, January 27 envelopes sent by the teachers are opened; and Wednesday, January 29 is Intake day. We will really need our volunteers to step forward for those dates as well as the fun and adventure days in February.

February is when the work of the committee will be in full swing. Reading, scoring, judging and notifying teachers and finalists will require our dedicated volunteers to be ready for more fun and adventure. (Really!) More about the Committee activities will be coming. I see the activities of ETM not only as serious business for the students and the SLSO but also as a fun way to connect with each other and with the SLSO staff. Thank you all for volunteering and giving so much of yourselves to the SLSO.

Contact us at SVAExpresstheMusic@slso.org

Glenna Schindler, Chair
Liz Halpin, Vice Chair

Powell Hall Tours
The Powell Hall Tours group was essentially on hiatus in July and August as the Hall was being readied for the start of the new season; however, one tour was conducted at the request of the SLSO Education department for teachers from the Soulard School.

33 tours were conducted for 1,208 individuals during the past year:

Type                                       Quantity                               # Participants

Education                             7                                              804

(Post Education Concert, Education Department)

PH Events                             5                                              221

(Philanthropy, Marketing, Communications, SVA, YO, Other)

Public                                     21                                           183

(General, Sales)

Our guides logged 338 hours of service for the SLSO this past year and conducted approximately three tours/month.

Powell Hall ChandelierThe 2019/2020 kickoff meeting for PH Tours was held Friday, September 6. Drafts of new training materials were reviewed. We will have 25 guides (20 experienced and 5 shadows) starting off this year. Currently there are 10 confirmed tours already scheduled that includes recently released fall/winter public tours dates as well as Education Concert tours.

For additional information about volunteering with this group, please contact Becky Brown, Group Leader, at SVATours@slso.org.

It’s not too late to volunteer!!

Some of you have asked, “how do we find the SVA page on the symphony website?” It’s really very simple: Go to slso.org; Go to the support heading at the top, click on support and scroll down to volunteer which is the last entry. It will take you to the SVA website. I told you it was simple!

 Now that you’re on our webpage, you can view all the committee descriptions. If you haven't already joined a committee or taken on an activity, please sign up and choose what you'd like to do. You'll work with great people, you'll have fun, and you'll help the Symphony with its mission toenrich lives through the power of music. It doesn't get any better than that!

Upcoming SVA Dates to Put on your Calendar:

Friday, January 10, 2020             Winter Heat Thank You!

Saturday, February 22, 2020     SVA Pop Culture Musical Trivia Night

Saturday, March 7, 2020             Membership Brunch

Friday, May 1, 2020                      Spring Membership Luncheon