News and Notes - August 2020

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

Editor's Note:

This is an unusual issue of News and Notes. The August issue usually summarizes the SVA’s activities during the last few months of the concert season, and features previews of the season to come. It usually focuses on committee preparation, kick-off meetings, and upcoming events.

With all of that up in the air, we will take the opportunity to look back at what we accomplished during the abbreviated 2019/2020 season, with a brief nod to the future. We will use periodic emails to the SVA membership from the President, from the Communications Committee, and from Laura to keep you informed about plans for 2020/2021.

Meanwhile, all the best to everyone, and please stay healthy!

Notes From the President:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Who would have thought that this famous line from A Tale of Two Cities would so aptly describe the challenging few months we have all been experiencing since the Covid-19 outbreak? In this News and Notes, I’d like to focus on the best of times we certainly had in 2019/2020. I’m in the mood for a little nostalgia, and I bet you are, too!  Although you may have read many of these articles in the past, I’m sure you will enjoy reliving these memorable moments. So please take a walk down memory lane with me as you peruse the many committee activities and events that took place over the last eight months.

Now it’s our challenge to turn “the worst of times” into something positive and inspirational! Although things may look a little different, the Symphony Volunteer Association will continue to thrive during the coming year as we create new memories alongside our talented SLSO staff. I hope you have been enjoying the many educational videos and musical opportunities for your listening pleasure that Jeff Kaplan, our outstanding Communications Chair (and Past President!) has sent your way. We will continue to offer fun ways to stay involved and stay connected. Did you recognize your fellow SVA members in our recent photo collage which Suzanne Seibel and Elizabeth Hahn so ably put together for us? We will continue to use our creativity and imaginations as we rethink some of our programs during the coming year. Watch for Zoom gatherings where we can mix and mingle until we can be together again in person.

We’re always looking for new ways to stay in touch. How about a recipe exchange from SVA and SLSO members? Would you like to learn about some fascinating backgrounds of some of your fellow volunteers? We would appreciate any and all suggestions you may have, as this is YOUR organization.

Speaking of our organization, I would like to welcome again our new SVA Committee Chairs, Vice Chairs and Team Leaders for 2020/2021:
 Connie Bennett, One and Done Chair
 Terri Ciccolella, Membership and Events Vice Chair
 Mike Grayson, Powell Hall Opportunities Chair
 Patty Kaplan, Express the Music Chair
 Mark Mittleman, Advocacy Chair
 Karen Nichols, Instrument Playground Vice Chair
 LaVerne Riebold and Willard Moseley, Group Host Team Leaders

One last thought…I found these quotes and thought you might like them, too:
A problem is a chance for you to do your best (Duke Ellington)
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement (Helen Keller)
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning how to dance in the rain (Vivian Greene)

I want to end on something positive—here’s a link to the wonderful Mother’s Day gift to the SVA from our beloved Laura Dwyer. Please enjoy once again, but please do not post this to social media, since it’s John Williams’ music.

Take care. Stay safe as we continue to enrich our lives through the power of music.

à bientôt,

Phyllis Traub
SVA President

A Couple of Reminders:
SVA DirectoryMembership Directory: 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 St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 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.

You can review your current directory entry online. Just click the link, scroll down to the “19/20 SVA Membership Directory,” and click to obtain the PDF version. Need help accessing the online Membership Directory? Call your committee chair, VP or Susan Pribble at 270-792-6220 for instructions and the password.

Howard Witsma Memorial Challenge: The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra needs your financial support now more than ever. Participating in the Howard Witsma Memorial Challenge would be a special way to honor the memory of this very generous individual whose life was so enriched by our wonderful SLSO, and a very timely way to renew your SVA membership by August 31! 

First Half: Summer-Fall, 2019
So many activities! So many wonderful things happened at the beginning of the season. Here are just a few highlights:


Of course, the highlight of the summer was welcoming our new Music Director, Stéphane Denève, as he arrived at the airport (photo, left). Led by our Ambassadors Committee, 15 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. Many thanks to 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 marketing!) 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.

SVA Members

October was filled with many SVA sponsored events. Our Fall Membership Dinner on October 3rd was a big success. Held at Algonquin Golf Club, the evening featured a delicious dinner, guest speaker and SLSO Vice President of Communications Vicki Boutwell, 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.

2019 Welcome BrunchThe SLSO musicians enjoyed a repeat performance of the SVA Ambassadors Committee’s Appreciation Breakfast (photo, right) on October 17. What a wonderful way to build a strong relationship with our symphony members.

We held the first of two wildly successful fundraisers on October 24. At our $50 for 50 fundraiser on behalf of the Youth Orchestra’s 50th anniversary, 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!

Key First-Half Committee Work:
Youth Orchestra

Youth OrchestraThe SVA’s Youth Orchestra Team volunteers welcomed the incoming 50th anniversary St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra 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. The Youth Orchestra Team, led by Martha Duchild, immediately set to work planning our Trivia Night fundraiser (see Third Quarter, below).

Instrument Playground:
Linda Assisting Child with Instrument Playground Don with tuba On August 29, Instrument Playground traveled to Ellisville to help the Assistance League of St. Louis. In a two hour period, the volunteers worked with over sixty young people. The Assistance League staff was extremely helpful. 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. Instrument PlaygroundThe volunteers 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.


Second Half: Winter/Spring 2020
Sensory ConcertA Busy Fall and Blockbuster Winter! The community service highlight of the year were the Sensory-Friendly Concerts held at the JCC on Wednesday, November 6. This was a collaborative effort between the SLSO and the JCC. SVA members Janice Seele and Patty Kaplan did an outstanding job recruiting our volunteers who underwent special training prior to the event.  I hope you saw this short video clip. The SVA provided a force of volunteers to greet, guide, and support the students from arrival to departure. Here are excerpts of the SLSO Stories article:

“For most children who attend a St. Louis Symphony Orchestra education concert with their classmates, it’s an exciting field trip adventure. They arrive by the busload, join thousands of other enthusiastic children on the busy sidewalk as they make their way inside Powell Hall, marvel at the scale and grandeur of the foyer and auditorium, and thrill to the sound of almost 100 SLSO musicians playing together on the stage. It’s an experience they remember for the rest of their lives.

“Students on the autism spectrum, or with sensory challenges, might be overwhelmed by such an adventure. These students generally have fewer opportunities to engage with the arts than their peers, which is why…SLSO musicians, staff, and volunteers hosted two Sensory-Friendly Education Concerts at the Jewish Community Center, in partnership with Special School District of St. Louis County. While the SLSO performed Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, extra care was taken to provide a safe, friendly, and judgement-free experience.

“Paula Berner, a retired teacher from the Special School District of St. Louis County, collaborated with the SLSO on preparing for these concerts, which the SLSO hosted regularly in the 1980s and early ‘90s…The SLSO created materials to prepare students and teachers for the experience, and also provided a quiet room for students who became overstimulated, as well as self-regulating toys. St. Louis storyteller Bobby Norfolk brought the story to life with his colorful acting, which was made available to students with hearing impairments through an American Sign Language interpreter.

“More than 600 students from nine schools attended the concerts, bringing with them almost as many teachers and support staff. The concert environment…let students experience live music and discover their personal reactions to the music and overall experience.

“SLSO musicians, staff, and volunteers learned too, receiving…instruction about what to expect from their audience. They learned what it’s like for a child with disabilities to experience the world, why children with sensory disorders can become overloaded, how overload can manifest in various behaviors, and how to respond appropriately. They learned just how rare these types of carefully-designed school field trips for students with special needs are. They’re so rare, in fact, that this event attracted a research team from Saint Louis University to evaluate and add to the body of published research the impact of both the concert and training on staff, volunteers, and musicians. However, the most important result of the concert was the impact it made on the students, connecting them to the power of music.”

In January, we were treated to another wonderful Winter Heat. This is the SLSO’s way of showing their appreciation to the SVA for all the volunteer service we provide on behalf of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. This past year we volunteered just shy of 11,000 hours—that’s worth repeating—11,000 hours! At Winter Heat, we were treated to good food, good cheer, guest speaker and SLSO President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard, and a special performance by members of the SLSO horn section: Thomas Jöstlein, Chris Dwyer (Laura’s husband!), Todd Bowermaster, and Julie Thayer. It’s our turn to say thank you to the SLSO staff and musicians for this enjoyable evening! Merci!

Stephane and MarkOur Ambassadors were busy again in February. Encouraging Stéphane and his family to enjoy the entire St. Louis community and environment, the SVA presented to them a detailed Guide to Outdoor Activities in the St. Louis Region.  The guide describes fifteen beautiful and interesting parks and natural areas to explore across Missouri and southern Illinois, with colorful photographs of each location. New Advocacy Committee Chair Mark Mittleman compiled the guide and took most of the photographs, including portraits of several SVA leaders in the outdoor settings; and in February 2020 Mark presented the book at Powell Hall to Stéphane, who was able to share it with his wife Åsa and daughter Alma at home in Brussels via Zoom. 

Our Youth Orchestra Team had a banner one-two-punch winter:
Youth Orchestra 1 – Trivia Night
Question: Which event welcomed 300 guests and raised over $24,000 for the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra? 
Answer: The SVA's YO Trivia Night FUNdraiser!

Trivia Night Delivering on its goal to host an evening of trivia unlike any other in St. Louis, the SVA's first-ever trivia night was a success by all measures. We exceeded our fundraising goal by a wide margin, and those who participated were overwhelming in their positive reviews of the evening, with many asking if we would be hosting another trivia night next year. The SVA's inaugural trivia night could not have been possible without the broad-based support we received, from SVA members and committees, to community sponsors and donors, to the SLSO staff and YO musicians who dedicated their time and effort to bring this evening of fun to fruition.  

Planning for this event began over a year ago, after the St. Louis Symphony's YO Task Force assembled and determined the activities celebrating the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra's 50th anniversary year. SVA leadership agreed to help offset some of the additional costs associated with these activities, and the Discovery Committee brainstormed to determine how best to raise funds for this important mission. The committee voted to host two fundraisers, one an intimate gathering at SVA members Ken and Marjie Smith's home featuring several YO musicians, and the other a trivia night for a larger crowd. As described above, the $50 for 50 at the Smith home raised over $4,400, and solidified our enthusiasm to make trivia night equally successful.

Youth Orchestra Trivia Night Shakespearian Host for Youth Orchestra Trivia NightThe YO Trivia Committee selected February 22, 2020 as the date for its trivia night, and work began in earnest in August 2019 to educate SVA members about the event. Many volunteer hours were spent planning and executing the event, and the impressive results reflected the tremendous dedication of our membership. Guests were treated to a selection of silent auction items, and responded favorably by making a total of over $7,600 in purchases. Tickets to the event, round sponsorships, games, bar tips, and a live auction contributed to the evening's revenues. Our amazing hosts greatly entertained the crowd with trivia questions sprinkled with music and costume changes.
Photos: left, our huge Trivia Night crowd and Terri Ciccolella’s well-hatted table; right, our Shakespearian host.

While there could only be one trivia winner, there is no doubt that there were many winners that evening, most especially the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra!

Youth Orchestra 2 – Alumni Play-in
January 11, 2020 marked a very special occasion in the 50th anniversary season for the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as past and current YO members gathered at Powell Hall for a unique play-in concert. Alumni sat side by side with current YO members, sharing the stage for a performance conducted by IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth and featuring works by Sibelius, Brahms, Shostakovich, and John Williams.

Youth Orchestra Alumni Play-InImbuing this event with a warm, friendly atmosphere were the members of the SVA's Friends Committee, who greeted guests and alumni from across the country. In addition, several SVA members were on hand to facilitate sales of YO memorabilia to the many guests who wanted to find a way to show their YO pride. Once again, SVA members were able to make this special occasion run a little more smoothly thanks to their willingness to answer the call to help where needed.

Of course, these special YO-related events did not preclude the SVA from following through on our signature Winter-Spring events: Picture The Music, Express The Music, and Advocacy Day!

Picture The Music
Picture the MusicPowell Hall was the setting on March 4, 2020 for the 30th annual Picture the Music Awards Ceremony presented by the SLSO and SVA, celebrating the inextricable link between music and visual art. We had a wonderful turnout of the top 100 finalists and their families, teachers, and other guests. Ron Klemm served as Master of Ceremonies for the awards presentations as he has done for many years, and Phyllis Traub made the opening and closing remarks (photo: Ron, Phyllis, and PTM chair Sherry Moschner with the two Maestro Winners). The Awards Ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the top 100 student artists whose artwork was chosen from more than 12,200 pieces of artwork completed for this year's Picture the Music program.

Picture the Music is a free, cross-curricular art competition for students in kindergarten through sixth grade from public, private, parochial, and homeschools across Missouri and Illinois. This year, students from 66 schools discovered Khachaturian’s Waltz from Masquerade Suite and submitted 407 paintings and drawings that expressed the thoughts and emotions the music evoked for them. A panel of seven judges with backgrounds in art and music selected the top 100 finalists in a blind review process.

Picture the Music, Helen HumeA wonderful feature of the Awards Ceremony is the display of the finalists' framed artwork in the lobby at Powell Hall. The artwork was exceptional this year and our appreciation goes to Helen Hume who took beautiful photographs of each of these pieces of artwork and, with Margaret Lahrmann's assistance, created a stunning slideshow (photo, right, Helen Hume long-time PTM expert volunteer and slide-show editor). The slideshow was shown on the big screen over the stage in Powell Hall 30 minutes before the Awards Ceremony started. The excitement from the students was palpable as they spotted their work, and they quickly learned to watch for it to reappear as the slideshow ran on a continuous loop.

Proud parents at Picture the MusicOn March 4, 100 finalists and their loved ones visited Powell Hall for an award ceremony (photo, left, proud parents and grandparents with a finalist). The finalists were escorted to the stage and seated in chairs arranged in the configuration of a symphony orchestra. Ron Klemm, our MC, guided the finalists in identifying in what section of the orchestra they were seated, such as the violin, cello, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Each finalist was then called by name to come and accept a certificate acknowledging their achievement. Twenty-five of the finalists were awarded a blue ribbon recognizing their work of art, and seven finalists, one from each grade, were selected as a “Symphony Finalist” and received a red ribbon. One finalist from kindergarten through third grade and one from fourth through sixth grade were selected as the Maestro Award winners. The Maestro Award for Kindergarten through third grade was presented to second grader Sofia Jamal from Ridge Meadows Elementary School. The Maestro Award for fourth through sixth grade was presented to fourth grader Madelyn Fries of Emge Elementary School. The framed artwork created by these two students will be on display at Powell Hall throughout May 2021.

Following the award ceremony, the artwork was boxed and transported to Plaza Frontenac where it was displayed. However, the planned additional locations for the traveling display were discontinued as SLSO events were canceled due to COVID-19.

Kudos to the 30+ SVA members who helped with so many of the various PTM activities this year. This truly is a labor of love for these SVA members and the program could not happen without their support. It is impressive how well this team works together and the dedication and commitment to Picture the Music is truly outstanding. We have also had wonderful support and commitment from the Maureen Byrne, Jessica Ingraham, and Brittney McIntyre in the SLSO Education Department. Also, we are grateful to the Communications team for taking on the job of publicizing the top 100 finalists to local news organizations and school districts.

Express The Music
Express the Music has sparked students’ creativity and ignited their imaginations since the program was established by the SVA in 1998. This year, in its 23rd season, Express the Music provided students in grades 6­–12 the opportunity to discover the first movement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and respond with poetry and prose influenced by the music. 2,004 students from 42 Missouri and Illinois schools participated, resulting in the submission of 476 works of poetry and prose.

Express the Music Judging ProcessPoetry and prose entries were reviewed separately using a multi-judge blind process: no school or student identifiers appeared on the documents seen by the judges (photo, left, ETM Reading Day, 2019). Volunteers from the SVA served as preliminary judges, reviewing entries according to standard rubrics in prose and poetry. 21 finalists from the Junior Division (grades 6­–8) and 26 finalists from the Senior Division (grades 9­–12) were advanced to the next round. Two panels of experts, one in poetry and another in prose, judged the finalists’ compositions on creativity and excellence in writing in response to this year’s musical selection. Their scores determined the First, Second, and Third Place winners in each division.

Finalists were to be announced and celebrated at the Express the Music Awards at Powell Hall on Sunday, March 15, 2020, during a Youth Orchestra performance. However, with the cancellation of the concert, the winners were announced by way of this wonderful video. Additionally, the Junior and Senior Division winners’ compositions were published online at slso.org/express.

This cross-curricular writing competition has made the rich, diverse wonders of orchestral music accessible to tens of thousands of students. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra provides educational programming, like Express the Music, for teachers and students as part of a long-standing commitment to supporting music in our schools and the educators doing this important work. Together we can inspire students to get involved and stay involved in music.

SVA at Citizens Day for the ArtsLet’s Close the Gap!

Our Advocacy Team visited Jefferson City on March 3 to meet with Missouri legislators on Citizens’ for the Arts Day. With our terrific team, we were able to meet with dozens of legislators or their assistants, and made sure to personally present our information to EVERY legislator! That’s 31 Senators and 163 Representatives! (Photo: Debbie Dillon with Rep. Tommy Pierson, Jr., of District 66 in St. Louis.)

Our specific request this year was that the legislature fully fund the Missouri Arts Council, which would yield about $21 million for the arts in our state. Currently we receive about $4.8 million, and of that, the SLSO receives about $100,000. If the Missouri Statute were observed as originally intended, Missouri Arts would receive an additional $16 Million! It’s time to close that gap!

The Arts are a Billion Dollar business in Missouri. The $4.8 million in grants we currently receive generates $90 million in state and local government revenue. That’s a terrific investment!

As a post-script, it turns out that our efforts, despite the pandemic, were not in vain. Even in the face of economic uncertainty, the legislature chose to maintain the current level of funding for the Arts. Although this was not our original goal, under the circumstances, it shows that the value of the Arts is recognized in Jefferson City.

Key Second-Half Committee Work:
Symphony Volunteer Association Friends CommitteeThe Friends Committee completed three calling assignments for the SLSO Philanthropy and Stewardship Department for this season. Around a dozen callers made approximately 400 calls for each assignment, so we have reached at least 1200 donors to say “Thank you!” so far this season. Quite often we leave telephone messages, but it is really heartwarming when donors answer in person and speak glowingly about how much they love the SLSO!

The response of this committee for volunteering to help has been outstanding. If volunteers have a conflict and find it impossible to make their calls, all they need to do is contact Chairs Sara Fabick or Jamie Spencer (shown in photo) at SVAFriends@slso.org and they will see that the calls are completed. We could still use a handful of new volunteers on the Friends Committee. Call Sara or Jamie to become a Friend!

Powell Hall Tours
The 2019/2020 Powell Hall Tours season concluded in late February due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From September 2019­–February 2020, the PH Tours guides conducted tours for 785 individuals (63 for Public; 146 for PH Events; 576 for Education). We welcomed five different groups for the Public tours that included Parkway Schools Music Directors, Washington University Women’s Club, as well as individual groups of families and friends. Four PH Events tours included Hancock Place School District, Girl Scouts, FOCUS/Leadership STL, and the SVA’s New & Prospective Membership recruits.

We now have 24 guides (19 experienced and 5 “shadows”). Of the total, 18 guides participated in giving tours this year. Our busiest months were September, October, and February. Overall, our group has logged 175 volunteer hours in support of the Symphony.

PH Tours will be on hiatus until further notice as plans for re-opening Powell Hall continue to evolve. For additional information about volunteering with this group in the future, please contact Becky Brown, Group Leader, at SVATours@slso.org.

New and Prospective Members

SVA Volunteer FairThe first (annual) SVA Volunteer Fair was held on Leap Day, February 29. Overall the response was very positive and six visitors to the fair provided their contact information, so we are hopeful that we have six new members of the SVA.

It was interesting to discover that many people didn’t even know that there is a Symphony Volunteer Association! We have some serious campaigning to do! A N&P Meet and Greet was to be held in the Whitaker Room on March 28 for those prospectives who have made a firm commitment to joining the SVA, but because of the social distancing directives, this event will be rescheduled for a future date.

Here is a challenge to the current SVA membership: bring in at least one new member, drawing this person from your circle of friends or your family, even a face that you have recently met. Just send the name of the person that you bring into the organization to either Elizabeth Hahn or Suzanne Seibel. (This person will have had to make their $75 donation and submitted their interest survey by May 9, 2020.)

Meetings and Events
Winter BrunchThe Meetings and Events committee is very pleased that the Winter Brunch, held at Glen Echo Country Club, was a great success! Erin Schreiber Playing Violin at Winter BrunchThe day was beautiful, the venue lovely, and the entertainment provided by Assistant Concert Master Erin Schreiber (photo, right) was rewarded with a standing ovation.

Kelsey Templeton speaking at Winter Brunch

Kelsey Templeton, Director of Hospitality (photo, left), gave the guests an inside look at how the front of the house serves SLSO patrons.

Our scheduled May 1 Spring Luncheon was overtaken by the pandemic, so we look forward to future events once they are possible!

SVA Stalwarts:
Not to be forgotten amidst the excitement of the high-profile SVA events of the past year is the immensely valuable contribution of our ongoing committees and teams that work throughout the year to support the SLSO and to help enrich lives through the power of music. Here is a brief summary of those not mentioned above:

Coffee Concerts: Correne at Coffee Concert The Friday morning Coffee Concerts continue to be a favorite of many who love the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and donuts. Correne Murphy’s 17 volunteers were so busy at the December concert that they ran out of donuts and coffee!

Stephane and MarkEducation Hosts:
The hardy team of Education Host volunteers, led by Janice Seele, braved cold temperature and wind chill in February to greet 8,000 students, teachers, and chaperones attending Beethoven’s New Groove Education Concerts. The four concerts were spread over two days. The excitement of the special young guests was a warming joy to the volunteers as was the hot soup at Janice’s home following the last concert.


Philanthropy and Stewardship:
BoutiqueThe Boutique had a great, though shortened, season! Boutiquers, as chair Jim Moore and vice-chair Dave Sperber like to refer to them, are often the first place patrons hear about the SVA. They are primarily ambassadors for the SLSO who sell stuff on the side. They have also been working with SLSO staff to bring new items to the Boutique. They’re always open to suggestions from patrons and SVA members on new items you would like to see in the Boutique, so let them know and they’ll pass ideas along to the staff. The Boutiquers are looking forward to getting back in Powell Hall sometime in the not-too-distant future. They’re not sure what that will look like, but they’ll will work with volunteer and patron safety in mind. I miss seeing all of you at Powell Hall and hope to enjoy your company soon!


Stephane and Mark In June 2019, the Discovery Committee, chaired by Mary Parks, was charged with finding a way to raise $10,000 to help support a celebration of the Youth Orchestra’s 50th anniversary. The Committee quickly began to meet and soon received a generous offer from Committee member Marjie Smith that she and her husband Dr. Ken Smith would be happy for us to hold a musical event in their home. That event, as described above, was held on October 24 with beautiful music from YO musicians and yummy desserts from SVA members, and soon had us almost half-way toward achieving the original goal.

In the meantime, YO parent and Committee member Martha Duchild suggested a Music Trivia Night. With Martha’s contagious enthusiasm, the Committee was on board and the date was set for February 22. Martha led the effort, engaging the help of the entire SVA and many of the SLSO staff. The sold-out Mardi Gras themed party really was enjoyed by all, and in combination with the proceeds from the October party at the Smith’s brought us to a total amount raised of $29,000 after expenses, almost triple the original goal. We are so happy to have had a part in that achievement.

One and Done:

Margaret Lahrmann

One & Done continued to support the symphony in a variety of ways during the 2019/2020 season. They assisted with mailings, family concerts, shuttle greeters, bus ambassadors, tiny tunes concerts and the YO trivia night. Most importantly they assisted with the Mercy Holiday Concerts. These concerts may be the only time individuals visit the symphony and represent a very special opportunity for SVA volunteers. From assisting as Santa Helpers and Reindeer Helpers, to greeting concert goers, these SVA volunteers create a welcoming environment and bring holiday cheer to all that attend. This season was the last for Margaret Lahrmann as O&D Chair; she passes the reins to Connie Bennett for the 2020/2021 season. Many thanks to Margaret for her leadership the past two seasons and congratulations to Connie the incoming Chair. 

Congratulations and thanks to all the SVA Volunteers who participated so enthusiastically this season. Here’s hoping that we are able to resume our active support of the SLSO in person sometime soon!