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News and Notes - May 2020

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. Cover photo: Picture The Music Committee members before the Awards Ceremony at Powell Hall.

Notes From the President:

To my SVA Family, bonjour!

So much has occurred since my last article in February. Who would have thought that something called COVID-19 would sweep across the nation and impact our lives in so many ways? The SLSO is continuing to share music while we can't be together. The most popular are the #SLSOatHome videos, which are being shared on Facebook and Instagram, but you can also find them on YouTube. Also be sure to check out all the new articles on SLSOstories.org, including interviews with Stéphane and a number of our musicians. And check out the PTM article below for some exciting news from friend of the SVA and Associate Director of Individual Giving, Joe Drexelius.

I can’t think of a better way to stay connected to the SVA and to each other than reading through our News and Notes which describes the many activities that took place in February and March while events were still being held. We haven’t “talked” for a while, so please excuse my long article! I salute all of our volunteers who have worked so hard throughout the year, with a special shout out to the following Chairs and Committees whose activities took place this past spring:

Martha Duchild, Chair, Pop Culture Trivia Night Chair, and her entire crew
Patty Kaplan and Mark Mittleman, Chair/Vice Chair of Advocacy
Sherry Moschner and Debbie Eldgridge, Chair/Vice Chair of Picture the Music
Glenna Schindler and Liz Halpin, Chair/Vice Chair of Express the Music and  
Bev Cox who assisted Glenna with arrangements
Judy Brown and Susanne Mertens, Chair/Vice Chair of Membership and Events – with their brunch “team,” Terri Ciccolella and Barbara Sprick
Suzanne Seibel and Elizabeth Hahn, Chair/Vice Chair of New and Prospective Members
Sara Fabick and Jamie Spencer, Chair/Vice Chair of Friends and their team for the hundreds of thank you calls they made

I’m going to let our Chairs tell you all about their exciting activities, so be sure to scroll down and read about each of our committees.

As diverse as these events are, they all have two things in common—I’ll call them the 2 C’s: Camaraderie and Collaboration.

Camaraderie: “feeling of closeness, trust and friendship among people who spend time together”
At my very first SVA board meeting, I asked each member to state why they joined the Symphony Volunteer Association and what they like best about the SVA. Although many reasons were given, there was one, in particular, that stood out—they joined the SVA because a friend got them involved, and they love the SVA because of the strong friendships they have made. I have seen first-hand how committee members come together as individuals and then quickly bond as a group. Maybe it’s the M&M’s they pass around at meetings…or the fun stories they exchange during a meet and greet…or the feeling of accomplishment they share after planning an event. I invite each and every one of you to join a committee and experience this special camaraderie with us.

Collaboration: “working together with leadership and efficiency to achieve a common goal”
I can’t think of a better way to describe the relationship our committees have with the SLSO staff! I wonder how many of you know what our wonderful staff does for us behind the scenes to ensure the success of every one of our programs, in addition to their specialized roles supporting the orchestra. Let’s meet these wonderful people:

Mitch Aubuchon – sets up our laptop for meetings at Powell
Maggie Bailey – gives us tour dates and keeps us informed of changes or off-limit sites
Dawn Berkbigler - assists group hosts for Coffee Concerts and holiday concerts
Anne Marie Block – generates thank you letters, assists with patron donations, helped us a great deal inputting all donations and in-kinds for Trivia Night
Ron Bolte – assists us with sound at Winter Heat
Vicki Boutwell – vets Ambassador Training and edits documents for us—makes sure our speling is corect!
Michelle Byrd – works with IN UNISON and helps us assist youth chorus during holiday concerts
Maureen Byrne – directs our Education Hosts
Sue Crisp – helps create membership meeting invites, website updates, schedules with Creative to create flyers, posters, banners for websites and emails
Caitlin Custer – creates Playbill articles and pre-concert slides
Joe Drexelius – works with our Friends Committee and prepares list of patrons for thank you calls
Abby Freeman – works closely with One and Done on holiday shows and marketing efforts like Earth Day and Taste of St. Louis
Daniel Glen – creates wonderful designs like the banner and flyer for Trivia Night
Angie Gunn – creates our email lists through Tessitura
Carrie Hendricks – keeps track of our background checks for tour guides and boutique
Jessica Ingraham – oversees Instrument Playground, Picture the Music, and Express the Music
Amy Kaiser – allows us to attend her rehearsals and is a guest speaker at SVA events
Julie Kruempel works with One and Done to have a host for shuttle to coffee concerts
Kristin Lamprecht – Laura Dwyer’s supervisor and in charge of our budget as well as a source for advice
Victoria Lam – assists Laura with getting time with Stéphane when approved by VPs
Maribeth Lay – sets up tables and provides coffee for our meetings at Powell Hall
Brittney McIntyre – oversees Picture the Music and Express the Music with Jessica Ingraham
Rick McKenna – helps us move items for Winter Heat and Picture the Music
Lillian Pinto de Sá – edits numbers for Advocacy Day handouts
Samantha Sachtleben – works with Youth Orchestra committee; arranged for YO musicians to perform at our October, 2019 fundraising concert and volunteer at Trivia Night
Cynthia Schon – directs our Education Hosts and helps us with parking for all events at Powell Hall
Rachel Sennett –creates digital marketing ads, including those for Trivia Night, formats the News and Notes you are reading 
Maggie Stanley – works with teaming corporate volunteers and SVA committees
Liz Sullivan – creates design materials like the poster for New and Prospective Members Volunteer Fair
Stage Crew – assists with preparing stage for Picture the Music Awards Ceremony
Kelsey Templeton – manages the Boutique, trained Trivia Night volunteers on use of the Square and created the input list for Trivia Night auction items
Lindsey White – set up SVA airport Meet and Greet with Stéphane

And of course our own Laura Dwyer, Director of Volunteer Activities, who staffs the SVA and is our “go to” for everything!

When I first asked Laura to compile this list, I had no idea there were so many SLSO staff people involved with the SVA!! Add to these names Norman Eaker, Chair of the SLSO Board of Trustees and Marie-Hélène Bernard, SLSO President and CEO, and you cannot find a more impressive group of talented and dedicated people whose goals are to support the Symphony and enrich our lives through the power of music!

These two “C’s,” Camaraderie and Collaboration, help make our organization strong and vibrant. As that famous song says “you can’t have one without the other” We are so fortunate to have both!

One last thought…
It’s hard to believe that I am completing my first year as your SVA President. I am so blessed to have such a dedicated Executive Committee who will be continuing with me for the next year: Kent McNeil, Education VP; Debbie Dillon, Philanthropy and Stewardship VP; Connie Wepfer, Membership VP; and Elizabeth Crosby, Secretary. I want to sincerely thank the SVA board members who have served us so well this past year and are coming off the Board: Glenna Schindler (ETM), Susanne Mertens (Meetings & Events), John Malvin (IP), Margaret Lahrmann (One & Done), and Patty Kaplan (Advocacy).  I welcome our New Board and Team Leaders for the 2020-21 year: Patty Kaplan (in a new Board position: ETM chair), Jim Schindler (moving from Vice Chair to Chair of IP), Karen Nichols (new IP Vice Chair), Connie Bennett (new One & Done Chair), Terri Ciccolella (new Meetings & Events Vice Chair), and Mark Mittleman (moving from Vice Chair to Chair of Advocacy).

It is an honor to serve you, and I look forward to developing a deeper Camaraderie and Collaboration in the months ahead!

À bientôt,
Phyllis Traub, President
Symphony Volunteer Association

Education News

Youth Orchestra 1 - Trivia Night
Question: What 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 trivia night 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 St. Louis Symphony Orchestra 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. 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 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 trivia night, and the impressive results reflected the tremendous dedication of our membership. Guests were treated to a selection of silent auction items with a collective value of over $10,500, and responded favorably by purchasing all but one of the items, for a total of over $7,600.

Shakespearian Host for Youth Orchestra Trivia NightTickets 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 Chiccolella’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!

Question: Will the SVA host another trivia night next year? Answer: Stay tuned…

Martha Duchild, Youth Orchestra Team Leader & YO Trivia Chair
Contact me at SVAYouthOrchestra@slso.org

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.

Martha Duchild, Youth Orchestra Team Leader & YO Trivia Chair

Picture The Music
First, our exciting news: May 7, 2020, is Give STL Day, a regional day of giving that celebrates our community’s non-profit organizations. This year, the SLSO will be showcasing stories of Picture the Music, focusing on its impact on the children of St. Louis. SVA members are strongly encouraged to promote the SLSO on the big day through individual Facebook fundraisers. Joe Drexelius from the SLSO Philanthropy team will be coordinating these efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out to him directly with further questions at 314-286-4152 or by email at joed@slso.org. Even during these uncertain times, the positivity of our stories and efforts will be a welcome distraction for our community.

Picture the Music

Powell Hall was the setting on March 4, 2020 for the 30th annual Picture the Music Awards Ceremony presented by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Volunteer Association, 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 Hume

A 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 Music

On 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 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognize not only the students at the awards ceremony but have the teachers who give a lot of time to this program and the judges, without whom we could not have this program.  

These young students are our future. It will be fun to watch for their names to appear in future accomplishments. They will help others understand and appreciate art and music.

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 team at the SLSO for taking on the job of publicizing PTM to local newspapers and school districts recognizing the top 100 finalists.

This has been an incredible journey and we look forward to next year!

Contact us at SVAPicturetheMusic@slso.org
Sherry Moschner, Chair; Debbie Miali, Vice Chair

Express The Music
Express the Music has sparked students’ creativity and ignited their imaginations since the program was established by the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association (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 Process

Poetry 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 St. Louis Symphony 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 will be 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.

Contact us at SVAExpresstheMusic@slso.org
Glenna Schindler, Chair; Liz Halpin, Vice Chair

Powell Hall Tours
Our guides logged 59 hours of service for the SLSO during the first quarter of 2020.

Six different tours were conducted for 359 individuals:

Type               Quantity       # Participants

Education        2                      234 (Post Education Concert)
PH Events       2                      60 (Sales, SVA, Other)
Public              2                      65 (General)

March tours included a group from Ten Toes Express (Citizens for Modern Transit), middle school students from Maryville Christian School in Illinois, and guests attending the SVA New and Prospective reception. As of this writing (pre-virus) additional public tours for the remainder of the SLSO calendar are scheduled for June. No tours will be scheduled for July and August when Powell Hall maintenance occurs to get ready for the next season.

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

Membership News

Membership Reminder
Spring is here, so don't forget to spring into another year of SVA membership. SVA membership is available to all “Friends of the Symphony” (those donating to the SLSO at the Friends Level or higher: $75 is all it takes to keep your membership active). Donations can be made online at https://secure.donationpay.org/slso/. Don't forget to check the "I want to join the SVA, or renew my membership" box under your donation amount.

Donations can also be mailed to Laura Dwyer at Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103. Laura is also available to answer questions about your annual donation.

Also, please make sure to keep your contact information up to date to receive all the latest SVA news. Changes to your contact information should be emailed to Susan Pribble at SVADirectory@slso.org

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 Brunch

The day was beautiful, the venue lovely, and the entertainment provided by Assistant Concertmaster 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 is serving our guests.

In line with the recent precautions, the decision was made to cancel the Spring Luncheon.  We are now gearing up for a marvelous Welcome Back Fall Dinner! Please watch for the details.

Contact us at SVAMembership@slso.org
Judy Brown-Rowden, Chair; Susanne Mertens, Vice Chair

New and Prospective

SVA Volunteer Fair

The first (annual) SVA Volunteer Fair was held on Leap Day, February 29. Overall the response has been 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.

We would like to issue a challenge to the current SVA membership to bring in at least one new member, drawing this person from your circle of friends or your family, even someone with whom you've recently re-connected during this difficult time.  If you bring a new member into the SVA by December, 2020, you will receive a prize! Just send the name of the person that you bring into the organization to either Suzanne Seibel or Elizabeth Hahn to receive your reward. (This person first needs to make his or her $75 donation to the SLSO and submit the SVA interest survey). 

Contact us at SVANewandProspective@slso.org
Suzanne Seibel, Chair; Elizabeth Hahn, Vice Chair

Philanthropy and Stewardship News

SVA at Citizens Day for the Arts

Let’s Close the Gap!
Our Advocacy Team visited Jefferson City on March 3 to meet with Missouri Legislators on Citizens Day for the Arts.  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! 


Symphony Volunteer Association Friends Committee

The Friends Committee has now completed three of their calling assignments for the SLSO Philanthropy and Stewardship Department for this season. 12-15 callers made a total of 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) and they will see that the calls are completed. We could still use 3-4 new volunteers on the Friends Committee. Call Sara or Jamie to become a Friend!

The Friends Committee Kick Off Meeting was held last August, but several of our committee members were vacationing at that time of year. Joe Drexelius, our SLSO Staff Leader, has suggested we hold a Thank You and Informative Kick-Off Luncheon for the Friends Committee in late May instead. Unfortunately, this will  have to be postponed, but we look forward to hosting this event as soon as possible.  Stay tuned for more details.  

Contact us at SVAFriends@slso.org
Sara Fabick, Chair; Jamie Spencer, Vice Chair