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News and Notes – August 2021

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:

Medical specialists tell us that we can keep our brains alert and functioning well by learning something new every day. This is especially important as we get older. This past year has been an easy one for complying with that suggestion. I have known the word virus my entire life but never really thought much about it. But this year we have all learned something new almost every day about how a virus works and spreads. We learned new ways to talk about viruses. We have learned how to protect ourselves like wearing masks whenever we leave our home and new words such as social distancing.

We learned that we could continue with parts of our lives while protecting ourselves, such as online communications and new applications we did not know we needed, like Zoom. We have become creative: meeting on Zoom while eating a lunch that has been delivered to us. Some of you have learned where your fellow volunteers live as you delivered the meals. We learned that you could meet in small groups on Zoom and then reconvene into a much larger meeting.

Some of us who do not have musical background learned that a soup can can become a guiro and be played by kindergarteners. That bean bags can be made by our volunteers with sewing talent to become musical instruments. We found that even in a pandemic, our creativity and skills are needed and very much appreciated by the SLSO.

This past year has revealed that we can continue to be safe and carry on with Picture the Music and Express the Music without missing a beat. It would have been impossible for teachers to mail in artwork because their students were working from home. However, they could receive the art from their students online and send their selections to the SLSO by email. We devised ways to get the art to our judges and for them to submit their ratings through online applications designed for the management of contests. Once the winners were determined, we collaborated with our SLSO staff partners to design an award ceremony online that worked well.

The Express the Music team was able to assemble a team of thirty readers who could work from home. They used Judgify, a simple-to-use award management system for automating contests of any size and type. It enabled all the readers to take their time over a weekend, instead of meeting all together for several hours, and submit their evaluations easily and efficiently. All of us have been continuing to learn new things throughout the year.

Our new chairs, vice chairs, and team leads have met with their predecessors and have already begun planning and preparing for this new season while questions and uncertainty remain. However, we have shown that we are skilled at learning as we work.

With the new vaccines, we are gradually coming out of the pandemic, but understand that we have a way to go. We will continue to be creative and learn new ways to get things done. We will be flexible to provide whatever support is needed. We know that we are not back to normal and not all our questions can be answered. We need patience and commitment as we stand ready to keep our wonderful SLSO a meaningful part of the St. Louis community and beyond.

SVA Leadership for 2021-2022:
In case you missed it, here are the members of the Executive and General Boards who were elected on May 7th for next term (incumbents remaining to complete their two-year terms are so noted, and Team Leads are listed for completeness):

President: Kent McNeil
Secretary: Elizabeth Hahn
Tech Team Lead: -open-
By-Laws Consultant: Jean Saunders

Vice President: Suzanne Seibel
New & Prospective Chair: Phyllis Traub
New & Prospective Vice Chair: Marilyn Humiston
Meetings & Events Chair: Linda Seibert
Meetings & Events Vice Chair: Terri Ciccolella (incumbent, 2nd year)
One & Done Chair: Karen Silsby

Membership Engagement Team Lead: Kathryn Snodgrass
Communications Team Lead: Jeff Kaplan
Photography Team Lead: Pam Belloli
Directory Team Lead: Susan Pribble

Vice President, Education: Debbie Dillon
ETM Chair: Patty Kaplan (incumbent, 2nd year)
ETM Vice Chair: Connie Wepfer
Instrument Playground Chair: Jim Schindler (incumbent, 2nd year)
Instrument Playground Vice-Chair: Karen Nichols (incumbent, 2nd year)
Powell Hall Opportunities Chair: Mike Grayson (incumbent, 2nd year)
Powell Hall Opportunities Vice-Chair: Kathy Borges (incumbent, 2nd year)

Tours Team Lead: Becky Brown
Youth Orchestra Team Lead: Jean Saunders (acting)
Education Hosts Team Lead: Steve Seele (incoming)
Group Hosts Team Leads: LaVerne Reibold & Willard Moseley
Coffee Concerts Team Lead: Correne Murphy
PTM Chair: Sue Darcy
PTM Vice Chair: Beth Rogers

Philanthropy & Stewardship:
Vice President: Martha Duchild
Advocacy Chair: Mark Mittleman (incumbent, 2nd year)
Ambassadors Chair: Bob Thompson
Ambassadors Vice Chair: Mary Parks
Boutique Chair: Christine Henry
Boutique Vice Chair: Margaret Lahrmann
Discovery Chair: Janice Seele
Discovery Vice Chair: Jim Moore
Friends Chair: Bev Cox
Friends Vice Chair: Sara Fabick


Reminder - Membership Directory: A new SVA Directory will be printed in September. 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. Please do this by mid-August (i.e., ASAP if you haven’t already) to ensure that your updates make it into the Directory.

General Membership:
Here’s a heads-up to the entire membership that a new interest survey is in the works and to keep an eye out for its arrival. Like flowers in spring, the various committees are coming back into bloom. If you do not hear from committees that you have expressed an interest in or have participated with in the past, please reach out to those committee chairs and let them know of your continued interest, or perhaps your regrets if you no longer want to be involved in that area of outreach. AND! Please seize all opportunities to reel in a new member of the SVA when in conversations with friends, family members and acquaintances who may have an interest in joining.

Do You Have a Badge?
If you have an old-style (“STLSymphony”) badge and need to upgrade to the new SLSO branding, or if you don’t have a badge at all and would like one, please let Suzanne Seibel know at SVAMembershipVP@slso.org. In case you don’t quite remember the badge style change, the badge on the left below is the OLD style, and the one on the right is the NEW style!

Old SVA Badge    SVA New Badge

Meetings and Events:
There will be a membership meeting in early October; watch for more information in upcoming emails from SVA Communications.

If you're looking for a way to become more active in the SVA, you might try the Meeting and Events Committee. Our main job is to help plan the three annual Membership Meetings; more committee members are always welcome. Contact Linda Seibert lindajbseibert63@gmail.com.

New and Prospective:
We are excited to be your new New and Prospective Chairs, and we thank Suzanne Seibel and Elizabeth Hahn for the outstanding job they did these past two years. We are in the process of planning a get-together sometime in the Fall and one in the Spring for new and prospective members, assuming, of course, we can have some in person gatherings. We’ll keep you posted as these plans materialize.

In the meantime, there is something each of you can do: reach out to your friends who share your passion for music and our wonderful symphony, whether they enjoy the classics or pop concerts at Powell Hall. Tell them how much fun it would be to volunteer together, and please let us know how we can help encourage them to join. We have lots of new materials to share which describe our many activities and volunteer opportunities. You’ll be impressed, and so will they!

If you have the names of prospective members you would like us to contact, just let us know, and we’ll do the rest. We welcome any and all suggestions to help us recruit new members and make our volunteer organization even stronger.

And speaking of new members, it is our pleasure to welcome three new members of the SVA: Dianna Barron, Marcia Moskowitz, and Mary Kay Wolfe. You will enjoy getting to know them!

Phyllis Traub, Chair 
Marilyn Humiston, Vice Chair

One and Done:
SVA One and DoneThe One and Done Committee has had a quick and busy start. During the first week of July, a call was put out to the membership for help with a benefits mailing. It consisted of five sessions, with an extra one needed at the last minute. The One and Done Committee members were quick to respond, which was much appreciated. In this photo (left to right): Kathryn Norwood, Donald Pearline, Martha Duchild, Kristin Lamprecht (SLSO Director, Philanthropy Stewardship and Events), Larry Franke, Judy Hamilton.

So we are enthusiastically off and running!



Express the Music:
Express the Music (ETM) hopes to build on last year’s virtual success by reaching out to even more schools this year. Please encourage the teachers you know to invite their 6th through 12th grade students to be a part of our creative writing program. We’ve chosen a wonderful piece of music, the fouth movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 , to provide the inspiration. YOU can be inspired, too! We invite you to join our team to help reach a wider range of students in the greater St. Louis area. Let us know if you’d like to join our team!

Patrice Kaplan, Chair
Connie Wepfer, Vice Chair

Picture the Music:
Picture the Music (PTM) is excited to be choosing the same piece of music as Express the Music for the 21/22 school year. That process was occurring as this was written, so stay tuned for the selected piece. Since PTM is directed towards elementary level students, and those students are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, our efforts will be done virtually through mid-January 2022. At that time, at the direction of the SLSO and local officials, we will determine if we will be able to hold an in-person awards ceremony and traveling art show.

Sue Darcy, PTM Chairperson
Beth Rogers, PTM Co-Chairperson

Philanthropy & Stewardship:

Ambassadors Committee
The Ambassadors Committee is happily looking forward to becoming active again with new Chair, Bob Thompson, and Vice Chair, Mary Parks. We are excited that the annual free concert on Art Hill in Forest Park has been scheduled for September 22 at 7:00pm. We will be on hand to welcome the community, promote our SLSO and our SVA, help in any way we can, and enjoy the beautiful music and spectacular fireworks!

We are hoping that the reopening of Powell Hall will allow us to celebrate the start of the new season with a brunch for the musicians and staff. This popular event has previously been held in the Musicians’ Lounge during their morning rehearsal break. Details of time, place, and IF it can be held this year are forthcoming.

Ambassadors are always happy to add new members and will provide any information necessary to facilitate our informed, positive representation of the SLSO and SVA in the community. If you’re interested in joining the Ambassadors Committee, contact our Chairs at SVAAmbassaor@slso.org.

Christine Henry (Chair), Margaret Lahrmann (Co-Chair), and Martha Duchild (VP, Philanthropy and Stewardship) met with Kelsey Templeton (Director of Hospitality and Audience Experience) and Maribeth McAnany (Front of House Operations Manager) on July 21st to discuss Boutique policies and procedures for the coming year.

We discussed the current vendor for the Boutique merchandise and what will be offered in the coming year, online Boutique purchases available on the Buy Jack website, items that are not available in the Boutique, hands-on training for all Boutique volunteers, the upcoming concert calendar, and many more pertinent issues involving the Boutique.

Hands-on training was offered to all volunteers at Powell Hall in the Boutique on Thursday, August 9th and Friday August 10th at 10:00am and 2:00pm both days.  Additional training is scheduled for Saturday, September 11, at 10:00am at Powell Hall.

The first concert that will be staffed by Boutique Volunteers will be The Music of Motown on September 18th at 7:30 pm. Sign-up sheets will be sent out in the very near future.

Many thanks to all those who will be serving in the Boutique during the upcoming concerts of the 21/22 season. There is fabulous enthusiasm about the re-opening of Powell Hall again. Were eager to welcome new Boutique volunteers to our group. To find out what’s entailed (and what perks come with volunteering at the Boutique) contact Christine Henry at SVABoutique@SLSO.org.