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Express the Music

A special invitation for teachers and student writers

Enter your best writers in Express the Music, now in its 21st year of promoting stories and poems from public, private and parochial school students throughout the region. In March 2017, 53 finalists were publicly honored before more than 1000 cheering people at Powell Hall during a St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra Concert!

Express the Music, a FREE competition, authentically integrates writing into the fine arts curriculum and supports writing in English language arts. This school year, grades 6-12 are invited to discover Samuel Barber's "Overture to The School for Scandal" and respond with stories, essays and poems that express creative thought and emotion evoked by the music.

Over the years, hundreds of teachers and thousands of grade 6-12 students from the bi-state region met this curricular challenge. We know your students can as well.

Express the Music is an opportunity for writing across disciplines, particularly English language arts, music and social studies.

Listen to this year’s musical selection: Samuel Barber's "Overture to The School for Scandal"
The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Victor De Sabata
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Neemi Järvi

Awards and prizes

Finalists will receive certificates and other gifts in a public ceremony at Powell Hall on Sunday, March 4, 2018. All finalists’ entries will be compiled and published in the 2018 Express the Music book.

Cash prizes for the top three entries in each category—prose and poetry—will be awarded.

Junior Division (Grades 6-8):
1st place for Prose: $200 / for Poetry: $200
2nd place for Prose: $100 / for Poetry: $100
3rd place for Prose: $75 / for Poetry: $75

Senior Division (Grades 9-12):
1st place for Prose: $400 / for Poetry: $400
2nd place for Prose: $200 / for Poetry: $200
3rd place for Prose: $100 / for Poetry: $100

For more information download the Express the Music Teacher Materials Teacher's Guide PDF

Congratulations to the winners of Express the Music 2017!

Finalists were honored at the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra's concert on Friday, March 3 at Powell Hall. Click on a student's name to read the winning entry.

Junior Division, Grades 6-8
1st Place: Ella Funke, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque School
2nd Place: Annie Gill, St. Roch Catholic School
3rd Place: Indira Kar, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque School

Senior Division, Grades 9-12
1st Place: Shabnam Nejat, Parkway South High School
2nd Place: Jennifer Harter, Parkway South High School
3rd Place: Sam Modde, Parkway South High School

Contact Us

Phone: 314-286-4190

Express the Music is presented by the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association and sponsored by
Employees Community Fund of Boeing