August, 2023

The SVA’s News and Notes is a quarterly publication that reviews recent accomplishments and provides a preview of activities to come. Comments and suggestions are welcome at

Notes from the President

This is my first contribution to News and Notes as your new SVA President. I cannot begin my term without first saying thank you to Kent McNeil, who preceded me as President. Kent was an excellent leader, helping us navigate our return to Powell Hall after the pandemic and energize our members to re-engage after a big pause. We did it, Kent. Thank you for your encouragement and for leading the way. Kent has been a great friend and coach throughout my years in the SVA as I have “followed” him in 3 of my SVA roles. He is the consummate professional and gentleman with a can-do attitude. Thanks for setting a great example and for your service, Kent.

Kent returned from Pittsburg in June from accepting, on behalf of the SVA, the Gold Award from the League of American Orchestras for our Picture the Music program. This award is quite an honor for the SLSO & SVA and a tribute to the excellent SLSO Education program led by Jessica Ingraham and the many PTM volunteers who make the program possible. Please read his News & Notes article (below) on the Award and his reflections on the trip. As many of you heard from me at our May membership meeting, I am excited to be a SLSO patron and SVA member and am especially energized at this transformational moment. The expansion of Powell Hall is a game changer for the musicians, staff, patrons, the SVA, and St Louis. Thank you, Marie-Helene and the Board of Trustees for your vision, foresight, planning, and unselfish dedication to bring this dream to fruition.

This is a historical project for our Symphony, and I hope you share my enthusiasm. While we are out of Powell Hall for the next two years, we, as a volunteer organization, must strive to make this period as seamless as possible. It’s our goal to return to our new home stronger, larger, and more vibrant than ever.

With this in mind, please consider inviting your friends and family to volunteer with you.Volunteering with friends is always more fun and we welcome new members! You may recall there is no longer a donation required to join the SVA, but financial support is appreciated and needed.

We have two upcoming events, ideal for introducing others to the SVA and SLSO: our 2nd annual SVA Ice Cream Social in Des Peres Park on August 17th, and the Forest Park Concert on September 21st. What better way to get more people involved in our fun organization than Ted Drewes and a SLSO concert in the iconic Forest Park!

 As many of you already know, there are several new volunteer roles that are emerging in the SVA. These include serving as hosts on the new shuttle buses driving our patrons to concerts at Stifel Theatre and the Touhill at UMSL, greeting concertgoers and answering questions from an SVA/Marketing table at concerts, and serving as docents in the community. Some of these new roles come with perks —think concert tickets, transportation, etc.— so read on to learn more and please consider saying YES. We need all of you.

 As we look forward to the new season in new venues, I invite you stay involved and get more involved with the SVA.  We all love the SLSO and are anxious to return to our “new” home in 2025. Until then, we need to continue to attend concerts, bring friends and family, say YES to new volunteer opportunities, support our orchestra with our gifts, and be willing to serve. I hope you will join me and the Executive Committee (Jim, Martha, Patty and Suzanne) as volunteers throughout the season. We look forward to seeing you at Stifel Theatre and the Touhill and throughout St Louis.

Warmest regards,
Debbie Dillon

Feature Article: Get to know Susan Roberts

Susan Roberts is the SLSO’s Group Sales Manager.  We asked her to tell us a bit about her history with the SLSO and the goals she seeks to achieve in her new position.

I have so many memories of enjoying the SLSO but in writing this, I can’t seem to pinpoint the exact “first” time that I heard them live.  Music is so intricately woven into the fabric of my life history, that the “what, where and when” sometimes gets lost – but never the “who” or the “why”. 

My earliest clear SLSO memory is coming with my son’s Kindergarten class to one of the education concerts – this would have been around 2001-02.  Like most people, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what specifically was performed that day, but my memory is crystal clear of watching my son’s face while he listened to the orchestra, absorbed the sounds, and connected it to the motions of the musicians.  He was forever enamored.  

Four years later, I had the same experience as the chaperone for my daughter’s Kindergarten class trip. Both carried that inspired musical curiosity through band and Wind Symphony activities in high school and as they grew, the SLSO became an integral part of our family activities. Many of them with their grandparents who were annual subscribers and would sometimes take them as their “date” if the other couldn’t attend. The annual Holiday concert became a tradition attended by the entire family each year and the group photos taken from the Met Bar decorate my house as lovely “growth chart” memories of my children. 

In my focus as Group Sales Manager, I have returned to a role that is very familiar.  I started in the theme park industry developing and coordinating educational sales programs and activities at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and advanced to Anheuser-Busch Inc. St. Louis corporate offices in 1993 after the purchase of the SeaWorld parks. 

I enjoy using my personal experience to authentically represent the SLSO to a variety of audience segments including the family households that come as groups primarily during the holidays; the educational groups from both the local and the student travel industry; the corporate groups where the potential of utilizing the SLSO for client entertainment or employee engagement is largely untapped outside of Philanthropic partners; the travel groups that could add the SLSO to their itinerary; and the special interest groups whose connection through a common passion could bring them to a particular performance for many different reasons yet to be identified and fostered. 

 That’s a lot of ground to cover and I welcome input and help from the collective knowledge of the SVA to strategically tackle them all!  My conversations with members of the SVA has made it obvious that there is a wealth of experience and an abundance of enthusiasm for the SLSO mission that I consider a fundamental asset to the future success of increasing the overall reach of the SLSO.  It is a tremendous task, but as I told my children in those early years – if we all play our part, then just like memorizing a new piece of music we can do it one measure at a time and achieve success!

More Feature Articles: Get to Know Your Executive Committee

As we embark on a new SLSO season and welcome many new leaders to the SVA General Board, “News and Notes” presents the first in a series of “Get to Know Your Leaders” feature articles.  This first feature introduces (or re-introduces) the Executive Committee.

President Debbie Dillon:

In 2016 I was encouraged by good friends to volunteer with the SVA.  Little did I know that this would open the door to meeting a lot very interesting people from a variety of backgrounds, to supporting one of the premier symphony orchestras in the world, and to allowing me to continue to use my business experience.

I officially joined the SVA in 2017 as the Chair of Powell Hall Opportunities.  As a subscriber to Coffee Concerts, I found myself serving coffee and donuts at Friday morning concerts and working as a Group Host greeting buses from retirement centers.  One of the highlights of my time with PHO and still today is working the Education Concerts that serve thousands of school children in October, February, and May. There is a great comradery among the volunteers who venture out to meet these eager and happy students making their first visit to Powell Hall.  For me it is the volunteer “job” that keeps giving as we nurture the gift of music in young people.

Since those first years in the SVA, I have served as the VP of Philanthropy and Stewardship and most recently as VP of Education and Community programs.  Today I serve as your President.  What I have enjoyed about all these positions is the opportunity to meet many like minded people who share the love of music and serving the SLSO and our community.  We are a fun group with a purpose!

 Prior to joining the SVA, my career was in the technology industry as a global sales executive to Fortune 500 corporations.  I am married to Todd Dillon (41 years & counting!); the proud mother of Kelly Dillon (Malcolm Mitchell-Lewis) and Paul Dillon (Megan); and Gran to Graham (3), Elle (1) and Margo (8 months).  When I am not volunteering you will most likely find me gardening, caring for toddlers & dogs, practicing yoga or spending time in Colorado.

You can contact Debbie at

Education Vice-President Suzanne Seibel

I’m a Saint Louisan, born and raised, only living elsewhere for a couple of years of college. And even then, I received my Bachelors from St. Louis University and Masters from UMSL. I taught special ed in Normandy, Ferguson-Florrisant, Hazelwood and Parkway for 35 years. In summers I worked in juvenile detention facilities and as a job coach for disabled teenagers, when I wasn’t enjoying the break traveling with my family.

My first exposure to the SLSO was as a teenager, my dad taking me to Kiel Opera House, thinking his daughter needed to be exposed to the finer things in life. Dad knew nothing about classical music, but he knew what he liked. If he were still alive, I could tell him he liked Dvorak and Sibelius. But I’ve always loved classical music, my tastes being Beethoven, Bruckner and Brahms.

With the encouragement of Amee Colvin to become involved with the SVA once I retired, I encountered many people with a contagious passion and energy supporting the SLSO. In meeting SVA members I was often baited with, “You should try… You might enjoy… You’d be good at…” Yeah…even the opportunities that I didn’t think I would like, I liked! 

I’ve been married to my husband, Charlie, for almost 48 years and we have one daughter, Monica. Many of you have met my grandson, Hudson, as he is my buddy at family and movie concerts. His little sister, Hadley, will be joining us in a couple of years. Traveling and writing women’s fiction (not fond of the term “romance”) are two ways I like to spend my time when not in Powell Hall.

You can contact Suzanne at

Membership Vice-President Martha Duchild

During a Lunch & Learn featuring Marie-Hélène Bernard and Stéphane Denève, there was a moment when Stéphane tried to put into words the joy that was reflected in a person’s eyes upon being transformed by music. That moment made me think of an experience I had while volunteering with other SVA members at a Tiny Tunes concert a couple years ago. 

From the moment the kids entered Powell, their excitement was evident (although not so much for their caregivers, who were trying to contain the excitement enough to give seating instructions).  One of the kids was so enthralled upon seeing the piano that he just sat down on the bench next to the pianist and immediately started asking questions. This was curiosity in its most basic form – the introduction of something new and the desire to know more about it.  Rather than seeing a picture in a book and learning with words what a piano was, this young child got to interact with the piano to understand what it did and how it worked.   It made me wonder whether this small, perhaps seemingly insignificant moment, would actually turn out to be transforming for this little boy.  No matter how the rest of his day went, he at least had this happy memory.

At the end of the concert, which incorporated a performance by a COCA dancer, the kids were brimming with excitement and enthusiasm. As I waited by the door to thank them for coming and say goodbye, I noticed one little boy’s shoelaces were untied, so I stooped down to tie his laces. As I looked at him at eye level and said “OK, now you’re ready” he looked at me and asked if he could give me a hug.  It wasn’t because of what I did; I think it was because he was so full of pure joy at his experience that he wanted somewhere to put it. So, the next child asked the same thing: “Can I give you a hug?” and that continued for about seven or so more kids.  I saw in their eyes what Stéphane was trying to put into words.

 This was an experience that I will always treasure, and why I have no doubt that music not only has the power transform lives, but also brings the kind of pure, infectious joy that reaches hearts. It’s also the reason I continue to support the symphony as a subscriber and volunteer.

 You can contact Martha at

Philanthropy and Stewardship Vice-President Jim Moore

Greetings from Jim Moore, your new VP of Philanthropy and Stewardship!  I joined SVA back in 2016 and have been involved with several committees.  I have been in leadership most of my seven years.  VC of New and Prospective, Chair of Boutique and VC of Discovery.  Stepping up to the big leagues in my new role with a great team on the Executive Committee.  I have also participated as a volunteer with Gypsy, Tours, Education Hosts, Coffee Concerts, Nominating, Ambassadors and the new Analytics team. 

 Prior to retiring in 2022, I worked for 28 years at Ameren and 7 years at Spire in many roles:  electrical engineer, strategic planning, M&A, commodity hedging, data analytics and visualization.  I also volunteer doing rehab in the city for New City Fellowship, tune pianos on the side and am an elder at Quest church in Wildwood.

I love all the amazing people I meet at Powell Hall and SVA events.  Always fun to interact with musicians at SVA events.  I’m looking forward to working with SVA members over the next couple years of transition and make a big splash at the renovated Powell Hall!  

You can contact Jim at

Secretary Patty Kaplan

I came to St. Louis from the Philadelphia area with husband Jeff to be close to family after our retirement.  (I was a Reform Cantor for nearly 30 years.)  Our daughter Andrea is the Associate Flute of the SLSO, and our daughter Sarah lived in Chicago at the time.  Sarah has since moved to St. Louis as well. 

 Jeff and I eagerly joined the SVA on arrival, and over the last 10 years, I’ve served as Chair of Advocacy and Express the Music.  I’ve also enjoyed giving tours of Powell Hall, serving donuts, stuffing envelopes, baking brownies for the Youth Orchestra, and various other odds and ends with the SVA.  

 You can contact Patty at

Challenge Grant: Steward Family Challenge

Through August 31, through the generosity of David and Thelma Steward, you have an opportunity to maximize your annual gift to the SLSO.  The Stewards will match all new and increased gifts to the SLSO up to $150,000.  Please consider making a donation via this link to the annual fund.

Powell Hall Renovation Progress

To stay up to date on the renovation progress, check out the SLSO Stories website!


Membership Engagement

Kathryn Snodgrass continues to receive requests and sends cards in sympathy or with well wishes. Anyone in the SVA membership is encouraged to contact Kathryn at, requesting a recognition of a fellow volunteer’s needs or celebrations.

Membership Directory

In preparation for the new directory to be available in October, please send any changes to your contact information (eg: address, phone number either new or no longer being used, and/or email address) to Susan Pribble at  

Now that Powell Hall is closed for renovations, please contact Susan if you need a printed directory.

Please note:  If a single phone number is adequate for your Directory entry, please send an email to Susan  Pribble  at letting her know which number to use.  If we can get to one number per member, it will save significant printing costs!

New and Prospective

The new New and Prospective team is gearing up for an exciting season ahead! Stay tuned for updates regarding the revival of the SVA New Member Mentorship Program and New Member Spotlights in future SVA communications.

If you have not already done so, please mark your calendars for the SVA Ice Cream Social on August 17th at Des Peres Park! Last year’s ice cream social attracted several new members. This year, the New and Prospective Committee is challenging every member to bring one friend to the social to learn about all of the exciting volunteer opportunities this coming season. The SLSO is relying on the SVA to manage several new initiatives while out of Powell Hall, so recruiting new members is more important than ever!

As always, if you have any ideas on how to recruit new SVA members, please contact us at We would love to hear from you!

Pick and Choose

As many of you may already know, the One and Done committee has been renamed to PICK AND CHOOSE. Why, you ask? One and Done had a deceptivefinality to it, as if to say “do ONE job and you are done.” Everyone with the SVA should know that that is far from the truth. The work of the SVA and the SLSO is never done! So feel free to pick and choose many different jobs that this Committee offers.  For more information, contact P&C chair Sue Propper at

Meetings and Events

SAVE THE DATE: September 28, 2023
SVA Fall Membership Dinner Meeting: The invitation with full details will follow soon. Take out your calendars now and enter “September 28, 2023, SVA Fall Membership Dinner Meeting.”


As you may already know, our big 100th SVA Anniversary is coming up in 2025.  Nancy Malvin and Vi Steinmeyer, with assistance from others, have been working on an SVA History Project. Their first step was to conduct a series of interviews with past SVA Presidents and other long-term members.  It is now time for those interviews to be transcribed, and they need help to listen to the recordings and then type the dialogue.  The work will be done from your home with your computer, and they will provide a computer-generated transcript to be used as a starting point.

If you’re interested, and able to type, please contact Nancy at the address below for details of the project. Hopefully your fingers are limber and you are ready to help with this assignment.  Nancy will be available to help you get started and answer any questions.   Her email address is


Report from League of Orchestra Volunteers Award Ceremony

I am pleased to report that my presentation yesterday about Picture the Music went well. When I finished my nine minutes, I heard audible comments such as: “Wow,” “that’s amazing,” “that’s wonderful.” Nobody has a program like our PTM. The slides that the Creative Dept of the SLSO provided were great. People were blown away by the quality of the pictures that our very young students created. After another second award winner and I completed our presentations seven tables of volunteers had 12 minutes to discuss questions such as how the two programs compared and if their volunteer association would be interested in creating similar programs. Most spent time talking about PTM.

[Thanks to Jessica Ingraham] for her edits and management of the slide production. The slides helped the audience truly experience the quality of the art produced by such young children, the beauty of Powell, and the joy and delight of the winners and their parents.

It has been a very enjoyable conference. I have met many interesting people from many different symphonies (there are 1,100 delegates). I, also, constantly felt that we and the SLSO are doing things right and way ahead of many of the organizations represented here. Our SVA is better organized, focused, larger, and better managed. I also saw that our SLSO is a first-class operation for which we can be very proud of and happy to support. 

Warm regards,

Coffee Concerts

We hope your summer is going well!  It is a bit over two months until we are back into a wonderful Coffee Concert season.  So, we are including below the schedule of concerts.  There will be eight, all back to Fridays at 10:30.  We will be at the Touhill Performing Arts Center for all Coffee Concerts.  Lots of parking!  In a future meeting with symphony staff, we will determine the layout of these events for our coffee and donut service.  

If you are not already on the Coffee Concert team and would like to join, please email us at

Here are the dates:
Sept 29:  Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto
Oct 20:  Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto
Nov 17:  Korngold and Dvořák
Dec 1:  Beethoven’s Second Symphony
Jan 12:  Porgy and Bess
Feb 2:  Barber and Price
Mar 22:  Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto
Apr 19:  Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto

For further information about SVA Coffee Concert activities please contact Group Leaders Milly Neff and Doug Neff (  

Express the Music:

ETM is on temporary hiatus while its format and goals are undergoing redesign.  SLSO Director of Education Jessica Ingraham explains:

“Through the combined efforts of the SVA, the SLSO Education Team, and area music and language arts teachers, Express the Music has had a long history of connecting middle and high school students with orchestral music. In a recent evaluation of SLSO education programs, data showed that ETM is not reaching the diversity or quantity of students that it could. As such, ETM will be on hiatus in the coming seasons as we re-imagine what it could be. Our goal is that when we return to Powell Hall, we will be poised to launch a program that is educator-informed, accessible, reaches a diversity of students and teachers, and inspires students to get involved in music. 

A small workgroup of SVA members and SLSO staff has been formed to lead the re-imagining effort. The most important and most immediate task of this workgroup is to invite English Language Arts, Visual Arts, Digital Media, Music, Theater, and Dance teachers into the conversation. These teachers will form a Teacher Advisory Panel to offer invaluable insights and expertise as we move forward. Listening sessions with these teachers and with other stakeholders will direct us in our efforts.  

We are confident that with the wisdom and experience of dedicated SVA members, the passion and tenacity of SLSO staff, and the invaluable input from area teachers, we will be able to launch an excellent program at the end of this process. This reimagined ETM will provide meaningful volunteer opportunities for the SVA. It will support the classroom work of area teachers. And it will establish a profound and inspiring connection between the SLSO and middle and high school students in our community. “

Best wishes, 
Jessica Ingraham
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Director of Education

Picture the Music:

PTM has been in touch with the SLSO/SVA office, SLAM, Butterfly House, and MOBOT.  In one of our recent Zoom meetings we (Beth Rogers and I) met with Joseph Hendricks and some of the educational staff (Kira Hegeman and Tausha Cox) from SLAM to discuss exhibiting the PTM display at the museum. The space that we were so generously given this past year will be taken by a sculpture installation so we may have to exhibit near the Cafe and main gift shop. Due to compliancy issues with our frames and display boards, we may be displaying our PTM art at a location other than SLAM, this year.  For now, we are still exploring options to fit within the art museum’s parameters. 

We also visited the Butterfly House in Chesterfield and met with Fred Gauna from the Education Department and Jennifer from Visitor Services at MOBOT. We are now waiting to hear if we can use the new event space (gratis) at the Botanical Garden for the PTM Awards Ceremony. It currently appears that we will be exhibiting the Top 100 Winners at the Butterfly House in their media room. The Awards Ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, April 7th with March 26, March 27, and April 2 as backup options.  PTM is working diligently to solidify the location(s) and date for the Awards Ceremony and the Exhibitions.

For more information, contact PTM chair Beth Rogers at

Group Hosts

Recap of the 2022-2023 season:  SVA Volunteers with Group Hosts had the opportunity to be the first to greet SLSO patrons as they arrived at Powell Hall.  During the 2022-2023 Coffee Concert season, the 13 active members greeted numerous vans from senior citizen residences and many school buses with eager students.  The seniors were appreciative of our smiles and helping hands and looked forward to the coffee and donuts.  They were also glad the SVA Group Hosts were on the sidewalk after the concert to help them find the right van.

Group Hosts volunteered at eight Coffee Concerts and one Holiday Concert.  A few also helped with three of the special movie concerts.  It was a pleasure to work alongside Susan Roberts, SLSO Group Sale Manager, who often was outside Powell Hall with us greeting buses and vans.

Group Hosts look forward to greeting SLSO patrons this fall at the Touhill.  For further information, contact Susanne Mertens at .

Powell Hall Tours

With the start of the renovation/expansion plans for Powell Hall, PH Tours will be on hiatus until the completion of the project in 2025. We look forward to the opportunity to work with SLSO staff to revise the Tours format and to provide interesting experiences for those looking to learn more about the fascinating history – and enjoy the stunning beauty – of Powell Hall.

During the hiatus, all PH Tours Team members are encouraged to use their skills in assisting other SVA committees and groups. Education Hosts, Shuttle Bus Hosts, and Marketing Table Hosts are just a few of the groups that will be looking for new volunteers for the upcoming season. If you have not already signed up for volunteer activities at the June membership luncheon, please watch your email – or click here – for a signup form coming later this summer. You can learn about existing and new volunteer opportunities that will be rewarding and help support the mission of the SLSO.

For further information about SVA Powell Hall Tours, please contact Team Lead Becky Brown (

Youth Orchestra

The SLSO recently introduced the three conductors who will rotate leading the St Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra for their 54th season in 2023/2024:

Cycle 1 – Jason Seber Jason recently completed his six-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. Prior to his appointment with the Kansas City Symphony, Seber served as Education and Outreach Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra from 2013 to 2016 and Music Director of the Louisville Youth Orchestra from 2005 to 2016. Concert: Saturday, November 18, 2023, 1pm at Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Cycle 2 – Leonard Slatkin Leonard Slatkin is Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Directeur Musical Honoraire of the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL), Conductor Laureate of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria (OFGC). Leonard was appointed Assistant Conductor of the SLSO in 1968 by Walter Susskind, founded the SLSYO in 1970, and was Music Director of the SLSO from 1979 to 1996. Concert (Side-by-Side with the SLSO): January 20, 2024, 7:30pm at Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Cycle 3 – Ian Passmore Following two seasons as the Omaha Symphony’s Assistant Conductor, the orchestra named Ian their Associate Conductor from 2019-2021. Before his appointment in Omaha, Ian served as Associate Instructor of Orchestral Conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he taught conducting, led the IU Conductors’ and All-Campus Orchestras, and guest conducted the IU Chamber, Concert, Symphony, and Philharmonic Orchestras. Concert: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 1pm at Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The YO musicians and their bios can be found at:

For further information about Youth Orchestra and volunteering, please contact SVA Team Leader Stephanie Randall ( 

Education Hosts

Education Concert Hosts will be exceptionally active this year, with three two-day sets of concerts for school-age children, and a three-day series of Tiny Tunes concerts for pre-school age kids.  With literally thousands of children to move through The Touhill at UMSL and The Sheldon in Grand Center, we’ll be looking for new volunteers to join the veteran Education Concert Hosts in greeting the children, parents, and teachers. 

Mark your calendars for the following dates.  All concerts take place in the morning, with hosts generally arriving around 8:30 and departing by 12:30.  Education Concerts:  October 24 and 25, April 3 and 4, and May 8 and 9, all at The Touhill.  Tiny Tunes Concerts February 6-8 at The Sheldon.  We look forward to seeing you there!

For information about Education Hosts, please contact Group Leader Steve Seele (

Philanthropy & Stewardship:


The Missouri House Budget Committee approved the $3.1M that arts advocates had requested for funding the Missouri Arts Council over the Governor’s budget.  In addition, $2.5M was added to the Trust Fund, a rainy-day fund that had been spent down some during the 2008 financial downturn.

Finally, the Budget Committee added a $1M capital improvements sum for Powell Hall which will be set-up as a matching funds gift.  These are truly significant nods to the arts community and the SLSO in particular.  

Chair Mike Grayson has been poring over the legislative gobbledegook that is generated by our legislature and to the best of his knowledge, the Governor did not veto any of the line items related to the Arts for FY 2024.  Specifically, that means that the Missouri Arts Council Trust Fund is to receive $15,602,323 for FY 2024 from the State Treasury. 

Included in that sum is a one-time appropriation of $3M for Powell Hall based on the Symphony’s “. . . commitment to educational and community outreach efforts . . .”.  This appropriation is not dependent upon any matching funds requirement.

Furthermore, Senate Bill 94, authorizing tax credits for certain entertainment productions in the state passed as well.  This would make it more attractive for film production crews to utilize Missouri for operating in Missouri.

It is Mike’s understanding that Representative Del Taylor, St Louis City District 84, was instrumental in the one-time budget item for Powell Hall.

Mike recommends that all SVA members, not just Advocacy Team members, consider sending Representative Taylor a warm thank you.

Join the Advocacy Team!  Contact:
                      Arts have an economic impact!


As we approach the Fall season, we want to thank all who signed up for this committee and encourage anyone else who has not yet signed up to volunteer.   For the next two years, until Powell Hall is reopened, much of our focus and efforts will be on patron transportation to the concerts for the encouragement of continued attendance without the stress and worry of parking.  

For all concerts at Stifel Theatre and at Touhill, on the UMSL campus, bus transportation will be provided for an additional charge.  For concerts at Stifel, there will be buses from Frontenac Plaza and Forest Park Community College. This means not just for one performance of that scheduled concert but for all of that week’s concert dates, including Coffee Concerts.  So there may be a concert for which we will be asking for up 6 volunteers.  What this means for you are two complimentary tickets to that performance (one for you and a guest), no shuttle fee, and no parking worries! 

This is a great way to continue to promote and welcome current and new patrons of the Symphony, update them with any current information, tell them about the SVA and volunteer opportunities, or a way to help people and assure them that this “park and ride” is here for them as we go through the physical remodeling of our “home”, without missing the music they enjoy!   It’s essentially just counting heads and greeting warmly!   As Ambassadors that is what we do best!  

We will be sending out sign-up sheets.  However if you have not volunteered yet, please reach out to our Ambassador “spreadsheet captain” Donald Pearline, at

And don’t forget about all other opportunities that we have as SLSO Ambassadors, especially the September 21st concert on Art Hill, at Forest Park!  You will be getting more detail about that, but please feel free to email to sign up now.

We sincerely appreciate everything everyone is doing and we are looking forward to an exciting season.  

For more information, contact chairs Sharongay and Donald Pearline at


We are happy to welcome Karen Silsby as the new Boutique Chair!

In the next 2 months, Karen and I will meet with Margaret Lahrmann, former Boutique Vice-Chair, when she will introduce us to the process of choosing Boutique merchandise and the ordering process from specific vendors.

As of now, the role of the Boutique is in the hands of SLSO personnel. The general idea is to secure a small, locked closet somewhere at Touhill where we can store our items to sell during Holiday concerts. The items we decide to purchase and sell will be holiday themed and small in size and quantity.

We will know more when details are made available to us from the SLSO, after the dust from the BIG MOVE has settled.  (Photo: empty Boutique at Powell hall)

More information to follow!

For more information, contact Boutique chair Karen Silsby at

Karen Silsby, Chair
Christine Henry, Vice-Chair


The Friends Committee is gathering information and beginning to plan for the 2023/2024 SVA season.  As with some other Committees, the Friends Committee has not been overly active during the 2022/2023 season.  We are gathering information regarding our contacts at SLSO, and planning to meet with them to reintroduce ourselves and offer some suggestions regarding Committee outreach to additional SVA and community donors, as well as those who may be interested in SVA and SLSO actvities during the renovation. 

We wish to express our gratitude to the donors who are the life blood of the SLSO and encourage consideration of a greater presence in the SVA or to become a greater presence in their support of the SLSO.

Committee members will be contacted soon to socialize and express their ideas for a more robust Committee presence.  It will be a busy quarter for everyone.  Beverly Cox and Sara Fabick worked hard to contact donors from lists supplied by the SLSO.  Marjie Smith and I hope to continue to build on their good work.  

For more information, contact Friends chair Glenna Schindler at

Glenna Schindler, Chair
Marjie Smith, Vice-Chair

SVA General Board contact information for 2023-2024

Your General Board consists of the Executive Committee; Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs, who fall under one of the three VPs; and Team Leads, whose groups take on recurring tasks within certain committees.

All these leaders are available, via their “official” SLSO emails, to welcome you into their committees/teams, answer questions, and generally provide resources to enrich your SVA experience.  All Execs, Chairs and Team Leads have SLSO emails, as listed below.  Vice-Chairs do not have SLSO emails, but are listed below for completeness.

Exec Committee First Name Last Name SLSO Email
President Debbie Dillon
VP Philanthropy & Stewardship Jim Moore
VP Education Suzanne Seibel
VP Membership Martha Duchild
Secretary Patty Kaplan
Membership Committees     SLSO Email
New & Prospective Chair Elizabeth Hahn
New & Prospective Vice Chair Connie Wepfer  
Meetings Chair Kathryn Norwood
Meetings Vice Chair Dianna Barron  
Pick & Choose Chair Sue Propper
Education Committees     SLSO Email
ETM Chair Lynda Leiberman
ETM Vice Chair Paula Hertel  
PTM Chair Beth Rogers
PTM Vice Chair Sue Darcy  
IP Chair Karen Nichols
IP Vice Chair Jim Schindler  
Powell Hall Opportunities Chair Sherry Moschner
Powell Hall Opportunities ViceChair Debbie Eldridge  
Philanthropy & Stewardship Committees     SLSO Email
Advocacy Chair Mike Grayson
Advocacy Vice Chair Moseley LaVerne  
Ambassadors Chair Sharongay Pearline
Ambassadors Vice Chair Don Pearline  
Boutique Chair Karen Silsby
Boutique Vice Chair Christine Henry  
Discovery Chair Kent McNeil
Discovery Vice Chair Janice Seele  
Friends Chair Glenna Schindler
Friends Vice Chair Marjorie Smith  
Nominating Committee Chair
Team Leads     SLSO Email
Membership Engagement Kathryn Snodgrass
Cocktails and Conversation Co-Lead Phyllis Traub To be created
Cocktails and Conversation Co-Lead Marilyn Humiston  
Analysis and Research Jim Moore To be created
Coffee Concerts Co-Lead Millie Neff
Coffee Concerts Co-Lead Doug Neff  
Education Hosts Steve Seele
Group Hosts Susanne Mertens
Powell Hall Tours Becky Brown
Youth Orchestra Stephanie Randall
Directory Susan Pribble
Communications Jeff Kaplan
Photography Pam Belloli
Publicity Jeff Kaplan Acting team lead

Remembering two long-time SVA members

Darryl Fabick

Darryl joined the SVA in 2009 and served on many activities such as Picture the Music, the Boutique, Gypsy Caravan, and the Technical Support Team, to name a few.   He had served in the Air Force where he worked on computer programming and subsequently pursued a career in technology.  He used these skills to provide technical support to many appreciative SVA members in need. Darryl and Sara, his wife of 54 years, were constant companions at SVA events and in promoting the SLSO.  Behind the scenes, Darryl supported Sara in her numerous SVA leadership roles, which included serving as our President from 2013-2015.  We are grateful to Darryl for giving us Sara, generously. Darryl and Sara enjoyed sailing and spent many family weekends on Carlyle Lake with their son Chris.  Darryl was also an avid cyclist who organized many cycling events for the St. Louis Area Recreational Cyclists.   In recent years, Darryl was part of the “Santa Fe 7” group that enjoyed an annual opera week in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Although not an opera buff, he graciously attended at least one performance.  Despite the operas and true to his heart, Darryl always spent a day cycling around Santa Fe.   Darryl was a quiet man.  But when he spoke, we listened.  He had a delightful sense of humor that could easily catch you off guard.   We will sincerely miss his gentle spirit, his friendship, and his contributions to the SVA. 

Margaret Gilleo

Margaret had a long active life, filled with many adventures, wonderful people and her lifelong devotion to music, travel, nature and peace.She graduated from Villa Duchesne and Maryville College. Later in life, she returned to school earning masters degrees from Columbia University and Aquinas Institute which led to a career teaching philosophy, ethics and religion at Fontbonne University.  She was active as a volunteer for many years with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Classical Guitar, St. Louis Holocaust Museum, Union Avenue Opera, Sierra Club and various other political and musical organizations.One of the highlights of her passion for peace was a successful First Amendment case that went to the Supreme Court in 1994. In that same year, she was a candidate for U.S. Congress. During the pandemic, she helped count birds for Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  She spoke several languages fluently and enjoyed Italian and French classes with her friends.  As a member of several book clubs, she was an avid reader who always had a stack of books ready.  She had a lifelong interest in learning, teaching, and eating dark chocolate!   Margaret was always taking a new class and sharing information.In the SVA, Margaret chaired the Advocacy Committee, and was a tireless advocate for the arts in general and for the SLSO in particular.  She was an inspiration to the SVA, and will be sorely missed.

Need to Get in Touch?

Eric Dundon

Public Relations Director