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Shared History | The St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra & Symphony Volunteer Association

The story of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra could not be told without the Symphony Volunteer Association. The shared history of the two groups may come as a surprise to many. When SLSO Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin founded the YO in 1970, the SVA (then known as the Women’s Association) took on sponsoring the YO as part of its mission. One of the YO's first managers was SVA member Edith Hoagland, who served in that role for ten years. This season, the YO celebrates its 50th anniversary, complete with several special events to honor this extraordinary achievement.

SLSO Conductor Laureate in rehearsal with the YO in 2019

Slatkin provided inspiration for our young musicians during a rehearsal last spring when he announced to them that they could do something that even doctors could not: Bring the dead back to life. He was, of course, referring to music notes on a page, but the significance did not escape the orchestra. As early advocates for the YO, the SVA helped ensure that the “big orchestra,” the SLSO, would continue to “enrich lives through the power of music.” The SVA is honored to have played a role in fostering the YO legacy, and looks forward to putting many talented SVA members to work in supporting its mission over the next 50 years.

Now, for the exciting news! For the first time ever, the SVA will host a Pop Culture Trivia Night on February 22, 2020 to help raise funds for the continued education of the St. Louis region's finest student musicians. We are very excited to provide the community with an unforgettable, fun-filled evening of music, trivia, and prizes. This will be an opportunity to mingle with family and friends, meet some of the YO musicians, and challenge your memory of five decades of pop culture trivia. For further information and to purchase tickets, email


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