Parents’ Association

Stephanie Schulte-Albert


Ya-Fei Hsu

 Vice President

Mary Carr


Joy Fanien


Minutes of the September 9, 2018 PYSOPA Meeting


PYSO Parent Association Meeting Minutes (PYSOPA)

September 9, 2018

Stephanie Schulte-Albert opened the Parent Association meeting:

Stephanie thanked everyone for attending and presented the slate of Parent Association Officers. There were no other nominations from the floor.  The officers were elected unanimously.

President:  Stephanie Schulte-Albert  (

Vice-President:  Ya-Fei Hsu  (

Treasurer:  Joy Fanien  (

Secretary:  Mary Carr  (

After determining that many new member parents were in attendance, Stephanie began an explanation of the role of the Parent Association.

The objectives of the Parent Association include:

  • Provide meals and/or snacks for the students on concert days.
    • There are 5 events where dinner and/or snack are provided to the students. *Please notify the Parent Association if your child has a food allergy.
    • Thanks to Joy Fanien for coordinating meals for the PYSO students throughout the 2017-2018 season!
    • The 2018-2019 Meal Coordinators are Yongchae Lee ( and Jaeyeon Jeong ( Thank you ladies for stepping forward to fill this role!
    • The Parent Association will need parent help as volunteers on site and through food donations. Before an event, each family will receive an email directing them to the online sign-up app, Sign UpGenius. With this app you can easily see what is needed and sign up to help. Any and all help is welcome and appreciated!
  • Provide a yearbook for each PYSO musician.
    • The yearbook is produced and paid for by the Parent Association. It is free to each student.
    • Last year, David Ren not only was the in-house photographer but also put together the yearbook. Thank you David!
    • Ya-Fei Hsu has stepped forward to coordinate the production of the 2018-2019 yearbook. Thank you Ya-Fei for coordinating this project!
    • The Parent Association is currently looking for a person to replace David Ren as photographer. Anyone with talent in photography who is willing to volunteer, please contact Stephanie Schulte-Albert. (
    • PYSO has hired a Marketing Director who will also be involved in yearbook development.
  • Provide a PYSO apparel sale.
    • The apparel sale will be held this October. Students can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts and more.
    • In past years, including last year, this sale has been coordinated by Stephanie Schulte-Albert. Thanks Stephanie!
    • Volunteer(s) are needed to either take over this sale or to assist Stephanie with the sale. If interested, please contact Stephanie Schulte-Albert. (
    • Shields Embroidery in Mt. Lebanon is the vendor previously used by the Parent Association. They are very easy to work with, providing forms, taking payments and sorting orders. However, other vendors will be considered.
    • PYSOPA receives about 20% profit from this sale.
  • Fundraising
    • The PYSOPA budget is approximately $3000.
    • The Parent Association receives $25 from each musician’s membership dues. This money, plus proceeds from other fundraising projects, pays for meals and snacks, the yearbook, a t-shirt during a tour year, etc.
    • In need of new fundraising ideas. Suggestions welcome.
    • The can collection at doors after concerts has been a very successful fundraiser. The Parent Association may continue this fundraiser.
      • Craig Johnson (Executive Director of PYSO) added that instead of a can collection, an approach using a cell phone donation during the concert may be implemented. No decision has been made yet.
    • Parents can designate PYSO as their charity of choice at Amazon Smile. PYSO receives quarterly disbursements from Amazon. A worthwhile fundraiser.  Go to

Question: A parent asked if PYSOPA accepts donations for meals from restaurants.

Answer: Yes.  PYSOPA is willing to talk with anybody associated with a restaurant willing to donate to the kids.


Question: A parent asked, “Who does the Gala/auction money go to, PYSO or PYSOPA?  Main question, what’s the difference?”

Answer: PYSOPA’s main financial objective is to care for the kids, to provide food before concerts, a yearbook, a t-shirt during tour years. We do not receive money from the gala.  For PYSO, the gala pays for scholarships and other things. Craig Johnson will discuss this.


Question:  A new parent asked, “Rehearsal is every Sunday, 6:00-9:00 pm. Is dinner included?”

Answer:  No. The Parent Association provides meals on concert days between dress rehearsal and the show, with the exception of the Tiffany Concert where only a snack is provided due to the time constraint. Dinner was provided today because it was an extended rehearsal.

Kids can bring a snack to practice, if they desire. Some kids also walk to Starbucks.


Question: A parent asked, “Roughly, how many members are served during a dinner?”

Answer: Eve Goodman (PYSO Program Coordinator) answered that currently 80 members are being served with room for 86. Stephanie Schulte-Albert added that the Parent Association plans for 100 people at each meal, allowing any coaches and the director to eat as well.


Stephanie Schulte-Albert introduced Laurie Cunningham, the Youth Chamber Connection (YC2) Manager to speak on behalf of the Youth Chamber Connection.

  • Laurie started as a PYSO parent then helped to develop YC2.
  • Membership in this group provides the student with chamber music education and playing opportunities. It promotes friendships and teamwork and practices skills the student will use throughout their whole life.
  • Different ways to participate in YC2:
    • Students can join for the school year.
      • Each group will practice every Sunday from 4:00-5:45 pm at First Presbyterian Church (6th Ave.) or Saturday at Duquesne University.
      • Each group is assigned a coach from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
      • Student groups have performed at special events at Heinz Field, the City-County Building, Benedum Center, the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg, Carnegie Museums, Phipps Conservatory, and many more places.
    • Students can join to participate on a casual or occasional basis.
      • Email to join the mailing list to hear about special chamber events and opportunities.
      • students can play along racecourse for PSO members running in their 5K race.
      • The music for these opportunities and can be sight-read by most students involved in any of the orchestras associated with YC2.
    • Tuition is charged to participate in YC2, however, scholarships are available to students in need. No student is turned away!

Question from Stephanie Schulte-Albert: “Do we still have the PYSO discount for PSO tickets?”

Answer from Craig Johnson: Yes. Craig will look up the promo code and send out an email to parents.  Craig added that the discount applies to all the Grand Classics Performances, all the Pops Performances, and others as well. Stephanie added that the PYSO members can attend a matinee and still get to rehearsal on time.

PYSO promo code for PSO tickets:  74144

Stephanie briefly introduces the Gala concert before passing the discussion to Craig Johnson.

  • Little Russians Gala (info from Stephanie)
    • Sunday, October 28, 2018, 6:00-9 pm
    • Rodef Shalom (4141 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh)
    • The Byzantine Church next door is allowing PYSO use of their space to feed the students and give them a place to wait.
    • The Parents’ Association will need parent volunteers to help feed the students.
    • An email will be sent out at a later time with the dress code, however, students should wear black pants/skirts with a deep, dark colored shirt (ex. navy, maroon, dark green) No black shirts, no white shirts, No pastel-colored shirts.
  • Gala information from Craig Johnson
    • The gala happens almost every year. The board likes to have a special reason or purpose for holding the event. This makes it more meaningful and people will participate.
      • The last gala was fundraising for the trip to Spain.
      • This year’s gala is being held to introduce the new Music Director, Earl Lee. The Little Russians will be his first public performance with PYSO.
    • The gala is primarily organized by the PYSO Board of Directors.
      • The last several years the officers of the Parent Association have served on the Gala Committee.
    • The gala consists of a dinner, a concert, a silent auction and a live auction.
    • Tickets are $125. Gala volunteers receive a ticket discount. Gala volunteer ticket price $75.
  • Eve Goodman discussed gala online auction bidding and sponsorship levels.
    • This year PYSO purchased an online bidding platform which will be used for the gala silent auction.
    • Smart phones will be used to place bids. The process is simple… register yourself (text LitRussian to 52182) and start bidding.
    • Eve plans to send out a detailed email which includes a short training video on how to use the bidding system.
      • This email will also contain directions for purchasing discounted volunteer tickets.
    • For the gala, PYSO is offering a variety of sponsorship levels. Beginning at $1000 for parties of 10 people (and higher for tables/advertising opportunities).  If you are affiliated with a business that might be interested in sponsoring a table at the gala, please contact Eve Goodman at

Question:  A parent asked, “How many people usually attend the gala?”

Answer:  About 200 people are expected to attend.


Question:  A parent asked, “Who normally attends, the board members?”

Answer:  It’s a mix of people.  The board members attend, sometimes the coaches buy a table, parents and alumni also attend.


Craig Johnson summarized topics he covered with the students during their orientation and general information issues.

  • Attendance
    • Look at the website ( It will tell you how many absences are allowed and what reasons for absence are permitted.
    • Please be on time to pick up your child from rehearsal.
  • Dress Code
    • Again, refer to the website.
  • Parking and getting around Pittsburgh
    • Avoid parking in the bike lane. The police will ticket you.
    • The city garages provide cheaper parking than the private garages. You can check online to find the city garages and if parking in available at (This site is also available as an app for smart phones.)
    • Check Google Maps prior to rehearsals to avoid lateness due to traffic problems.
  • Cell phones
    • No cell phone usage on stage.
    • If the students are observed using their phone on stage, it will be taken and kept safe until the end of rehearsal.
  • Parents during rehearsal
    • Any parent can stay and listen to rehearsal.
    • Please don’t wander the halls. You are permitted to sit in the concert hall.
    • The WiFi code for Heinz Hall is 18orchestra96.
  • International Tour
    PYSO undertakes and international tour every three years. The last tour was in 2017 to Spain. The next tour will take place in June of 2020 with a tentative destination of Northern Europe: Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, and Finland.
Amazon Smile
Go to and designate Pittsburgxh Youth Symphony Orchestra as your charity.



AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at Amazon Smile, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

PYSO Apparel Sale

  • PYSO Apparel sale normally includes shirts, sweatshirts, etc. with the PYSO name and logo.
  • You can download and print the form by following this link: 2018 PYSO Apparel Sale. Completed forms with payment need to be turned in by Sunday, Nov. 11.
  • For the past couple of years we have used the company Shields Embroidery in the Mt. Lebanon area. Shields is very easy to work with and provides forms, takes payments and sorts orders. We were able to make a small profit from the sales in the past .
  • Volunteer(s) are needed to help. Please contact Stephanie Schulte-Albert ( if you are interested.


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