Trick or treat…Youngsters at SHRINERS HOSPITALS FOR CHILDREN-ST. LOUIS celebrated Halloween early with a party just for them. Patients selected costumes, played games and worked on Halloween-themed crafts, courtesy of Spirit of Children, an organization that works to make hospital stays less scary for kids and their families. To date, the organization has raised more than $75,000 for Shriners and more than $10 million nationwide since the program’s inception.

Wondering what to do with all that leftover Halloween Candy? MERCY HOSPITAL is offering to a way to help…for a good cause! Mercy’s Department of Dental Medicine is holding a candy buy-back event on Friday, Nov. 2, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m at Mercy Doctor’s Building (621 S. New Ballas Road). The hospital will buy leftover Halloween candy for $1 per pound to send to U.S. troops via Operation Gratitude. For more info, call 251-5775.

Multiple Grammy Award-winner BOBBY MCFERRIN has been announced as the headliner for Sheldon Gala 2013. The Don’t Worry, Be Happy singer is one of today’s most diverse and prolific performers, and has conducted the Vienna Philharmonic, performed with the St. Louis Symphony and consorted with the Muppets on Sesame Street. Proceeds from the April 25 event benefit The Sheldon and its programs. For gala ticket information, call 533-9900.

Bravo! DR. MARK VARVARES, director of Saint Louis University Cancer Center, has been recognized nationally for his advocacy work for music therapy. Varvares has championed the power of music to help patients cope with pain, discomfort and anxiety. The American Music Therapy Association presented him with the Music Therapy Champion award earlier this month.

There is a new orchestra in town: THE METROPOLITAN ORCHESTRA OF SAINT LOUIS, under the musical direction of ALLEN CARL LARSON, performed its opening concert of its inaugural season last month. The orchestra was found by local professional musicians with the goal of fostering diversity while presenting high-quality classical symphonic music. Upcoming concerts are on Jan. 20 and April 7 at the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District’s newly remodeled theater (7539 Manchester Road) in Maplewood. Visit for more information.

Emmy and Grammy Award-winning producer, orchestrator and recording star JOHN MCDANIEL will lead a host of other Kirkwood High School (KHS) orchestra alums for a ‘Live at Lincoln Center’ Benefit Concert at the high school. McDaniel (class of ’79), will perform piano at the concert. He won two Emmy Awards as bandleader for The Rosie O’Donnell Show and has worked on a number of Broadway hits. He’ll be joined at the Dec. 21 benefit by sixth-generation string player PATRICE JACKSON, siblings MEG, LIZ and J FREIVOGEL as the Freivogel Family Strings and others. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the KHS orchestra’s trip to Lincoln Center in March. For more info, visit

Bestselling author and art historian ROSS KING will be in town for a book-signing and discussion of his new book, Leonardo and the Last Supper. In it, King explores how Leonardo da Vinci created one of history’s most influential and beloved works of art, despite war and the political, religious and personal turmoil around him. The author’s Nov. 14 appearance at St. Louis County Library headquarters begins at 7 p.m.