The very best part of Villa di Maria is our people. Our community of families, faculty and staff is something to be proud of. In this series, We are VdM, we’ll highlight the talents, humor, energies and wisdom of some of our amazing people. Today we’ll meet one of longtime families: Tricia, Thomas, Klaus and Max Jöstlein. The Jöstleins have been a part of Villa di Maria for many years. Their older son Klaus graduated in 2019, and their younger son Max is currently a fourth-year in Upper Elementary. Tricia and Thomas are also on campus regularly—most recently, Thomas treated the elementary classrooms to an outdoor concert last fall and Tricia was a substitute guide in the YCC this past winter.
Villa di Maria: Tell us a bit about you and your family. Where are you from and what brought you to St. Louis?
Tricia: Thomas and I both grew up in the midwest and we met at Rice University in Houston, where we studied French Horn performance. We followed each other to various orchestra jobs (Honolulu, Richmond, Omaha, Kansas City, New York) until Thomas was hired by the St. Louis Symphony in 2010. We have loved being in St. Louis.
VdM: How did you find Montessori and what brought you to Villa di Maria?
The Jöstleins: After a friend introduced us to Montessori, we found a nearby Montessori preschool for Klaus. During his culminating year, Tricia attended the Silent Journey at Villa and we knew immediately that Klaus would thrive in the Montessori elementary environment. (And we were right!) Max joined VdM the following year as a founding member of P3. All of a sudden, seven years later, he’s in Upper El!
Tricia was so taken with Montessori education that she studied for three summers at the Montessori Training Center in Milwaukee to become an elementary guide. While she did not go on to teach full time, it gave her a deep appreciation for the investment made by all the VdM guides. Tricia occasionally fills in as a sub at the Montessori Lab School.
VdM: Tell us about your backgrounds, what do you and your spouse do career-wise?
The Jöstleins: We are both professional musicians, which is terrific in so many ways. Besides the opportunities to perform at Powell, Thomas has played in great halls around the world, including a historic concert in North Korea when he was a member of the New York Philharmonic. Tricia is a frequent sub with the SLSO, plays for Winter Opera St. Louis, and is adjunct at Webster University.
VdM: Do you have any hobbies? How do you and your family enjoy spending your spare time?
The Jöstleins: We enjoy a lot of things in common, like travel, cooking, board games, and tennis. We also have tremendous opportunities that music affords. Klaus (violin) and Max (cello) are becoming really fine musicians and it’s great to play music together.
During the pandemic we hosted 173 free concerts on our front lawn. With the help of many friends, we branched out beyond classical music, to jazz, bluegrass, ragtime, Irish, story telling, and even a Beatles cover night! Our Syrian friends sold their amazing falafel, and Klaus and Max started quite a lemonade operation. The concerts provided a unique way to expand our musical horizons, connect with our neighbors, and meet new people during an otherwise fraught time.
VdM: A question for Klaus – Where are you now? Tell us a little about your new school and what you’re up to.
The Jöstleins: Klaus mostly goes around the house screeching and annoying his little brother. And attending the College School in Webster Groves.
VdM: For Max – Tell us one of your favorite Villa di Maria memories (so far!).
The Jöstleins: Max loved playing his cello for his Racks and Tubes classmates last spring on Zoom. They were amazed at his abilities!