To the Board members of NHMF: October 5, 2009
Concerns about NHMF Directions
We, among many others, are strongly opposed to the actions taken by the Music Festival administration and board. We feel we need to let you know some of our major concerns. As we’ve read more about your plans we’ve become increasingly convinced that you must reverse your course of action. It seems to us that you fail to consider the festival as an artistic enterprise and the musicians as professionals of high caliber.
The Music Festival’s 57 year history is being totally disregarded by the actions the board and management have undertaken. Our readings indicate that it takes considerable time for an orchestra to begin to function smoothly. If NHMF embarks on Henry’s scheme we would expect that it would quite likely take several years to get the resulting orchestra up to par. A number of present concert-goers will be lost as well as many donations.
The long history of the New Hampshire Music Festival has resulted in an orchestral experience of which we should all be proud. We attend concerts at Tanglewood and have always felt that the experience we enjoy in Plymouth compares favorably. We’ve never had cause to complain about the quality nor have we heard any other complaints. Programming can easily be changed to include other works if desired. Remember that programming restrictions were imposed by David Graham on both Tom Nee and Paul Polivnick.
An aspect of the Music Festival that many of us enjoy is the feeling of belonging. As donors and audience members we felt a certain kinship with the musicians even though we hadn’t met them. Each year we would look to see who was back and wonder about those who were missing. Board actions caused us to become concerned about the future and about the shabby way the musicians have been treated.
We’ve since met and talked to a number of the musicians and the uniform feeling we got was they were not happy with anything that’s been done and certainly have not agreed with the final steps that Rusty, Susan, David and Henry tell us about in the various mailings we’ve received.
By the way, much of the collaborative process that Henry touts is available for our musicians in the Chamber series. At any rate, the musicians would not have come back year after year if they did not enjoy the experience.
If you want to increase attendance we feel you need to use more effective PR and advertising. We have heard that staff at Main Street Dental did not know a symphony orchestra played across the street! We can attest to the fact that the word is not getting out since people we know in the area were not aware.
We will dramatically reduce our donations and we may not subscribe to the entire series unless the present course of action is reversed and the Festival is returned to what it used to be. Note that if you were to change back and invite all the musicians back and reverse all the other steps so many of us find onerous, we and presumably others, could help out more financially than we have, but as things are now going we will give much less.
We hope that enough of you will come to understand the errors of your present path and correct your actions before it is too late.
Al & Dotti Larsson