David Handler


We have been talking about this the whole trip down, often at odds with each other, and we are only in Asheville NC at this point, so we have a ways to go.

I would love it if SOON were able to accomplish those things that the committee  was not willing to attempt to accomplish on our behalf, but somehow, I have a real problem with asking them to do that.

Having served on orchestra committees, I always did my utmost to do things in such a way that the orchestra would support the committee at the end of what ever process we were in. And, at the end of that process, it was imperative that that support BE there.

I did not, nor have I for one minute, agreed with the path that Valerie took with this committee. I think back, and cringe- “We have a good rapport with David…”, “I would prefer 2 committees, so this committee can keep the rapport that we have built” (those from last year), and on into this year- “I just feel that if I am not here next year, we will have lost”, “We need to keep the orchestra together”, “”If the orchestra is together we can work to move things in the direction that we want” and so forth. This was her viewpoint when she was a member of the majority, and when she was not she kept that viewpoint, and she prevailed.

As much as I disagree with it, it is the path that our elected committee took. “Keep the orchestra together to fight another day, and build public support for the group”. Never mind that we WERE together, and HAD the public support this summer, and, with courage and faith in our supporters, we MAY have accomplished a much different outcome, albeit at a much greater risk. The committee made the decision, and it is my job to support the outcome. I hate it, but it is true.

The relationship between the orchestra and our audience has always been the most special thing about the NHMF. But as I said in one meeting, if we manage to reach something that looks like a kinda, sorta, semi quasi acceptable agreement, it pulls the rug out from under those who are fighting in our behalf. That is what we did. And I feel very funny asking them to go out and continue fighting on our behalf, now that we have cut OUR deal, when we were not willing to support them by continuing to fight for what we BOTH wanted.

Now, if SOON has the guns and the energy to continue fighting, I am for that- ultimately it really is their festival, their money, their community, which they allow me to be very much a part of every summer. The festival should be what they want it to be, if they can accomplish that. But for me to say “Go fight for this, or that, or the other thing” at this point, is cowardly and faithless.

So I look at next summer, if we return, as the beginning of a new job. And like any new job, there will be familiar faces in a new orchestra, the challenge of impressing the “right” people, learning to fit in to a different ethic, facing the process of being evaluated (honestly, I am always conscious of being evaluated every single time I sit in my chair), and, sadly, working to build a new relationship with our audience. Because that too will have changed, both because of what was done to us and to them by NHMF, but also because of what we decided to do when we accepted a proposal which may not be acceptable to them. And when I say sadly, I am deeply sad for that.

Thank You,
David Handler