Dear Messrs. Graham and Fogel,
My wife and I date back to the days of Tom Nee and have been supporters of the New Hampshire Music Festival for a number of years. We are, however, distressed by what we have learned recently about the situation at the NHMF. We have both your letter and one from the musicians. Obviously we do not know all the facts. You may consider that there is dead wood in the orchestra which must be removed if it is to survive. You may have a really major donor in the wings whose wishes must be followed. However, we do have a few comments.
1. When we are not here at the lake, we spend considerable time volunteering at a charitable institution, the Royal Ontario Museum. They are constantly at work raising money in order to balance their budget. They try at all costs to avoid controversy. All changes are taken only after wide consultation and discussion. Change is gradual. Nothing happens suddenly. And they are the most successful institution in Ontario at fund raising. They know their business, and the no.1 rule is to avoid controversy.
2. It is not clear to us why raising the technical level of the resident symphony orchestra will increase attendance. You already have attracted all serious lovers of classical music, since the present orchestra gives a good account of itself and you have no competition in the Lakes Region. Most of the rest of the present audience, however, would not be able to tell the difference if the orchestra’s technical level were raised. They like the music as loud and showy as possible.
There are numerous devices for attracting new subscribers. In our opinion the present level of skill of the orchestra is entirely sufficient and increasing its technical ability is far down the list of these devices.
3. It is also unclear to us why giving the present musicians the right to apply first for their positions is an advantage to them. If there is a competition for a slot, then the order in which the applicants are considered will not, or should not, affect the final decision. If there is not competition for a slot, then there is no advantage to early application.
Annually we rejoice at seeing familiar faces returning from the year before. We can quite understand that an application process is appropriate for new applicants, but we do not think that it should be applied to our old friends. We hope that you will reconsider your decision.
With best wishes to you in your difficult task!
John C. Hurd and Helen Porter Hurd (dtr. Quincy Porter)