To those concerned:
Orchestra musicians and community people have expressed themselves clearly and eloquently, and there is no need for me to re-state what has been well said. I am in agreement with all.
An element of the agreement between musicians and management that disturbs me, but has not been discussed, is the proposal to bring in 20 new professional musicians, allegedly at the same salary as incumbent musicians. Where will these musicians come from? Are there 20 musicians out there, fitting the description management seeks in player/mentor capacity and willing to be available for 6 weeks at the income proposed? If so, how will they be different than the incumbent musicians–how more qualified–how more able to deliver the new model? How will they be solicited? How will they be auditioned? Will there be an advertisement in the International Musician? Musicians that are not already employed for summer months are generally free-lance musicians, teachers, or musicians otherwise available for a six week gig between other gigs.
I think management has a plan:
I am inclined to believe that management has an established group already in place, and has had this group lined up since their dire announcement to us on July 1. Thus the desire to decrease our numbers so significantly, and thus the need to make additional money magically appear, so as to be able to employ this group as well as a larger number of NHMF incumbents for the next season. This stop-gap measure was necessary because of the public support of the current orchestra.
I believe management has planned all along to bring in an entire new orchestra, established and currently functioning elsewhere under the “new model.” And in another year, when Henry and David have succeeded in weeding us out even further, more of that group will be brought to New Hampshire.
I hope that the S.O.O.N. group will keep these points in mind:
The orchestra did not vote on the agreement; it was created by the orchestra committee under the direction of a negotiator for whom the goal was to reach agreement.
Henry Fogel and David Graham must be removed from leadership if the NHMF as it has been known is going to survive.
The property at Red Hill Inn and the proposed new venue may be the catalyst for all this unwanted change. It is unnecessary for the health of the current festival, and is in fact a huge financial drain.
In an orchestra of 60 musicians, if 20 are new professionals and 8 are new students, only 32 at any one time will be incumbent NHMF musicians. This is way down from the 45 on stage this summer.
Most professional musicians in America work for a per-service scale. That means X dollars per rehearsal hour, exactly as lawyers, plumbers, and carpenters bill their time. That is why there is normally a set number of rehearsals for every concert produced by American Orchestras. Henry and David must see musicians as a different species, willing to work unspecified numbers of hours toward producing a performance. Their model is not fiscally viable based on union pay scales for professional musicians.
The orchestra musicians must become unionized for any future dealings with management.
Phyllis Saunders, NHMF violinist since 1984