Terry Thomason

June 29, 2009


“Mr. Fogel:


I write on behalf of my wife and myself as members of the NHMF

community of supporters for over twenty years.


Let me begin by stating that my wife, Nancy, and I honor maestro

Paul Polivnick for the incredible growth and development he brought

to the music of the Festival organization over his nearly two

decades of commitment; we will always feel grateful to him for

making the summer festival one of the very highest experiences

of the year for us.


When we heard that a new “festival director” was being appointed

it generated in us a new level of excitement and expectation with

the seeming possibility of even further advances in excellence. 

Then I read your article in A Tutti.


I was disturbed and disappointed.  After being half way through the article

I had to stop and start over, asking myself, Does he really mean to

be taking pot shots at Mr. Polivnick before he has even left the property?”


Polivnick’s consummate contributions are obvious to those of us who sat

spellbound under his leadership for so many years; we are looking

forward to yours.  I’m not sure whether you have been listening to the

same director that we have.  We and all of our friends in the Festival

family agree that Polivnick‘s renditions have far surpassed what you

cast negatively as “fine concerts.”  At virtually every concert we found our

Minds transformed and our spirits soaring, eagerly anticipating the next

exhilarating musical offering.


Suggestion:  Do something proactive, constructive, creative.  Then

others will speak for your work and it will speak for itself.


Terry Clay Thomason”



Undated, but I believe, July 14:


To Henry Fogel and David Graham


“Like many others, I have wondered for many months what is was

that was so terrible that it was necessary to “orchestrate” it for

close to a year before sharing it with the constituency that has

supported this endeavor so faithfully for so long.


The irony is that as a result of the shameful and demeaning way

the matter has been handled, you have not been able to release it

in a carefully planned manner, but rather, defensively as an emergency

response to the broad-based anger your club-fisted approach



That which has been hidden and now revealed, is that in what seems to be

a truly Machiavellian business style, you have, in your “great wisdom”

decided to turn what has been a truly fine professional musical

organization into a “semi-pro team.”


In response to your July 13 letter, with its news of diminishing attendance, I

submit that the problem is most assuredly not disenchantment by Festival

followers with the quality of the product, but rather, at least in large measure,

a reflection on the economy.  Don’t most businesses faced with declining

revenues engage in fresh, forceful, proactive marketing campaigns,

rather than simply the same old routine announcement forms?  Let’s see,

who has ultimate responsibility for marketing this fine orchestra??


Finally, gentlemen, if you honestly believe the manner in which you are

dealing with the orchestra is marked by integrity, dignity and courtesy, let

me ask:  Henry, how stiff and grueling was the competition you faced in

securing your position with the organization?  David, have you submitted

your multiple essays and faced a real and stressful audition to demonstrate

that you too unequivocally possess the qualities necessary to lead in this

new environment of “higher standards, longer hours and a much more

engaged commitment than in the past”?


One thing of which I am certain is that this style of leadership has diminished

my financial motivation to zero.  I cannot in good conscience continue to

contribute to a leadership approach characterized by hubris, arrogance and

hurtfulness to the orchestra and orchestra goers.  I suspect you will find

I am far from alone.


Terry C. Thomason”


July 15

To Edward McLear, Chair, Board of Directors


“Dear Mr. McLear,


      Where are you; where is the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire

Music Festival?  I hope and trust that I am mistaken, since I have always

Appreciated your leadership and that of the Board, but you all seem invisible,

While your two principal staff persons are boisterously and crudely

Dismantling a fine musical organization.


     Fogel, who appears to have assumed staff dominance, rudely and with

great hubris insults Paul Polivnick repeatedly in your official publication.

After nearly two decades of more than outstanding service by Polivnick, I

find that absolutely inexcusable.


     Fogel and graham, in their July 13 mailing casually inform us that in the

blink of an eye they are turning a truly fine, professional orchestra into a

“semi-pro” team. 


     Is it really possible that these two have the blessing of the Board in this

truly embarrassing, hurtful downgrade of a fine orchestra?  I do not believe

the decline in attendance reflects dissatisfaction with the product.  I believe

the obvious – that it is at least in large measure a reflection of current

economic decline.  Where has the paid staff been in the obvious approach

of economic stress?  We have not seen a proactive, vigorous, vital

marketing program to contest the economic challenge.


     Nancy and I travel around the world most every year and are blessed by

many exciting experiences, yet I can tell you truly that we have always

counted the performances by NHMF as one of the highest points of our year.

I can only say that we are dismayed and heartbroken by the heavy-handed

treatment of the orchestra and the nearly year-long concealed hand played by

the organization toward faithful concert goers.


     Having contributed to the work of the orchestra for more than twenty years,

we sadly find ourselves in the position of no longer being able in good

conscience to financially support the current leadership of your professional



Terry C. Thomason