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NHMF hits the Reset button

1 Robert Levine

I’ve been forwarded the text of a letter from the board of the New Hampshire Music Festival which would suggest a course reversal on their part:

The Board of Directors met on December 17th to review our artistic goals and the options available to us to achieve them starting with the 2010 season. After a long and comprehensive discussion, the board concluded it was not in the best interests of our audience, orchestra, management, or the board to embark on another season of division and tensions that marked 2009. Indeed, the board believed that to do so could put at risk the very existence of the Festival.

Consequently, the Board has changed course. It has decided to work toward its goal to create more exciting musical experiences in a more traditional way. We felt our plans to introduce a collaborative approach to music making with a contingent of new musicians, existing musicians and highly distinguished students was not going to be embraced. For that reason, pursuing that approach would not have achieved the collaborative environment we sought in presenting concerts for the enjoyment of our patrons.

A representative of the Board and Festival management has approached the chair of the orchestra committee to discuss this new direction. We are encouraged that, working together, we will put the issues that divided us aside. The Board and Festival management are committed to working with the orchestra to achieve a successful 2010 season and a secure, harmonious future.

There are several meetings scheduled in January to work out all the details as we return to the more traditional way the Festival has been managed. Once everything has been finalized, we will report to you fully by the end of January. In the meantime, please know that the Festival Orchestra you have loved over these many years will be returning next summer.

While the Board of Directors and Festival Management felt that the new direction it had carefully chosen to reinvigorate the orchestra and achieve even higher artistic quality was the correct one, there comes a time when to continue down that path in the face of sincere misgivings on the part of our musicians and patrons is simply not good for the health and stability of the organization. That time has come. We recognize we did not anticipate the strong emotions that were stirred by the planned new direction. Our goal is - and has always been - to bring you great music and we pledge to you our commitment to do that.

We wish you all a Happy New Year and a wonderful future for the New Hampshire Music Festival.

Rusty McClear, Co-chairman of the Board of the New Hampshire Music Festival
Susan Weatherbie, Co-chair

A letter from the orchestra committee states that they have received assurances that the October 2009 personnel policy is “null and void.”


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  1. Comment by Sally Davis
    January 11, 2019 at 12:43 PM

    The Boston Globe Jan.11 story, headlined “Orchestrating a Victory”, written by Geoff Edgers leaves out so much of what has changed over the 10 years I have lived “around Winnipesaukee” in the Plymouth area where the festival has performed many of its classical concerts in PSU facilities. He doesn’t recognize or know about the drop in weekly performances, the drop of the choir, the decision to build a venue in Center Harbor, the decisions to drop the educational programs in area schools and substitute for them programs in two private pre-schools.

    I won’t think a “victory has been orchestrated” unless the present board recognizes how the new direction they sought was only a desire of their
    personal need for control rather than a wish to add to a good music experience here in central NH.

    Henry Fogel seems to believe his execution of the changes David Graham and the board saw as desirable were acceptable. He and they seem to have no idea of the community the festival has created and at least now, whether retired or not, I hope we can save the NH Music Festival and the wonderful summer experience I found 10 years ago.