Bring community back to N.H. Music Festival



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To the editor:As manager of the New Hampshire Music Festival 35 years ago, I lived, breathed, played and worked for the cause with such proud identity that even my license plate read, “NHMF.” The community of musicians, board and audience members, publicists, donors and fund-raisers all worked together, played together, and encouraged each other’s helpful efforts.The full festival community is the joint custodian of the legacy created by our NHMF predecessors, who invested their time, effort and talent. We honor their memory to the point of feeling an instinctive promise to preserve what meant so much to the community. For 57 years, the festival gifted its audience with the full orchestral experience, which concert-goers came to expect and cherish.One glaring example of ignoring its legacy occurred in 2008, when NHMF refused to organize a gathering in Tom Nee’s memory. The memorial for the beloved conductor and music director (who led the festival from 1963 to 1992) was organized by former manager Phil Walz from out-of-state.A nonprofit organization must do well by doing good, because goodwill is a vital asset. Good relations are all about people – people trying to please, being honest and sincere, and treating each other with respect.Historically, NHMF has paid poor wages and provided Spartan living conditions; yet excellent musicians have returned summer after summer because of the music and the people.Management has tarnished NHMF’s good name. Instead of musicians across the country thinking of the New Hampshire Music Festival as an idyllic setting for music-making with families and the community, they now associate NHMF with National Labor Relations Board’s unfair labor practices and unrest with the American Federation of Musicians.NHMF needs to bring back the community involvement and administrative leadership that the organization enjoyed in the past and deserves in the future.Brenda Conklin Waterville Valley

 

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