Letters to the Editor

Supporters should have say on orchestra direction

The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra board of directors saw fit to fire its music director and conductor, Mary Woodmansee Green, as of next season. Why? They thought a change was needed. There was no consultation with subscribers.

In the present financial climate, in which symphony orchestras are folding right, left and center, we still have one, thanks to many, but most especially Green. For us, members of the audience, Green is the heart and soul of our orchestra, which she has turned into a professional operation unique for a town our size. And as the orchestra's prowess has grown, she has worked to reach out to the community in multiple ways -- after concerts, through musicales and with the youth orchestra and programs for children.

Because of the board's decision, the 2011-12 season will be filled with trials -- for conductors, for the musicians, for the audiences. Will the change in programming, aimed at reaching the broadest group of people, result in elevator-music concerts?

But besides all that, there is something wrong here. Shouldn't we, the subscribers, donors and general audience -- the people who make the orchestra possible by our financial support -- have the last word in matters that threaten the orchestra's very existence? To make such a momentous decision without our participation is just wrong. We think Green should remain music director and conductor, and hope others who feel this way will make their views heard.

George and Cynthia Gorski-PopielHilton Head Island