Letters to the Editor

Don't miss contributions to piano competition

Dick Tyrrell's letter, as well as many others, summed up pretty accurately the many reasons Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra conductor Mary Green has so many supporters and admirers.

Let me add another reason -- her contribution to the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.

When it was decided in 2002 to make a piano concerto mandatory for each of the candidates, the level of competence of the participants was raised considerably. Doing so also meant that the orchestra had to be prepared to play three different piano concertos the evening of the finals, which implied Mary had to learn a dozen concertos.

To coax an inexperienced and nervous pianist through a piano concerto is no small feat. But she did it, and as we have all seen and heard, those executions got better every year.

As a host family for 10 years, we have heard the many comments from our contestants. In the beginning, the comparison with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, or whatever orchestra they heard frequently, was not very favorable. As expected. But in the past three years, criticism has been much milder to the point where they would "admit" that we have a pretty good orchestra.

Opinion polls have shown that the piano competition is one of the important reasons visitors come to the island that special week in March. Again, thanks to Green's professionalism, this has become one of our major assets. Let's just keep her.

Mieke SmitHilton Head Island