The decision to not renew Mary Woodmansee Green's contract has taken the entire orchestra by surprise. None of the musicians was consulted or given the benefit of an explanation by anyone. Some had to read it in the paper, and since most of us live away from Hilton Head Island, the majority of us heard about it by word of mouth. Having seen the Savannah and Charleston orchestras go out of business, we are grateful for the work the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra provides. With only two or three rehearsals allotted for each concert, the orchestra performs wonderfully under Green's able leadership. The musicians are treated with respect, the programming is imaginative and the audiences are warm and responsive. This "change in artistic direction" will have a significant effect on the supporters and audience we serve, as well as the musicians. Typically, when such a change in an orchestra is decided, the result is either a smaller chamber ensemble, reduced number of performances or the more common programming of commercial and pops music. I, and other musicians, are appalled by the unprofessional treatment of our music director and urge the board to renew her contract to ensure the orchestra remains a quality musical organization. Otherwise, we fear that it will join the Savannah and Charleston orchestras in insolvency, or at the very least, have a reduced concert schedule and diminished programming, which will affect all of our livelihoods, the quality of the orchestra, and ultimately, our service to the community. Stephanie Furry, principal horn Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Assistant professor Georgia Southern University Statesville, Ga.
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