I read the news of Mary Woodmansee Green's dismissal as music director of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra with disbelief. As a former music critic for The Island Packet, I watched Green turn a so-so orchestra into a group of polished players capable of stunning music-making. She was the right person in the right place at the right time. Such serendipity rarely occurs twice. Now Green has become a casualty of a board of directors whose reckless action puts to naught a dozen years of growth. Orchestra leaders appear to be dwelling in the Land of Oz. They need to click their heels together three times and repeat, "There's no place like reality." The arts are often first responders to a bad economy. Orchestra revenues undoubtedly reflect the current economic crisis. To put the cause of such losses at the feet of a single individual, the conductor, is fuzzy thinking, if not voodoo economics. In my 25 years as a performing arts critic covering Hilton Head, Beaufort, Savannah and Charleston, I never witnessed a spontaneous combustion like the one caused by the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. Consequently, its path is clear. Get out of Oz altogether. Put aside grandiose futures and Hollywood endings. Offer Green the contract she and the community deserve. Accept resignations from those who can't see success when it's under their noses and who can't hear beautiful music when it floods their ears. Then sit back and enjoy the season. Jane Shaw Bainbridge Island, Wash.
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