Festival needs better balance between classical, popular music

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It was disappointing to have read recently of the circumstances that will cause the executive director of The Festival at Sandpoint to be leaving her position. However, I feel that The Festival’s board of directors took the correct approach to an unfortunate situation. Now, in a “lemons-to-lemonade” opportunity, it may be time to take a good look at The Festival; steering it back toward its original focus.

As a Festival Board Member (during the 2nd through 5th seasons) I have watched The Festival change. Originally its orientation was much more toward classical music awareness and performance. The Festival had a world renowned artistic director in Gunther Schuller, chamber music workshops with numerous public performances, and a conductors training program that gave its attendees the opportunity to conduct a symphony orchestra. The Festival had the potential to become a pre-eminent institution in the world of classical music.

Over the years the focus has shifted toward popular music. There are undoubtedly viable practical reasons for the shift. I feel however, that the shift has gone too far astray from the original intended purpose of The Festival at Sandpoint.

While I have enjoyed many of the popular programs, I hope The Festival Board will take this opportunity to reorient the focus of The Festival and find a more even balance between classical and popular music performances. Perhaps, in its search for a new executive director, such a balance should be a consideration.

I would encourage other festival-goers, who may feel as I do, to express their opinion directly to The Festival at Sandpoint.

GEORGE LOUSTALET

Priest River

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