As a resident of Columbia County for more than 30 years, I would like to respond to recent articles and opinions, dated Nov. 15, 18, 22 and 29, about the Columbia County Civic Orchestra's request to "our" commission to deny the petition by the Symphony Orchestra Augusta to be named the "Official Resident Symphony" of Columbia County.
I am not a member of the CCCO.
First, I would like to commend writer Jenna Martin on her Nov. 15 story. She was fair and accurate. I cannot, however, say the same for what was written by Donnie Fetter. I am upset with the headline wording, "Spat breaks out," and with the way Fetter reported the events of the Nov. 17 commission meeting. I attended that meeting and there was no "spat"! ...
Fetter wrote that "conductor Rob Nordan protested" the decision to make SOA the official resident symphony. Yet he quotes Nordan (music director of the Columbia County Orchestra Association and the conductor of the Columbia County Civic Orchestra) as saying "For many reasons, we have grave concerns about this action, and we respectfully ask that the action be denied." Does that sound like he protested? He just didn't agree that this was the right thing for the CCCO or for our county.
Next, Fetter says that some "conflicting language in the county documents likely led to a misunderstanding about what SOA was seeking," Well, Fetter and Barry Smith (Columbia County Community and Leisure Services director) need to check with SOA Executive Director Sandra Self. In the Nov. 15 story, "Orchestra proposal strikes sour note with local group," Self said the designation as the county's official resident symphony would be included in program books, announced at symphony functions and posted outside the performing arts center. "We thought it was just a good thing to do" Self said.
There was absolutely no misunderstanding, as Fetter claimed, or no need for Smith to "clarify" that the designation only applies to the performing arts center. ...
The Nov. 29 letter to the editor, "Official designation symbolizes SOA's commitment to county," says "SOA is a committed partner with Columbia County in our mission to share the joy of great musical performance with our audience." Later the writer says, "As an organization we have asked the Columbia County commission to recognize the SOA as the official resident symphony for Columbia County."
I don't know what the SOA is really after. Self said in the Nov. 15 article that the proposed designation is a way to acknowledge the county's support of the symphony and reinforce community connections. "It's really just recognition, it is a nice thing, I think, to recognize and give visibility to both the symphony and to the partnership of Columbia County and our performing there."...
If they just want to recognize the partnership between the two counties, then just do something nice. Send a letter, have a plaque made, put something about the performing arts center in your programs. Just do it to be nice - not asking for something in return!
SOA is rooted in Augusta. We, in Columbia County, will always welcome the SOA to perform in our county just as we would any other "guest."
CCCO is rooted in Columbia County. We would never be so rude or arrogant as to go into a neighboring county and ask for such a designation.
We are so fortunate to have our own orchestra in Columbia County. It has been the vision of many people and has been the result of much hard work. And to have someone like Nordan as its conductor is incredible. ...
I sincerely hope that everyone will go to the Web site for CCCO. See for yourself their vision, just what they have been doing and what their plans are for the future. ...
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