Sound of Music volunteers are demanding a meeting with the Board of Directors - why was Miller fired and who is running the operation day to day?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 23rd, 2018



The Generals sometimes haven’t a clue as to what is going on within the ranks.

And it is those in the ranks, in the trenches that make the Sound of Music Festival work.

And those people are very angry and anxious about what is happening to an organization they are passionate about.

There are 21 different committees that work to make the event happen each year.

Brant street getting ready

Brant Street getting ready for the Sound of Music.

One of the key committees was scheduled to meet last Wednesday to wrap up the 2018 festival. Each committee chair is obliged to present a report about their festival experience – what worked well, what didn’t, areas to focus on for next year.

The comments the Gazette is getting include:

“It helps us to plan for next year. We received a message indicating the meeting was cancelled with no further information provided until Peter Martin sent a message stating Dave was no longer with the festival and that the Board had cancelled the meeting.

“We have demanded a meeting to understand why this happened and to present our reports. The board has no idea what half the committees do. For some, it’s their first year on the board. We also want answers as we reported to Dave and have no issues with him or his leadership.

“As many of us have resigned in protest (with no comment from the board), Peter only wants to have the current chairs at the meeting. Our operations rules state outgoing chairs have a duty to present their report. I would like that opportunity. I would also like to know why Dave Miller was fired because I believe it is a two or three year witch hunt come to fruition.

“It says so much about Dave’s leadership that many, many long-standing volunteers have resigned. It also speaks volumes about Peter Martin’s lack of leadership that it has been almost a week and nothing has been said about his dismissal to the people who worked the most closely with him. He is selectively reaching out to certain volunteers and ignoring others because he does not understand nor value the people who gave their time and effort to building the festival.”

The people who have commented have asked that their names not be used at this time. Several want to speak publicly but are waiting until scheduled meetings take place.

The Gazette has reached out to the president Peter Martin and the Corporate Secretary Rich Anderson.

There has been no response yet.

City council is basically on vacation until early September. The Gazette has asked the Mayor’s office for some comment. Nothing so far.


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5 comments to Sound of Music volunteers are demanding a meeting with the Board of Directors – why was Miller fired and who is running the operation day to day?

  • Brad

    I think The Sound of Music should be cancelled forever. Sad to hear, money is being lost due to the event. So, you have to charge a very high fee a week before the Sound of Music is free. You know that money is not made, Interrupting peoples lives who live in the area. I know this by experience. Or just move it to the country.

  • Annette

    I love the Sound of Music Festival but let’s face it – whoever picks the music, I hope they are a volunteer that resigned because it has been so terrible. I feel like if I volunteered, I would want to know why the director got fired – what’s the board hiding?

  • Sandra

    In what professional world is a private organization responsible to share the most intimate of decisions with the public? Not for profit or for profit, we are owed nothing. Brian, your comment above…to whom should they be held accountable to? Was Mr. Miller owed a job for life? Do you know that he wasn’t doing something wrong? Maybe the board is protecting him for further humiliation. This is absurd!! A facebook link got me here, and the more I read, the more I realize that Pepper is more concerned about giving the soap box to the angry man, then actually checking the facts. NO ONE is owed anything!!! I respect Brian for the comment in support of his friend, at least he stood up for him. Everyone else in these articles remains nameless.

    • John

      Your are right when you suggest that Mr. Miller is not owed a job, you are required to earn it. This he has done year after year during his long term relationship with the festival where he initialy volunteered many hours in a non paid capacity with the festival and it is where he earned the respect of his peers. Anyone who has been around the festival knows that Mr. Miller has passion to see this originally small festival grow and succeed. You see this kind of passion only in the most successful community events This led to the recommendation from the board to hire Mr. Miller to the highest position in the Sound of Music Festival. With his leadership and the volunteer committees who plan and implement the vision each year, the festival has become one of the largest most prestigeous not for profit festivals in North America. They have won numerous awards that recognize this. You just have to look at all this brings to our community to see how this festival is unique and brings alot pride to our city. The volunteers come back year after year due to this leadership team which includes other staff members as well and Committee chairs who each year dedicate thousands of hours to make this festival great. This man who has given so much has earned the right to treated respectfully and with dignity. Even if the NEW board thought a change was needed it is ridiculous to think that none of the committees who are partners or other staff members were consulted prior to this. If the board had the best interests of the festival in mind this never would have happened! The operations manger has resigned already and I believe numerous chairs are leaving as they see this whole debacle unfold.

  • Brian Ellis

    Dave Miller has been an integral part of the Burlington Sound of Music Festival since the early 1990’s when he was recruited by then-President Gerry Rush to co-chair the Logistics committee with me. I served with Dave for over a decade, and found him at all times to be calm, competent and professional. Dave has been intimately involved with the festival for more than a quarter century, and his experience and expertise will be a critical loss to the festival, as will be the loss of other senior volunteers. The current board must be held accountable for their decision, and they need to explain their actions as soon as possible!