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As someone who has devoted many hours to the support of our marvelous Utah Symphony, it pains me to see your columnist, Dennis Lythgoe, deride those who make major contributions. It's hard enough to raise funds without people making fun of those who donate.

I'm referring to the column of May 9, in which Mr. Lythgoe criticized the news director who donated hundreds of dollars to the symphony for the privilege of conducting one short piece. Perhaps Mr. Lythgoe could not realize that the musicians and conductor were in full support of this. It is not uncommon for non-professionals to conduct the Utah Symphony. Several times during the year, local fifth-graders who audition are given the opportunity to conduct as well, as part of the youth education program. I would hope that Mr. Lythgoe would not be as critical of them and take all such concerts in the spirit in which they are offered.After the concert Mr. Lythgoe mentioned, I had a number of people approach me and tell me how much fun they had watching Mr. Roth conduct the Mozart piece, and how they were looking forward to bidding for the opportunity at the charity auction next year. Columns this critical are bound to discourage them, resulting in fewer opportunities for Utah Symphony fund raising. If Mr. Lythgoe enjoys live symphony music, as he obviously does, he should support rather than damage, fund-raising efforts.

Adrienne Coombs

Immediate Past President, Utah Symphony Guild

Salt Lake City