Stealing From Terry Teachout

After reading Terry’s weblog article yesterday I decided it was a great idea and promptly decided to “borrow” it (after all, he openly admits he got the idea from Eve Tushnet).


Ten Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t (and perhaps wouldn’t want to):



  1. While in college, I accidentally signed to my sign language teacher, and her 14 year old daughter standing behind her, that it was a “fu*king hot summer that year” (as it turns out, the sign for “very” and “fu*k” are incredibly similar).
  2. In the second grade I was the victim of a stabbing courtesy of my older brothers who, after recently watching the movie Alien, decided the knife/hand trick looked really cool (luckily they didn’t hit anything critical, I did that later in life).
  3. Severed my extensor tendon in my left index finger courtesy of a woodworking accident (the same finger which already had a scar from event #2).  My surgeon was also a woodworker; we talked about an armoire he recently completed as a gift for his wife while he performed the surgery.
  4. As a teenager, served as John Williams’ (the composer) valet for a day.
  5. Arranged a selection of Monty Python songs for tuba euphonium quartet.
  6. Broke both of arms in a school gym accident.
  7. Made one of my college professors cry (no, not the sign language teacher).
  8. While snorkeling off the coast of Kihei, Maui, I once spent 45 minutes watching single Humuhumukununukuapua’a fish.
  9. Received a personal tour of the Denver International Airport before it opened for business.  It was spooky to be in such a large series of buildings without another soul but my guide.
  10. Was married in a zoo, instead of dancing at the reception we fed insects to fish.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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