May is here and it’s officially Take a Friend to Orchestra month (TAFTO); your sanctioned excuse to approach a friend about attending an orchestra concert with you.  The problem for some people out there is that they just don’t know who to get the ball rolling, and that’s why Adaptistration will feature a collection of thoughts and observations from some of the most prominent, entertaining, insightful, and clever classical music writers, musicians, and veteran patrons throughout the country (plus Canada and the U.K.!).

Each contributor will present a unique point of view which may be just what you need to read to help spark your own creativity.  However, an important component of TAFTO is reader participation.  The program needs you, the reader and orchestra patron, to write in with your questions, observations, and (most importantly) to recount your experience with taking a friend to an orchestra concert.

You can be as concise or verbose as you wish; you can also invite your friend to send in their observations.  I’m willing to bet that the amount of creativity among Adaptistration readers to shape this idea into something unique will result in some valuable insight for the entire business.

By participating, you’ll discover more about yourself and how you perceive orchestral concerts than you previously knew.  Plus, you’ll increase your own enjoyment of concerts by learning how to communicate to others about all that live orchestral music has to offer.

Remember, ask questions along the way.  If I don’t have the answers or suggestions, I’ll let some of our expert contributors take a shot at it.

Orchestras are currently putting together special incentives to help provide you with every resource they have at their disposal to make your event a success.  I’ll be posting them as they come in, but rest assured, there will be offers from orchestras across the country.

In the meantime, you can begin to find out more about which orchestras are in your area by visiting

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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