Looking Ahead At TAFTO 2009

Unlike previous incarnations of Take A Friend To Orchestra (TAFTO) month here at Adaptistration, the 2009 contributor list is being finalized much earlier. The primary reason is that for the past few years, orchestras that have been interested in putting together a TAFTO oriented event in the spring have requested that information be made available earlier in the season so they can have more time to plan. As such, here’s what’s happening so far, including the list of confirmed contributors…

TAFTO 2009 Get Empowered!
TAFTO 2009: Get Empowered!

Although there are a few more names to add to the list, here are the confirmed TAFTO 2009 contributors:

I do hope this is enough to help some groups get started in putting together a TAFTO event for this spring. If you’re looking for ideas, the Grant Park Music Festival designed and implemented a spectacular program based entirely on TAFTO for their 2008 season. You can read details about the event here and here.

The Chicago Sun-Times published a wonderful article about the event written by Bryant Manning and although the article has since moved to archive purgatory, I’m trying to secure some usage rights so you can see exactly the sort of media impact a focused TAFTO concert event can have outside of new media sources.

In the meantime, here’s what Grant Park Music Festival General Director had to say about the concert events:

“The Grant Park Music Festival Take a Friend to the Orchestra concerts were among the most popular of our 2008 season. People took us seriously and brought friends, coworkers and those who had never been to a classical music concert. Our audiences loved the concert selections and we plan to program events of a similar nature in the future.”

Having experienced the concert events first hand I can readily admit that I was genuinely surprised at the number of hands that went up when Jim asked the crowd how many people were there due to the TAFTO ideals. It was an impressive sight.

Like last year, there will be a variety of free promotional banners, buttons, etc. that groups can use to help promote a TAFTO event. If there’s anything in particular you think would be helpful, send along a message and I’ll see what can be done to make it happen.

If you aren’t already familiar with TAFTO, it is an opportunity for the people who care the most about classical music to participate in a proactive way. You can read more along with the dozens of fantastic contributions over the years at the TAFTO main page.

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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