Unleash Your Inner Maven

It’s April and that means it is officially Take A Friend To Orchestra month! Take A Friend To Orchestra, or TAFTO, features more than a dozen critics, bloggers, musicians, classical music enthusiasts, and administrators writing about how patrons throughout the country can invite friends who don’t regularly participate in live music events to a performance in their area. Essentially, TAFTO is an opportunity for the people who care the most about classical music to proactively participate and no, you won’t have to suffer through any fundraising pitches. This is much more fun…

TAFTO contributions are scheduled to be published each weekday from April 20 through May 1 (I know, that last date isn’t April, but there’s a reason why which I could tell you about, but then I’d have to kill you) and this year’s contributors are already turning in some of the most entertaining, unique contributions I’ve ever seen. I’m the first to admit my personality is that of a jaded, eye-balls-deep-in-the-details industry type but after reading just a few of 2009’s contributions made me want to round up a bunch of orchestra newbie friends and get them to a concert.

In addition to the essays typically associated with TAFTO you’ve come to know and love, the 2009 initiative features a wide variety of, shall we say, “alternative delivery methods.” Even those of you with Adult ADD will be riveted to this material.

Just one of nearly 50 free promotional TAFTO banners. Click to get yours.
Just one of nearly 50 free promotional TAFTO banners. Click to get yours.

Excited? Can’t wait for April 20? Me too, but at least this gives you plenty of time to start thinking about which friends you want to invite and perhaps even plan a party around the idea. Go nuts; after all, we all deserve to do something special.

In the meantime, you can prime your maven pump by visiting TAFTO contributions from 2005 through 2008 and you can learn all about the 2009 contributors here. If you have your own blog or website, you can help spread the word about TAFTO with a promotional banner. Available in a variety of standard sizes and featuring general and author specific TAFTO branding, they are free for the taking. So what are you waiting for? Share, enjoy, and get empowered!

Postscript: Others are already blogging about TAFTO, like Joe Patti over at Butts In The Seats so if you want to write something about TAFTO, make sure to let me know and I’ll include a shout-out for you here at TAFTO central.

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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