12 Days Of Christmas: Orchestra Manager Edition

Ah, the stress of the holiday season; budgets closing, artists calling in sick, inclement weather, and more; all in one convenient headache inducing package. Well, let’s take some time and poke a little fun at the season and get in some venting at the same time with some new lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas.

But since we all know that there’s no way a typical orchestra manager has the time to go through each laborious verse, let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

On the twelfth day of Christmas,

my true love gave to me:

Twelve interns bumbling,

Eleven divas griping,

Ten collectors calling,

Nine artists canceling,

Eight vendors bilking,

Seven budget trimmings,

Six patrons graying,

Five dull meetings!

Four indifferent boards,

Three downward trends,

Two “meh” reviews,

But here’s a mug for your tasty coffee!

Who's Minding The Score? small mug

Who's Minding The Score? large mug

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Santa has even more Who’s Minding The Score? gifts available at MaestroGear.com

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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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