April Is Take A Friend To The Orchestra Month!

The 2012 Take A Friend To The Orchestra (TAFTO) program is just around the corner; although it is set to begin on Monday, 4/16/2012 the exact publication schedule is still being determined as we try to balance the need for TAFTO space next to the need for reviewing labor dispute related current events (let’s hope the latter will become a moot point). Nonetheless, 2012 promises to be another fantastic year as we’ve pared down the quantity of contributions so they fill one solid week.

TAFTO 2012 Get Empowered!So, between now and the onset of TAFTO contributions, get your empowerment on by organizing your own TAFTO related events via social media or good old fashioned get-togethers and go attend some concerts. I’ll be happy to post notices for anyone’s events, all you have to do is send along the info via email, or get in touch using Facebook or Twitter.

In the meantime, here is the list of 2012’s concentrated contributors:

  • George Daugherty: conductor and creator of the Emmy award winning Bugs Bunny at the Symphony and Bugs Bunny on Broadway series.
  • Paul Helfrich: President; Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (and someone who I believe is among the Top 10 execs in the field today).
  • Maura Lafferty: Chief Happiness Officer at Maura Lafferty PR, social media impresario, and culture blogger.
  • David J. Loehr: Playwright, designer, artist in residence, co-founder of Riverrun Theatre, and editor of 2AMt (seriously, there’s very little this Renaissance man doesn’t do).
  • Just Because: can’t say who yet as I’m still goading him on to be a contributor.  (okay, it’s official now) Jonathan Becker: Chicago based uber patron and man about town. All I can say about JB is he isn’t what you might expect for  a guy that lists “Carlos Kleiber” as his Facebook profile religious view but you wish there were thousands more out there like him. In short, you can’t describe JB, you have to experience JB.


You can check out seven year’s worth of terrific TAFTO contributions at the official resource site; which has contributions categorized by year, author, type (they aren’t always written word!), as well as the lost contribution.

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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