Ron Bauer’s Course on Orchestra Finances

As I was thinking about which article (or series of articles) to spotlight in my Editor’s Choice, I thought of Ron Bauers and all that he did for orchestras in his role as a financial analyst and an avid musician/AFM member. And then I saw that Ray Ricker has also selected a financial article to spotlight this month. I guess tax season will urge one to ponder finances, both personal and those of our orchestras.

Ron Bauers started attending orchestra conferences when the ROPA conference was in Omaha, his home town, in the early 1990s. He began offering his services to orchestra musicians, to help them understand their orchestra’s financial statements, and in 1992, he worked out a relationship with the AFM where locals could obtain his services for a fraction of what it would cost to bring in a CPA consultant, with the AFM splitting his fee with the local. I know he analyzed the Hartford Symphony’s finances at least twice, to our great advantage. In fact, both management and musicians were pleased to pore over his analysis, and heed his warnings of where we were not on firm footing.

Sadly for all who knew him, Ron passed away in January 2009. Robert Levine, Principal Violist in Milwaukee and a Senior Editor here at Polyphonic, wrote a moving tribute to Ron and the work he did for orchestras that you can read here.

Before he passed on, Ron began a series of articles for Polyphonic, instructing orchestra musicians in the details of non-profit finance. For those of us who serve on orchestra committees and who are members of our Boards, understanding audits, monthly financials, cash flow budgets, endowments, 990s, etc., is critical to having an informed conversation with management about the financial health of the organization, both during negotiations and while keeping tabs on things between negotiations.

Ron’s articles are definitely written by a CPA, but they offer a wealth of valuable information. And they were written by a CPA who truly loved music and the union.

Introduction Accounting & Finance

A Short Course in Not-for Profit Accounting – Installment One

A Short Course in Not-for Profit Accounting – Installment Two

A Short Course in Not-for Profit Accounting – Installment Three

A Short Course in Not-for-Profit Accounting – Installment Four

A Short Course in Not-for-Profit Accounting – Installment Five



About the author

Ann Drinan
Ann Drinan

Ann Drinan, Senior Editor, has been a member of the Hartford Symphony viola section for over 30 years. She is a former Chair of the Orchestra Committee, former member of the HSO Board, and has served on many HSO committees. She is also the Executive Director of CONCORA (CT Choral Artists), a professional chorus based in Hartford and New Britain, founded by Artistic Director Richard Coffey. Ann was a member of the Advisory Board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), and was the HSO ROPA delegate for 14 years, serving as both Vice President and President of ROPA. In addition to playing the viola and running CONCORA, Ann is a professional writer and editor, and has worked as a consultant and technical writer for software companies in a wide variety of industries for over 3 decades. (She worked for the Yale Computer Science Department in the late 70s, and thus has been on the Internet, then called the DARPAnet, since 1977!) She is married to Algis Kaupas, a sound recordist, and lives a block from Long Island Sound in Branford CT. Together they create websites for musicians:

Ann holds a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in International Relations from Yale University.

Read Ann Drinan's blog here.

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