What is TACO

‘TACO’, the Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra, is a group of people of all skill levels who like to play music for the joy of making music together.

Founded and directed by Los Altos resident Cathy Humphers-Smith, a former director of Music for Minors in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, TACO began as a weekly gathering of musical friends in her living room. When the group grew to over 20 musicians, it became a non-profit under the umbrella of the Los Altos Community Foundation and moved to rented classroom space at Hillview Center.

As TACO continued to flourish it became an official class offered by the Los Altos Park and Recreation Department, which enabling them to meet at the larger Los Altos Youth Center.

Now one Sunday each month, 75 musicians ranging in age from teens to 80s converge to make music.

Creating this monthly sight-reading orchestra gave local musicians a place to keep their music alive, without the intense weekly commitment and stressful auditions sometimes required by other orchestras.

As one TACO participant said, “I love the music this month and I’ve been practicing, though some pieces are too fast for me. But I know I will have fun no matter what happens to my ability to hit the notes”.

Ms. Humphers-Smith, a pianist and choral conductor, said she “…always fantasized about an all-inclusive orchestra, one that welcomed people of all levels, where everyone helped each other to improve, without the insistence on perfection and without attitude.”

Los Altos Community Foundation is proud to support TACO through our non-profit fiscal sponsorship program and through our Community Grants program.