In 1937, a group of friends with an abiding love of music decided to plant the seeds of the Thomasville Entertainment Foundation. A spirit of community service and volunteerism thrived in this small south Georgia town, so the idea of a non-profit, membership-driven concert organization had a chance to sprout and grow.
More than 80 years later, TEF owes its longevity and its strength to committed volunteers and generous patrons who carry on the tradition of excellence for which TEF is widely recognized.
In the 1950s, a loyal supporter offered $500 as seed money to help TEF purchase a quality concert grand piano. The piano fund grew slowly over the next decade until enough money was raised to purchase a nine-foot Steinway through CoCroft Music Company. The piano arrived in time for TEF's 25th anniversary celebration and a recital by renowned pianist Van Cliburn, who autographed the instrument.
In the late 1980s, TEF partnered with the Thomasville Cultural Center (now the Thomasville Center for the Arts) and moved into its current home, the former East Side School built in 1915.
Over the years, TEF audiences from around the Red Hills region have been able to enjoy opera, ballet, theater, symphony concerts, chamber music, and recitals by renowned artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Kathleen Battle, Artur Rubinstein, Yo Yo Ma, Itzak Perlman, Dawn Upshaw and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Our variety series satisfies an equally broad range of tastes, with an impressive list of performers such as pop vocalist Linda Eder, guitarists Sharon Isbin and Stanley Jordan, piano legend Peter Nero, trumpeter Chris Botti, musicians Wynton and Branford Marsalis, as well as swing bands, Irish fiddlers, dramatic ensembles, and so much more.
TEF is proud of its contribution to the culture and quality of life in the south Georgia - north Florida area. With ongoing community support, we hope to continually expand our reach to new and younger audiences who will grow in their love of the performing arts.
TEF is a recipient of the 2022 Governor’s Award for Arts and Humanities.