If you are new to the symphony audience, we welcome you! We believe that you are in for an amazing adventure.
Here are some frequently asked questions and the answers to help you enjoy FSO concerts and all others you may attend:
What is a symphony orchestra? A symphony orchestra is a large ensemble of players of musical instruments arranged in sections, or “families,” namely the strings, the woodwinds, the brass, and the percussion.
How do I purchase tickets? You may contact the symphony office (910)433-4690 or you may purchase online through this website.
What should I wear? There is no dress code; you will see people in everything. Some people like to make it a night on the town and therefore will dress more but the majority are in business attire.
When should I arrive? We suggest that you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the concert. This allows you time to park, pick up any tickets from Will Call, find your seat and review the program. If you are able to arrive earlier, we invite you to come hear the pre-concert talk led by our “Music Nerd” and FSO Musicians. The box office opens one hour prior to the concert and the pre-concert talks begin 45 minutes prior to the concert.
What happens if I arrive late? As a courtesy to all patrons, the ushers may not seat you until the first appropriate pause in the music. We will do all that we can to get you into the concert hall as soon as possible.
Do I need to know the music before the concert? No, one of the joys of attending concerts is discovering new music. In the time you have before the concert or during the intermission, read the program notes in the program booklet; this will be very helpful to your understanding and enjoyment of the concert. Many compositions are program music that tell a story or are of particular historical significance. In such a case reading the notes in the concert program will “connect” you with the composition. Our program notes can also be found on this website.
What is taking place on the stage at the start of the concert? Before the concert begins, the Concertmaster (first chair first violin player) will ask for an “A” from the principal oboe player to tune the orchestra; usually woodwinds first, then brass, and finally the strings. This takes time, yet is critical (the players must all be playing with the same tuning).
May I bring my cell phone? Yes, but please be sure you turn off all cell phones (or put on vibrate) or other electronic devices.
May I take photographs or videos? Sorry, unauthorized photographic, audio recording, and video equipment may not be used during the performance. Many of the pieces we perform are copyright protected.
When do I applaud? Applause is appropriate when the conductor enters and is acknowledged by the orchestra and the audience and takes his place on the podium. Then the audience applauds when an entire piece is over. The orchestra usually pauses between movements, but you are asked not to applaud until the entire piece is over when the conductor lowers the baton and turns toward the audience. The conductor may leave the stage between musical selections and at intermission and should be greeted by applause on his return to the podium.
What happens if I need to leave during the concert? After the concert has begun, as a courtesy to other patrons, you should refrain from leaving or entering the auditorium. Most concerts have a 15 minute intermission – please check your program.