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.

Featured Musician

Randolyn Emerson – Violin

Randolyn Emerson is enjoying her thirteenth consecutive season with the Fayetteville Symphony and her current opportunity as Acting Second Violin Principal.

Born into a rich and varied musical environment (her mother was a member of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir), Randolyn was singing for audiences by age two.  After finding her mother’s old instrument in a closet, however, eight-year-old Randolyn fell in love with the violin.

Randolyn graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music, having studied violin with Oscar Chausow, longtime Utah Symphony concertmaster, and voice with Betty Jean Chipman.  Her university experience also included a six-week European tour with the school’s A Capella Choir.  Both as a solo vocalist and a solo violinist, Randolyn performed with the choir in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; in Linz, Austria’s St. Florian Cathedral (in its organ loft, above the grave of composer Anton Bruckner); and at the polyphonic St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy.   She also received excellent orchestral training at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, under the tutelage of Maestro Maurice Abravanel, Artistic Director of the Utah Symphony for thirty-plus years.

Life eventually brought Randolyn across the country to North Carolina, where her musical abilities were soon sought after by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, the Tar River Orchestra, the Greenville Chamber Orchestra, the Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greensboro Symphony.  Randolyn served as assistant concertmaster in both the Durham and Raleigh Symphonies, where she met Paul Emerson, the viola section principal whose bright blue eyes redeemed him after he crashed one of her auditions.  Love healed all wounds, however, when Paul urged his then-employer, Maestro Harlan Duenow, to utilize Randolyn’s talents for the Fayetteville Symphony’s 1989-1990 season.

Another highlight of Randolyn’s career was the ten-year privilege of being an extra violinist with the North Carolina Symphony, playing every classical concert in Maestro Gerhart Zimmermann’s final NCS season.

For a quarter of a century, Randolyn performed 100-plus musicals with the North Carolina Theatre pit orchestra, playing concertmaster for Fiddler on the Roof, Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, Butterflies, Sound of Music and West Side Story.  When traveling Broadway shows such as The Producers, Kiss Me Kate, Some Like It Hot and Ragtime came to Raleigh, Randolyn was again tapped for concertmaster.

Triangle-area operas, ballets, choral oratorios, recordings of Pulitzer-Prize winner Robert Ward’s compositions, and even concerts with modern artists such as Rod Stewart, Regis Philbin, Perry Como, Bobby McFerrin, Clay Aiken and bluegrass’s Balsam Range band … through the decades, Randolyn’s played for ’em all.  She’s even made forays into fiddling, recording a CD with the bluegrass band Sweet Potato Pie and serving as a last-minute concert substitute with Lorica, the Celtic ensemble formed by WRAL-TV news anchor Bill Leslie.

These days, Randolyn focuses on her opportunities with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony (as interim concertmaster), the Spartanburg (SC) Philharmonic Orchestra, and, of course, the Fayetteville Symphony.  She enjoys representing the FSO in small chamber groups who perform for local elementary schools, retirement homes, breweries, and many of the orchestra’s marketing events.

Aside from music, Randolyn has put her Master of Business Administration degree (Meredith College, Raleigh, NC) to good use by establishing herself as a professional family history researcher and writer.  She “pays forward” her life-saving cancer treatments by knitting charity blankets and donating them to local hospitals.  Above all these pastimes, however, are Randolyn’s greatest joys:  her faith, her posterity, and her always-supportive husband, Paul.


To Educate. To Entertain. To Inspire.

The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1956 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is a professional, regional orchestra whose mission is to educate, entertain, and inspire the citizens of the Fayetteville, North Carolina region as the leading musical resource.  Praised for its artistic excellence, the Symphony leads in the cultural and educational landscape for Fayetteville and the southeastern North Carolina region.

The Fayetteville Symphony typically performs 8 concerts during any given season performing both at Methodist University and Fayetteville State University. Partnerships with other agencies include collaborative performances with Cape Fear Regional Theatre, chamber concerts at St. John’s Episcopal Church, as well as the city’s annual Independence concert with fireworks. The Symphony brings music to the schools and the community by performing educational concerts, as well as having its own Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra, after school strings and summer music camps.

This organization is supported in part by a space grant from the BB&T Term Endowment of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc.

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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 302
Fayetteville, NC 28302

Office Location:
310 Green St., Suite 101
Fayetteville, NC 28301
P: (910) 433-4690
F: (910)433-4699
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Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra

310 GREEN ST., SUITE 101
Fayetteville, NC 28301

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