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First Timer’s

Concert Guide

If you are a first-time concertgoer…

Classical music concerts are often considered to be rather formal and a bit intimidating to those who have not yet experienced a live performance. But if you like music, any kind of music, there’s a really good chance that you’ll like classical music, too. The NBSO is not your great-great-grandfather’s symphony orchestra!

What should I wear? We think you’ll find our concerts to be pretty laid back and friendly. You can dress as formally or informally as you’d like; some concertgoers choose to wear elegant evening attire, while others arrive in their favorite jeans!

Where do I sit? Don’t worry about memorizing the seating chart of the theater as our gracious ushers will greet you and guide you to your seat. Should you arrive late, our ushers are there to assist you on the proper time to enter the theater, and they can also guide you to the exit should you need to leave other than during intermission. We encourage you to avail yourself of their service.

Will I like the music? First, you will be thrilled by the sound a full orchestra emits in the theater! Then you’ll probably be surprised how familiar some of the music is. Even if you’re not regularly listening to classical music, you hear it every day on television—in commercials, movies, even cartoons! If you want to become more familiar with an upcoming concert program, you can also attend the free pre-concert lectures, which are held immediately preceding most classical concerts, at 6:30pm in the theater.

When do I applaud? Most of the pieces of music played at our concerts are made up of three or four “movements” (parts). A concerto, for example, usually has three movements, the first one being fast, the second one slow, and the third one fast. Most symphonies have four movements. You can know in advance how many movements a piece of music has by looking in the concert program book. In between each movement the orchestra usually pauses a few moments to get ready to play the next movement. In the United States a tradition developed in the nineteenth century for the audience to remain quiet in between movements, waiting until all the movements were done to applaud. Now, sometimes a movement is so exciting and full of energy that the audience can’t wait for the end of the entire piece, so they go right ahead and applaud at the end of the movement. It’s really okay to do it either way. People should express themselves as they see fit. One thing you may notice, however, especially if the movement is slow or ends quietly, is that refraining from applauding adds to your enjoyment of the music’s beauty and emotional feeling. So, a good rule of thumb for anyone new to a classical music concert is to wait until all the movements are finished before applauding, but if everyone around you starts to applaud, you should join in!

There are a few simple guidelines for a live symphony performance that we do ask concertgoers to remember: please silence your cell phone, and don’t get up during the performance (unless, of course, it is an emergency). You may find the attached article, How to Enjoy a Live Concert, informative as well!

We are always thrilled to have new guests join us. We are certain you’ll find the concert experience enjoyable. Downtown New Bedford is a great place to spend an evening. There are many wonderful restaurants and watering holes within walking distance of the Zeiterion Theatre, and plenty of free parking is available both on the street and in the adjacent Zeiterion garage. If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to contact Conee Sousa in our office at 508-999-6276 or csousa@nbsymphony.org. Conee’s relatively new to classical music, too, and will have some great insights to share with you.

Remember, you deserve a symphony in your life! So if you are a first-timer, use code SOT22 when purchasing tickets to receive a 25% discount! (Click here to see the season schedule)

If you are a returning concertgoer…

We hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed your previous NBSO concert experiences, and we know that you will be delighted with our upcoming performance schedule. We value your opinions, so please feel free to share them with us by calling the NBSO office at 508-999-6276 or emailing your comments to info@nbsymphony.org. We’d love to hear what you think about this season or seasons past, and any helpful advice you may have for us or new concertgoers!

The power of classical music is a wonderful thing. Thank you for being a part of it and for helping the NBSO be a vital force in our community.

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