North Carolina Symphony
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Plan Your Visit: Tips for Beginners

If you are a first-time visitor to the North Carolina Symphony it may help to know a bit about what to expect (and what's expected of you) before you go. Here are some of the more common questions our first-time patrons ask and, more importantly, the answers.

What should I wear?
Wear whatever you feel most comfortable wearing! Some patrons like to make it a “night on the town” with a cocktail dress for women and suit or coat and tie for men. Other patrons wear business casual or dressy casual.

When should I arrive before a concert?
Plan to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the concert. This will give you plenty of time to park, walk, visit the restroom, perhaps grab a beverage or snack and find your seat.

What happens if I arrive late?
In consideration of the comfort and listening pleasure of the audience, patrons who arrive after the concert begins will be asked by the ushers to wait to be seated until an appropriate pause at the end of the work or between movements. No one will be permitted to enter the hall while the orchestra is performing.

When should I clap?
Out of courtesy for the musicians and conductor, it is considered proper concert etiquette to applaud only after a work is complete and the conductor has lowered his hands. If the work has multiple movements, please wait until the end of the last movement. Usually there is a 10-20 second pause in between movements. Simply refer to your program book to see the number of movements in the work. Or you can wait until the rest of the audience begins applauding.

Do I need to know the music before I attend a performance?
No. One of the great joys of going to a North Carolina Symphony concert is being introduced to a great piece of music you've never heard before, or listening to a superb performance of a piece you have known for years.
Learn more! There are often Pre-Concert Talks, Post-Concert Q&A sessions and Meet the Artists around classical concerts (locations vary, call 919.733.2750 to find out more) that provide a fun and informative way to know more about the music and the artists.

May I bring my wireless phone or pager?
All electronic and mechanical devices, including pagers, cellular phones and wristwatch alarms, must be turned off before entering the hall. If you need to be reached in an emergency, please advise an usher and you will be located. Beeping cell phones and pagers can spoil a concert. If at all possible, please leave these devices at home.

What about coughing noises?
Coughing can be an unavoidable problem, but there are ways to avoid coughing during the music. If you feel a cold coming on, please bring lozenges with you. Please unwrap the cough drop ahead of time. Unwrapping a cough drop during the music makes more noise than you might think. If there are no lozenges in hand and you need to cough once or twice, please try to wait for the end of the movement.

What about other noises?
Unless otherwise noted, it is customary not to talk, sing, or hum while the music is playing. Being sensitive to your neighbors allows everyone to have a pleasant concert experience.

Is there an intermission during the performance?
Most concerts do have an intermission, but you can find out by checking your concert program listing. Intermissions are 15 to 20 minutes. Where available, please feel free to enjoy a beverage or snack in the lobby. The end of intermission is signaled by the ringing of a bell, an announcement and/or by flashing the lights. Food and beverages are not allowed in any of our indoor concert hall facilities.

May I take pictures?
The taking of photographs or the recording of North Carolina Symphony concerts is strictly prohibited. Cameras or recording devices are not allowed in performances.

Can children attend a North Carolina Symphony concert?
We welcome children who can sit quietly for a two hour concert. For children 4-12, we feature special NCS Kids concerts in Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall, Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. To learn more about these concerts click here.

What handicapped facilities are available?
All facilities are equipped with handicapped entrances. Wheelchairs for helping people get their seats are available in most facilities. Please call 919.733.2750 for details. Assisted listening devices are available in Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall.

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