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If you’re new to Classical Music

At each Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra concert you’ll discover the magic of great music-making in classical, pops, and family concerts. Expect to enjoy yourself! Let go of any ideas you may have about classical music or the concert experience. Open yourself up to the music.

Let the music trigger your emotions — maybe even your memories. Feel the rhythms. Follow the music. Watch the musicians and the conductor, and see how they interact with each other. Notice how the music ebbs and flows, surging and powerful at some times, delicate and ephemeral at others, and everything in between.

Classical music is all around us – in commercials, movie soundtracks, television themes, cartoons, retail shops, and even some elevators. Popular music often quotes classical melodies, too. While you’re listening in the concert to a piece you think you’ve never heard before, a tune you’ve heard a hundred times may jump out at you.

Whether or not you’ve heard the music before the concert, as you listen, you’ll notice that each classical piece uses its own group of several tunes over and over, in different ways.

You’ll start to “recognize” these melodies as a work progresses. Listen for the ways a melody is repeated: Is it exactly the same as the first time, or with a different character? Do the same instruments or different ones play the melody? Does it start the same as before, but go off in a different direction? Or start differently and surprise you by developing into the tune you recognize from earlier in the piece?

There is no dress code

Anything that makes you feel comfortable is fine. Most people will be wearing business clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, but you’ll see everything from khakis to cocktail dresses. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it, and you can, too. Still, evening gowns and tuxedos are pretty rare unless you’ve bought tickets for a fancy gala—and if you have, you’ll know! If you do decide to dress up, though, go easy on the cologne, which can distract others near you and even prompt them to sneeze — and may distract you.

Arrive early

Plan to arrive 20 minutes before concert time, so you can find your seat, turn off your cell phone, take a look at your surroundings, absorb the atmosphere, and have time to glance through the program book. You won’t be alone. Concerts last a little over 2 hours with a intermission halfway through for 15-20 minutes.

Most concertgoers make a point of coming early to read the program notes to familiarize yourself with what you are about to hear. Rushing to your seat at the last minute doesn’t really give you enough time to get settled, so you may not fully enjoy the first piece on the program. And there’s another good reason to come early: Most concerts start on time. If you’re late, you may end up listening from the lobby! If that happens, the usher will allow you inside during a suitable pause in the program, so your arrival won’t disturb other concertgoers.

Children at the Symphony

The Harrisburg Symphony welcomes young people to our concerts. Our Musical Chairs program encourages families with children to attend Masterworks concerts together at the deeply discounted price of $42.00 per person for all seven Masterworks concerts!

Many times, we are asked by parents and grandparents, “What is the proper age for my children to start attending HSO concerts?” While there is no ‘one age fits all’ answer to this question, our recommended minimum age to attend HSO Masterworks or POPS concerts is 12 years of age.

Please note that every person attending the concert, regardless of age, must have a ticket to enter the concert hall.

To foster the best experience for all patrons, a quiet, focused environment respectful of others needs to be maintained. Performance length varies, but a typical HSO concert runs a little over two hours with one intermission. Some individual pieces may last an hour or more. Children should be accustomed to sitting quietly and attentively for this amount of time. The HSO reserves the right to remove any individuals who are disrupting fellow patrons or the concert setting.

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