Newcomer’s Guide

You are very important to us and we want your concert experience to be positive, fun and memorable!

We’re committed to doing everything in our power to ensure your visit to the symphony is extraordinary so you’ll come back again and again!

If you have additional questions that are not answered below, please reach out to us by phone (209) 951-0196, Facebook, or Email.

I’ve never been to the Symphony – what should I expect?

Expect to be blown away! Let go of any preconceptions you may have about classical music or the symphony and open yourself up to the music. Watching 70 musicians under the baton of one conductor is pretty awe-inspiring so 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.
Warren Atherton Auditorium

What do I wear?

There really is no dress code! Most important we want you to be comfortable. Most people will be wearing business clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, but you’ll see everything from khakis to cocktail dresses. What you won’t see is evening gowns and tuxedos.

Whether dressed-up or dressed-down, please go easy on the cologne – standard theater seating puts the audience in close proximity of one another. Please be mindful of others which may have allergies and sensitivities to fragrance.

How long will the concert be?

Most orchestra concerts range from 1 ½ to 2 hours long, with an intermission at the halfway point.

When should I clap?

The number-one most question that causes most anxiety – no one wants to be embarrassed from clapping at the “wrong” time.

  • At the beginning of the concert, the concertmaster will come onstage – the audience claps as a welcome, and as a sign of appreciation to all the musicians
  • When the conductor (and possibly guest artist/soloist) come on stage – the audience claps.
  • The music will begin – settle in and enjoy. Usually there is no clapping until the end of the piece, however it can get a little tricky because many pieces seem to end several times due to multiple “movements” (parts of the piece).
  • When you do NOT clap is during the music.

Generally speaking musicians and the audience prefer to not hear applause during the pauses between movements so they can concentrate.

Don’t stress about when to applaud – follow the rest of audience’s cue. If you are so touched by a particular piece and you enthusiastically applaud at a “pause,” disregard anyone that “shushes” you for applauding between movements – sometimes the music if so enthralling you just can’t restrain yourself!

Can I take pictures?

Cameras, video recorders, and tape recorders are strictly prohibited inside the auditorium – nobody wants their concert experience interrupted by “Ken or Katie-Kodak” flashing pics during a beautiful piece of music. That being said, we realize attending the symphony is a picture-worthy moment so feel free to snap away in the lobby before and after the concert.

Our Guest Artists/Soloists are usually on-hand in the lobby at intermission to sign autographs and have pictures taken with patrons.

Cell phones and the symphony?

Please silence cellphones completely – including vibrate mode. We don’t hate cell phones – but phones that are ringing, vibrating and lighting up like a strobe light is distracting to other patrons and the musicians.

Are there drinks and/or food at the concert?

Beverages (coffee/water) and snacks are available for purchase from the Snack Cart located directly outside the auditorium lobby. Wine and beer are available for purchase from the bar located in the lobby of the auditorium. San Joaquin Delta College is surrounded by several nearby restaurants for dining before or after the concert.

What if I arrive late?

Ticket holders who arrive after the concert begins will be seated in the auditorium only during appropriate pauses in the music. A video monitor in Lobby allows late patrons to hear and see the action on stage while waiting for late seating opportunities.

Can I bring my kids?

It depends on the concert and on the age of your kids. Many standard-length classical concerts are inappropriate for small children because they require an attention span that is difficult for youngsters to maintain. Young children however are especially intrigued by the many different instruments of the orchestra so be sure to check out Stockton Symphony’s Steppin’ Out Educational concerts.

An interested preteen or teenager can have a marvelous time at an orchestra concert, particularly if it features several different pieces.

In all cases, it’s a good idea to check with the symphony directly about the appropriateness of the concert you plan to attend with your kids. Also be sure to ask about discounts for students and children.