Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I park?

 There is free parking available at East Ridge, our venue. And additional free parking next door at Georgian College. Thank you Georgian College.

Can I take photographs?

 No pictures, videos, or audio recordings may be taken during a performance. This can be distracting for the musicians, and for other audience members who are enjoying the performance. Any recording devices should be turned off before the concert begins or left outside.

How long is the concert?

 Each concert will vary slightly in length depending on the theme of the event. They are usually between 90 minutes and 2 hours, with intermission

​How long is the intermission?

 Most concerts have an intermission about half way through. This gives both the musicians and the audience a break of about 15 to 20 minutes. This break can help you to enjoy the second half of the performance just as much as you did the first half.

Can I bring children?

 It is up to the parents’ discretion whether or not to bring children to the symphony. Children attending a concert should be seated with you, and if they become disruptive you should take a break outside of the concert. Some concerts will be more appropriate for children of different ages than others, as some can last several hours longer than a child’s attention span can handle. Some individual pieces of music can be over 30 minutes in length.  If you are not sure of the length of the pieces in the concert, contact the GBS office, 519-372-0212. Our staff will be glad to help. There is a Family Christmas concert every year that is geared towards younger children; this can be a great way to start introducing them to music at a young age!

Here is an excellent discussion on bringing children to an orchestra concert.

Can I use perfume/cologne?

 In the close confines of the concert area, any scents will affect the people who are allergic to them more than usual. We are sharing the air, so we ask that you go scent-free for the concert so that everyone can enjoy it.


First Timer

Many times, those new to classical music are apprehensive about attending concerts. Relax, classical music isn’t as intimidating as you think! Use the tips on this page as a starting point to help you have the full Georgian Bay Symphony experience. 

What is a symphony orchestra?

 A symphony orchestra is a collection of up to about 100 musicians, and the Georgian Bay Symphony on average has 50-60 musicians performing. These musicians play instruments of 4 basic types; strings (violins, violas, cellos and double basses), woodwinds (flutes, clarinets, oboes, bassoons), brass (trumpets, tubas, trombones, horns) and percussion (drums, bells, cymbals, occasionally piano).

For more information

Will I recognize any of the music?

 You will probably recognize some of the music, even if you don’t think that you will. Classical music has influenced other music genres over time, so you may hear some similarities to songs you are familiar with. Classical music is often used in commercials, movie soundtracks, themes on television, or in retail shops and elevators, so chances are you have already had more experience with it than you think you have.

Should I do any research on classical music first?

 There is no need to study classical music before attending a concert. Some people enjoy preparing for a performance in advance by listening to other renditions of the pieces, but this is by no means a requirement. Classical music often prompts a strong response from the audience, so go in with an open mind and enjoy yourself! There are often Notes in the program that give excellent background information on the piece being performed. They are often published, a few days before the concert, on the Blog section of the website.

Why do the musicians wear all black?

 Musicians tend to dress in a simple uniform style, such as black clothes, so that the audience can focus entirely on the music. However a soloist may dress differently from the rest.


What is the role of the concertmaster?

 The concertmaster sits in the first chair of the violin section, and plays a leadership role within the orchestra. This is who will signal to begin tuning at the beginning of the concert, and is the last musician to take their seat on stage.

When should I applaud?

 At the beginning of the concert, the concertmaster will come onstage, and the audience applauds as a welcome and a sign of appreciation for all of the musicians. After the musicians have finished tuning, the conductor and possibly the soloist will enter, and will be welcomed with more applause. While most musicians will not object to any applause, most people wait until the entire piece is over to clap again, including throughout the small breaks between movements or sections. Your program will list the movements of each piece so that you can follow along, but if you do clap before the piece is over, don’t worry. It’s only been in the last 50 years that audiences have stopped applauding between movements, so let yourself enjoy the music instead of worrying about whether or not you are allowed to clap. The conductor will signal that it is the end of a piece by lowering their arms and turning to face the audience. If you’re still unsure, it’s a safe bet to just follow along with what the rest of the audience is doing!


What should I wear?

 There is no dress code. Wear whatever will help you to enjoy the symphony as much as possible! While most people choose to wear business or dressy casual clothes, there will be a variety of styles from jeans to cocktail dresses; so choose what you are most comfortable wearing.