Scroll To Top
Scroll To Top

New to the SBSO? Your FAQ on attending the Symphony.

Symphony audience

If you're reading this page, that means you're hopefully joining us soon for a concert, and we love that. We care a LOT about growing our audience and making sure people who are newer to orchestral music have a great experience so ultimately you come back again. Have a question that's not answered here? Send us a message on Facebook, or by email, and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Most commonly asked questions

 

 

Where do you perform, exactly?
The San Bernardino Symphony is based in San Bernardino, performing throughout the year at the historic California Theatre of the Performing Arts. In recent years, we've expanded our footprint to include performances in Lake Arrowhead and Redlands, as well as various contracted concerts and ensemble performances throughout the region.
 

What's a good seat?
We get asked this a lot, and most people will tell you that because the California Theatre is so well designed, there really is no bad seat in the house. That said, the two best locations are in the center, not too close to the front as that helps the sound blend a little better by the time it hits your ears (plus you can see more of the players when you're not right up by the stage), and at the front of the balcony so that you have better sight lines to see the entire orchestra from more of an aerial perspective. Lastly, if there is a piano soloist performing, people like to sit more towards the left side of the house so they can see the pianist's hands as they perform. 
 

What does it cost to attend?
Our ticket prices range from $25 - $60 per seat. Student tickets and tickets for active military are always $10.  These are very competitive prices when compared with other orchestras, but it has long been mission to provide accessible music for the widest possible audience, so we work very hard to raise funds via grants and from individual and corporate donors to cover concert costs.

The best deal comes when you order your seats in advance through one of our season ticket options. There are both 3-concert and 5-concert packages available and both offer a significant discount over single ticket purchases. We also offer group discounts where you can save 10-20% depending on the size of your group.
 

California TheatreWhat do I wear to the Symphony?!
More than anything, we want you to be comfortable when you join us for a concert, so dress in a way that works for you. Gentlemen usually wear dark suits and ladies usually wear cocktail-length dresses, but if you prefer to be more casual, that’s fine, too. The general guideline we give people who call and ask about what to wear is to choose something you’d wear to a wedding (not yours) or a nice evening out.
 

Can I get a drink at the concert?
Yes. The California Theatre has an intimate bar right off the lobby. Look for the Will Rogers Room (after the American humorist of the same name whose last performance, coincidentally, was at the California Theatre). Patrons may bring drinks inside the theater, so there’s no more waiting in line before the show or at intermission only to have two minutes left to wolf down your cocktail and dash to your seats. Bring your drink with you and sip while you listen.

 

Do I have to KNOW about orchestral music to appreciate it?
Having a degree in music is definitely not a requirement… but having a little background on the music does tend to add to the enjoyment of the evening. We try to make concerts self-containing, meaning at the performance itself you will learn some interesting facts about the music from the Maestro as he introduces each piece from the stage. But if you want to know a little more, we have multiple ways to help you do that.

First, we have partnered with the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre for what we call “Meet the Composers.” Unlike the traditional, dry, historical presentations orchestras used to offer, at a San Bernardino Symphony concert you will get to hear the “composers” themselves describe their lives, inspirations, and the historical significance behind the pieces to be performed. Often, the soloist performing that date will join the talk for all or part, so you get to hear firsthand from the amazing artist you're going to see later in the evening.

On this website, we've also provided full concert notes. Simply click HERE  and scroll down to read about the concert or piece that has piqued your interest.
 

How long is a concert?
Concerts vary in length depending on how long each piece is in the program, but usually range from about 90-100 minutes. Generally, most concerts will open with an overture or other shorter work about 10 minutes or so in length. That's usually followed by a concerto with the soloist for another 20-30 minutes, and then comes intermission for another 20 minutes. The second half of the performance is often a full symphony of multiple movements, totaling 35-45 minutes depending on how long the composer wrote (and how fast the Maestro conducts!). This isn't always the format, and you'll see that some of our concerts have multiple shorter pieces and no long symphony at all, but it gives you an idea of what to expect, at least in terms of the overall length of the concert.
 

Where do I park?
The most popular option is directly across the street in the old mall parking garage. Parking is covered, lighted, free, and patrolled by the security service we employ for each concert. There is also parking on the street, as well as behind the Theatre, but those tend to fill up quickly. (Please do not park in the lot directly west of the Theatre as it is reserved for the customers of the adjacent stores and you could get a ticket or even be towed!)

 

When do I applaud?
Good question! For the enjoyment of all, we ask that you refrain from applauding between movements. You can refer to the program book to see how many movements are in a piece and simply keep track, but an easier way to know is to watch the conductor. If he’s still facing  the orchestra, there’s still more to come; when he turns around to face the audience, the piece is complete.
 

Can I take pictures?
Of course… just not during the concert. Like going to the movies, when the lights are dimmed, things like brightly lit phones become both obvious and distracting to everyone around you. Avoid that if you can by silencing your phone and giving yourself permission to tune out the social media for a bit and tune into the artistry on stage. Before and after the concert, please take lots of selfies, share your experience, check in on Facebook, etc. Just make sure your phone is on silent during the concert out of consideration for the performers and your fellow patrons.  

 

What else should I expect?
Expect to be surprised! First, you’re going to see far greater diversity of age than you may have expected. Second, you’re going to meet some very nice people… beginning with our Board Members who are there in the lobby at every concert to greet you. Third, you’re going to experience the music in a way that is extremely different from listening to orchestral music on the radio. In fact, prepare to be inspired by the musicianship of our outstanding orchestra members and featured performers… that’s something you cannot experience except in person!