Frequently Asked Questions
TOP SYMPHONY FAQs
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, Instagram, or by email, and we’ll be happy to answer it.
1. Where do you perform, exactly?
The San Bernardino Symphony performs our largest orchestra ensemble concerts at the historic California Theatre of the Performing Arts which is located at 562 W. Fourth Street in downtown San Bernardino.. In recent years, we've expanded our footprint to include performances in other parts of the city including at San Bernardino Valley College (701 S. Mt. Vernon Avenue) on the Football Field and in their historic Auditorium, and at the Roosevelt Bowl at Perris Hill Park (1135 e. Highland Avenue). Various-sized ensembles also perform contracted concerts throughout the region.
2. What's a good seat?
We get asked this a lot, and most people will tell you that because the venues we choose are so well designed, there really is no bad seat in the house. That said, the two best locations tend to be 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, for those venues with a balcony, at the front of the balcony so that you have better sightlines 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.
3. What does it cost to attend?
Our ticket prices range from $20 - $100 per seat. Student tickets and active military tickets are always $15. These are very competitive prices when compared with other orchestras and this is because it has long been our 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 prices are when you order your seats in advance through one of our season ticket options. There are full- and partial-season options available which 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.
4. What do I wear to the Symphony?
We want all of our patrons to be comfortable and to dress in line with their personal style. Some of them love to dress up for a true night out on the town. Others are more casual in their attire. Both are welcome and accepted. We generally suggest dressing as you would for a nice dinner out. We do ask you to avoid large or tall hats that will obscure the view for other patrons behind you. Similarly, please remember that seats are side-by-side, so sparing use of perfumes and aftershaves is appreciated by those sitting nearby.
5. Can I have a drink at the concert?
The California Theatre has an intimate bar in the lobby called the Will Rogers Room (named for the American political satirist who performed his last show at the venue). Patrons may purchase drinks there and then bring their drinks inside the Theatre to sip while you listen!
6. Do I have to know about orchestral music to appreciate it?
No. We strive to demystify and explain the music we perform. Expect the Maestro to introduce each piece from the stage. But if you want to know a little more, we have multiple ways to help you do that, beginning here on our website.
7. How long is a concert?
We suggest blocking out two-and-a-half hours of time for each performance, Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and end before 10 p.m. There is a 20-minute intermission at most concerts.
8. Where do I park?
If you're attending a concert at the California Theatre, there is covered, lighted, free parking directly across the street accessible from E Street directly across from the venue. This parking is 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!) At San Bernardino Valley College, there are free, open parking lots across from each venue which are held for us the evening of each performance.
9. When do I applaud?
Whenever you feel moved to do so! We ask that you don't clap *while* the musicians are performing symphonic repertoire, but if we are performing a multi-movement piece and you'd like to wait until it is complete, you'll know that has happened when the Maestro turns around to face the audience. As long as he is facing away toward the orchestra, that's your signal that more music is still forthcoming.
10. What else should I expect?
Expect to be surprised! First, you’re going to see a far greater diversity of attendees and orchestra members 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!
11. I've seen photographers at concerts. Will I be photographed?
The SBSO may record and/or take photographs during our concerts and events for posting to our website, social feeds, and other promotional activities. When possible, we will ask your permission, but sometimes crowds are photographed and not everyone can be consulted. By obtaining a concert or event ticket, you consent to the recording and/or photographs at said event(s) and to the use of any images by the SBSO. And, by the way, we want you to take your own photos... so much so that we provide a step-and-repeat with "props" you can use to make your photos more fun. Photographing inside the concert hall and sharing your photos on social media is also highly encouraged.
12. How early should I arrive for a 7:30 performance?
For a 7:30 show, we recommend arriving at least 30 to 45 minutes early to make the most of your experience. This gives you the chance to find your seats, take pre-show pictures of the venue and stage setup, socialize with fellow attendees, avoid last-minute entrance stress, and immerse yourself in the event's ambiance. Arriving early ensures you're fully prepared and engaged from the moment the show begins, enhancing your overall enjoyment of the evening.
13. I'd like to bring my kids, but how old should they be to enjoy the concert?
You know your children best, so the rule of thumb is if they are able to stay engaged through an entire movie they'll probably do fine at a concert. Children who sit on your lap do not require a seat, but please do purchase seats for your older children (they're just $15 regardless of where you are seated. Just call our office at (909) 381-5388). And we hope it goes without saying that if your child is fussy you will respect those seated around you by taking them into the lobby.
14. Is there a pre-concert lecture?
We are fortunate that Maestro Parnther explains each piece from the stage to the entire audience during the concert, so there is no longer a need for a pre-concert lecture. This also makes it easier for those who wish to know about the music, but also wish to dine before the concert and therefore do not have the extra time.
15. Is there a reception after the concert? Who can attend?
There is! Every concert except the one held on the football field at San Bernardino Valley College includes an all-invited reception following the performance. (We don't offer one for that concert because everyone either brings their own goodies or purchases them from some of the many food trucks.) For concerts at the California Theatre, the reception is held upstairs in the California Room. For ensemble concerts, the reception is held right outside the building. Please do plan to attend, take more photos with the Maestro and performers, and enjoy some treats provided by our Symphony Guild.
16. What if I can't find my ticket?
No worries! We use ArtsPeople software which identifies you as the purchaser, so we can always look you up quickly and provide a replacement. We can reprint your ticket from the Box Office on concert night and/or we can resend your ticket with an email to email@example.com.
17. What if I don't remember all of this?
Four days before each concert for which you have a ticket, you will be sent an email providing details about your concert. As there are often street projects ongoing or other major events in San Bernardino, we'll be sure to let you know if anything changes or should be considered. And if you have a question, please call us at (909) 381-5388. Our phones are monitored 24/7 because we want to be sure that your experience is as worry-free as possible.
18. Are there accommodations for individuals with disabilities?
Yes, we are dedicated to ensuring a comfortable experience for all attendees. Our venues offer wheelchair accessibility, designated seating for disabled individuals, and our staff is readily available to provide assistance as needed.
19. Are there public transportation options or designated pickup/drop-off areas?
We offer well-lit and free parking directly across the street from the California Theatre. Additionally, public transportation options and ride-sharing services are easily accessible in the area.
20. What COVID-19 safety measures are in place?
Please rest assured that we are closely monitoring the situation and will adhere to any local health guidelines and recommendations that may be in effect at the time of the event. Your safety remains our utmost priority, and we will take all necessary precautions to ensure a secure and enjoyable experience for all attendees.
21. What should I do if I lose something during the event?
If you happen to misplace something, please visit our dedicated Lost and Found area located at the venue. Our staff will make every effort to assist you in locating your belongings.
22. Are translation services or information available in multiple languages?
While our primary language of communication is English, we are actively working to expand language access options. If you require assistance in a specific language, please don't hesitate to reach out to our office.
23. Can I volunteer or get involved with your organization?
Absolutely! We wholeheartedly welcome volunteers and individuals who share our passion for supporting our mission. Please reach out to us to learn more about exciting volunteer opportunities and how you can contribute.