First Time?

If you’ve never attended a GSO performance, or even the symphony at all, we want you to feel as prepared and welcome at our concerts as our longtime patrons. We’ve compiled first timers’ most frequently asked questions into this handy, all-inclusive guide that takes the guesswork out of the orchestral experience for everyone.
If you have further questions please Email us or call us at 864-232-0344 ext.116

Concert Etiquette

Although you won’t see many people in jeans, dress however you are comfortable! There is no dress code for GSO concerts. Typically, concert attire ranges from business casual to more formal business attire — dress up or dress down; it’s totally up to you!

We welcome children ages 5+ at our concerts. Tickets are required for children, regardless of age. 
Additionally, GSO performs free Lollipops & Once Upon an Orchestra concerts in the community for children of all ages. Learn more about other educational opportunities the GSO offers here.

Concert hall ushers are instructed to seat latecomers at the end of a movement, and will indicate when you may enter the hall to take your seat.

Cameras, audio recorders and video recorders are NOT permitted at concerts, as they may interfere with the musicians’ performance. Also please turn off or silence all cell phones, pagers, watch alarms, and other electronic devices before entering the hall.

About the Orchestra

A symphony orchestra is a collection of up to 100 musicians who play instruments of four basic types:

Strings WHERE THEY SIT: In a semicircle directly in front of the conductor; they comprise more than half the orchestra.

  • Violins (the smallest and highest in pitch of the orchestral string instruments)
  • Violas
  • Cellos
  • Doublebasses (the largest and lowest in pitch of the orchestral string instruments)

Woodwinds WHERE THEY SIT: A few rows back from the conductor in the center of the orchestra.

  • Flutes
  • Oboes
  • Clarinets
  • Bassoons
  • Other related instruments

Brass WHERE THEY SIT: Since they’re the loudest, you’ll see them positioned at the back of the orchestra.

  • Trumpets
  • Horns
  • Trombones
  • Tubas
  • Other similar instruments

Percussion Some works use lots of different percussion; others may have a single musician playing the kettledrums, or no percussion at all.
WHERE THEY SIT: Also found at the back of the orchestra near the brass section.

  • Drums
  • Bells
  • Other auxiliary instruments

The penetrating tone of the oboe is easy for all players to hear, and its ability to sustain pitch is very secure. The oboe plays the note “A,” and all the players make sure their “A” is exactly on the same pitch as the oboe’s. This ensures that they all are in agreement about the tuning before the concert starts.

No, but we publish our program notes in our digital programs available at the performance.