Concert Etiquette

What should I wear?

There is no dress code for Canton Symphony Orchestra performances. For evening concerts such as MasterWorks or Pops, many patrons come from work in business-appropriate attire or dressed for a night out. For our educational concerts such as SymphonyLand or the Kinder Concerts, many patrons dress a bit more casually.

When should I arrive?

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the concert start time. This will give you enough time to park, find your seat, look over the printed program, and relax before the music begins. You can also arrive earlier and try out Club Z, open 1 hour and 15 minutes before the concert, to mingle with other concert goers and enjoy light refreshments.

How long will the concert run?

Orchestral concerts vary in length depending on the music being performed. Most concerts last between 90 minutes and two hours, including one intermission. Our educational concerts for our younger audiences will last between 30 and 45 minutes. (These include SymphonyLand performances, the Young People’s Concert, and our Kinder Concerts.)

How long is the intermission?

For Canton Symphony Orchestra performances, intermission generally runs twenty minutes. This may vary for certain kinds of performances. The lights in the lobby will flash shortly before the end of intermission, so that you have enough time to return to your seat before the performance resumes.


When do I clap?

There are a few traditions that have developed as orchestral music has evolved over the centuries, including when to applaud. These days, audiences generally applaud to greet the performers and to show appreciation after a performance. Most people clap at the beginning of a concert when the concertmaster (the lead violinist) enters to tune the orchestra – this is in acknowledgement of the concertmaster and the entire orchestra – and then again when the conductor and any soloists come onstage.

Once the music starts, there may be a brief pause between the movements, but people usually reserve their applause until after the final movement of each piece so that the performers and audience can maintain their focus. At the end of the work, the conductor will lower the baton all the way, signaling that the piece is over. At that point, applause is most welcome. You can also check the program book to see how many movements there are, so that you can keep track.

Do I need to know anything about the music before I come?

No. In fact, it can be a wonderful discovery to simply sit down and listen to whatever the orchestra plays. However, some people like to know a bit about the music before they hear it. For most Canton Symphony Orchestra concerts, program notes are provided with background information about the works, composers, and guest artists on the program. If you would like to read the program notes in advance, we have many of them posted on each concert’s web page on our website.

For even more insight into the music, we always have a pre-concert lecture starting 1 hour before the concert begins, featuring local experts or our Assistant Conductor, Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz.

If you want to keep learning about music, please consider attending our ConverZations series that features experts locally and around the country talking about upcoming concerts with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, or current musical trends in the classical music world.  Most of our meetings happen every second Monday of the month at 12 noon, located in the Zimmermann Symphony Center.  Follow this link for details.

What if I have other questions?

Please ask us. Call the Zimmermann Symphony Center Box Office at 330-452-2094 or email us at