When should I get there?
We suggest you plan to be at the concert venue at least 15-20 minutes before the performance begins. These extra minutes will give you time to enjoy the architecture of the hall, use the restroom, find your seat, take a look at the concert program, turn off your cell phone, unwrap any cough lozenges, people-watch, socialize and do anything else you might like to do before the lights go down and the concert starts.
This buffer time does not include the time it takes to park. At Segerstrom Center for the Arts, allow for another 10-15 minutes to find a spot in the parking structure and walk to the venue. Parking at most other venues is conveniently close.
If you will be picking up your tickets at the box office will call window, give yourself a few extra minutes as well.
Many people enjoy the insightful Concert Previews we often offer prior to concerts. These Previews begin one hour prior to the concert.
Can I bring food or beverages into the hall?
For most concerts, cough lozenges are the only type of food item permitted inside the concert hall itself. Food and drinks are available in the Concert Hall lobby before the concert and during intermissions, but items need to be consumed before entering the concert hall. When we perform at Samueli Theater, concerts will be set up as “cabaret-style,” that is, chairs are set around small tables rather than in rows, and refreshments may be included as part of the concert-going experience. Outside food is not permitted.
What should I wear?
This is Southern California and our relaxed cultural sensibilities do spill over into the concert-going world as everywhere else. That being said, audiences attending concerts in beautiful spaces such as the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall do tend to treat the occasion with a bit of attention. Audiences tend to choose outfits that they’d wear to, say, a nice restaurant for a special occasion, rather than something they’d wear to a baseball game. During the holidays, you’ll see a few more special outfits including a few fancier dresses and suits and a tux or two, but generally people’s clothing reflects the idea that they see it as a nice night out.
If you enjoy wearing cologne and perfume, please note that you will be sitting in close proximity to others and many people (including our singers) are sensitive to strong fragrances, so go lightly on your choice of scent.
Can I bring my child to a concert?
While we love to open up children to the beauty of classical and choral music, we also know it can be difficult for some children to quietly sit still through an entire concert. Children are definitely welcome to attend our annual holiday concert, Tis the Season! For other concerts, please bear in mind the age and maturity level of your child. Younger children and toddlers can become restless and disruptive. In such cases, they are best left with a babysitter for the evening.
When should I applaud?
Don’t be embarrassed if you’re unsure—many people around you will be wondering the same thing. The basic rule of thumb is to clap at the end of each piece. Since many pieces of classical music have several movements of differing tempos and styles within them, sometimes knowing when a piece has finished isn’t always easy. The concert program will list all of the movements within a piece, so you can follow along. Sometimes the conductor may request that you hold your applause until the end of a group or “set” of pieces. If you lose track, just watch the conductor — his or her arms will drop and relax when it’s time to clap. Or just wait until others begin to clap.
It is also customary to clap at the beginning of the concert when the conductor and, if there’s an orchestra, the concertmaster (the principal first violinist) walk onto the stage after the house lights dim.
The standing ovation, or “standing O,” is a way of indicating strong approval or appreciation for a particularly good performance. Please don’t feel it is mandatory or expected. We are happy to receive whatever expression of acknowledgement you would like to convey.