First-timers’ guide to classical music concerts
If this is your first time attending a Mission Chamber Orchestra concert, welcome! We are glad you chose our performance to attend. Here are some things you may be curious about, and if we haven’t answered your questions here, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message on our phone message system: (408) 236-3350.
Our first two concerts are held at the Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo De San Antonio in downtown San Jose. The closest parking is at the Second & San Carlos Street garage at 280 South Second Street (at the corner of San Carlos). Enter the garage from either South Second Street or South Third Street. Parking is $5.00 after 6:00pm.
Our next concerts are held at San Jose First United Methodist Church, 24 North 5th Street in downtown San Jose. The nearby city parking garage at 55 North 5th Street is free after 6:00pm. Take a ticket from the machine as you enter the garage, and keep it to exit the garage after the concert. Signs posted saying the garage closes at 10PM refers to the entry of vehicles after 10PM. You may exit as late as 1AM (but our concerts are not that long!) A helpful hint when exiting the garage: do not get too close to the vehicle in front of you or the gate won’t open. Stay back and let the car in front exit, then drive up to the box and insert your ticket.
Our concerts begin at 7:30PM, and you may enter up to an hour before the concert begins. Concerts generally last 90-110 minutes, including intermission.
How do I get a ticket and can I reserve a seat?
Tickets to all concerts at the Hammer Theatre Center and San Jose First United Methodist Church are available on the Mission Chamber Orchestra website, www.missionchamber.org. We apologize, but we do not have a way for you to order by phone. Tickets are also available at the door starting one hour prior to the concert. Seats cannot be reserved, so please arrive a little early if there is a particular section you’d like to sit in. If you arrive after the concert begins, we will ask you to wait in the lobby until the end of the first piece (or movement, if the first piece has several movements.)
May I record the music during the performance?
The orchestra hires an audio engineer to record all performances. Sometimes a videographer is also hired. These two people are the only ones authorized to record MCO performances. Audience members find people using phones and cameras distracting, and sometimes soloists have specific statements in their contracts regarding recordings, so please do not photograph or try to record during the performance.
May I use my phone during the performance?
We ask that you have your phone on silent during performances. People who attend symphonic performances also often find the lighted screens from cell phones are a distraction. If you want to use your muted phone to look up information about a piece you are hearing, please sit in one of the back two rows so as not to disturb others. We do provide notes about the music in the program booklet, so you may want to check that before looking at your phone.
What should I wear?
We hope you will be excited to attend an MCO concert and will want to dress up just a little. But if you feel you will enjoy the music more by dressing comfortably, then do so!
When do I clap?
A couple centuries ago, people clapped whenever they were moved to do so during a symphonic concert. Next crept in a tradition of not clapping between movements of a multi-movement work. (These movements are usually listed by name or by a tempo marking that is often in a foreign language.) In the last couple decades, that tradition has been relaxed somewhat. Now people feel freer to applaud when they really like what they’ve heard, though some are sticking to the previous tradition of withholding applause until the very end of a piece. We encourage you to clap whenever you want to show your pleasure and appreciation, with the caveat that slow movements often leave a feeling of peacefulness or resolve at the end, and lend themselves less to applause if there is another movement to follow.