Symphony 101: Demystifying Your First Visit

string instruments

Everything you need to know to make the most out of your first Symphony experience.

Where do you perform?

Bremerton WestSound Symphony is based in Bremerton, performing throughout the year at the Bremerton Performing Arts Center; in recent years, we’ve expanded our footprint to include performances in Kingston, Poulsbo, Silverdale, and Port Orchard. Our goal is to continue to reach new audiences and perform in new venues, better living up to our name to serve neighborhoods to the West of Puget Sound.

Where should I sit?

We get asked this a lot, and most people will tell you that because our venues are fairly intimate, there really is no bad seat in the house. That said, the two best locations are generally 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 against the stage). If there is a balcony (or mezzanine), the front of the balcony will allow you to have a better sight line 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 that you can see the pianist’s hands as they perform.

How much do tickets cost?

Tickets are $28, with discounts for groups, youth, students, active military, and musicians.

What should I wear?!

We want you to be comfortable when you join us for a concert, so dress in a way that works for you. Some people love dressing up and going out—if that’s you, do it and you won’t be the only one, we promise. If you prefer to be more casual, then you probably won’t be the only one dressed casually, either. What you won’t see a lot of is black tie.

For our evening parties and special events, feel free to bring on the ritz. We’re delighted to see you no matter how you dress!

How long is a concert?

Concerts vary in length depending on how long each piece is in the program, but most last about two hours and contain a 20 minute intermission.

When do I applaud?

When you have an emotional reaction to the music and you want to express, do it. If you love a movement of a symphony and want to cheer for the performance you just heard, do it! Clapping is a great way to show your appreciation for the performers. It’s part of what fuels us when we play!

If you’re a little nervous and unsure, don’t worry – you can easily join in once the applause has begun.

Can I use my phone?

We don’t like phones ringing or making other noises during the performance, or when your phone is blowing up so much it practically looks like a strobe light—just like people don’t like those things at the movie theater.

What we do like is people having fun and sharing that experience with others, so take your selfies, check in on Facebook and Instagram, and just make sure your phone is on silent out of consideration for the performers and other guests.

Can I bring my kids?

Most of our programs are family friendly. Some concerts, like Movie Music, include film clips which may contain content not be suitable for young children (PG).

You know your kids best. Can they sit comfortably – and quietly – through a two hour program? Every March we hold an OrKIdstra concert specifically for elementary schools in Kitsap and North Mason counties. Ask your child’s teacher if they will be attending.

Note that all concertgoers, regardless of age, must be ticketed.

Where should I go to eat before or after the concert?

Check out our list of favorite restaurants across the county. You’re bound to find something close to one of our performance venues that can fit into any budget.

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

Absolutely not. We try to make concerts self-contained, meaning at the performance itself you will learn a little from your program book as well as from the Maestro as he sometimes briefly introduces the pieces from the stage. If you want to study up ahead of time, we have multiple ways to help you do that:

  1. The pre-concert chat with the Music Director starts one hour before the performance, is free to concert attendees, and lasts about 30 minutes, so you have a half hour between the talk and concert to get a drink, use the restroom, mingle, etc. During the talk, Maestro covers topics such as why he programmed the particular pieces on that concert, things you should listen for during the performance, and information about the composer.
  2. Listen to different recordings of the program pieces on YouTube.
  3. View our calendar and decide which show you want to see. Can’t decide? Choose a subscription package and save!