FAQ & Newcomer’s Guide
Welcome! If you’re reading this page, it means you’re hopefully joining us soon for a concert.
At the Peoria Symphony Orchestra you will discover great music in classical, pops, and family-friendly concerts featuring the multi-award winning Peoria Symphony Orchestra, talented guest artists, and featured artists.
You don’t have to “know” classical music to enjoy it. Sit back and watch the musicians and the conductor, and see how they interact with each other. Close your eyes and listen to how the music ebbs and flows, surging and powerful at some times, delicate and light at others—and everything in between. Feel the rhythms; follow the music. Let the music flow over you and trigger your emotions—and maybe even your memories.
We are passionate about growing our audience and ensuring that those who are new to our concerts have a great experience. We want you to return, after all… so we have compiled a list of questions that we are asked a lot by those who are visiting us for the first time. Do you have more questions? Shoot us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or by e-mail!
Where do you perform?
We have been based in Peoria, IL, since 1897. You can check out a list of our current venues here!
What should I wear?
We want you to be comfortable at our performance, so what you wear is your choice! Many of our patrons love dressing up for the concert, though there are many who like to keep it casual. If you are attending a special event, feel free to pull out all the stops!
What’s a good seat?
We get this question a lot—and the answer is everyone has their own preference. There really is no ‘bad seat’ in the symphony hall. In general, our most popular seats are in the center (not too close to the musicians, and not too far away), the box seats (for added privacy), the front of the balcony (a great view of the orchestra), and aisle seats (easy access).
What is the price of a ticket?
At regular performances, the ticket cost starts at $25 and $10 for students. If you are new, we strongly recommend a season subscription. New subscribers can see an entire season starting at just $92.50—less than $14 per concert! Subscribers get a lot of extra benefits, too, and you will have a chance to get to know the Maestro and experience the full breadth of our performances. Click here for more information.
Are refreshments available at the concert?
Beverages (including wine, beer, and mixed drinks) are available to purchase at all Peoria Civic Center Concerts at the bar. You are more than welcome to take your beverage back with you into the symphony hall—just be careful not to spill it! Small bites are also available to purchase at Peoria Civic Center concerts. Check the event page for more information or send us a message.
Beverages (non-alcoholic) and cookies are provided at Grace Presbyterian concerts.
At all venues, we ask that you do not carry food back with you into the symphony hall.
Are there ways to learn more about a concert before I attend?
Absolutely! There are many educational opportunities connected to each concert. Check out the individual event pages for program notes, information on pre-concert lectures, and additional educational opportunities. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for additional insights.
We also provide a Spotify playlist on our event pages for each concert so that you can get to know the music before you arrive.
How long is a concert?
Most orchestra concerts are about two hours long, with an intermission at the halfway point. Very often there will be several pieces on the program, but sometimes there is one single work played straight through. It’s a good idea to take a look at the program before the concert to get an idea of what to expect—we now list the approximate length of each piece.
Most intermissions are 20 minutes long, which gives you time to socialize with your companions, visit the facilities, or simply sit in your seat and read the program notes. At the Civic Center you may get a drink in the lobby and bring it back to your seat. Do whatever puts you in a good frame of mind to hear the second half of the concert!
What happens at a concert?
At the beginning of the concert, the concertmaster (the first chair violinist) will walk onstage. The audience claps as a welcome, and as a sign of appreciation to all the musicians. After the orchestra tunes up, the conductor will come onstage. Everyone claps to welcome the Maestro, too. This is also a good time to look at your program so that you can see the names of the pieces that will be played and their order. Then everything settles down and the music begins. Just sit back, listen, and enjoy!
When do I applaud?
In most classical concerts the audience does not applaud during the music. They wait until the end of each piece, then applaud. But this can be a little tricky, because many pieces seem to end several times—they have several sections, or “movements.” You’ll know this by looking at the pieces listed in your program. The movements will be listed under the title of the piece. Your signal to clap is when the conductor drops his arms to his sides and turns to face the audience.
Did you clap too soon? Don’t worry—it happens every time! We are just happy that you are enjoying your experience.
Can we bring our phones?
We ask that you keep your phones silent or off during a performance. However, when the orchestra is not playing, we encourage you take selfies and let others know that you are having a fun time! Please tag us, too—we love to see your faces. You can find us on Facebook at “Peoria Symphony” and on Instagram at @peoriasymphony.
What if I need to cough during the music?
Everyone understands that coughing can be unavoidable—but there are ways to avoid coughing during the music. You are welcome to bring a refreshment with you into the concert hall. Feel free to bring unwrapped cough drops into the concert hall. (Unwrapping cough drops during a concert makes more noise than one might think!) If there are no cough drops on hand, try to wait until the end of the movement!
What if I need to leave during a performance?
We ask that you only do this during an emergency so that everyone can enjoy the music undisturbed… but if you must, please make your way to the nearest exist. Remember that audience members who have to leave the hall before the conclusion of a work will not be reseated until a convenient break in the music.
Can I bring my children?
It depends! Most standard-length classical concerts are not appropriate for small children because they require an attention span that is difficult for youngsters to maintain.
The family-friendly January Matinee concert is held on a Sunday at 3:00 p.m. This concert is appropriate for families and children. All children require a ticket for a seat, regardless of age; children/student tickets are available at a discounted price.
We record each concert, so please be considerate and exit the concert hall if your child is unable to remain silent.
Can I take pictures?
You are more than welcome to take pictures of yourself and friends when the orchestra is not performing. As soon as the house lights go down, however, please remember that the Peoria Symphony Orchestra prohibits the recording of its performances via camera, digital camera, cell phone, camcorder, audio tape, or with any other electronic device.
What if I am unable to attend my performance?
If you cannot attend a performance, you may exchange tickets by 3:00 p.m. the day of the performance for a 7:30 p,m. performance or by noon for a 3:00 p.m. performance. You may exchange tickets in person or by phone for another performance within the same season. There is an additional cost if seating upgrades apply, and all exchange requests are subject to availability. You may also donate your tickets back to the Peoria Symphony and receive a donation receipt for the value you paid. You may donate tickets in person or by phone.
Seating is subject to availability, and not guaranteed.
Can I bring a group to the concert?
Yes, we welcome groups to our concerts and offer a discounted ticket price for adults and special seating arrangements. Call our box office at 309-671-1096 for details and for seating options. For most concerts we offer a twenty percent off standard ticket prices for a group of ten or more when the tickets are purchased together. Student tickets cannot be further discounted but call us regarding special chaperone pricing.
What else should I expect?
You should definitely expect to have fun! You will have an opportunity to meet new people. Each concert has a complimentary gathering attached to it. If you see someone wearing a Peoria Symphony Orchestra nametag, please introduce yourself… especially if it is your first time. We’d love to get to know you!
Visit P.S. Parties for more information.
What is your refund policy?
We do not offer refunds. You can exchange* your tickets for another concert or turn them in and receive a tax letter.**
*Exchanges based on availability; premium concerts excluded. Request must be made three days in advance of the concert.
** You can receive a charitable donation credit for the value of the ticket purchase price if you return your tickets three days in advance of the concert.
What if I have special seating needs?
Wheelchair accessible seats* and companion seats are available on the main floor at all concert venues. For more information or to purchase these tickets, please call our Box Office at 309.671.1096.
Patrons who use walkers, canes, or crutches might want to consider purchasing seats near or on an aisle for better accessibility. Please see an usher for assistance to and from your seat as they will remove your walker when not in use for your safety and the safety of others.
*These seating areas are designed specifically for parking a personal wheelchair.