First Timers Guide

You have come to be entertained, moved, transported, or perhaps, to satisfy a loved one’s plea. Anyway, you’re there, so you might as well enjoy it. Some do this by watching the orchestra or the conductor. Some do this with their eyes shut. Experiment. Enjoy.

We love to hear the lobby “buzz” before and after the concert. So, please limit your conversations to before or after the music. Oh, and anything that makes unwanted noise should be left at home or turned off. This includes: cell phones, pagers, wrist watches, crinkly candy wrappers, baby monitors, children under the age of six, most pets, and some distant relatives. Speaking of children…Please consider leaving young children in the care of a competent relative or babysitter for our subscription concerts. Our concerts are generally two hours long, with a 15 minute intermission. Children age six and older are welcome at our regular subscription programming.

Most people applaud a performer to express their awe and their appreciation for the performance. So, whenever so moved, please applaud. However, it may benefit your relationship to the loved one next to you to know that most symphony-goers feel bound to an unwritten contract to applaud only at the end of the entire musical work. For example, in a four movement work, people actually wait until the end of the fourth movement to applaud. But, they generally make up for lost applause by applauding a really long time. How long? Long enough for the conductor to bow, shake hands with some musicians, walk off the stage, pause, come back on the stage, invite the orchestra to stand, bow, shake hands with some musicians, and walk off again. So, when not wanting to totally embarrass your evening’s companion, wait until others applaud, then follow their lead.

The Granville Arts Center has seats in a variety of places, and all of them are very comfortable. However, if you want to be among the leaders of the audience and sit in Brownlee Auditorium, you will need to arrive before the music begins. Once the music starts, the ushers will not allow you to enter until an appropriate break in the music, which in some cases may not be until intermission. Orchestras all over the world do things like this to ensure the enjoyment of the vast, vast, VAST majority of concert-goers who arrive and take their seat on time. I know you’ll understand.

Please call our office 972.926.0611 to ask your concert etiquette questions. Our voicemail works 24/7, so you may call anytime! However, if you want to speak to a person rather than a machine, call during regular business hours: Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM. Invite a friend or another couple to go with you to the next concert; You’ll enjoy it all the better.


You can attend an GSO concert for about the same amount of money as it takes to grab a burger and see a movie. Subscribe today! And single tickets start at just $16.50.

Subscribers have priority seating at the Granville Arts Center. Your seats will be assigned ahead of any single ticket buyers, and you’ll have the opportunity to keep those seats or request priority reseating next season. Subscribers can also order advance tickets to special events ensuring the best available seats at those performances.

An GSO subscription offers you 100% flexibility. Can’t make a concert? Enjoy no-hassle, unlimited ticket exchange, or donate your tickets back to the GSO for tax credit. Exchanges and donations can be made up to 24 hours prior to the performance. Subscribers also get free replacements for lost tickets. Still can’t commit? Try Flex-Tickets.

Clap whenever you feel moved. There are 93 superb musicians playing their hearts out for you, and your applause means everything to them. When in doubt, wait for others around you to clap and chime in!

It’s true you may see some people in their finery occasionally. But you’ll also see blue jeans and suits and everything in between. As a general rule, “business casual” is always a safe bet. We invite you to dress comfortably, because, after all, we’re all here for the music.

Do you have to be a gourmet chef to enjoy a fine meal? You don’t need to know the music on the program to have a meaningful experience. Our Maestro Robert C. Austin will provide you with all of the need to know facts and interesting trivia about the music, composers and guest artist before each piece.

The Garland Symphony Orchestra is a nonprofit organization that targets all segments of the population, including children through our youth concerts, education programs, and the Lone Star Youth Orchestra. All of our concerts appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds, from lifelong fans to young music students to casual listeners.

Yes, but not always. GSO concerts sometimes sell out, with a portion of all seats going to subscribers. The vast majority of these happy season ticket holders renew their seats year after year, making it difficult to get good seats at the last minute. When you become an GSO subscriber, you’ll walk past the sold-out signs to your “own” seats. And best of all, you have something to look forward to! Subscribing is definitely the way to go.

The 93+ contracted musicians of the Garland Symphony Orchestra are all accomplished professionals. Most live and work in our community, teaching music and playing with other ensembles. Many of our musicians also play with the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Wind Symphony.

Come early or stay late and make an evening of it and have dinner with friends. The GSO is a great excuse to have an uplifting experience with a friend or a romantic evening with that special someone.

Facts. Answers. Questions.

Purchase Single Tickets Online
Purchase full season, mini season, flex tickets, or single tickets all online!

You can also buy tickets through the Garland Symphony Orchestra office (972.926.0611) or purchase tickets by completing our Subscription Order Form and returning it to our office via mail or fax (972.926.0811). Or simply stop by the Garland Symphony office during business hours and they will be glad to assist you with your purchase.

For additional information regarding pricing, benefits, or seating, give us a call (972.926.0611).

We recommend you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the curtain time to allow adequate time for seating. As a courtesy to other patrons, latecomers will be seated at an appropriate break in the music, which in some cases may not be until intermission. If you need to pick up your tickets at the Granville Arts Center Box Office before the concert, you’ll want to arrive at least 20 minutes early so that you don’t feel rushed. 

The Hall consists of different sections – separated by the acoustical and visual quality of the seats. When buying single tickets or ordering a subscription, the Garland Symphony Orchestra office staff can help you determine what the “best available” seats are for your needs (phone: 972.926.0611). 

It’s one of the first questions new concertgoers usually ask. People generally wear what is most comfortable for them, and we invite you to do the same. Some people wear jeans, but business casual is always a safe bet. Others choose to dress up a little (after all, a concert is like a celebration, so why not wear something festive?). And you may see some people in their finery on opening weekend.  One thing we ask you not to wear is perfume, cologne and scented lotions. Many people have scent sensitivities or are highly allergic to fragrances. And because concerts squeeze lots of people into one room, it’s best to skip the fragrance altogether. 

Our Venue has ample parking for our patrons. Donors may also receive reserved parking with a substantial donation. 

Yes; however, subscription concerts may not be suitable for young children. We discourage bringing kids under the age of 6 years old due to the length and complexity of the music. The Garland Symphony offers a number of educational programs designed specifically with children in mind. Visit our education page or e-mail to learn more.

GSO concerts generally run a maximum of two hours, including a 15 minute intermission. For more specific information, you can call the GSO office at 972.926.0611.

Some people enjoy concerts more if they get involved with the music beforehand. Of course, many people enjoy concerts just fine without any special preparation — you don’t have to be an expert on the music. You know yourself best: What would help you enjoy the music more? What would help you be affected by the music? One thing that helps many people is listening to the specific works on the program prior to the concert. Find a recording of one of the pieces on the program from the concert you plan to attend. Try listening to different recordings of the same piece — the differences might surprise you! It might also increase your enjoyment to read a biography of the composer, or find out more about the performers, or look into the musical style or historical period. 

A musician’s preparation for a concert is not unlike an athlete’s preparation for a big game: musicians need to “warm up.” When you first take your seat, you’ll probably see members of the orchestra filing into their seats on stage and warming up by playing a few measures of music. After the orchestra is seated and ready, the lights dim, the audience quiets, and the concertmaster, the leader of the first violin section, enters from backstage. He takes a bow and the audience claps. The concertmaster turns to the orchestra and cues the principal oboist, who sits in the middle of the orchestra, to play a single note (an A) to which all musicians tune their instruments. Next the conductor comes onstage. As the audience applauds, the conductor may invite the orchestra to stand up to share in the applause. The conductor shakes hands with the concertmaster as representative of the orchestra. When a piece ends, the conductor lowers his or her arms, and generally turns toward the audience as the applause begins. The conductor then leaves the stage, but as long as the applause continues, the conductor will keep coming back for extra bows. He or she may ask the individual players within the orchestra to receive applause for their solos within the piece, and generally the entire orchestra stands at the end to receive the applause. 

If you must leave the concert hall during the concert, we ask that you do so as quietly as possible, as a courtesy to other patrons and to the musicians. You will be re-seated during the applause between pieces on the program.