Orchestra Attendance Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on August 20, 2010

in Everyday Etiquette

everyday orchestra etiquette

It’s nice to explore various aspects of our culture, such as going to an orchestra performance.  Brush up on your orchestra attendance etiquette so you get a standing ovation!

Last night I went to an orchestra performance for the first time in my life.  The violin player (I’m not a music person; I’m sure there’s a fancy term for this type of musician, so, forgive me, but “violin player” will have to do) was breathtaking, but, I was appalled by the lack of orchestra attendance etiquette!  Common sense states you should not even whisper to the person next to you during a performance such as this.  However, not only was that key element of silence not picked up on by those sitting around me, but, some other etiquette items that should definitely be followed so everyone can enjoy the concert were not!

This particular theater had the added bonus of being outdoors and visitors were encouraged to bring in food and even wine to enjoy before the show.  However, once the show started, it was very distracting to hear glasses clinking, plastic bags rustling and wine being poured. So, it is best to consume everything before the performance begins to avoid dampening the experience of those around you (even if we were in the cheap seats).

Leaving your seat and wandering around is so much of a no-no that the venue would not even seat late arrivals until the intermission; unless it’s an emergency, keep your butt in your seat.

Obviously, another key element of orchestra attendance etiquette is turning off your phone’s ringer, not taking calls during the show and not texting (even though it doesn’t make a sound, you can see that blue light from every seat in the theater).

Again, if you follow everyone’s example, you will ace orchestra attendance etiquette.  Although, I did catch a disapproving look from the lady next to me every time I moved my wine glass to my lips or took a bite of my cookie, but that probably had less to do with me being noisy and more to do with my poor food pairing etiquette!

Photo: 123rf/Qi Feng

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