Symphony Guide

Welcome to the Central Iowa Symphony! Here are some tips and notes for a wonderful symphony experience.

What do I wear?

There is no dress code! The Central Iowa Symphony and Ames City Auditorium welcome all styles. Most people will be wearing slightly dressier clothes, but you’ll see everything from jeans to cocktail dresses.

When should I arrive?

If you are interested in learning more about what you are going to hear, come 45 minutes early and go straight into the concert hall for Concert Conversations, a pre-concert talk with Music Director Eric McIntyre. Otherwise, just be sure to allow yourself time to absorb the atmosphere and get settled in your seat before the first downbeat!

How long is the concert?

It varies, but in general most concerts are 90 minutes to 2 hours, usually including an intermission about halfway through.

Can I bring my children?

Yes! All children and student tickets are free. Depending on the age of your child, an entire concert might be a bit much for their attention span, and you may want to consider enjoying the first half of a concert with them. If you bring an infant and they cry, it’s fine to step out with them for a bit while they calm down.

When do I clap?

At the very beginning of the concert, when the concertmaster comes out to tune the orchestra, welcome them with applause, and also again when the conductor (possibly with a soloist) come on stage.

Then enjoy the music and clap at the end of the piece! This can be a little tricky for pieces with multiple movements, where there is no applause between the movements, only at the very end. This is because symphonies and concertos build momentum and applause can break the mood and concentration, especially when the movement ends quietly. However, if you do clap between movements, disregard anyone who “shushes” you. It’s only been in the last 50 years or so that audiences stopped applauding between movements, so you have music history on your side!)