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Concert Etiquette

Concert Etiquette Image
Know What Concert You are Attending

The Performing Arts Center offers different kinds of concerts and recitals during the semester. They include performances by symphony orchestras, bands, choruses, chamber orchestras, and more. Some of the events are performances by professional musicians, but a large majority of the concerts and recitals are performances by students and faculty of the University of Georgia School of Music.

Know Where the Concert Will Be

The Performing and Visual Arts Complex is located on East Campus, near the Ramsey Student Center. Any UGA bus that goes to the Ramsey Student Center stops next to the Complex.

There are three performance halls in the Complex. Two are in the Performing Arts Center and one is in the School of Music building. These two buildings are next door to each other and the Georgia Museum of Art.

The largest of the three halls is Hodgson Concert Hall, named for the founder of the University of Georgia School of Music, Hugh Hodgson. Hodgson Hall seats an audience of 1,100, surrounding the stage in what's called a "festival-style" auditorium. Most large concerts are held in Hodgson Hall. It is on the first floor of the Performing Arts Center.

Ramsey Concert Hall, not to be confused with the Ramsey Student Center, seats 360 people and offers a more intimate setting for soloists and chamber recitals. Named in honor of UGA alumnus and philanthropist Bernard Ramsey, this hall hosts the Ramsey Concert Hall Series of new artists. Doctoral students and faculty members in music must present recitals each year, and Ramsey Hall provides them with a performing home. Ramsey Hall offers a more traditional seating arrangement than Hodgson Hall. Ramsey Hall is on the second floor of the Performing Arts Center.

The Edge Recital Hall is a 180-seat theater with a grand piano, a projection screen, and a sound booth to accommodate recitals, lectures, clinics, and recordings. Named in honor of former UGA valedictorian and Rhodes Scholar Robert G. Edge, the hall is located on the third floor of the School of Music building. The majority of music students' recitals are held in this hall.

Know If You Need a Ticket

Many of the events are free; however, some do require tickets. If so, the FYO website will list the price of the tickets and how to obtain them. You should make sure to get your ticket ahead of time, as the box office frequently is not open at concert time. A number of the Performing Arts Center program series offer student ticket prices. Be sure to check with the box office for information about these specials.

Come Early and Be Prepared

Always plan to arrive at least fifteen minutes before the time of the concert. The time shown on the FYO website will be the time that the music will actually begin. Arriving a few minutes early will allow you to find a good seat and look over the program before the concert begins. That way, you'll know what to expect during the performance. Plan ahead, especially if you're going to ride the bus to the Performing and Visual Arts Complex.

Stay for the Whole Performance

Most concerts will last between one and one and a half hours and will include an intermission about halfway through. Most recitals will be a little shorter and usually don't include an intermission. You are expected to remain for the whole performance, including encores.

Know When to Clap

When you first arrive at the performance, look over the program and read the program notes about the artist(s) and the pieces of music that will be performed. Not only will that help you know more about what you will be hearing, it will also help you understand when you should applaud and when you will get to take a little break during an intermission. When the concertmaster and conductor/director first come onstage at the beginning of the program, they are usually welcomed with polite applause.

If there is a conductor or director of the group, watch for him to lower his baton or hands and seem to relax. He may even turn around to face the audience. If you're still in doubt, look for people in the audience who look like experienced concert-goers and wait until they begin to applaud. Sometimes, at the end of the program, audience members will shout "Bravo" or stand while they're applauding (a "standing ovation.") This just indicates that they think that the performer(s) did an outstanding job. Just because other people stand, doesn't mean you have to. Do what you feel. A standing ovation should be considered like a good tip at the end of a wonderful dinner served by an exceptional waiter.

Once the concert is over, the performers will leave the stage. However, if the audience continues to clap, they may return to the stage for additional recognition and may even play an extra bonus piece, called an "encore." These are usually short and entertaining and it is considered rude to leave during them. The concert is not completely over until the applause ends and the lights come back on.

Be Silent During the Performance

If you arrive early, it's okay to talk to those seated around you until the lights dim, indicating that the concert is about to begin. After that, it is important not to talk, sing along, hum, or make any other noise that will disturb others. A good rule is not to do anything that will make anyone else notice you, including popping your gum, sighing, and snoring! The three performance halls at UGA have amazing acoustics. The audience can hear every note. Just remember that this means that the performers can hear every sound you make as well.

Most concert halls require that you turn off your cell phone before the concert begins, and you are not allowed to take photographs (especially flash!). Under NO circumstances should you EVER talk on your cell phone, text, or play games on your phone during a concert. It is disturbing to those around you and can be distracting to the performers.

Do Not Eat, Drink, or Smoke

Food and drink are usually not allowed, except during intermissions at some performances. If you are suffering from a cough, however, it's better to bring along some cough drops or lozenges than to disturb the audience.

Know What to Wear

Remember that there will be other audience members who are not part of the University community and you will be representing the University of Georgia to them. If you have questions about what is appropriate apparel for concerts, call the Performing Arts Center box office for help.