FRequently Asked Questions

What do I wear? Come as you are! We’re not fussy and it’s our experience that patrons feel equally at home in everything from blue jeans to tuxedos. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it, and you can, too. Above all, be you, be comfortable, and enjoy the concert!

What time should I arrive? Should I come early? Absolutely! Plan to arrive well before concert time, so you can find your seat, turn off your cell phone, take a look at your surroundings, absorb the atmosphere, and have time to glance through the program book, too. You won’t be alone. Most concertgoers make a point of coming early to read the program notes, or just watch the orchestra warm up. The doors to the Hall will be opened one hour prior to the concert start time.  Also, come early enough to catch our pre-concert discussions for masterworks concerts or enjoy the live local musicians performing in the lobby prior to the orchestra concert.

What are Pre-concert discussions? Pre-concert discussions are a chance for patrons to hear from the Conductor and the guest artist(s) about the music to be performed. Pre-concert discussions are held 6:30-7:00 pm prior to concerts in September, October, March, and April. They are held in the Conference Hall facility in a nearby classroom. There will be ushers to direct you to the location.

How can I learn more about the music pieces being performed? Our program notes are posted online shortly before each Masterworks performance, and we regularly post tidbits of program-related info on our social media sites.

Are refreshments available for sale? We have light snacks, water, coffee and wine available for purchase in the lobby prior to the concert and through the end of the intermission.

What should I do during the intermission?
Our intermissions are 15 minutes long, which gives you time to socialize with your friends, enjoy a beverage, visit the facilities, or simply sit in your seat and read the program notes. Enjoy whatever prepares you to experience the second half of the concert.

How do I order tickets? Tickets are available to order from our website at or they can be ordered by phone by calling the Hendersonville Symphony office at (828) 697-5884. Discounted season ticket packages are available if ordered before September 5th, 2019. Single concert tickets are available for adults ($45) and students of all ages ($12).

Are there reserved seats? All seating is reserved for Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra concerts.

May I return an unused ticket for a tax credit? Yes! Ticket holders may turn in tickets in advance of the concert for resale and a letter of donation (if requested). Call the office for more information:
(828) 697.5884.

Can I get a refund for a ticket I have purchased?
Concert tickets are non-refundable. If you cannot attend a concert, you may donate your ticket back to the Hendersonville Symphony for a donation receipt. Unused tickets must be returned to the Symphony office in order for a receipt to be generated. We will make every effort to accommodate requests for ticket exchanges in extreme cases and at the discretion of management. Please call (828) 697-5884 to inquire about the availability of exchanging your tickets.


What is a symphony orchestra, exactly?
A symphony orchestra is a collection of up to about 80 musicians who play instruments of four basic types:

  • Strings: violins (smallest, and highest in pitch), violas, cellos, and double basses (largest and lowest in pitch). These players sit in a semicircle directly in front of the conductor, and make up more than half the orchestra.

  • Woodwinds: flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and related instruments. These players sit a few rows back from the conductor, in the center of the orchestra.

  • Brasses: trumpets, horns, trombones, tubas, and similar instruments. These instruments are the loudest, so you’ll see them at the back of the orchestra.

  • Percussion: the drums, bells, and other fascinating paraphernalia that are struck, plucked, rubbed, etc. This includes the timpani (kettledrums), the harp, and, on occasion, the piano. Some works use lots of different percussion; others may have a single musician playing the timpani, or no percussion at all. The percussion section is also found at the back of the orchestra.

Why are the musicians onstage playing before the concert begins?
Just like basketball players taking shots and practicing moves before the game, musicians need to warm up their “muscles” and focus their concentration. This is fun to listen to and to watch. Some of them are working on the passages they need to polish up before the performance, with no regard for what anyone else is practicing.

How come there are more stringed instruments than anything else?
The sound of each individual stringed instrument is softer than a brass or a woodwind instrument. But in large numbers, they make a magnificent, rich sonority.

What does the concertmaster do?
The concertmaster sits in the first chair of the first violins. She acts as leader of that section, but also plays a leadership role with orchestra as a whole. She is also the last orchestra musician to enter the stage before a concert, and cues the principal oboist to “tune” the orchestra.

Why do all the musicians tune to the oboe?
The penetrating tone of the oboe is easy for all players to hear, and its ability to sustain pitch is very secure. The principal oboist plays the note “A,” and all the players make sure their “A” is exactly on the same pitch as the oboe’s. This ensures that they all are in agreement about the tuning before the concert starts.

Why do the string players share stands?
Fewer stands mean that the musicians, who are moving around quite a bit, have more room to play freely. Also, because the strings play more continuously than the other parts, their page turns can fall in inconvenient places where there should be no break in the music. Look closely and you’ll see that the player on the outside keeps playing, while the player on the inside briefly stops playing to turn the page.