New To The Symphony?

If you’ve never attended an Aiken Symphony Orchestra performance, or even the symphony at all, we want you to feel as prepared and welcome at our concerts as our longtime patrons. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions which you can read below. If you have a question that isn’t covered, please email us ( or contact our office at 803.220.7251.


What should I wear?
Symphonic music is a marvel that fills each listener’s soul. Thankfully, you do not need to dress in coat and tails or ballgowns to experience it in person! Although you won’t see many people in jeans, it is important for our patrons to dress in a manner that makes them comfortable! You’ll see patrons dressed in formal business attire (suit/tie for men, dresses for women) or more casual attire (khaki pants/golf shirt for men, slacks/casual dress for women).

Can I bring the kids?
We welcome children ages 5+ at our concerts. Tickets are required for children, regardless of age. Anyone who is a student under the age of 25 can take advantage of our $10 ticket price but these tickets are only available for purchase at the box office an hour before concert time and are subject to seat availability (student ID must be presented). Learn more about ASO’s Education Outreach programs.

What if I arrive late to the concert hall?
Ushers are instructed to seat latecomers at the end of a movement, and will indicate when you may enter the hall to take your seat.

Are cameras and other recording devices allowed?
Cameras, audio recorders and video recorders are NOT permitted at concerts, as they may interfere with the musicians’ performance. Also, be sure to turn off or silence all cell phones, pagers, watch alarms, and other electronic devices before entering the hall.


What exactly is a symphony orchestra? What instruments are involved?
A symphony orchestra is a collection of up to 100 musicians who play instruments of four basic types:

Strings WHERE THEY SIT: In a semicircle directly in front of the conductor; they comprise more than half the orchestra.
Violins (the smallest and highest in pitch of the orchestral string instruments)
Double basses (the largest and lowest in pitch of the orchestral string instruments)
Woodwinds WHERE THEY SIT: A few rows back from the conductor in the center of the orchestra.
Other related instruments
Brass WHERE THEY SIT: Since they’re the loudest, you’ll see them positioned at the back of the orchestra.
Other similar instruments
Percussion Some works use lots of different percussion; others may have a single musician playing the kettledrums, or no percussion at all.
WHERE THEY SIT: Also found at the back of the orchestra near the brass section.
Other auxiliary instruments

Why does the oboe start the warm-up?
The penetrating tone of the oboe is easy for all players to hear, and its ability to sustain pitch is very secure. The oboe 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.

Do I need to know anything about the music before I come?
No, but we encourage any interested patrons to arrive in time for “Illuminations” which is held an hour before each classical concert begins. This program is hosted by our maestro and offers insights into the evening’s musical selections, the composer, the soloist, and many other interesting information.

If that isn’t an option for you, consider arriving about 30 minutes prior to the start of a concert. Join members of our board in the lobby where you can learn more about ASO and the Aiken Symphony Guild. Pick up your own copy of the evening’s printed program to learn more about the music as well as information about the full season.

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Mailing Address: 262 Eastgate Drive,
PMB 440,
Aiken, SC 29803

(803) 220-7251

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