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FAQ

To enhance your concert experience, read the following to find answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

If your question is not answered, please send an e-mail to info@charlestonsymphony.org or call Patron Services at (843) 723-7528. 

1. How do I purchase tickets?
2. What do I do if I lost my ticket?
3. I will be visiting the building soon and I am a guest with a disability. Do you have handicap accessible seating? 
4. How long is a typical concert?
5. What should I wear to a concert?
6. What time should I arrive for a concert?
7. What is your late seating policy?
8. Where should I park?
9. Can I purchase food and beverage at CSO concerts?
10. Can I bring my child along to the concert?
11. Can I take pictures or videos during the concert?
12. What about my cell phone?
13. Where are restrooms located?
14. When should I clap?
15. What do I do if I have to cough?
16. How can I stay connected to the Charleston Symphony Orchestra?
17. How may I hire CSO musicians for weddings and other events?
18. Can I learn more about a specific performance before I attend?
19. Will I recognize any of the music if I am not familiar with classical?
20. What are seasons, series, and subscriptions - and what is the difference?
21. If I purchased a ticket but cannot attend... what can I do with the ticket?
22. I'd like to get a bite to eat or have a cocktail before the concert. What do you recommend for dining options near the venues?
23. How are the CSO musicians involved in the community?   


1. Tickets can be purchased several ways.

By phone:  Call CSO Patron Services, (843) 723-7528, ext. 110
Open Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm
Online:  Click on the individual concert pages to be directed to ticket sales. 
Click here to see concert listings >>
In person: CSO Administrative Office (in West Ashley)
756 St. Andrews Blvd.
Charleston, SC 29407

2. If you lost your ticket, please contact Patron Services for a duplicate ticket, (843) 723-7528 ext. 110

3. Yes, we have handicap accessible seating. 

Sottile Theatre: House left and right, back of the orchestra level, limited to those with wheelchairs (and 1 companion) is available.  This section is not for those with canes. People who have trouble walking (i.e., they use a cane, walker, etc), should access the theatre via the front door, and take the elevator to the first floor. ADA restroom is located on the first floor. 
Dock Street Theatre: Wheelchair seating is available on the Main Floor Row P, along with companion seating. Space is tight in the boxes. ADA restrooms are on the first floor. 

4. The performance length varies, but a typical performance runs approximately two hours with one 20-minute intermission. Family Concerts, Chamber Music, Chamber Orchestra, and other concerts may vary. 

5. There is no dress code for concerts. Anything that makes you feel comfortable is fine. Most people wear business casual clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, but you'll see everything from khakis to cocktail dresses. It is also recommended that patrons refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes so as not to distract the patrons sitting around you. 

6. Doors open 60 minutes before a performance. We recommend that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the concert. This leaves plenty of time for parking, picking up your tickets if they are at Will Call, locating the bathroom, finding your seat, and reviewing the program.

For Masterworks Series concerts, pre-concert talks are held from the stage from 6:30- 7:00 p.m. These talks are free to all ticket holders. 

7. In consideration of both artists and audiences, latecomers will be seated at the discretion of staff. Please make every effort to arrive on time. We provide two opportunities for late seating. For a Classical performance - one after the completion of the first work on the program and another at the end of the first movement of the work immediately following intermission. For Pops/Special Event performances - one after the completion of the second work on the program and another after the completion of the first work immediately following intermission. 

Patrons who arrive after the performance has begun will be admitted during these predetermined breaks only and will be seated in a designated late seating area. No seating will be allowed while music is being performed. Sorry, no exceptions will be made!

8. Parking is available near both venues. 

Sottile Theatre:
Three paid parking garages are located near the Sottile Theatre. 

  • George Street Garage - on St. Philip Street between George and Liberty Streets
  • Wentworth Garage - at the intersection of Wentworth and St. Philip Streets
  • St. Philip Garage - on St. Philip street between Calhoun and Vanderhorst Street

Dock Street Theatre: 
Paid parking is available at the nearest garage on the corner of Church and Cumberland Streets. Discounted rates are available at the City garage on Queen Street (near King Street) if patrons give their ticket to the attendant upon exit. 

9. Food and beverage are available for purchase at both the Dock Street and Sottile Theatres before concerts and during intermission (at Dock Street Theatre for concerts with intermission only). Food and beverages are not permitted inside the hall. 

10. We love kids, but we discourage the attendance of children under the age of 6 to an evening performance because they tend to be too long. Children may attend a concert as long as they have a ticket - we regret we cannot allow any babies without a paid ticket (no lap seats available). Parents will be asked to remove disruptive children from the concert hall. 

11. Cameras, camera phones, audio recorders, and video recorders are not permitted, as they may interfere with the musicians' performance and other patrons' enjoyment. 

12. Please be sure your cell phone, watches, and other electronic devices are silenced. 

13. Restrooms are located on each floor of the Sottile Theatre and Dock Street Theatre. Accessible restrooms are also available.  See more information on accessibility above. 

14. Audiences tend to wait until all movements or sections of a piece are completed before clapping. In some pieces of music, the orchestra will pause briefly for about 10-15 seconds between movements. The audience holds their applause during the short breaks in music, until the end of the entire piece. The conductor will signal when a piece is finished by putting his or her arms down and turning to the audience. You can check your program before or during the performance so you'll know how many movements to expect. 

15. Everyone gets the urge to cough now and then. Chances are you'll feel less need to cough if you are prepared--

  • If you have a cold, take some medicine in advance and bring unwrapped lozenges with you. Have a few handy when the music begins.
  • Try to "bury" your cough in a loud passage of music. If this is impossible and you begin to cough a lot, then it's perfectly acceptable and appropriate to quietly exit the concert hall. The Ushers will tell you when you are able to re-enter the concert.
  • Complimentary lozenges are typically available at the CSO table in the lobby. 

16. Receive the latest news, information and special pricing opportunities by signing up for the CSO's E-News "Get Backstage Access" at www.charlestonsymphony.org. Also stay connected via Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlestonsymphony, follow us on Twitter: @ChsSymphonyOrch, or check out our Pinterest account, www.pinterest.com/chassymphony/

17. You can hire CSO musicians by contacting Cynthia Branch, our Patron Services Director, and she will refer you to the musicians for hiring on an individual basis. She may be reached by phone at (843) 723-728 ext. 110 or by email at cindy@charlestonsymphony.org. To book the entire CSO or one of our CSO ensembles, please contact Thomas Joyce, CSO Sales and Personnel Manager at sales@charlestonsymphony.org

18. Absolutely - there are several ways to connect with the music before you attend a concert: 

  • From the Stage - a pre-concert talk free to all ticket holders is held at 6:30 p.m. prior to the start of each Masterworks concert. 
  • Visit the individual concert page for in-depth information, videos, sound clips, musical history, guest artist bios, and more.  Click here for Concert & Tickets>>
  • Check the program book for Program Notes and additional information about concerts and guest artists. 
  • Sign up for our email list to receive Concert Insights for Masterworks - personal accounts from guest artists, conductors, and musicians. 

19. You may recognize the music, even if you are not familiar with classical. Many songs (including those from pop music, television, and movies) either include or are taken from classical themes -- Bugs Bunny cartoon "What's Opera, Doc?" is Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra, became particularly well known due to its use in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and many people recognize the various pieces from Walt Disney's Fantasia

20. The term "season" refers to the months from fall to spring when our concerts take place (usually September/October through April/May). A "series" is a set of predetermined concerts that you can purchase as a package and they are usually held at the same venue. If you purchase a series package (or "subscription"), then you become a subscriber. We currently have three subscription series: Masterworks (Fridays or Saturdays), Pops (Fridays or Saturdays), and Chamber Orchestra at Dock Street Theatre. Subscribers enjoy many benefits including the same seat for each concert, discounts, and more! 

21. If you are a subscriber and cannot attend, there are several options:

  • Gift the ticket to a family member, student, or friend so that they may enjoy the performance. 
  • Exchange the ticket for another performance at least 48 hours in advance (limited selection and subject to availability). 
  • Return the ticket to CSO Patron Services for a tax credit at least 48 hours in advance so that the seat may be enjoyed by someone else. 

Single tickets may not be exchanged or returned - all sales are final. There are no refunds on any tickets. 

22. For dining establishments and hotels close to our venues, please check out our Dining & Accommodations page>>

 23. The musicians in the Charleston Symphony are extremely active in the community. In addition to orchestra performances and rehearsals, most of the musicians teach private lessons to music students in their homes or go into the local junior and senior high schools to teach sectionals or private lessons. Some musicians in the orchestra currently teach at, or have taught at the College of Charleston, Charleston Southern University, and the University of South Carolina. Many of the musicians in the orchestra also perform at local events, including church services, weddings, and private concerts. 

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Charleston Symphony Orchestra
756 St. Andrews Blvd.
Charleston, South Carolina 29407
(843) 723-7528

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