Guide To Your First Symphony Concert

Who should attend the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra?

The symphony is for everyone! We are thrilled to present a symphony orchestra with high caliber musicianship in Central Minnesota. You don’t need to travel 2+ hours to enjoy live, quality music. If you’ve never been to a symphony orchestra performance before, we extend a special invitation to you. There’s truly nothing like it!

Dress Code

The dress code for a symphony orchestra performance is business casual. Much like going to a live theatre performance, attending the symphony orchestra is a fun opportunity to get a bit dressed up. 

Symphony Orchestra sounds “stuffy.” Is it?

The Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra (CLSO) is far from stuffy. Orchestra members are our very own friends, family and community members here in Central Minnesota. These musicians of all ages play string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Although performances deliver a certain level of professionalism, rest assured that CLSO members all enjoy joking and laughing together in and out of rehearsals. 

Children are Welcome!

We love children! Kids are always welcome to attend our symphony orchestra concerts. Some of our performances might be more kid-friendly than others, and we’ll be sure to inform you of these child-oriented shows. 

As parents, grandparents and friends of children ourselves, we know that kids can sometimes get rowdy. That’s okay! If that is the case, we invite you to step out of the auditorium with your child until they are ready to return and enjoy the show. It is also perfectly acceptable to set a goal of attending half of a show with your child until they’ve built up the endurance for an entire symphony performance. 


There is typically one 20 minute intermission a little over halfway through each performance, but each concert is different in this regard.

Music You Can Expect to Hear

Concerts include a variety of  music from the 1700s to the present day by composers from around the world. These pieces are written down and then brought to life by the orchestra and conductor.  Some are purely musical, with titles like Symphony or Concerto. Others tell a story, and might have titles like The Rite of Spring or La mer(the Sea). 

You don’t want to miss CLSO’s annual Gala in October featuring music from popular movies by decade. In 2022 the orchestra played music from the ‘50s; this year’s Gala presents music from the ‘60s. It’s great fun and you are welcome to come in clothing of the decade if you’d like.

In addition to orchestral concerts, the CLSO presents guest solo artists and small ensembles to join our programs. The final concert each year showcases our Chamber Orchestra, a smaller group of musicians, for a more intimate program.

What to Listen For

The music director shares Program Notes with interested concert-goers in the auditorium one hour prior to each performance. Notes will be posted on screens in the Performing Arts Center too. You’ll also find abbreviated videos from the director on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that will help you better understand the music and its history.                                        

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