I don’t know anything about classical music. Should I still check it out? I am worried I won’t fit in/feel comfortable/etc.
Not to worry – we believe that ensemble music is for everyone!
Over the years (centuries) attending orchestras has often been viewed as an exclusive activity. While that may have been the case at various points in the past, today at wcfsymphony we are completely devoted to a symphonic experience that is open, accessible and relevant. Our Artistic Director Jason Weinberger is known nationally for his work across genres – including partnerships with non-classical artists like Brandi Carlile and Mochilla – and for his approachable, exciting style of presentation no matter the style of music.
Join us for a concert and you’ll be blown away by the accessibility of our work. We think you’ll also like our venues, which are some of the most interesting in the state.
I can listen to hundreds of versions of Beethoven 5 practically for free right on my phone. Why would I pay to hear you play it again?
We’re big fans of the revolution in music that’s been brought about by technology, and think that nothing could be better for orchestras than audiences with wide access to orchestral music. Our feeling is that anything you encounter on YouTube, iTunes and other music services will be more exciting, powerful and moving to experience in live performance.
As for Beethoven 5 and similarly famous pieces, popular masterworks are only a part of what we present. In fact, a good percentage of our performances feature newer or undiscovered music you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else in the region and much of it isn’t even commercially recorded. When we do break out the Beethoven we do so with the goal of uncovering new perspectives and interpretations, like we did recently with one of his infrequently-heard works.
Do I have to dress up for the symphony?
No – we think you look great as you are!
Seriously, we do get dressed up a bit – usually in all black – so that we look good for you. You don’t have to get styled out, though. The typical dress range at our concerts is jeans to jackets, including both or anything in between.
How do I get tickets?
We have a variety of great seating options for all of our concerts, including tickets for folks on a budget and for kids and students.
Tickets can be purchased online via this website, by phone, or at any of the UNItix box offices on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. The box office at the Gallagher-Bluedorn is open M-F 8:30 – 5:00, Saturday 10:00 – 2:00 and 90 minutes before all concerts. Head over here for more specifics on our ticket options and polities.
Can my children come? How should I approach bringing them?
Absolutely! Many of us onstage have kids of our own who’ve grown up coming to shows, so we have lots of experience in making concert-going easy and fun for young audiences.
Attention span is always an issue with kids but luckily it’s possible to choose just those concerts that last around one hour (we have 4 of those in 2013-14) or to attend just the first halves of our two hour concerts (a popular choice with the Weinberger boys).
Another tip: request seats in one of the upper levels and further back from the stage, both in order to give your kids the fullest stage view possible and also to minimize any distractions for the performers and other audience members. Choosing an aisle seat close to an exit door is also a good strategy and can make moms and dads themselves feel more at ease once the lights go down!
The symphony sounds expensive. Can I afford it?
A common misconception about the symphony is that it is reserved exclusively for those with means. Nothing could be further from the truth!
We offer a range of free events throughout each concert season and tickets to our concerts can consistently be had for less than $20 (unless you are a student or a kid, in which case it’s all the way down to $10 or $5 respectively). One of our concerts costs a family of five just about the same as a trip to the movies – and our lobby refreshments are much more affordable!
What is the conductor’s job? How do the musicians relate to what s/he is doing?
More than just being a traffic cop, the conductor is the stitching in our musical fabric. Without her/his interpretive insight and rehearsal and listening skills we simply wouldn’t be able to hold together a complex ensemble comprised of as many as 70 instrumentalists.
That said, each conductor has her/his own style and one of the joys (or banes) of an orchestral life is being flexible enough to work with all kinds of personalities and physical vocabularies.
As for our own conductor, Jason Weinberger, one of our players summarized what we love most about working with him onstage: “He knows how to get the best out of us and [we] always leave the stage after a concert with a sense of reward and accomplishment.”
I’ve heard about Upbeat (formerly Friends of wcfsymphony). What is it and how do I get involved?
Upbeat is a member organization that connects our orchestra with our community through advocacy, volunteerism, and fundraising events. Membership for the year costs just $10 and includes special access to events and guests artists as well as other benefits. Learn more about Upbeat here.