Macky Auditorium FAQs

How do I get to Macky Auditorium and where can I park?
Macky Auditorium is located on the CU Campus at University Ave. and 17th Street. Click here for parking directions and maps.

What should I wear?
We want to make sure you are comfortable at the concert.  We invite you to dress up if you’d like to make it a special night out, but nice casual dress is perfectly suitable.

What time should I arrive?
If you are interested in the free pre-concert talks with our special guests, please arrive a few minutes before 6:30 p.m. for seating. Otherwise, we suggest 30 minutes before the concert start time to make sure you have enough time for parking and finding your seat.  Will Call opens at 6:15 p.m.

Are there special arrangements for patrons who are physically challenged?
We invite you to contact the Boulder Phill office at 303-449-1343 early enough to book a wheelchair seat and any companion seats needed. Please advise us if you are in need of a handicap parking spot and special assistance for seating at Macky Auditorium at that time.

Should I bring my children?
Classical music is very enriching for young people, so we highly recommend bringing your children (ages 5 and up) to our concerts. For most Macky concerts we have $5 child/student tickets available (not available for Nutcracker, Cirque de la Symphonie or pops performances). Since our tickets are generally affordable for children and families, please do not hesitate to leave during intermission if your child becomes tired – you don’t want to have too much of a good thing! We also know that children tend to get wiggly at times. In order to make it comfortable for all our patrons, please take into consideration your child’s attention span. Every child is different and we value your judgement.

If they can sit on my lap, do I need to purchase a ticket for my child?
Due to fire laws, each person entering the auditorium must have their own individual ticket. You will need to purchase a ticket for your child, which for classical concerts are only $5.

Do I need to know the music before I attend a performance?
Every concert is a new experience, so it is not necessary to know the music ahead of time. There are many ways to enhance your listening in advance by listening to recordings of the pieces ahead of time, learning about the composers, and by attending our free pre-concert talks.

Lectures, Restaurants & Volunteering FAQs

What are Pre-Concert Talks?
Catch an insightful, 30-minute talk with Colorado Public Radio host Marilyn Cooley, Music Director Michael Butterman and special guests at 6:30 p.m. before each concert at Macky Auditorium. More info…

Any ideas on restaurants to accompany our night at the symphony?
For suggestions on area restaurants, click here.

How can I volunteer my time for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra?
The Boulder Philharmonic has a complete volunteer program and your hours add up to free tickets.

At the Concert FAQs

What time does Will Call open before concerts?
If you need to pick up tickets, the Will Call office is located in the front lobby of Macky Auditorium and opens at 6:15 p.m.

How long is intermission?
Intermission is approximately halfway through the concert and lasts about 15 minutes. During intermission, refreshments are available such as coffee, tea, water, juice, soda, brownies, assorted baked breads, and cookies.

When do performances start and end?
Most Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra evening concerts start at 7:30 p.m. and vary in length. Most concerts are up to two hours, including intermission.

May I take pictures during the concert?
Due to distractions for the musicians and audience members around you, cameras, video cameras, tape recorders and other electronic devices of any kind are not permitted.

What happens if I arrive late?
In consideration of the comfort and listening pleasure of the audience, patrons who arrive after the concert begins will be asked to wait to be seated until an appropriate pause between pieces, at the discretion of the ushers.

How do concerts begin?
Musicians must prepare for a concert as athletes do for a big game in that they must “warm up.” When you first sit down, you will probably see members of the orchestra gradually filling the stage and warming up by playing their instruments. When the orchestra is ready, the lights dim and the audience becomes silent. The concertmaster (the leader of the first violin section) will enter from backstage. The audience claps and they take a bow. The concertmaster then turns to the orchestra and cues the principal oboist, who sits in the middle of the orchestra, to play a single note (an A). All the musicians tune their instruments to this note. The conductor then comes onstage. As the audience applauds, the conductor may invite the orchestra to stand up to share in the applause. The conductor shakes hands with the concertmaster (since they are the representative of the orchestra). The concert is ready to begin!

Will I recognize the music?
It is very likely that you will recognize parts of many symphonies, concertos and choral works. Many of today’s popular songs, television shows, and movies include or are taken from classical themes, like the “Lone Ranger” theme (Rossini’s William Tell Overture), the Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?” (Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries), United Airlines television commercials (Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue), and many more.

When is it appropriate to applaud?
The audience will applaud to welcome the conductor when he or she walks out onto the stage. In most works performed, a movement is a large division of a larger composition or musical form. For example, symphonies are typically divided into four movements and concertos into three. It is appropriate to clap after the final movement of an entire work. You can always check your program to follow the movements as well. If you’re still not sure, you can wait for the rest of the audience to clap before applauding. And, you can always count on this rule of thumb: you know when a work is completed when the conductor turns around and smiles at the audience. At the end of a concert, you can let loose. Yell “bravo!” (for men), “brava!” (for women) and “bravi!” (for the whole orchestra). Keep the applause going for as long as you want to show the musicians, conductor and soloist how much you enjoyed their performance.

What about other noises — coughing, cell phones, pagers?
Please turn off cell phones and pagers before entering the concert hall. Noises such as a pager going off or a cell phone ringing are very distracting to your fellow audience members, the conductor, and the musicians. Coughing can be an unavoidable problem. But there are ways to avoid coughing during the music. If you feel a cold coming on, please bring lozenges with you. The next step is crucial: unwrap them ahead of time. Unwrapping a cough drop during the music makes more noise than you might think. If there are no lozenges in hand and you need to cough once or twice, please try to wait for the end of the movement. Also, it is customary not to talk while the music is playing. Being sensitive to your neighbors allows everyone to have a more pleasant concert experience.

How many players are there in the Orchestra?
There are approximately 72 main members in the orchestra plus others that are on-call.

What does the conductor do?
Here’s a great explanation of what a conductor does from the BBC.