Plan Your Visit
👏👏👏 Don’t hold back your applause!
Feel free to show your appreciation by cheering after each piece
💃🏻🕺Come in style! No need for black tie and tiaras, but dress up if you’d like, or dress for comfort.
📱🔕 You’re not going to wanna miss a beat, so make sure your cell phones are on silent and put away, to avoid surprise “solo acts” off-stage ;)
Not sure what to expect at our concerts? We have some tips for new concert-goers below:
Do members get seated early for MainStage concerts?
Yes, they do! Supporting members of the SFCO get first crack at the best seats in the house. Check in at our member’s table in the lobby and waltz right in a full hour before downbeat. Sit wherever you like! Non-members, we encourage you to become a supporting member, but if you’re not ready to do that yet, your access to seating will be 15 minutes before the concert begins.
For our Family Concerts and Very First Concerts, members and non-members alike are welcome to grab a seat or three 45 minutes before show time.
How long will the concert last?
MainStage concerts generally run 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours in length, with one 20-minute intermission in the middle. Our Classical With a Twist program in February will run 75 minutes (at most) with no intermission.
Our Family Concerts last for 45 minutes and our Very First Concerts clock in at 20. Who doesn’t love a 20-minute concert?
Do I need to prepare for the concert?
Our concert program will provide information about the music you are about to hear. You can also visit our website or go online and google the composers and the compositions being performed. Or, just show up and let the music speak to you directly.
Will I recognize the music?
It’s possible! We encounter classical music on almost a daily basis; in movie soundtracks, television, cartoons, and even coffee shops and stores. Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t recognize the music, though. There are TONS of pieces out there, and it’s impossible to know them all. But music is all about patterns—patterns of rhythms, melodies, textures, and more. If you listen for those patterns in the music, you’ll recognize bits and ditties you’ve heard before.
What do I wear?
Some people regard attending an SFCO performance as a special occasion, so they dress up. Others like to wear their more casual clothes. Just wear what feels comfortable to you; no one’s checking.
Where do I sit?
For MainStage Concerts, seating is handled on a first-come, first-served basis beginning when the doors open for general seating 15 minutes before concert time. In most cases, a queue will form shortly before the doors open.
Among other perks, SFCO members secure premium seating in a reserved section at every MainStage Concert, for the party size specific to their membership level.
Where do you perform?
SFCO performs MainStage Concerts in San Francisco at Herbst Theatre, in Palo Alto at First United Methodist Church, and in Berkeley at First Congregational Church, as well as chamber music at various locations throughout the Bay Area.
Is it really free?
Yes, it is! You can attend all our concerts without paying a penny. However, if you would like to become a member, we have some special perks and opportunities available to you.
Are the events kid-friendly?
Our MainStage Concerts are okay for kids 8 years and older who are ready to take that step. However, our Family Concerts and Very First Concerts are specifically designed for children as young as toddlers.
ADA & Mobility assistance
Each of our venues throughout the Bay Area are equipped to accommodate individuals with wheelchairs and walkers. However, because of our 100% admission-free policy, it is best to contact us before your arrival if you require special assistance to ensure the best experience possible.
We do ask that you turn off your cell phone so that it doesn’t ring during the performance and disturb people around you. And while we are glad you are having a great time, we also ask that you do not record or take pictures during the performance as it may distract your seat neighbors.
Our MainStage Venues
The Herbst Theatre is an auditorium in the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in Civic Center in San Francisco, California. The 928-seat hall hosts programs as diverse as City Arts & Lectures, SF Jazz, and San Francisco Performances.
First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto
With its soaring ceiling, dramatic architecture, great acoustics, Bosendorfer grand piano and magnificent Merritt Speidel Organ, this sanctuary offers a wonderful venue.
625 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
A favorite venue among the Bay Area classical community including Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Chanticleer, American Bach Soloists, and more.
Hertz Hall was built in 1958 and is a 678-seat capacity concert hall. This has the main concert hall, green rooms and dressing room and smaller rehearsal spaces. Hertz Hall houses an extensive collection of organs and grand pianos which are used for performances.
Noe Valley Ministry
Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse
Palo Alto Community Center, Mitchell Park
Oakland Asian Cultural Center
San Francisco Public Library
San Mateo Public Library
Crowden Music Center
Oakland Public Library