Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale Summer School of Music

Forms + FAQs

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Concert FAQs

What is chamber music?

Chamber music is played and sung with and among friends in intimate settings. Ensembles typically vary in size, feature one performer on each part, and perform without a conductor. The repertoire is the largest and most diverse in the classical music genre.

What should I wear?

Your experience of the music is what’s important, so wear whatever makes you comfortable. We’re serious about our music, but we’re still pretty informal. We do ask that you refrain from using strong scents, as they may be distracting to other patrons.

Are there any customs that I need to know?

No special knowledge of music or experience is needed, although we ask all our patrons to respect one another’s concertgoing experience. Talking over the music, tapping your feet so that others can hear you, rustling the program-book pages, and other distracting noises are discouraged.

When should I applaud? 

This is a question that concerns a lot of people. Holding one’s applause until the end of a complete work is a custom that evolved in concert halls during the early 20th century. Most chamber music works have several movements. If audience members respond to a movement with applause, go ahead and join in. The safest course is to wait until the performers stand and face the audience, signaling the end of a performance.

When should I arrive?

It’s a good idea to arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of a concert. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to park, peruse the concert program, and prepare yourself for the experience. The Music Shed opens at 7:30 p.m. for 8 p.m. concerts. The Box Office at the Music Shed opens at 7 p.m. on concert nights. A big part of the Norfolk concert experience is the social aspect. Come enjoy the grounds, have a picnic, and meet some friends. Our grounds are open all day and you’re more than welcome to come early and enjoy the idyllic setting.

What if I’m late? 

Late seating will take place during the first appropriate pause in the program and at the discretion of management.

May I use a cell phone during a concert?

The use of all recording devices, including cameras, cell phones, and tablets is prohibited in the Music Shed.

May I bring my children? 

Kids are admitted without charge to Norfolk events. We welcome children at our concerts provided they are not disruptive to other concertgoers. We encourage you to bring your children to our Emerging Artist Showcase concerts, which feature performances by Norfolk fellows. While these concerts are not programmed specifically for children, they do have a less formal atmosphere.

Where can I park?

Parking is conveniently located on the lawn adjoining the Music Shed. An easily accessible patron drop-off area is located at the front of the concert hall. Ample handicap parking is also available.

Is the Music Shed accessible?

The Music Shed is handicap accessible. Several handicap parking spaces are available near the front door. We regret that ushers may not physically assist patrons wishing to transfer into theater seats. Service animals are welcome at the Music Shed.

Can I bring a picnic?

The grounds of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate are open to the public on concert days and are perfect for a pre-concert picnic or a leisurely stroll. Bring a blanket and settle into a shady corner or use one of the many picnic tables on the grounds. No time to pack a picnic?  Order one instead in the Box Dinners section of our Plan Your Visit page.

Do you sell concessions?

The concessions booth, located just outside the Music Shed, opens at 6 p.m. prior to each Friday and Saturday night concert and remains open through intermission. The booth sells assorted baked goods, ice cream, wine, beer, coffee, Harney and Sons teas, and sparkling water. No refreshments besides water are allowed in the Music Shed

Volunteer Application

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To become a volunteer, please complete the Volunteer Application and someone from the Festival will contact you. Please call 860 542-3000 or email norfolk.volunteers@yale.edu with any questions.

Volunteer Handbook