HAMPTON ROADS, VA [October 16, 2019] The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will offer the first in a series of three Sensory-Friendly Concerts on November 2, at 3PM at the Ferguson Center for the Arts. Pre-concert activities will begin at 2PM.

This specially designed concert experience will allow individuals with sensory sensitivities to experience a full symphony orchestra concert in a way that they find comfortable and enjoyable.

Pre-concert activities will include a variety of crafts and participatory activities aimed at stimulating the senses in a variety of ways. Attendees will be able to choose the activities most appropriate for their preferred level of sensory engagement.

A step-by-step guide of to what to expect at this performance, known as a “social story,” will be available at virginiasymphony.org. A performance guide for parents and caretakers will also be available, ensuring all in attendance have clear and precise expectations for every facet of the experience – from arriving at the hall and collecting tickets at will call, to departing the theater at the end of the performance.

The hour-long program has been specially designed to feature familiar classical pieces that also accommodate the anticipated sensory needs of audience members. The program includes well-known masterworks such as Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 Movement 1, and Pachelbel’s Canon.

Special accommodations with also be made during the performance to make the experience enjoyable for all in attendance. The lights will be partially on in the hall during the performance. Attendees will be free to sit wherever they are comfortable and are free to leave and re-enter the hall as needed. A quiet space with a live feed of the performance will be available for those who prefer to watch from a less stimulating space. Programs will include descriptions of the pieces played as well as the estimated length, and an American Sign Language Interpreter will be onsite to interpret the concert’s dialogue.

Because the Ferguson Center for the Arts is a KultureCity Certified Sensory Inclusive venue, all staff have undergone training on how to recognize patrons with sensory needs and how to handle sensory overload situations. Virginia Symphony staff and musicians will also undergo similar training prior to the performance. Sensory tools, such as fidgets, will also be available for use during the performance.

Tickets for this performance are $12 each and are fully refundable.  For more information about the Sensory Friendly Concert, or to purchase tickets, please call 757-892-6366 or visit virigniasymphony.org.

The VSO is excited to launch this exciting and inclusive series and is thankful our community partners: the Ferguson Center for the Arts, Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater (FACT), Faith Inclusion Network, Peninsula School for Autism, Faison Center, and Raven’s Way.

The Sensory-Friendly Concert Series is supported in part by a generous grant from the American Orchestra’s Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. The Virginia Symphony Orchestra is graciously supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.



As the region’s most celebrated musical, educational and entrepreneurial arts organization, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra continues to challenge expectations and push the boundaries of what an American orchestra can be – even as it approaches its 100th anniversary in 2020.

At the heart of the VSO’s narrative is innovation.  In 1991 the VSO made a very bold move in appointing the gifted young American conductor JoAnn Falletta as its music director. Since then, the orchestra has received national attention for its unique mission serving a home area of 1.7 million across the diverse communities of southeastern Virginia.  Through appearances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall and commitment to adventurous programming, the VSO and its musicians have been highlighted in the media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio and BBC Worldwide News.

As the largest arts performing organization in southeastern Virginia, the VSO and VSO Chorus present more than 150 concerts and events to educate, enlighten and entertain more than 100,000 residents and visitors each year. Recent innovations include health and wellness programs, including interactive therapeutic experiences for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  As it approaches its Centennial year, the Orchestra and its legions of fans look forward with anticipation as the VSO conducts a worldwide search for its next music director.



October 16, 2019

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Phone: 757.213.1431 | email: mmeyer@virginiasymphony.org

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