Thank you! Save the Date for this Spring!

We have had such a great time presenting this season’s Family Concerts to Pinellas County! 

Thank you to Creative Pinellas for making these programs possible. 

The Science of Sound at Dunedin Fine Arts Center

The Science of Sound at Dunedin Fine Arts Center

Save the Date for our Spring Family Concerts!

TFO Spring Family Concerts:  From Rags to Mozart

The Florida Orchestra Reed Trio will present music ranging from Mozart’s Divertimento to Confrey’s Kitten on the Keys rag. Explore different musical styles covering 4 countries and 3 centuries with the oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. TFO Family Concerts are short introductions to the families of the orchestra for children ages PreK-2nd grade. 

Performances begin at 10 am and 11:15 am on each date

  • Sat, Apr 21, 2018 at the Mahaffey Theater Atrium
  • Sat, May 12, 2018 at SPC-Clearwater Arts Auditorium

Before each performance, TFO provides a variety of interactive pre-concert activities, including the popular North Suncoast Associates Instrument Petting Zoo, and arts and crafts activities.

Admission to TFO family concerts is pay what you can at the door, or you can make a reservation ahead of time by calling our ticket center at 727.892.3337.

What is a Sensory-friendly Concert?

This Saturday, The Florida Orchestra horn section will do two performances of The Science of Sound for the fall Family Concert series – including a sensory-friendly version at 11:15 am. What does sensory-friendly mean?  Who can go?  Will the program be different? We get these questions all the time.

Children enjoy "The Science of Sound at the Police Athletic League in St Petersburg

Children enjoy "The Science of Sound at the Police Athletic League in St Petersburg

First, let’s start with “Why?” TFO began these performances several years ago because the autistic community is often underserved in the arts. Some families may be hesitant to bring their child with autism to any event where you are expected to stay in your seat and quietly listen.  TFO’s Community Engagement Department saw the Family Concert series as the perfect opportunity to make a few tweaks so that any child can experience a concert and feel welcome.

We couldn’t do it on our own. To build an effective program, TFO partnered with the fantastic Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at USF.  Over the years, CARD has provided essential training to staff, musicians, and volunteers so they know what to expect. CARD has also been instrumental (pardon the pun) in promoting the sensory-friendly family concerts through their network to reach children who would benefit from the experience.

The Science of Sound horn quartet performance and program essentially will be the same as a typical Family Concert. But there will be some key differences:

  • Because new experiences can be especially stressful for kids on the autistic spectrum, CARD develops a social story so kids know what to expect before they arrive. This social story can be found on TFO’s website.
  • Kids and their families can walk into the venue without waiting in line for a ticket.
  • Kids are free to come and go and walk around during the concert, which lasts about 40 minutes with no intermission. There are no assigned seats, and no one is required to sit.
  • Audience noise during the concert is not a problem. Musicians will not be surprised.
  • Musicians also try to lessen concert sounds that could be jarring.
  • Patrons are welcome to bring manipulatives, cushions, and extra support objects to the concert.
  • Each venue will have a quiet space where children may take a break from sensory stimuli.
  • In some cases, lighting will be adjusted, though the Mahaffey Atrium is natural light.
  • The North Suncoast Associates’ popular Instrument Petting Zoo, in which kids can try out instruments, is available before the concert, but some especially loud instruments like cymbals will be removed.

Is the sensory-friendly performance only for kids on the autism spectrum? Not at all. Our aim is to create a safe and accepting environment where autistic children and their families can experience a high-quality artistic performance, but it’s a great experience for all kids.

We hope you will join us at one of the Family Concerts this Saturday morning! 

The Science of Sound: TFO Horn Quartet
Saturday, October 14, 2017

  • Mahaffey Theater Atrium
  • Regular performance at 10 am
  • Sensory-friendly at 11:15 am

Instrument Petting Zoo is available about a half-hour before each performance.

Admission is pay what you can at the door or call the ticket center for advance reservations at 727.892.3337.

Florida Orchestra explores Science of Sound in Family Concerts

The Florida Orchestra kicks off its fall Family Concerts with The Science of Sound, featuring the orchestra’s French horn section. It explores the brass instrument while giving children a lesson in how sound works – high and low, loud and soft, and more.  The intimate chamber group concerts are geared for young kids Pre-K through 2nd Grade, but a little secret: Mom and Dad learn something, too.

Before each performance, TFO’s Family Concerts offer a variety of interactive activities, including the popular North Suncoast Associates Instrument Petting Zoo – in which kids can try out instruments – and arts and crafts. For The Science of Sound concert, activities will be themed to help children understand different elements that make up sound.

If you’re looking for inexpensive kid activities that are both entertaining and educational, put The Florida Orchestra’s fall Family Concerts on your calendar in October and November.

Bring your family to The Science of Sound:

  • Saturday, October 14, at Mahaffey Theater Atrium
    • Performances begin at 10 am and 11:15 am*
  • Sunday, November 12, at Dunedin Fine Art Center
    • Performances begin at 2 pm and 3:15 pm

*Note the 11:15 performance will be sensory-friendly.  Stay tuned for our next blog post about sensory-friendly family concerts.

This is the fourth season that The Florida Orchestra has presented Family Concerts throughout the Tampa Bay area. Audiences have steadily grown as more people discover the concerts, so get there early for the best experience.



Of the $5,000 award amount received by The Florida Orchestra from Creative Pinellas in support of Family Concerts that will take place within Pinellas County within the grant period (total project cost $8,380), $4,125 will cover musician compensation costs (broken down as $275 per musician per date x 5 musicians per date x 3 dates), $525 will cover the costs of hiring two special guest artists (one for each of the two fall program dates), and the $350 will cover half of the musician taxes and benefits costs for the three programs.

The remaining budget items ($350 for the rest of the musician taxes and benefits costs, $1,500 for hall rental, $140 for program supplies, and $1,390 for program overhead) will be funded by a grant received from the Margaret Ewell Dickins Family Foundation.