People looking for things to do in Denver Colorado, Boston Massachusetts, or any other major city that hosts a symphony orchestra might be surprised at the sheer range of variety of programming these institutions offer throughout the year. Many individuals unfamiliar with the concert repertoire dismiss orchestral events out of hand because they don't care for, or are not familiar with, large-scale symphonies. In fact, symphony orchestras play many more types of music than the name implies.
Large orchestras do not necessarily produce a solid wall of sound from their hundred-plus members at all times. Listeners who love the sound of specific solo instruments or voices will appreciate concerts featuring many of the world's most famous solo instrumentalists and vocalists. These performers are typically accompanied by the orchestra in more of works on a given program, but they may also perform selected pieces unaccompanied. Other works may involve only a portion of the orchestra's forces instead of the entire group -- a sonata from string or wind instruments, for example, may involve only those sections. Other famous pieces, such as Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, feature small-scale groups of mixed instrument types. Listeners who grow tired of lengthy works such as symphonies will also be relieved to know that many of the works on a typical orchestral program may be only a few minutes in length.
Individuals who feel intimidated by unfamiliar "serious repertoire" will be delighted to learn that many symphony orchestras host several concerts of lighter, more popular music each year. These events, known as "promenades" or "pops concerts," have been popular in America since the dawn of the 20th Century. Modern pops concerts have branched out into evenings of music from popular film scores, pop songs, spirituals, and folk tunes. Some concert series even feature music composed for popular TV series, cartoons and video games.
This range of entertainment makes symphony orchestras seem much more accessible to the mainstream public. The facts that many pops concerts are presented free of charge (in special situations such as outdoor fireworks displays or other holiday celebrations) makes it even easier for people of all income levels to give this form of entertainment a try -- and if they enjoy it, to add it to their list of favorite regular things to do in Denver.