The Block

I’ve never been to a Block concert before. What should I expect?
Expect to enjoy yourself! This is the time to let go and enjoy a casual and up-close concert experience. Concerts at The Block are unique in that they are designed to remove the barrier between audience and artist. The artist will not only play great music, but stop and converse with the concertgoer, explaining more about themselves and the pieces they will be playing. The Block has a cash bar and many concertgoers like to arrive an hour early to converse with friends and meet new people who have similar musical tastes.

Once the concert begins, The Block becomes a listening room. Unlike a bar where patrons continue to visit with one another while the musicians perform, at The Block the expectation is that you give your full attention to the concert program and save your comments for the breaks.

Will I recognize any of the music?
You might! The Block hosts many genres of music. From recognizable local favorite artists who perform anything from jazz to cabaret, to guests who were the featured artist with the West Michigan Symphony just the night before, all of the music you will hear is top-notch and played by professionals. Whether you recognize the music or not, you’ll surely experience an evening of high quality entertainment that can’t be found in other local establishments.

What should I wear?
There is no dress code! Anything that makes you feel comfortable is fine. Most people will be wearing slightly dressy casual clothes, but you’ll see everything from khakis to cocktail dresses. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it. If you do decide to dress up, though, go easy on the cologne. It can distract others near you and even prompt them to sneeze (which may distract you.)

Should I arrive early?
The Block opens one hour before performance time. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before concert time, so you can find your seat, turn off your cell phone, take a look at your surroundings, absorb the atmosphere, and have time make a stop at the bar, too. Most concerts start on time. If you’re late, you should take a seat at the back or the room so your arrival won’t disturb other concertgoers.

How long is the concert?
It varies, but most concerts are about 90 minutes to two hours long, with an intermission at the halfway point.

Can I take pictures?
Cameras, video recorders, and tape recorders are discouraged during concerts, but if you simply must take a photo for your memory book, please don’t take photos with a flash, be mindful of those around you and if you are using a cell phone camera, please silence the shutter.

Why is there an intermission, and what should I do during it?
It’s a short rest period for the musicians—once you see how much activity goes into a performance, you’ll understand why they need a break! Take that time visit the restroom, check your phone, get another cocktail and visit with your neighbors about the great music you just heard! Most intermissions at The Block are 15-20 minutes long.

Can I bring my kids?
It depends on the concert and on the age of your kids. Many standard length concerts are inappropriate for small children because they require an attention span that is difficult for youngsters to maintain. The Block is a smaller space, so if they talk or get fidgety it will be experienced more intensely by your neighbors, and perhaps even the musician(s.) When they are old enough to sit quietly for an extended period, you may wish to bring them to the first half of a concert. In all cases, it’s a good idea to check with the ticket office directly about the appropriateness of the concert you plan to attend with your kids. There are no discounts for children at The Block, however student discounts for the West Michigan Symphony regular season concerts are available. Go to westmichigansymphony.org for more information.

The Block also presents music programs designed especially for children (Education Programs). These are a great way for families to enjoy classical music together. Go to theblockwestmichigan.org/education for more information.