Introduce Your Kids to the Cleveland Orchestra — and Save Money — With the ‘Under 18s Free’ Program

Introduce Your Kids to the Cleveland Orchestra — and Save Money — With the ‘Under 18s Free’ Program

- in Things to do

In Northeast Ohio, we are fortunate to have a top-ranking orchestra right in our own backyard. The world renowned Cleveland Orchestra dazzles audiences of all ages downtown at Severance Hall and at Blossom Music Center, located in Cuyahoga Falls, each summer as part of the Blossom Music Festival.

But it gets even better: for parents who want to introduce their kids to orchestra music, the Cleveland Orchestra’s “Under 18s Free” program makes it extremely affordable. Depending on the location, each paid adult admission can result in one or two free tickets for children ages 17 and younger.

Introduced for Blossom Music Festival concerts in 2011, the “Under 18s Free” program is designed to encourage families to attend Cleveland Orchestra concerts together. In addition to all Blossom Music Festival concerts, the program now includes select Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall each season. 

Getting a closer view of the musicians at a recent concert at Blossom.

Each year, the “Under 18s Free” program offers more than 30,000 free tickets to Northeast Ohio young people to attend concerts at Blossom and Severance Hall with their families. The initiative is  supported by the orchestra’s Center for Future Audiences and by annual gifts from other generous donors. The Center was created with a $20 million lead endowment gift from the Maltz Family Foundation to develop new generations of audiences for Cleveland Orchestra concerts in Northeast Ohio.

According to the Cleveland Orchestra’s website:

At Blossom, this program offers free “Under 18s Free” Lawn Passes (two per regular-priced adult paid admission) to young people to any Blossom Music Festival concert each summer. These tickets can be ordered online (once individual tickets for each Blossom season go on sale) or through the Ticket Office.

At Severance Hall, the program offers free tickets (one per regular-priced adult paid admission) to young people ages 7-17 to the Orchestra’s [email protected], Friday Morning at 11, and Sunday Afternoon at 3 concerts, as well as Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra concerts, Family Concerts, and PNC Music Explorers (ages 3-6).  The free tickets for eligible Severance Hall concerts can be purchased in person or online.

So, what does that mean for your family right now?

The Under 18s Free program is available for remaining performances that are part of the Blossom Music Festival this summer (lawn tickets only), as well as both 2019-20 family-friendly concert series that take place at Severance Hall. In addition, select performances from the regular Severance Hall lineup qualify for the Under 18s Free program.

I personally am thrilled that there is something suited for every age. My husband and I have been taking our kids to concerts at Blossom since they were babies. Then, when our oldest son reached the recommended ages, we got tickets to a PNC Music Explorers performance, and subsequently a Family Concerts show. We plan to do the same with our youngest son.

The PNC Music Explorers Series is an ideal way for children and families to learn about orchestral instruments, one at a time, with Cleveland Orchestra musicians, special guests, and a host who encourages audience members to sing, clap and move to the music. Each half-hour adventure features brief musical selections and instrument demonstrations created to inspire and entertain young music explorers.

Each 60-minute-long Family Concert features engaging pre-concert activities, including the Instrument Discovery zone, which offers hands-on opportunities for children to try playing various orchestral instruments. 

About the author

Northeast Ohio Parent Managing/Digital Editor Denise Koeth is raising her two sons while working part-time. She and her husband make a point to take the boys to area events and attractions, and Denise is always on the lookout for new, kid-friendly destinations. Here she will share her experiences in seeking family-friendly fun throughout the Northeast Ohio region.

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