Oakland Symphony’s “Hall Pass” Welcomes New Audiences

Janos Gereben on December 17, 2018
Michael Morgan with the Oakland Symphony | Courtesy Oakland Symphony

For the 85 years of its existence, the last 28 years under the leadership of Michael Morgan, the Oakland Symphony has served the community in many ways beyond playing concerts.

In the same vein, the organization has now launched a new program, “Hall Pass,” to provide free concert tickets and “increased access to the organization’s concerts to non-traditional audiences and members of the community.” Hall Pass is made possible by the Wallace Foundation.

The purpose of the initiative is to strengthen music and arts exposure for families, children, and adults who have not been able to engage regularly with the organization. Besides doing good, the orchestra should also do well in growing future audiences.

Hall Pass eligibility is determined by Alameda County Social Services, together with Alameda County organizations, providing no-cost or low-cost services to individuals and families receiving state assistance. Anyone receiving financial assistance from the State of California as well as active, guard, and reserve military households are also eligible.

To reserve tickets, Hall Pass members must have a pass from a community partner and a pass ID number to reserve tickets. Once they’ve received an ID number, the Oakland Symphony Box office can be contacted directly, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at (510) 444-0802.

Soprano Shawnette Sulker sings at the Jan. 25 Oakland Symphony concert, “Notes From the African Diaspora”

Tickets can be picked up at the Oakland Symphony offices during business hours or at the Paramount Theatre Box Office Will Call window on concert nights starting 90 minutes before the performance.

The model for Hall Pass is the “Symphony Scorecard” program at Michigan’s Grand Rapids Symphony. In three years, the Scorecard program has provided over 8,000 free tickets to low-income and military households.

Oakland Symphony Executive Director Dr. Mieko Hatano said, “The Oakland Symphony is thrilled to partner and work with so many local and neighborhood organizations to inspire, influence, and improve the quality of life for people throughout the Bay Area.”

Alameda County Social Services Agency Director of Public Affairs Sylvia Soublet said, “Providing more access to music and the arts helps to enrich the lives of those we serve in ways that we simply cannot.”

For more information about the Hall Pass program, contact Oakland Symphony Director of Education and Community Engagement Warren Williams at [email protected].

Next Hall Pass-eligible concerts are:

To Belong Here: Notes From the African Diaspora,” Jan. 25

“An Evening With Emanuel Ax,” Feb. 8

“Sí Se Puede: Dolores Huerta’s Playlist,” Feb. 22

“I Raise Up My Voice,” March 22

West Side Story, May 10