The Florida Orchestra Concerts Entertain Couples On Dates

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The Florida Orchestra Entertains Couples on Dates With Digital & Live Concerts

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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The Short Version: The Florida Orchestra has brought music, romance, and wonder to the Tampa Bay area for over 50 years, and not even a global pandemic can stop its vibrant performances. Over the last year, TFO has adapted to the new normal by offering digital concerts and instituting safety measures at its live performances. Couples can now attend a TFO concert at Mahaffey Theater or in their living room and enjoy an intimate experience on a socially distanced date night. 

The Florida Orchestra began in 1966 with a symbolic marriage ceremony between the St. Petersburg Symphony and the Tampa Philharmonic. Representatives from both groups traveled by boat to the center of Tampa Bay and pledged their love and devotion to one another.

When these two musical groups became one in 1967, they blended their traditions, combined their skills, and formed an alliance that would shape the local arts and culture scene for generations.

Today, The Florida Orchestra is the largest professional orchestra in the state and the leading performing arts center in the Tampa Bay area. The Florida Orchestra performs over 130 concerts in the average year, and its productions range from classic symphonies to rock concerts.

Photo of a TFO performance

The Florida Orchestra strives to build community through music.

The Florida Orchestra can set the stage for romance with its upbeat and eclectic shows. Local couples have long looked to the concert schedule for date ideas and conversation starters.

The premier organization typically hosts concerts in St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Clearwater. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Florida Orchestra has modified its schedule and will only perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

For over five decades, The Florida Orchestra has offered the perfect activity for a family outing or a date night, and its team intends to continue doing so through the pandemic and beyond. By focusing on digital performances or reduced capacity shows, TFO has given people the opportunity to enrich their evenings and entertain themselves while staying safe.

The Stage Reopened in October & Now Has a Full Schedule

Music has a way of brightening people’s spirits and touching their hearts, and that’s more important than ever during hard times. The Florida Orchestra has worked hard in 2020 to offer a note of joy to its longtime fans in the Tampa Bay community.

After 237 days of closed theaters and empty stages, TFO got the band back together to announce its phased reopening schedule for the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021.

Photo of Jeff Multer of TFO

Mask-wearing has become the new normal for musicians and concert-goers at TFO.

Reimagined Season Phase 1 is now underway and involves a combination of digital and live performances. These shows can be an engaging date activity for music lovers of all ages.

December’s Classical Christmas and Holiday Pops shows have limited capacity, so be sure to get your tickets early before they sell out.

The coronavirus pandemic may have slowed the tempo of TFO’s concert schedule, but it hasn’t stopped the music.

The Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series and Soundwaves concerts showcase the joyful energy of classical music composed by Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven.

The Florida Orchestra has instituted COVID-19 safety guidelines to keep its musicians and audience safe throughout the performances. Face masks are required for everyone in attendance and may only be removed briefly when drinking.

“For now, it’s like the orchestra is performing for just the two of you — the limited audience is seated in pairs at least 6 feet apart,” the team told us. “And couples can enjoy a romantic walk along the St. Petersburg waterfront outside the gorgeous Mahaffey Theater.”

Team TFO Has Found Creative Ways to Support the Arts

The Florida Orchestra is made up of more than 60 professional musicians who live, work, and teach in Tampa Bay. Performing in the orchestra is their full-time job, and they have been trained at internationally renowned institutions, including The Juilliard School, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Eastman School of Music, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

TFO President and CEO Mark Cantrell is a former bass trombone player with the Boston Pops. His career has taken many strange twists and turns — Mark has worked as a long-distance dog sled racer and airline pilot — and in February 2019 he became the leader of Tampa Bay’s most celebrated symphony.

“Music is not a luxury or a whim,” Mark said. “It goes straight to the heart of a human being.”

Photo of Michael Francis of TFO

Michael is considered one of the leading conductors in the world.

Michael Francis was appointed TFO Music Director in 2014. Born in England, he is a former double bass player with the London Symphony Orchestra and performed on soundtracks for the “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” movies. He is in demand to conduct around the globe, and he now lives in Tampa Bay with his wife and daughter.

Thanks to the team’s passion, leadership, and talent, The Florida Orchestra has been able to thrive even under the difficult circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

In September 2020, The Florida Orchestra announced a reimagined concert series that includes livestreaming and on-demand concerts available to music lovers at home. TFO’s free digital concerts have been a great success and provided musical accompaniments to many date nights at home.

“Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 or Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp make the perfect, romantic backdrop for your date without ever leaving the couch,” the TFO team said. “The digital concerts are free, but don’t you want your sweetheart to see your generous side? Be a hero and chip in a bit to support The Florida Orchestra.”

Making a donation to TFO is a good deed that helps local musicians and composers keep going strong during this difficult time.

Earning Applause From People of All Ages & Backgrounds

The Florida Orchestra is a long-running institution known for its show-stopping performances. The TFO team doesn’t need to toot its own horn to get people excited for its schedule. The organization has received many glowing reviews that sing its praises and spread the word about its concerts.

“We drove three hours to hear The Florida Orchestra,” said Ellison O. In a TripAdvisor review. “I was impressed and delighted. At the end, the audience was spellbound and did not react for about 15 seconds. Then there was cheering and thunderous applause.”

Photo of the Mahaffey audience

TFO has inspired countless date nights and social gatherings over the years.

“Over the years, I have seen and heard this orchestra perform every conceivable genre of music,” said a TFO fan. “All you have to do is find what you like, buy a very affordable ticket, and go — you will be blown away by this world-class orchestra.”

During the difficult days of 2020, The Florida Orchestra saw an outpouring of support through email and social media. Many loyal fans have shown their appreciation for the digital performances and the new safety protocols at live performances.

“Thank you, Florida Orchestra,” said a local named Donna. “I needed to hear that music more than I realized.”

“Wonderful to see live music again,” said Robin after a concert. “Thanks also for the extraordinary precautions to keep the musicians and audience members safe!”

The Florida Orchestra has allowed Tampa Bay residents to stay connected through music even while they remain physically distant, and that has been a wonderful gift during the pandemic.

The Florida Orchestra Offers the Soundtrack to a Romantic Night

The Florida Orchestra has a long history of bringing people together through a shared love for classical music. Since its establishment in the 1960s, TFO has produced concerts that have resonated with audience members of all ages and backgrounds. During the 2020 pandemic, TFO’s digital and live shows have offered a unique romantic opportunity for local couples looking for something to do.

With its phased reopening, The Florida Orchestra has kept the music going and has provided safe ways for the symphony to reach people in the theater and at home.

Whether you’re planning a special night out or an intimate night in, you can rely on The Florida Orchestra to serenade you and your date with its memorable shows.

“Make the night whatever you want,” the TFO team encourages concert goers. “Tux and gown for a special occasion? Great! Casual first date in jeans? No problem. There is no dress code. Just don’t forget the face masks.”

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