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Friends of the Wanamaker Organ

Make plans now to attend our big Fall Concert, Saturday September 29 at 8 pm. It is being dedicated to the memory of Michael Stairs, the much loved organ virtuoso, Wanamaker assistant organist and Friends board member. Peter Richard Conte and Longwood Gardens Gold Medalist Joshua Stafford are showcased in this our last after-hours concert of 2018.

Thrill to some of Stairs favorites recalling his lush, overripe style as music of Franck, Dvorak, Humperdinck, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Sowerby, Lemare and Disney echoes through the rafters in the hushed Grand Court.

Flugelhornist Andrew Ennis has a cameo. Don't miss this exciting musical spectacle, our last seated evening event of the 2018 season.

Secure your seats now!

Please note the the Wanamaker Organ will also play at its usual times of noon and 5:30 that day. There will also be free chamber tours at 3:30pm - meet at the Eagle! The regular Last Saturday tour will be moved to the new 3:30pm time.

HEAR MENDELSSOHN'S WEDDING MARCH from a Grand Court Wedding Sept. 13 HERE!

Orders for the Rach CD may be placed clicking the top banner. Enjoy a free sample by clicking the lower bar!

Coming in our newsletter's big Fall Issue:
   Reflections on beloved Philadelphia organist and Friends board member Michael Stairs
      How new technology is returning some important soft Pedal stops to the Wanamaker ensemble.
   Why our Giant Gong striker assembly is poised to create an awesome sound soon.
   How science explains why organ pipes celeste and how they are tuned
   What heroic efforts are being made by our staff in finishing the Original String division
   Which secrets of the Choir division are coming to light.
   Ways our summer Sansom Camp enriched the musical lives of the talented young musicians who took part, as presented through one parent's reflections.
   How the World War I victory impacted Rodman Wanamaker, his French mansion, a sterling silver altar for the Royal Family, a gigantic arch in New York City, as well as the life of the Wanamaker Store, and the Grand Court decorations for the celebration of the triumph.

This year's Sansom Grant Student Concert on the Wanamaker Organ was on Friday June 29. Thanks to the talented students and faculty who took part!

Wanamaker Organ Day videos are available HERE and HERE and HERE, thanks to Friends member Bill Theobald!

Thanks to the artists, craftsmen, volunteers and concertgoers who made Wanamaker Organ Day 2018 such a smashing success! With your support we are making a difference!

TWO SECTIONS of the Wanamaker totalling almost 10 percent of its sonic resources have undergone complete restoraton: The 24-rank Choir Division and the 18-rank Original String Division. Both of these sections in the Original Organ are filled with dozens of the softer voices. Included are four wonderful restored reeds that will add their magic---particularly in our after-hours concert when the Store is closed. The Choir is completed and will be best heard when its expression system is restored later this year. The Original String is close to completion with pipes presently being installed. Full details are in our forthcoming Fall newsletter.

dmission to o
ur monthly last-Saturday-of-the-month Organ Tours are available by appointment. Secure your admissions clicking HERE and meet your tour guide Nik Sizgorich
at noon at the Eagle on the day of each tour. After the noon concert is finished, Nik will then take ticketholders on the tour. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SEPT. 29 TOUR TAKES PLACE AND LEAVES FROM THE EAGLE AT 3:30 PM.

Included in the tour is the Friends Museum, which includes first editions from the personal library of organ architect George Ashdown Audsley, all of his own works, placed on deposit with the Friends. The actual Leopold Stokowski 78 rpm record that inspired Virgil Fox to arrange "Come Sweet Death" may be viewed, as may the medal Dr. Audsley received at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, and a silver tray given to his father in 1838. Other exhibits include documents signed by Rodman Wanamaker, and memorabilia pertaining to Wanamaker Organist Keith Chapman and former curators.

Private tours are available by appointment when guides are available, but may incur a significant extra charge to cover the expenses of securing a guide. (We are a small organization and do not have a tour guide staff on site.) Cost per person is $18 (you can use the Student Rate at our webstore to secure admissions). The cost of securing a guide for a private tour depends on what is negotiated with the guide, who is paid his or her fee in person and usually travels into town for the sake of giving the tour. Please try to give us as much advance notice as possible.

Also note that taking a tour makes a participant eligible to get issues of The Stentor, our quarterly newsletter. If you take a tour and someone else submits their name with the financial information, e-mail us with your own information as well. You can E-mail us about tours and availability at execdirec@wanamakerorgan.com. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL THOSE TAKING THE TOUR ARE ORDINARILY EXPECTED TO PRINT AND BRING THEIR RECEIPT, OR BE PREPARED TO SHOW IT ON THEIR CELLPHONE SCREENS

ALSO NOTE: There are no regular monthly tours in November or December because of the Christmas Light Show.

Members can look forward to these exciting stories in the Spring Newsletter:

   Restoration of the Solo to begin with exciting new grant

   Exciting details of upcoming concerts and events

   George Ashdown Audsley's design for the first-ever String Organ

   An in-depth look at the Original String restoration

   Michael Lawrence's musings on restoring pneumatics

   A dramatic repair rescues our Christmas concert

   Secrets of playing the Wanamaker from Keith Chapman and Peter Conte

   Exotic Wanamaker Organ controls

   Recalling Rodman Wanamaker's passing 90 years ago

   Rudy Lucente's 40th anniversary celebration

   Organist Charles M. Courboin ushers in the dawn of World War II

   Reader Wanamaker Organ memories

   Jeremy Filsell to re-team with Peter Richard Conte for organ-piano duets!

OUR ORGAN CREW IS STARTING A MONTHLY SILENT FILM SERIES IN GREEK HALL,  DETAILS ARE BELOW. Please be sure to contact them, as the sponsoring group, as this is an independent effort to enhance the civic presence of this wonderful resource!

Hello Friends,

       Your Wanamaker Organ crew is starting a silent film series this year on our II/8 Wurlitzer in Greek Hall.

        The Wurlitzer in Greek Hall, if you haven't heard it, sounds unbelievable in the space. Tickets are a suggested donation. The movie should end around the time the daily 5:30 Wanamaker Organ concert is going on in the Grand Court. Double bill!

        You can reserve your seat and get more information here: www.moviesatwanamaker.com. You can also get a ticket at the door.

       If you have any questions, just email us at wanamakerorgan@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there!


Nick Myers
Wanamaker Organ Crew

Please note that our monthly organ tour requires tickets. Details are below.

Please also patronize our webstore, which helps support our musical mission. Immediate Direct Shipping on all Orders! Buying from us helps support the cause of the Wanamaker Organ!

ur membership renewal period is still in full swing. We rely on donations from people like yourself
who understand the complexity of the Wanamaker Organ and all that is required to keep it playing to accomplish our mission. Increased giving makes us eligible for increased grant amounts. For early birds and those who want to join or renew online, please click on the Membership Renewal box at the top of the page.

We deplete ourselves of funds each year for the cause of the Wanamaker Organ. Please remember that all we do is directly dependent on the generosity and financial investment of our members.

The selection of Premium Gifts includes two Double Premiums found only online...Items M and N (which were available in previous years). Thank you all for your support as we enter our 25th year supporting the Reigning Monarch of All Instruments, with much important work ahead of us!

OUR LATEST DVD! Immediate Shipping! Ever wonder what it is like to sit down and play the Wanamaker Organ? Our exciting new DVD, The Wanamaker Organ: A Sonic Odyssey, is now available! Just click on the icon at left to secure your copy.

Peter Richard Conte and Yale organist Thomas Murray go through the Organ's formidable resources in a fascinating, fun, three hour film full of insights from two master musicians. A companion to our Curator's Tour DVD. Orders are being shipped immediately since stock has arrived. An enclosed booklet includes registration and playing insight from Conte, Keith Chapman, Virgil Fox, and more!

Read Peter Dobrin's marvelous tribute to the Wanamaker Organ in the Philadelphia Inquirer HERE. Writes Dobrin: Whatever your taste, this is music of the best sort -- music you didn't find, but that found you.

Many first-time visitors ask about whether there is a charge for the daily concerts, or if special preparations are needed. The answer is a simple no. The Wanamaker Organ plays into the huge atrium of a grand department store, and the concerts are a free part of the daily Macy's shopping experience. The regular daily schedule is Here.

Archived streamcasts of the monthly WRTI-FM broadcast are available HERE, and include performances by many guest artists as well as our beloved Peter Richard Conte.

Please consider the Friends in your giving. Each year we start afresh, dependent on your generosity, having depleted the funds of the season before. Thank you for your consideration as we strive to grow our musical mission.

Take a look at the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ film intended as an orientation for store visitors. Linked here is the most recent edit. Macy's has also put it on their official website, accessible HERE.
To play the video, simply click on the illustration at right.


Peter Richard Conte and flugelhornist Andrew Ennis were interviewed by WRTI's Susan Lewis HERE.

An article on the Rodman Wanamaker flag collection by Karen Chernick of Hidden City is HERE.

The Wanamaker Organ Hour program continues on WRTI-FM and at WRTI.org on the first Sunday of each month, at 5 pm.


Regular membership in the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ enables us to be eligible for the special funding that allows this restoration work to go forward. You can help support the restoration and all our programs and get prompt news on our events by becoming a new Friend of the Wanamaker Organ. For just $25, new members receive our acclaimed quarterly 16-page newsletter, which is chock full of concert and restoration news and historical memorabilia, information that is only available in printed form.
You can Join the Friends by clicking here or on the membership icon at right. (Members may renew by clicking the Renewal Box at the top of this page.

Tourist information for Wanamaker Organ visitors, including hotel and restaurant ideas and money saving tips, is available by clicking the banner below. We look forward to seeing you!

Our CafePress store makes items individually as ordered and direct mails them to the purchaser. As a result, classic Wanamaker items are available on everything from posters to cufflinks. Check it out by clicking the banner above!

A Philadelphia Daily News video piece is available HERE.

Information on the Wanamaker Organ and the  historic Store is available at the MACY's INFORMATION DESK on the Main Floor of the Center City Macy's Men's Department. At the present time, the desk has discontinued offering a selection of organ CDs, DVDs and Books as their sales system is being reviewed.

You will find the desk along the right side of the center aisle just as you enter the Grand Court.
The desk is generally staffed from 11 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, and Saturday from noon to 5pm. (Please remember that the Wanamaker Organ does not play on Sundays.) The staff prides itself on its knowledge of the Store and its heritage. Macy's has also been offering historic tours. Please consult the information below and contact Macy's to see if this offering is still available at the time of your visit.

Historic Tours
Daily Guided Historic Store Tour

Discover the magic of Macy's Center City Philadelphia, with highlights including the breathtaking Wanamaker Building, Wanamaker Grand Court Organ and Grand Court Eagle. Plus, learn how Macy's has grown into America's largest department store with 800+ locations and over 100 years of retailing history. Tours can be customized to focus on architecture, merchandising, marketing or fashion. All participants receive a Macy's Visitor Savings Pass. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and must be scheduled in advance. For more information or to book a tour, contact Macy's Center City Visitor Center at 215-241-9000 ext. 2408.

Folks who identify themselves as Wanamaker Organ tourists at the Visitors' Center and come from a distance away are entitled to a Macy's Savings Pass, so be sure to ask about that as well!
Incidentally, there is no sales tax on most clothing purchases in Pennsylvania! Jennie Funches (pictured) is your host. 

Keep up with all the restoration news in the Friends' newsletter The Stentor. Four issues come with your membership, and are packed with restoration and concert news with historical insights and letters from other members.
Please consider making a contribution here. A prospectus on the fund is available here.We are counting on this fund to create quality presentations for many years to come as we help secure the Wanamaker Organ's place in musical life in the years ahead.
The icon above takes you to a page with interactive links to media stories on the Wanamaker Organ, including a recent Pipedreams with highlights from Wanamaker Organ Day, a fascinating interview with our carpenter Scott Kip, and a superb Bob Krist National Geographic short film on "The Voice of Philadelphia."
Hearing Philadelphia's Wanamaker Organ is a life-changing experience. Our society is sponsored by people around the world who are helping protect the world's largest playing pipe organ. We invite you to join the Friends and receive four issues of our 16-page newsletter and member-access to all Friends activities.

The Wanamaker Organ is undergoing a multi-year restoration. Divisions that have been patched together are getting a thorough restoration. Members help sustain this crucial work and our music, education and hospitality programs.
Members  receive all the details on the restoration and Friends concerts, as well as news of private concerts, tours, and fund-raisers, in our acclaimed quarterly newsletter, The Stentor.
Macy's and the Wanamaker Organ are located at the Wanamaker Building at 13th and Market Streets in Center City Philadelphia, PA, next to City Hall.
Macy's is easily accessible by SEPTA (www.septa.org), PATCO www.ridepatco.org), and NJT (www.njtransit.com) bus and rail lines to Center City, Philadelphia.
This website was made possible by people just like you who love the Wanamaker Organ and want to share that joy. Please look through our website menus for answers to all common questions about making your visit to our Philadelphia wonder thoroughly enjoyable.

IMPORTANT: Are you using a mobile device for turn-by-turn directions to the Store? Please enter 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA   19107 to reach Macy's and the Wanamaker Organ. Please do NOT enter the Friends' business address below.


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