The Friends of the Wanamaker Organ welcomes you!
Yale curator Joseph Dzeda has sent us a wonderful film on the Yale Symphonic organ accessed here.
An article on the recently retired Store manager Jim Kenny is here. An article on the Organ is here.
WANAMAKER ORGAN DAY SATURDAY JUNE 29, 2013. Ray Cornils and Christian Elliott join Peter Richard Conte in a series of programs that includes a rare opportunity to hear these artists at night when the Store is closed! Hear the full resources of the Organ with the combined talents of
three of today's most acclaimed artists.
The day begins at 10am when historian
Rick Seifert presents his newly enhanced audio-visual spectacular on the Wanamaker Organ, modestly but accurately titled "The Greatest Musical Wonder in the World" in Greek Hall. The event is admission-free. Free tours of the pipe chambers are also held at this time. Rather than opening selected chambers for a period of time, this year's tours will be guided and conducted in groups. Meet at the eagle at 10 am.
At 11:30 a free Grand Court program follows that is also broadcast live on WRTI-FM and streamcast live around the world on wrti.org. Peter Richard Conte, Ray Cornils and Christian Elliot perform, with Elliott presenting several stunning masterworks of Richard Purvis on this the composer's centenary.
At 2 pm, Elliott performs for our Music-and-Movie program at our Wurlitzer in Greek Hall. Included is the classic film Ella Cinders (1926), a campy romp based on the timeless fairy tale and the vintage comic strip. It stars Colleen Moore, who was the Jazz Age's answer to the Great Gatsby's Daisy. Admission is only $10 (available at the door) and ticket-holders for our paid evening event are admitted for free. Elliott was voted the 2009 ATOS artist of the year.
Afternoon events are capped by a free 5 pm Grand Court spectacular. It's an Afternoon at the Opera featuring Peter Richard Conte and the acclaimed Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Festival Chorus and Brass ensemble - this year in a celebration of famous arias by Wagner and Verdi during their anniversary year. Rudy Lucente also performs, and an audience sing-along segment is included.
Tickets for the Saturday 8:30pm evening event, which includes a spectacular organ-and brass-arrangements including the Suite Gothique by Leon Boellman and masterworks by Richard Purvis, are now on sale at our webstore. Ray Cornils and Christian Elliott join Mr. Conte as special guest artist for that event.
To get tickets for the evening concert - while they last - click the icon at right or go to our webstore. Ticket-holders to the special evening concert also gain free admission to the afternoon Wurlitzer event in Greek Hall. Friends members get a $10 discount per ticket for themselves and others in their party. Tickets will not be mailed but subscribers should save and print their receipts. However we will have a list with all the subscribers at the concert so if you simply give us your name we will give you your wristbands.
WANAMAKER ORGAN DAY RELATED EVENTS
We know that our events attract many visitors from out of town. For those arriving on Friday June 28, Rick Seifert will present his sound-and-light Wanamaker Organ presentation in Greek Hall at 3 pm. Tours of the pipe chambers will be given at 5pm, and the organ will play at its usual times of 12 noon and 7pm. The Friends is checking with Macy's about the possibility of having a regular Peter Richard Conte concert Sunday afternoon June 30, and will post details should necessary permissions be obtained.
Mark your calendars now for this don't-miss music festival and watch this space for further details. The morning concert is slated to be broadcast live on WRTI-FM with host Jill Pasternak.
Plan now to take part, while hotel rooms are discounted! More events are being planned, including a free organ chamber and shop tour on Friday June 28 before that evening's 7pm regular recital. Look to this space for further details as the event nears. SCROLL DOWN FOR ADVICE ON LOCAL HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS AND THINGS TO DO! The first week in July is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Of course, Philadelphia has major Fourth of July festivities.
JIM RIGGS: FIRST TIME OUT! Our first professional Compact Disc recording of the Friends Wurlitzer is now available at the Friends webstore. The recording uses the full resources of our state-of-the-art Studio 2M designed by Jim Stemke and featuring the finest audio equipment anywhere, and is playable on any CD player. Our Wurlitzer was originally part of the Smithsonian Institution because it is one of the few Wurlitzers still in its factory manufactured condition, with all pipework and mechanism intact and pristine. Jim Riggs shows its many gorgeous tone colors and percussions with melody after melody from the Great American Songbook. An illustrated color trifold tells the story of our Wurlitzer with beautiful color photos.
Hit the Keep Shopping button and check out James Welch's page-turning new biography of Grace Cathedral organist/composer Richard Purvis, too! Also for the first time we are offering Centennial Celebration pins marking the Organ's first hundred years in the Store.
Information on the Wanamaker Organ and a selection of organ CDs and Books is available at the Macy's Information Desk on the Main Floor of the Center City Macy's during periods of time when that desk is staffed.
With the expandsion of our Convention Center, Philadelphia hotels have been filling up more frequently. Rooms are available, but sometimes at higher prices. To remedy this, more hotels are being created. For the budget minded, we suggest checking online resources such as Orbitz or Hotels.com or Priceline.com, etc., for rooms. Some of our guests have enjoyed staying at the nearby Alexander Inn or the Holiday Inn Express Midtown, which has a fabulous free breakfast buffet the last time we checked. Also nearby are several Marriott Hotels, the Loews Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and other hostelries. One option that can save a lot of money is to stay at the Philadelphia airport. A commuter train from the terminals stops right at the Market Street East station near Macy's, and shuttles from the airport hotels connect directly with the commuter train stops at the airport terminals. Reportedly, a taxi ride to Center City is a flat $25.
Often booking a hotel or motel room just a short car ride outside of town can save significantly on city hotel taxes, overnight parking, city per-drink taxes and other expenses, leaving a bigger vacation budget for amusements and recreation. The Radnor Hotel near Wayne, Pa., is about an eighth of a mile from the Radnor train station, on the R5 Paoli Local line going into the city. Many hotels in the King of Prussia area offer great deals, and a trip to the Store simply means a drive into town on the Schuylkill Expressway. People with smartphones can use the free Mapquest Application to get verbal directions as they drive by plugging in the Store's address: 1300 Market Street Philadelphia. Other smartphone Aps such as CooCooFree give instant timetables for the SEPTA public transit system.
Restaurants within a block or two include Chili's, Maggiano's, The Olive Garden, McGillin's Olde Ale House, IHOP (Walnut Street) and a grocery store and buffet/salad bar (Chestnut and Juniper). Members tell us to avoid the family style option for large parties at Maggianos as it can substantially affect the cost of a meal. McGillins is better for lunch than dinner, when it becomes very noisy. Numerous fancy and some less formal restaurants are on South Broad Street. There are limitless breakfast and lunch opportunities at the Reading Terminal Market and perhaps 100 Asian restaurants in Philadelphia's Chinatown in the blocks North and East of the Store. There are restaurants of all descriptions on Chestnut and Walnut Streets headed East. Also most hotels, including the Marriott diagonal to the Store, have dining options and/or bars. Macy's no longer maintains a restaurant, although it does house a Starbuck's on Chestnut Street at 13th. There is a Dunkin Donuts across Market Street. Several celebrated Italian restaurants are in South Philadelphia. An internet guide is located here. Let us know what your favorites are and we will include them. A church directory is here. Parking ideas may be found here.
SPEND SOME TIME WITH US! Attractions near the Store include Independence Hall, the Masonic Temple, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, City Hall Tower, the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Reading Terminal Market, the Society Hill Colonial neighborhoods, the Rodin Museum, the Fairmount Park houses and Please Touch Museum, Penn's Landing riverfront area, Laurel Hill Cemetery, the Rosenbach Museum and Library, the Barnes Museum (reservations required), the Mutter medical museum, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Eastern State Penitentiary museum, theatres and nightclubs, and numerous other attractions. Check the visitphilly.comsite for more ideas, although not all attractions there are convenient to downtown Philadelphia.
The Friends salutes outgoing Center City store manager James Kenny and welcomes new manager Kathy Weaver.
We are very sorry to report the passing of Enos Shupp, a veteran record reviewer, our longtime concert reviewer and the very first Friend of the Wanamaker Organ member. He was 97. He will be memorialized at our Spring concert. A published obituary is here.
Secure tickets to our monthly last-Saturday-of-the-month organ tours 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 print out your order as your receipt (ticket). Tours are not offered during November and December because of conflicts with the Christmas Light Show. Click on the icon to go to the tour portion of the webstore.
You can help support our programs and get prompt news on our events by becoming a new Friend of the Wanamaker Organ. 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. Members are also eligible for generous discounts on tickets for our after-hours events. You can join the Friends by clicking here or on the membership icon at left. (Members may renew by clicking the renewal box at the top of this page).
Peter Richard Conte welcomed Golden Globe Award-winning actress Kim Cattrall to the loft in late January. It was something of a homecoming for Ms. Cattrall had her first big break in the movie "Mannequin," which was filmed at John Wanamaker in 1987. She sang along to Mr. Conte's performance of songs from "The Wizard of Oz" and also confirmed that it was not her, but a stunt double, who did the hang-gliding feat in the Grand Court for the movie. Ms. Cattrall, who was in town to see a friend perform in a play at the Wilma Theatre, said she wanted to see the organ again that was prominently featured in the film, about a mannequin that suddenly comes to life.
You can listen to the Wanamaker Organ using an archive of past radio-broadcast shows here! See a PBS mini-feature on the Wanamaker Organ here!
The Friends has launched an ambitious Century II Music Endowment drive to mark the 100th anniversary of the Wanamaker Organ in the Store. Among the uses of the fund is revenue to buy much needed chairs for our concerts. 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 comeas we mark the Wanamaker Organ's 100th anniversary in the Store.
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.
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.