The Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Welcomes You!
Our annual CHRISTMAS IN THE GRAND TRADITION CONCERT will be held Sunday December 8 after the Noon Light Show.
Peter Richard Conte is joined by flugelhornist Andrew Ennis for a delightful free concert of Yuletide favorites. Mark your calendars now!
For Light Show times, a history of the light show, information on the Dickens Christmas Village and other attractions, please see our Christmas Light Show page, accessible by clicking here.
An Internet article on beautiful vestments commissioned by Rodman Wanamaker from the Sisters of Bethany is viewable here. Further images are here. A thesis on the Wanamaker Memorial Tower documenting its deterioration is here. Further details are in the Winter issue of the Friends newsletter, The Stentor.
Our new DVD, the Wanamaker Organ Curator's Tour, starring Michael Barone and Curt Mangel, is available for immediate shipping at our webstore. Experience for yourself a tour of every nook and cranny of the World's Largest Playing Pipe Organ over three hours. Click on the icon to secure your copy!
I just got my copy and the opening is absolutely perfect. First City Hall, the Store and the quiet walk of Peter. Then that step by step turn on is just the perfect idea. All of the other segments gave information that most of us never knew, even though I have been a big fan of this organ. So many special pipes and you told the story of them. Time at the console was also informative. All I can say is that this video is the all time reference for this organ. Thanks for making it. -Earl Zausmer
Check out Friends of the Wanamaker Organ offerings on YouTube here! Included is a rare interview with Keith Chapman, home movies of Virgil Fox and the Wanamaker Cadets, and recordings of Robert Elmore playing the Curtis Organ at Penn's Irvine Auditorium. Special thanks to Evan Jones of RBY Productions for his help in preparing these offerings!
You may meet Michael Barone Sunday January 19 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing arts as part of a special Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia concert series. Program details on this exciting concert follow immediately"
n Handel, Rheinberger, Brossé at Verizon Hall on Sunday January 19, 2014, at 2:30 pm, featuring conductor Dirk Brossé, violinist Miho Saegusa, and organists Matt Glandorf, Alan Morrison and Jeffrey Brillhart.
HANDEL: Alessandro: Overture, HWV 21
HANDEL: Organ Concerto in G minor, Op. 4, No. 1
PAULUS: Concerto for Organ, Strings and Percussion
JONGEN: Hymne, Op. 78
BROSSÉ: Black, White and In Between
RHEINBERGER: Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 177
You may secure tickets here.
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.
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 first 100 years of the Wanamaker Organ!
Three cheers for our magnificent crew, seen at left setting up the gorgeous new 'cage' around the console.
Pictured (l. to r.) are Rion Mora, Matt Taft, Eric Keebler, Anthony Nichols and Curt Mangel. Peter Richard Conte is seen at right walking alongside the finished work. Some further gold trim is planned. For additional background please scroll down. Members get all the restoration details in our newsletter, The Stentor.
The wood restoration work (pictured, left) has been done by Philadelphia's Restoration Studios. The work has been completed and visitors to Macy's may enjoy its beautiful new look!
The restoration of the console booth and its ornate wood surround is being undertaken by Macy's. The project is in honor of Fred Haas and Dr. Daniel Meyer, and is being done in thanksgiving for their love of and tireless advocacy for the Wanamaker Organ from Wyncote Foundation grants through the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ.
We salute them as well, with deepest gratitude, for championing the Wanamaker Organ and its unique and peerless role in our civic life!
Information on the Wanamaker Organ, the historic Store and a selection of organ CDs, DVDs and Books is available at the MACY'S INFORMATION DESK on the Main Floor of the Center City Macy's Men's Department. You will find it along the right side of the center aisle just as you enter the Grand Court from Market Street. The desk is staffed usually from Noon to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday and the staff prides itself on its knowledge of the Store and its heritage. People traveling from a distance are sometimes entitled to Macy's coupons, so be sure to ask about that as well! Incidentally, there is no sales tax on most clothing purchases in Pennsylvania! Jennie Funches (pictured) and Maxine Dalsemer are your hosts. A cheeky Philadelphia Magazine article on the Information Desk and the store heritage tours they offer is found here.
Secure tickets to our monthly last-Saturday-of-the-month organ tours by clicking on the icon at left 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. 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. 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 right. (Members may renew by clicking the Renewal Box at the top of this page.
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.
We have moved our special tourism guide to its own page. Please click the image of Independence Hall above to go there! Send us your own experiences, so we can improve our presentation.
The Friends has launched an ambitious Century II Music Endowment drive to as the Wanamaker Organ turns the corner on its first century in the Store. Among the uses of the fund is revenue to buy much needed chairs for our concerts. We are a small nonprofit with a big mission. 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 societyis 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.