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Friends of the Wanamaker Organ

We have some preliminary concert dates: It looks like our Spring Concert will be held on Saturday April 23, and Wanamaker Organ Day will be on Sat. June 4. Please do not make hotel or travel reservations until further details are released.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The weekly YesterdayUSA.com Wanamaker Organ broadcasts have lost their streaming service, Live360. What that means is that listeners who want to tune in to YesterdayUSA on their home computers need to follow new procedures. Go to the home page at YesterdayUSA.com. Ignore the Radio-icon links to the Red and Blue networks and go to the Gray Box at the right of the screen. In that box you will find correct links to the new Red and Blue feeds. Simply click on the feed of your choice. The accompanying YesterdayUSA programming schedule will help in your decision making.

Likewise the feeds for the YesterdayUSA Smartphone app have not yet been updated. You can, however, hear the Red and the Blue feeds using the free Tunein Radio App. Once it is on your phone, go to the Search magnifying glass at bottom right and type in YesterdayUSA. Links for both feeds should appear.  Don't give up the old App yet, however...there is some hope its links will be updated.

Macy's flower show runs from the week before until the week after Easter Sunday, March 27.

All congratulations to Curator Curt Mangel, who received the first Philadelphia AGO Distinguished Service Award on January 18. Curt is pictured with outgoing dean John Romeri and sub-dean Marcia Sommers. If one started subtracting all the accomplishments Curt has achieved from today's arts scene,we would all realize how much poorer we would be artistically and spiritually without the fruits of his astonishing talents.

Members can easily renew their membership using the link from the Red Box at the top of this page. We rely on your support for continuing our mission; please give generously so we can keep on keeping on.

The flyer for our 2016 premiums confuses the passing of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue's John Scott with featured artist Todd Wilson, who is still very much with us. We apologize for the error.

It is hard to believe that the Vox Humana Chorus made its debut in December 2006, nine years ago. It was part of the gift of the late Edith Brickman, whose generosity caused the Orchestral Division to undergo a complete restoration.

As part of that project, the Orchestral pipes were moved to a new chamber that spoke directly into the Grand Court, and the Vox Humanas from the Orchestral were moved forward and became their own division. What did it sound like when these Voxes were first heard? The two films featured here capture the awe of that moment. The icon at left launches a free-form improvisation. That at right shows the first hearing in excerpts from the Franck Chorale No. 2. The String, Vox and Orchestral divisions were all strongly influenced by Charles M. Courboin, who built choirs out of repetitions of the same sort of stop (Voxes, Dulcianas, Muted Viols, Cellos, French Horns, etc.) allowing exciting massed effects.

Please consider the Friends in your new-year 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.

[] A 2015 Action News piece on the Light Show and Wanamaker Organ is HERE.

[] A YouTube of the 2015 Christmas in the Grand Tradition concert is HERE.

Public TV in Philadelphia has done an interesting short film showing the Wanamaker Organ (with music likely from another pipe organ). It may be viewed HERE.

The Friends honors Frederick R. Haas. Fred Haas has consistently supported the Wanamaker Organ through the Haas Charitable Trusts, and has been a major supporter and champion of the King of Instruments. Macy's has refurbished the console loft in his honor. A plaque has been made which will be permanently hung outside the console loft in Fred Haas' honor. All of us are profoundly in debt to his philanthropy.

Special thanks to Tom Engstrom and Valerie Kuehn for their magnificent work re-creating missing finials of the console enclosure, which was dedicated by Macy's in Fred Haas' honor. Look for full details in the next issue of the Friends' newsletter, The Stentor.

Take a look at the new 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.
Thanks to Evan Jones of RBY Productions for his video work and Bill Bragg for his outstanding narration. Also thanks go to Bob Krist for allowing us to use some of his footage of the ongoing restoration, and Jon Buchanan for putting it on the new kiosk outside the console. This revised version (No. 5) includes a lot more restoration scenes including work on the Great Chorus. 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.

Macy's pre-empted a Wednesday noon organ concert for a fashion show, but thanks to help from Matt Taft and photographer Evan Jones we were able to persuade some models to pose at the Wanamaker Organ for some glamour shots. It underlines the marriage of high art and style, with a dash of just plain fun, that one encounters at the Store every day.
Martha Stewart
visited the
Store in mid-September and marveled at the grandeur of the world's most beautiful department store. She even gamely posed at the Wanamaker Organ! Read about it on her photo-filled blog by clicking the banner at right.

A new 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.

Matt Blitz is a writer for Smithsonian.com who took a tour of the Wanamaker Organ a few weeks ago and was so impressed that he wrote a detailed feature article on it for Smithsonian Travel. Included is video footage of Michael Stairs playing the organ, with the assistance of Doug Backman.
You can click HERE to read Matt's engaging new feature.


Admission to our 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.

re are no tours in November or December because of the Christmas Light Show. Private tours are available by appointment when guides are available, but incur an extra charge to cover the expenses of securing a guide. (We are a small organization and do not have a tourguide staff on site.) Also note that taking a tour makes a participant eligible to get issues of The Stentor. 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.


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.

A masters thesis on the liturgical decorations Rodman Wanamaker gave to St. Mark's Church in Philadelphia and the Royal Family parish at Sandringham in England may be found here. It is an enlightening dissertation that surveys many beautiful objects without quite pinpointing why they have that certain "It" factor of beauty. Surely that must have come from Rodman's unerring taste.

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 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday 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. 

The YesterdayUSA app is a wonderful addition to any Smartphone and provides hours of free entertainment anywhere on many phone data plans. Bill Bragg is the host. The service may also be accessed at YesterdayUSA.com.  You may also hear the Wanamaker Organ the first Sunday of each month at 5pm on WRTI-FM in the Philadelphia area. Hear it around the world via streamcast at wrti.org. Peter Richard Conte is featured.

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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