|Welcome to the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ! Peter Richard Conte's exciting new CD 'My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice' is available by clicking HERE. Details are further down this page. his year's 20th Annual Wanamaker Organ Day is on Saturday June 6, and there will also be early-bird events on Friday June 5. Please mark your calendars now and scroll down for details!
What could be more spectacular than grand orchestra and Wanamaker Organ? Tickets for the June 6 Grand Evening Capstone Concert with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra are available by clicking the icon at right. The exciting 8:30 pm program, at popular prices ($40 and $50), is slated to include thrilling organ-orchestra arrangements and the following pieces...
- Shostakovich - Festive Overture
- Sheridan Seyfried - Across the Sky (2015)
- Strauss - Festival Prelude
- Mahler - Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
- Saint-Saens - Finale from Symphony No. 3
WANAMAKER ORGAN DAY 2015 is Saturday June 6, and it features free tours, audio-visual presentations and concerts.
Saturday opens at 10 am with free tours of the organ chambers and Friends Museum. Meet your guides at the Friends table at the rear of the Grand Court.
Also at 10 am Rick Seifert gives his free audio-visual presentation: "The Greatest Musical Wonder in the World: A History of the Grand Court Organ," in Greek Hall. Rick has continued to refine and improve his presentation with exciting new research, and the soundtrack he plays is phenomenal.
The music itself begins with a Grand Opening Concert at 11:30 am featuring Peter Richard Conte, Rudy Lucente, flugelhornist Andrew Ennis and virtuoso Peter Krasinski.
Jill Pasternak, the First Lady of the Wanamaker Organ, hosts a live broadcast of her WRTI-FM program "Crossover" as the performances are featured, and this part of Wanamaker Organ Day may be heard anywhere live over the Internet at WRTI.org.
Mr. Krasinski is featured again at our Greek Hall Wurlitzer playing the silent comedy "It" (1927) starring Clara Bow, the original "It Girl." Admission is $10 at the door, but those who have evening concert tickets are admitted free.
is the charming story of an ingenue who has "It," that undefinable
something that is a combination of beauty and charm. She is Betty Lou, a
shop girl whose looks propel her into the arms of a department store
magnate (Antonio Moreno).
The Wanamaker Organ Day action then shifts to the Grand Court at 5 pm, where Peter Richard Conte is joined by the Philadelphia Brass and a battery of Tympani for a sonic bombardment sure to set the rafters rumbling.
At night the stars come out with our ticketed Grand Evening Concert featuring Peter Richard Conte with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra under maestro Louis Scaglione in the Capstone Concert of the orchestra's 75th Anniversary Celebration. Tickets are available HERE! Friends members get a $10 discount for themselves and all those in their party. Pricing ($40 members / $50 nonmembers) is exceptionally reasonable for an organ-orchestra event, so secure your admissions now!
Special note to shoppers: visitors who stop by Macy's information desk are eligible for special shopping courtesies if they identify themselves as Wanamaker Organ visitors.
Friday (June 5) events include the noon Wanamaker Organ concert, followed by by the opening of the console area and a free tour of the Organ Shop. At 3pm in Greek Hall, Rick Seifert presents the full version of his exciting audio-visual presentation "The Greatest Musical Wonder in the World: A History of the Grand Court Organ." This acclaimed event is continually being revised and improved with new photos and music. Following that, another Shop Tour is available, and the evening is capped by organ music at 7 pm.
Sunday: Those staying in the area might enjoy going to the Theatre Organ Society of the Delaware Valley's presentation of Ron Rhode at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville PA, at 2 pm.
Tourist information for Wanamaker Organ Day visitors, including hotel and restaurant ideas and money saving tips, is available by clicking the banner below. We look forward to seeing you!
Peter Richard Conte's new CD, My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice,
is now available! Featuring Flugelhornist Andrew Ennis, it includes
lush and lyrical works by Puccini, Verdi, Richard Strauss, Bizet,
Wagner, Percy Granger, Gounod, Saint-Saens, Durufle, Debussy and Robert
Those of you who have been clamoring for the
easy-listening side of the Wanamaker Organ, chock-full of familiar
tunes, will be more than gratified by the gorgeousness of this exciting
Please stop by our webstore or click on the icon at left for details!
the Friends volunteer extraordinare who played a key role in building
the organization over its first 20 years with his tireless activities,
passed away Wednesday morning April 1. Wally was 89 and is very much missed. His official
memorial site is accessible HERE.
We are very sorry to report that Assistant Curator Sam Whitcraft passed away unexpectedly at his home on January 10. Sam did such exceptional bench work for the Wanamaker Organ and was a human encyclopedia on its construction and maintenance. Sam was a much beloved father figure of the Wanamaker Organ shop and loved interacting with the many doing work there from his King Chair. Woe to anyone else who sat in his King Chair...or borrowed a tool that was not returned.
MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE FRIENDS HERE! OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE
We now have available for immediate shipping the Wanamaker Organ Centennial CD, DVD, and DVD combo at our webstore. Just click on the icon at left to secure your copy, or check out our full Webstore using the menu at top for a complete listing of Wanamaker Organ products!
Writes reviewer Rollin Smith of this CD: "Now you can have in your living room what Alexander Russell described when he heard the Widor Symphonie: 'A Perfect Niagara of sound.'. There is no one in the world as adept at displaying the Wanamaker Organ as Peter Richard Conte, and it shows on this CD. The whole is a thrilling and artisic experience. The orchestra is top-notch, impeccable in its ensemble playing, and gorgeous in its shading. This is one CD not to miss: the combination of organ, organist and orchestra would be hard to beat."
Two Friends DVDs, the "Wanamaker Organ Curators Tour" and "Around the Wanamaker Organ in 80 Minutes," received glowing reviews in The American Organist Magazine. You may view the reviews HERE. 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!
Some readers may remember the James Burke program Connections, which showed how a series of seemingly unrelated ideas led to a specific historical result. Charles Jenkins has achieved similar ends with three fascinating web pages on the Wanamaker Organ. His story begins, appropriately enough, with the Louisiana Purchase and can be followed HERE.
A Philadelphia Daily News video piece is available HERE. An article on the Wanamaker Organ is accessible by clicking the bannker below.
Our prayers and condolences go to Curt Mangel and his family on the occasion of the passing of Curt's brother James. Also our condolences go to Alex Thielens on the sudden passing of his beloved wife Maureen in November.
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 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.
Folks who identify themselves as Wanamaker Organ tourists 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), and Emily Cronrath are your hosts.
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 and our much loved co-host Jill Pasternak are 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.
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 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.
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.