The Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Welcomes You!
Celebrating the world's largest playing pipe organ
in the world's most beautiful department store.
Folks going to the AGO Convention in Boston may wish to return home through Philadelphia for the Wanamaker Organ Day festival. We will be having a ticketed evening concert together with the day's free daylong festivities, chamber tours and concerts. Further information (including ticketing) will be announced when talent details are finalized. Those arriving on Friday June 27 can hear the recitals of talented young organists who are attending the Wanamaker Organ Camp at Macy's, courtesy of the Sansom Foundation. That free event begins at 6:30 Friday night and kicks off this spectacular musical weekend. The Boys Choir will be performing numbers from light classics and musicals, including the thrilling Wedding March from "The Sound of Music." Scroll down for our visitors guide banner.
THE BEAUTIFUL RAILING in front of the console was removed January 20 for a complete restoration, allowing the spectacular view of the console seen above. A temporary rail has since been put in place, and for safety reasons the loft will be closed to visitors until the restored railing is returned in its original splendor March. Thank you for your understanding.
l If winter comes, can spring be far behind? Macy's spectacular Flower Show runs from March 23 through April 6.
l Save the Date: There will be a concert featuring the Wanamaker Organ together with New Jersey's Symphony in C on Saturday September 6. Please do NOT buy airline tickets or make hotel reservations or other commitments yet, but you can use this information in your tentative planning. The date of our Spring Concert has not yet been finalized.
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). Those taking part in the tours are also eligible for Macy's savings passes at the Visitor Center, when available. Wanamaker Organ merchandise is also offered there. 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.
Special thanks to all of you taking part in our 2014 membership campaign. Members may renew by clicking the box at the top of the page. Donations that are fully tax deductible as allowed by law may be made by clicking the box at right. Thank you all for supporting our crucial musical mission!
l The Kimmel Center is offering free monthly tours and demonstrations of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ on the first Saturday of each month. You may read an article about it here.
l The Kimball organ at Boardwalk Hall is presenting a silent movie Fundraiser Thursday April 3 at 7pm, featuring Douglas Fairbanks as The Black Pirate, accompanied by Steven Ball. Details are here.
l Our good friends at Stylin' Tea Blends continue to offer tea packages that help fund the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ. You are invited to visit their website by clicking here!
Check out new 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 rare 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!
Rick Seifert has posted a number of Keith Chapman Christmas pieces at his YouTube site, accessible here. The National Trust for Historic Preservation blog has a wonderful feature on the Wanamaker Building, Macy's the Organ, Eagle and Light Show here (hat tip Nik Sizgorich).
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 8am 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. People traveling from a distance are sometimes 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), Jasmine "Jazz" Dottin and Emily Cronrath are your hosts. A cheeky Philadelphia Magazine article on the Information Desk and the store heritage tours they offer is found here.
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. 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 Jill Pasternak host.
An Internet article on beautiful church 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.
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 Richard Purvis, too! Also for the first time we are offering Centennial Celebration pins and stationery marking the first 100 years of the Wanamaker Organ, plus dozens of organ CDs and DVDs!
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. 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.
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, in our acclaimed quarterly newsletter, The Stentor.