A wonderful archive of shows from the WRTI Wanamaker Organ Hour program is available HERE for your Internet listening pleasure! (You must open this post for the link to work.) The site is maintained by Julien Girard, a French aficionado now living in Quebec, with French-language names for the month of the original broadcast dates.
VISIT OUR SITE FOR A COMPLETE VISITOR GUIDE AND HISTORY OF THE PHILADELPHIA MACY’S CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW!
WE REGRET THAT OPERATIONS AT MACY’S VISITOR CENTER HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED AT PRESENT DURING THE CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC. Looking for Wanamaker Organ books, CDs, DVDs and souvenirs? Want to learn more about Macy’s and the Organ? Want to join the Friends? Be sure to stop by the Macy’s Visitor Center and meet the friendly guides who have made the visits of so many a very memorable experience. Jennie Funches and Steve McCarraher are looking forward to meeting you! All sales proceeds benefit the work of the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ.
TAKE A TOUR! Admission to our monthly last-Saturday-of-the-month Organ Tours are available by securing admissioni at our webstore Tour section. Advance notice is no longer required for groups of five or smaller. You may purchase your admissions clicking HERE and meet your tour guide Nik Sizgorich
at noon at the Eagle on the designated tour day you select.
After the noon concert is finished, Nik will then take ticket-holders on the tour.
Included is the Friends Museum, which features first editions from the personal library of organ architect George Ashdown Audsley—all of his own works—placed on deposit with the Friends. The actual Leopold Stokowski 78 rpm record that inspired Virgil Fox to arrange “Come Sweet Death” may be viewed, as may the medal Dr. Audsley received at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and a silver tray given to his father in 1838.
Other exhibits include documents signed by Rodman Wanamaker, and memorabilia pertaining to Wanamaker Organist Keith Chapman and former curators. Our Hall of Flags outside the Orchestral Chamber, pictured at left, includes historic banners and royal standards from the Rodman Wanamaker flag collection.
Several chambers are shown, and also offered is a backstage view of the Organ Case and the “Frosty Central” command center for the Light Show.
BONUS EXTRA: Also note that taking a tour makes a participant eligible to get issues of The Stentor, our quarterly newsletter. If you take a tour and someone else submits their name along with the financial payment, e-mail us with your own information as well.
You can E-mail us about tours and availability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL THOSE TAKING THE TOUR ARE ORDINARILY EXPECTED TO PRINT AND BRING THEIR RECEIPT, OR BE PREPARED TO SHOW IT ON THEIR CELL PHONE SCREENS. TOURS ARE NOW SOLD ON A MONTH-SPECIFIC BASIS.
In the event that circumstances result in a tour not taking place, the Friends’ liability is limited to refunding the ticket cost of that tour.
ALSO NOTE: There are no regular monthly tours in November or December because of the Christmas Light Show.
PRIVATE TOURS are available year-round by special appointment when guides are available, but tour-takers may incur a significant extra charge to cover the expenses of a private guide. (We are a small organization and do not have a tour-guide staff on site.) Cost per person is $18 (you can use the Student Rate at our web store to secure admissions). The cost of securing a guide for a private tour depends on what is negotiated with the guide, who is paid his or her fee in person and usually travels into town for the sake of giving the tour.
We are sometimes able to arrange last-minute tours, but please try to give us as much advance notice as possible, but please not more than two months ahead except for very large groups, because our guides don’t like to commit that far in advance, particularly during the summer. Once arrangements are made tickets are available at our webstore, by clicking HERE.
- Friends is paying tribute to Stokowski Symphony of 15,000 with ambitious Sept. 28 concert showcasing Symphony in C.
- How the 1919 Concert led to Stokowski’s famous transcriptions.
- Ways quality restoration depends on the fine details.
- How new paneling is unleashing the powerhouse Solo division.
- What the gilded fine detail of the Restored Case looks like.
- How the Organ Facade was staged and how the public thrilled.
- What John Near will tell us about Stokowski and Widor at the 1919 Mega-Concert.
- How medium density fiberboard is a revolutionary paneling for pipe chambers that is having wonderful results in the Solo division.
- Ways backstage quick work kept the Major Chimes chiming.
- How the facade pipes were gilded while in Greek Hall.
- Registrations revealed from a Keith Chapman candid photo.
- Does restoring the case make the Organ sound better—some surprising conclusions.
- Recalling three Wanamaker Organ champions: Bill Bragg, Raymond Friday and Larry Grundy, and the gifts they brought us.
- Where the best seats are for our September 28 Grand Evening Concert.
Congratulations to all who made Wanamaker Organ Day such a stellar success! See a quick film on the case restoration HERE! A short film on gilding is HERE!
Please note that while we post timely notices here and on our Facebook Page, the real goings on of the Friends and in-depth coverage of the restoration is found in our members-only newsletter. We seek to build an involved and committed membership which gives us the crucial funding necessary to continue our work.
We have many vital restoration projects in the pipeline, including the entire Solo division, Full details are in our newsletter!
Thank you for your generous support of our important cause!
Stories in the Spring 2019 Issue:
 Major contract signed and work begins on Organ Case restoration
 How paint chip studies are uncovering the original colors of our organ case
 What 3 1/2 pounds of gold leaf will bring to our organ display pipes
 How a major building strike threatened to cost John Wanamaker his shirt
 What a swell engine has in common with a team of horses
 How architect Daniel H. Burnham used a world’s fair to leap to the top
 Why a furniture company got the contract for our organ case
 Why neoclassic architecture turned buildings into money-making machines
 How the story of determining historic colors began at Williamsburg
 Why John Wanamaker got a stern talking to by his lawyer
 What the Organ Case looks like with all the display pipes removed
 Why the Organ is the star of movies on the giant new lobby video screen
 What happens when the Great Primary stops working
 How quick thinking brough six reeds from the Solo safely home
 What brought the Cornell Glee Club to the Grand Court
 How you can help with some very special projects!
Join (at our webstore) or renew now (at the top of the page) to get all the exciting details as this major restoration project unfolds!
Please watch this space for more concert-date announcements, which will be posted as soon as we receive them. Because our special concerts are dependent on Macy’s sales schedule, precise dates are given to us generally about 10 weeks before certain concerts. All members receive timely announcements of our events and details in our quarterly newsletters!
Michael Lawrence’s article on restoring Fleming pneumatics is available at this blog, which has fascinating observations on music and music making. Details are HERE!
Curt Mangel was honored for his saving of the chandeliers of Chicago’s Uptown Theater, now undergoing a major restoration. Watch HERE!
Hear the Cornell Glee Club at Macy’s Grand Court HERE!
Nick Meyers showed off the Cornet of our beautifully restored Original String Division. Highlights are HERE!
Enjoy a YouTube sneak preview of the new Wanamaker Office Building video wall, paying tribute to the Wanamaker Organ. Click HERE!
WE ARE VERY SORRY to report that our beloved Bill Bragg, the longtime Voice of Big Tex at the Texas State Fair and the Voice of the Wanamaker Organ over our kiosk and the weekly YesterdayUSA broadcast, passed away Friday June 28. More is at the Wanamaker Organ Friends and Fans Facebook Page and searchable news sources such as the Dallas Morning News.
Our very deepest condolences go to Bill’s wife Kim, who is continuing the station and the broadcasts. Cards and condolences may be sent to Kim Bragg at 2001 Plymouth Rock Dr. Richardson TX 75081 We know she would appreciate hearing from all whose lives were touched by Bill and his broadcasts.
Our membership renewal period is still in full swing. We rely on donations from people like yourself who understand the complexity of the Wanamaker Organ and all that is required to keep it playing to accomplish our mission. Increased giving makes us eligible for increased grant amounts. For early birds and those who want to join or renew online, please click on the Membership Renewal box at the top of the page.
We deplete ourselves of funds each year for the cause of the Wanamaker Organ. Please remember that all we do is directly dependent on the generosity and financial investment of our members.
The selection of Premium Gifts includes two Double Premiums found only online…Items M and N (which were available in previous years). Thank you all for your support as we enter our 25th year supporting the Reigning Monarch of All Instruments, with much important work ahead of us!
OUR LATEST DVD! Immediate Shipping! Ever wonder what it is like to sit down and play the Wanamaker Organ? Our exciting new DVD, The Wanamaker Organ: A Sonic Odyssey, is now available! Just click on the icon at left to secure your copy.
Peter Richard Conte and Yale organist Thomas Murray go through the Organ’s formidable resources in a fascinating, fun, three hour film full of insights from two master musicians. A companion to our Curator’s Tour DVD. Orders are being shipped immediately since stock has arrived. An enclosed booklet includes registration and playing insight from Conte, Keith Chapman, Virgil Fox, and more!
Read Peter Dobrin’s marvelous tribute to the Wanamaker Organ in the Philadelphia Inquirer HERE. Writes Dobrin: Whatever your taste, this is music of the best sort — music you didn’t find, but that found you.
Many first-time visitors ask about whether there is a charge for the daily concerts, or if special preparations are needed. The answer is a simple no. The Wanamaker Organ plays into the huge atrium of a grand department store, and the concerts are a free part of the daily Macy’s shopping experience. The regular daily schedule is Here.
Archived streamcasts of the monthly WRTI-FM broadcast are available HERE, and include performances by many guest artists as well as our beloved Peter Richard Conte.
Please consider the Friends in your 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.
Take a look at the 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.
To play the video, simply click on the illustration at right.
MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE FRIENDS HERE! OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE
Peter Richard Conte and flugelhornist Andrew Ennis were interviewed by WRTI’s Susan Lewis HERE.
An article on the Rodman Wanamaker flag collection by Karen Chernick of Hidden City is HERE.
The Wanamaker Organ streamcast continues on YesterdayUSA.com in our weekly LIVE broadcasts from the Grand Court each Wednesday at 7 pm Eastern. Bill Bragg hosts!
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.
MACY’s INFORMATION DESK:
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 is offering for sale a selection of organ CDs, DVDs and Books. All proceeds directly benefit the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ!
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 11 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, and Saturday 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 of the Wanamaker Building. Please consult the information below and contact Macy’s to see if this offering is still available at the time of your visit.
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 atext. 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.
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.
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.