Friends of the Wanamaker Organ
You may click on the banner above to hear Briggs improvise a fugue at Saint-Sulpice in Paris. His Wanamaker program, focusing on transcriptions with a four-movement Improvisation is HERE. His Biography is HERE. Reviews are HERE. His website is HERE. All we need is for YOU to be HERE Saturday April 22!
IMPORTANT: 2017 Concert Schedule Announcement: Wanamaker Organ Day is Saturday June 3, with free events including a free Coronation Music choral tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, and a ticketed Grand Evening Concert. Artists are shown on the banner below, and you may hear Parry's "I Was Glad" from the 2012 concert by clicking on the banner. On Saturday September 23 we are having an after-hours ticketed concert with the Symphony in C. Please look to this space as further details are assembled.
The Philadelphia Organ Quartet-Wanamaker veterans Rudy Lucente, Colin Howland, Peter Richard Conte and Michael Stairs-are doing a benefit for the beloved Girard College E.M. Skinner organ on Sat. April 29 at 4pm. Tickets are at the Girard College website. Details are HERE!
New 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 paean 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.
There will be no regular evening concert on Thursday April 6 because of a Macy's Special Event in the Grand Court.
a Valentine's Day treat, watch Wedding Party "royalty" acknowledge
enthusiastic shoppers at Macy's Center City--by clicking on the icon at
left. The brief film clip (hat tip Matt Taft) was taken as the happy
couple had their pre-nuptial photos taken (by pre-arrangement) in front
of the Organ Case. Jeremy Flood provided suitably thrilling weddy music.
The ceremony itself was held afterward in the Crystal Tea Room. All
congratulations to the honeymooning newlyweds!
Nik Sizgorich sent us this link honoring the 30th anniversary of the release of the cult classic Mannequin, filmed at John Wanamaker Philadelphia. Details are HERE.
Title character Kim Cattrall visited Macy's and Peter Richard Conte in
the loft during a fairly recent touring engagement, and sang along to a
medley from "The Wizard of Oz." Cattrall's character soared through the
Grand Court on a hang glider in the movie. Costar Andrew McCarthy was
filmed at the console. In 1991, a sequel was released that includes
scenes from the area that is today our Organ Shop.
You may renew your membership safely and instantly HERE. Donations at larger levels entitle the giver to special premium gifts. Thank you so very much for your help in sustaining our musical mission!
Enjoy the 2016 Christmas in the Grand Tradition concert HERE.
VIRGIL FOX REMEMBERED - Peter
Richard Conte's concert tribute to the King of Heavy Organ has been
drawing rave reviews, including a glowing piece in Choir and Organ
giving it four stars, and expressing the "heretical" sentiment that
Peter Richard Conte is the better artist. You may order it from our
webstore and read all about it HERE.
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 reg
daily schedule is Here.
JULY 2016 SANSOM STUDENT CAMP - Congratulations to this year's
participants: Emily Amos, Adrian Binkley, Benjamin Henderson, Matthew
Johnson, Aaron Patterson and Martin Jones. We extend heartfelt thanks to
the Sansom Foundation, Rudy Lucente and Macy's for making this rare
Aaron Patterson's sassy performance of George Gershwin's 'Promenade' is excerpted Here.
Into the Spring we are restoring the Choir Division, the Contra Bombarde, the Chorus Third Diapason chest, various Expression Shade motors and the Mustel Celesta. Full details and concert plans are in the Friends' newsletter, available exclusively to members. Your participation is the only way we can keep on doing what we do. Look for the Join the Friends item at our webstore today!
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.
MONTHLY TOURS HAVE RESUMED!
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.
Included in the tour is the Friends Museum, which includes 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.
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 tour guide staff on site.) Cost per person is $18 (you can use the Student Rate at our webstore to secure admissions). The cost of securing a guide for a private tour is extra, and depends on what is negotiated with the guide, who is paid his or her fee in person and usually travel into town for the tour. Please try to give us as much advance notice as possible.
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
NOTE: There are no
regular monthly tours in November
or December because of the Christmas Light Show.
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.
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 Hour program continues
on WRTI-FM and at WRTI.org on the first Sunday of each month, at 5 pm.
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
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 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 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. 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 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.
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.