Random Acts of Culture

Hallelujah chorus at Macy's Philadelphia

On Saturday, October 30th, 2010 the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and over 650 area choristers met at Macy's Center City Philadelphia to surprise shoppers.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is helping produce 1,000 of these Random Acts of Culture over the next three years, bringing classical artists out of the performance halls, into the streets
Wanamaker Organ
The Wanamaker Organ located within a spacious 7-story court at Macy's Center City (formerly Wanamaker's department store) is the world's largest operational pipe organ in the world. Built by the Los Angeles Art Organ Company for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the Wanamaker Organ was designed by renowned organ architect George Ashdown Audsley. This heroic instrument had more than 10,000 pipes, and its construction was on such a lavish scale that costs soared to $105,000, bankrupting the builder.

In 1909, Philadelphia merchant-prince John Wanamaker bought the instrument for his new Philadelphia emporium. Despite its immense size, the tone was judged inadequate to fill the huge court. Wanamaker's opened a private pipe-organ factory in the Store attic, employing up to 40 full-time employees to enlarge the instrument. It currently contains 28,500 pipes ranging in size from 1/4 inch to 32 feet.

Commanding these huge resources is a massive console with six ivory keyboards and 729 color-coded stop tablets. There are 168 piston buttons under the keyboards and 42 foot controls. The console weighs 2.5 tons; the entire instrument weighs 287 tons.

It is now a National Historic Landmark and valued in excess of $57 million.
Source: Facts and Figures about the Wanamaker Organ.



33 Participating Choruses:
Abington Choral Club, Academy of Notre Dame, Ambler Choral Society, Arcadia University, Bel Canto Lyric Opera, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Camden Catholic High School, Central High School, Choral Society of Montgomery County, Delaware Valley Chorale, Greater South Jersey Chorus, New Jersey Master Chorale, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Penn Glee Club, Penn Singers Light Opera Company, Pennsylvania GirlChoir, Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia Chorus, Philadelphia Singers, Philadelphia Voices of Pride, Philomusica Chorale, Princeton Pro Musica, Singing City, St. Agatha-St. James Church, St. Steven's Church, Temple University, Villanova Pastoral Musicians, Villanova Voices, Wayne Oratorio Society, West Chester Area Community Chorus, Woodstown High School Chamber Choir,

See Also:
Philadelphia Inquirer Article
Article at prweb.com
Opera Company of Philadelphia  
A similar unrelated event that got some publicity was Joshua Bell's performance in the Washington DC Metro.