Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random Acts of Handel....

As someone who played church organ for over a decade, I've always been fascinated by the more unusual ones.  The Wanamaker Organ is the largest pipe organ in the world with 28,500 pipes, the biggest of which is 32 feet long!  As you can see from the picture, it has 6 ivory keyboards and get this, 729 stops!!! Whew!

It was originally built in 1904 for the St. Louis World's Fair.  A few years later, John Wanamaker bought the organ for the 7 story court area of his store in Philadelphia, which is now a Macy's.  Many notable organists have performed there over the years and they regularly hold concerts.  Two weeks ago (on Oct. 30, 2010), though, the Philadelphia Opera Company, working with hundreds of volunteers from area choirs, participated in a "Random Act of Culture," that took shoppers by surprise.  In the middle of a not unusual organ performance during a regular shopping day, the organist began playing Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" and 650 choristers (including the professional members of the opera company) broke out in song, delighting and surprising the unsuspecting crowd of shoppers:

I like to think that somewhere Handel is smiling.

I've admired these little unexpected performances via youtube for awhile now, my favorites being the "Do Re Mi" performance at the Antwerp Train Station in Belgium.  Anyway, Charlotte's amazing voice teacher, Cathy sent this link earlier tonight and I couldn't resist sharing it on the blog.  Hope you enjoy!

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