May 9, 2015 |
Bobby Adams spent his wedding night on the operating table. He went under the knife at 11 p.m. and came out of surgery at 7 the next morning with two new lungs to go along with his new wife. The wedding on March 20 was not quite what Bobby and Ashley Adams had planned. Bobby was too weak to lift his head, much less get out of the intensive care unit bed at Temple University Hospital. He had more pipes in him than the Wanamaker organ, including a feeding tube taped to his nose that didn't enhance the wedding photos, and a tracheostomy in his throat, allowing him only to mouth the words "I do. " The decision to wed was so last-minute that they used gummy rings as wedding bands, and the bridesmaid, Ashley's best friend, provided music from her iPhone - Gareth Bush covering the Paramore song "Still Into You" - as the bride processed into the room.
January 24, 2015 |
Harry Wilkinson, 92, of Philadelphia, a longtime music professor, organist, and church musician, died Thursday, Jan. 15, of congestive heart failure at his home. Born in Saginaw, Mich., in 1922, he had a long and distinguished career as an organist and church musician, Yale organ curator Joseph Dzeda said in an online remembrance. "A gifted improviser at the organ, he began his early studies at age 12 with Harry C. Banks, Girard College organist," Dzeda said on www.wanamakerorgan.com , the website of Friends of the Wanamaker Organ.
November 8, 2014 |
The concerto portion of any Philadelphia Orchestra program tends to be blessedly predictable. Not this week. Three different organ concertos are scheduled on successive days through Saturday - not small amiable specimens by Handel, but large modern works, only two of three calling themselves concertos. First up was Joseph Jongen's 1927 Symphonie Concertante , a work written for the Wanamaker organ down the street at Macy's but not performed there until 2008. The difference at the Kimmel Center on Thursday was that you could actually hear this ambitious four-movement piece - in contrast to the wildly reverberant acoustic at Macy's.
October 17, 2014 |
Attending organ concerts can feel like an audience with the pope. Such things don't happen every day, or on your schedule: You go to them. Once there, the inexorable wall of sound is like nothing else. In a world of conformist experiences, no two organs are quite alike; each comes with so many options that any given organ takes its sound from whoever plays it. Especially this week. You might think the Kimmel Center's stately 7,000-pipe Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, known affectionately as "Fred," is having an extravagant nervous breakdown during Leos Janacek's feverish Glagolitic Mass . The Thursday-through-Saturday performances, conducted by Alan Gilbert, are the first in the Philadelphia Orchestra's Art of the Pipe Organ series - but they also are part of a perfect storm happening here that might not be possible in many other cities.
December 7, 2013 |
For Lauren Huezo and her family, the holidays mean a trip to Longwood Gardens for the dancing fountain, a stop at Macy's to hear the Wanamaker Organ, and a jaunt to the Comcast Center to enjoy the much, much larger-than-life seasonal lobby show. On a recent weeknight, Huezo added to that "must-do" list, huddled with her husband and two sons watching Franklin Square's new offering, "Electrical Spectacle. " "And now we have a fourth," said Huezo, of the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, referring to her holiday traditions.
May 11, 2013 |
When people think about the Wanamaker organ - if they think about the Wanamaker organ - they likely associate it with the light show that illuminates Macy's Grand Court in Center City during the Christmas season. That, cautions L. Curt Mangel III, is a mistake. Europeans "worship this instrument," said the organ's curator and chief caretaker. "This is a mecca for organ lovers and organ builders, [yet] most people in Philadelphia don't even know it's here. " Mandel hopes that Philadelphia Open House will help change that.
April 13, 2012
Friday Midtown Men to perform The Midtown Men, four original cast members from The Jersey Boys, will sing to benefit the Miracle League of Northampton at 8 p.m. Friday in the auditorium at Council Rock High School South, 202 Rock Way, Holland. The group - Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and J. Robert Spencer - will sing hits from the 1960s, including songs by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Temptations, the Jackson Five, and the Four Seasons.
November 24, 2011
John M. Creveling, 97, of Yeadon, retired director of communications for John Wanamaker, died Thursday, Nov. 17, at Little Flower Manor in Darby. Mr. Creveling joined the marketing department at Wanamakers in 1953 and from 1969 to 1979 directed communications at the department store. A talented musician, Mr. Creveling sang patriotic songs on Veterans' Day in Wanamakers' Grand Court, accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ. He played trombone in his college orchestra and later was a longtime member of the Trinity Lutheran Church Choir in Yeadon.
October 3, 2011 |
The King of Instruments was lonely no more. Normally heard from its solitary perch on the second floor of Macy's department store, the legendary Wanamaker organ had a 100th-birthday celebration with full orchestra (not so unusual in recent years) and one positioned nearer than usual on the second-floor gallery for the first time in some nine decades. The Camden-based Symphony in C (in a reduced version) joined the organ for a concert of substantial but infrequently heard organ/orchestra works and did so with a particularly strong artistic imperative, even if the pieces were not all first-rate.
June 27, 2011 |
The Wanamaker organ arrived at its 100th birthday this week so fabulously refurbished and grandly enthroned in the second floor of the Center City Macy's department store, you could almost believe this huge musical instrument (and Philadelphia institution) can do anything. Fearlessly, resident organist Peter Richard Conte capped a week of concerts Saturday with a program that, intentionally or not, competed with the Philadelphia Orchestra on its own territory. The program was Richard Strauss' suite from the opera Der Rosenkavalier , in Conte's own transcription, and a particularly intriguing plan for Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 - pianist Jeremy Filsell accompanied not by orchestra but the Wanamaker mammoth.