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Wanamaker Organ

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ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2011 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
On Saturday night in Center City, the world's greatest musical instrument will accompany the greatest silent film ever made. Hyperbole? Perhaps. The screening, at the Grand Court in Macy's at 13th and Market Streets, will feature Fritz Lang's 1927 feature Metropolis shown on a 15-by-20-foot screen to an improvised score performed on the Wanamaker Organ by chief organist Peter Richard Conte. "It's the first time in [the organ's] history it'll be played with a film," says Ray Biswanger, executive director of the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, which is cosponsoring the evening with the Philadelphia Film Society.
NEWS
June 27, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
NEWS
October 3, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
NEWS
September 28, 2008 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
"You're about to experience history in the making. " That strong statement from organist Peter Richard Conte had no apparent argument from the 1,200-strong audience last night when the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wanamaker Organ, recently restored at its longtime home in the Center City Macy's department store, finally kept their oft-broken date. Their joint concert was dominated by Symphonie Concertante, a work written for both orchestra and organ in 1926 by the great Belgian composer/organist Joseph Jongen, but whose premiere was postponed and eventually cancelled by a succession of circumstances, among them the 1929 stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 1997 | By Leonard W. Boasberg, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For almost 86 years, starting June 22, 1911, someone played the mammoth organ at the flagship Wanamaker store at 13th and Market Streets every business day, except when the mighty instrument needed repair. Then, on Jan. 4, organist Peter Richard Conte played it for the last time before the store, by then under a new owner that first renamed it Hecht's and then Strawbridge's, shut its doors for a seven-month restoration. Yesterday, at the grand opening of the yet again renamed store, now Lord & Taylor, Conte, clad for the occasion in a tux, resumed the tradition and, with it, another.
NEWS
May 9, 2015 | By Michael Vitez, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
January 24, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
June 19, 1994 | The Philadelphia Inquirer / CHARLES FOX
At 90 years and counting, the Wanamaker Organ is still going strong. Yesterday, Peter Conte took control of the six keyboards, 729 stops, 42 foot controls and 28,000 pipes for a birthday concert. The organ was designed by George Audsley for the 1904 World's Fair.
NEWS
November 8, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
NEWS
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.
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NEWS
May 9, 2015 | By Michael Vitez, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
January 24, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
November 8, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
NEWS
October 17, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 7, 2013 | By Natalie Pompilio, For The Inquirer
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 2013 | By Natalie Pompilio, For The Inquirer
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
October 3, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
NEWS
June 27, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
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