Monday, June 6, 2016

WANAMAKER ORGAN DAY

 
As is tradition, every year the first weekend in June, my good friends, the Capital Street Duo come to Philadelphia for the wonderful Wanamaker Organ Day concert. If you've been to Philly before you know the Wanamaker building is a crown jewel. I only wish a higher end luxury store would have taken over Wanamaker's when they went out of business. John Wanamaker pioneered the first department store concept in Philadelphia when he founded Wanamaker's in 1866. Wanamaker's was the first department store to guarantee a refund policy and to be illuminated by electricity. In 1910, Wanamaker replaced his Grand Depot in stages, and constructed a new, purpose-built structure on the same site in Center City Philadelphia. The new store, built in the Florentine style with granite walls by Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham, had 12 floors, numerous galleries and two lower levels totaling nearly two million square feet. The palatial emporium , known as the Grand Court, featured the Wanamaker Organ, the former St. Louis World's Fair pipe organ. This concert was more demure then the last couple years "building shaking" loudness.
 
 
The later afternoon show was accompanied by the wonderful Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Festival Chorus....
The morning concert featured a wonderful "duet" on the organ being played by the talents of handsome musicians Peter Richard Conti and Andrew Ennis. I was a tad smitten with Andrew.
 
With nearly 28,500 pipes running up 6 floors, the Grand Court Organ is the largest playable instrument in the world. A National Historic Landmark since 1980, the organ's six manuals and plethora of pipes give it the capabilities of three symphony orchestras. Grand Court Organ concerts are performed twice daily, Monday through Saturday, and also have concerts through the year.
 
This year found us sitting right under the Eagle!!!
 
Handmade in Frankfurt, Germany, the bronze Wanamaker Eagle weighs 2,500 pounds and sits on a granite base in the Grand Court. The floor of the Grand Court had to be strengthened with girders to support it. There are 1,600 sculpted feathers on the head alone, and 5,000 on the entire Eagle. This famous bird began the long-beloved Philadelphia tradition of a Center City rendezvous initiated by the saying “Meet me at the Eagle.”
 
Afterwards it was off to Mixto....
Mixto’s cuisine is a mixture of Cuban, Latin American, and Caribbean flavors. They are known for their traditional dishes such as, Paella, Argentine Churrasco and Rotisserie Pernil. They are also known for  their large portions, so come hunger.  The atmosphere of Mixto is warm and traditional, which represents the Latin culture well. Of course the Mistress likes Mixto also because of the hot waiters there filling out their jeans oh so nicely and their.......
Best mojitos in the city. If you get the chance when your in Philly stop into Mixto. Great atmosphere and great food. Isn't that what spending time with friends should be about? Tootles!

47 comments:

  1. Wonderful post as always and great pictures. If you have some time and an interest in music and/or Philadelphia, check out the behind-the-scenes organ tour sometime. Really, really cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Last year I took the behind the scenes tour....it was truly amazing. I also had a friend that worked there when it was Woodward And Lothrop, as I had a very special tour of the whole building. Very said so much of the old store isn't used. Whole areas just sitting abandoned. And the Crystal Tearoom sits empty as well.

      Delete
    2. they use the tearoom for wedding receptions and special events now. but I can remember the days when the wait for a table during the lunch hour was VERY long!

      Delete
  2. When I was in Philly years ago, I wish I would have spent more time in Philly. I miss it and it's one of the best cities to walk and see things.What a store! And the Organ music is the icing on the cake. What great pictures Mistress.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That organ is stunning. I love your post on the organ when you featured it before. Never seen anything like it. This place is a gem of history!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That is very cool!!!! What a fantastic musical instrument. The time and resources it must have taken to create it must have been phenomenal!

    ReplyDelete
  5. WOW! You all do stuff up right back East. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Next time I'm anywhere near Philadelphia, I have got to go see this thing. Amazing! Your pictures are excellent of the building too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am very proud this is in our city....I often do shopping on my lunch break so I hear this organ quite frequently. And don't get me started on Mixto! Their food is so good, never a bad thing tried yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we DO have the best historic venues, don't we?

      Delete
  8. I particularly enjoyed your post here!!! Yes, I am a organ NUT, and I've played a few organs in my days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. but I bet those organs have not been attached to a department store! ;-)

      Delete
    2. As NJ Housewives say.....WHOOOOOORE!

      Delete
  9. Very interesting post and wonderful pictures.It's amazing the store's architecture hasn't collapsed. The vibrations created by the organ must beat the crap out of the structure. Those mojitos look very refreshing...what a nice weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I swear, if you not playing a big organ....your going to see one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you know our mistress - go big or go home!

      Delete
    2. your right...screw it...it is indeed the size of the flute....screw the music in it.

      Delete
  11. What a very interesting thing to see. There is nothing like that out here in Pittsburgh.That was awesome!! I can't even imagine what it sounded like live. Thanks for sharing!! Philly really is one of the coolest cities around.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Even thought it's a Macy's now, I have always thought of it still as Wanamaker's....Wondrous and awesome

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yep, I can't refer to it as "macy's" either.

      Delete
    2. I know ...me too. But I must be grateful for Macy's. As Peter Richard says...Macy's has sunk unbelievable money and time and interests into refurbing this gem.

      Delete
    3. and for THAT I am grateful to macy's. but the building will ALWAYS be wanamaker's!

      Delete
  13. Awesome is the only words one can say about this building and organ. To hear this in person is something to behold. The main ORGANIST, Peter Richard Conti does a tremendous job of bringing out the majesty of this powerful organ. We still visit there on trips downtown. We adore Mixto's sidewalk café...great for people watching.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Absoutely Fantastic! A magnificent place in a magnificent city.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm sorry to say I initially read the title of this post as '"Wankmaker's organ day" and wondered why there were no pictures of beefcake! But I do love you cultural posts, Mistress. The sound from those big pipes must have been glorious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. naughty ape! to hear this instrument in person is NOT to be missed!

      Delete
    2. It is dear Gorilla....and blow the big pipe is glorious too!

      Delete
  16. Mojitos!!!! Oh, sorry. The organ is incredible. And you've got me singing the song "Marry the Man Today" from "Guys and Dolls'... ("At Wannamaker's and Saks and Klein's, a lesson I've been taught, you can't make alterations on a dress you haven't bought..."

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wish I could have a mojito right now. I don't care that it's before 7am where I live. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have seen a documentary on the store and the organ. Didn't they have to do some refurbishing a while back?

    Mojitos are a most refreshing drink if properly made. Hugs!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the organ has gone through a long period of refurbishing; I believe there is still more to do.

      Delete
    2. I believe on you tube, there is a video where Peter Richard Conti gives a behind the scenes tour, and says the refurb in mostly done.....and the organ plays more beautifully in it's existence.

      Delete
  19. Well I must have pressed the wrong button (not the first time) and my comment disappeared! In a nutshell (so to speak) here's what I said:

    The setting is spectacular, that bronze eagle is beyond fantastic, and it would take one helluva virtuoso to tackle that magnificent Wanamaker Organ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. peter richard conte has been the organmaster (hee hee hee) for over 25 years now.

      I just wish every non-philly resident could have visited wanamaker's during the 60s and 70s - a store like no other in this area!

      Delete
    2. Between you and Anne Marie, I have the confidence you too could do a good blow of the pipes! I do think Jon, you'd love this spot in Philly.

      Delete
  20. for more information, check out:

    http://wanamakerorgan.com/

    lots and lots of details about our city's fascination with this instrument!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS - I am not a tour guide, and I don't play one on tv. But I AM a philly native and damn proud of it!

      Delete
    2. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were excited by this post?

      Delete
    3. HELL YEAH! we should show off our city to its best advantage!

      Delete

Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...