Friday, November 12, 2010

A Random Act of Culture

This is a video that has been making the rounds this past week.  My friend Vickie was the first to bring it to my attention (Thank you, Vic!). 

Many of you may have already seen it, but it's worth a second, third, fourth or fifth look.

And to those who have not seen it - enjoy!!


"On Saturday, October 30, 2010, the Opera Company of Philadelphia brought together over 650 choristers from 28 participating organizations to perform one of the Knight Foundation‘s “Random Acts of Culture” at Macy’s in Center City Philadelphia. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ, the world’s largest pipe organ, the OCP Chorus and throngs of singers from the community infiltrated the store as shoppers, and burst into a pop-up rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” at 12 noon, to the delight of surprised shoppers. This event is one of 1,000 “Random Acts of Culture” to be funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation over the next three years. The Random Acts of Culture initiative transports the classical arts out of the concert halls and opera houses and into our communities to enrich our everyday lives. This event was planned to coincide with the first day of Opera America‘s National Opera Week.

The Philadelphia Opera Company worked with Macy’s, Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, led by organ music directors Peter Conte and Fred Haas, OCP chorus master/conductor Elizabeth Braden, sound engineer James R. Stemke. For a complete list of participating choirs and more information, visit"


Just Jane said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Oh, to have experienced it in person.

Auntie Knickers said...

The only way this could be better would be if the store was still called Wanamaker's. I don't know how it is in the South, but in many northern cities the iconic local department store and its holiday traditions have now all been taken over by Macy's. Down with homogenization!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

This is a story I like! I love it when culture seeps into everyday life. :)

This is a much better story than the one about virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell in the subway station...did you read that one? A few years ago now, but the Washington Post story fascinated and saddened me:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful a world where evil seems to always make the headlines, it is refreshing to see something like this that spotlights what is good and divine in our humanity.

Phyllis said...

Thanks Kaye for passing this on. This was very beautiful and totally unexpected in a huge department store. Music truly does soothe the savage breast.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

I'm so glad you've all enjoyed this. I just love it.

Nikki - I agree about wishing it were still Wanamaker's. When I was at Brandywine College, that exact same store (then Wanamaker's) was a place I just loved to visit. It was well known back then in the late 60s for its elaborate Christmas displays.

And yes, the independent department stores in the south have all been taken over and homogenized also - most of them by Macy's.