2016 Fall Wanamaker Concert Review

Wanamaker Organ, 2016 Fall Concert Review:

In a spectacular show of technical and musical wizardry Richard Elliott of the The Mormon Tabernacle wowed the audience with a variety of captivating pieces of music during an evening of music in The Wanamaker Grand Court. The opening Bach Sinfonia from Cantata No 29 was brilliantly played on our beloved Non-Baroque instrument to great Baroque effect using the vast tonal palette that is the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ. Two highlights were: The Pastorale by the late Wanamaker Grand Court Organist Dr. Keith Chapman, a piece of sublime tranquility, followed by the thunderous and superhuman "Ride of the Valkyries" by Wagner that had the building literally shaking. Peter Richard Conte performed beautifully mid-program with a remarkable new arrangement by Andrew Ennis of Mendelssohn's Nocturne from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op 61. This new work will surely become a staple in organ recital literature in years to come.

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The Seifert family was awarded a plaque of special recognition at the opening of the evening for donating a gift for the rebuilding and restoration of the Wanamaker Organ Celesta; built in France over 100 years ago this elegant set of bells had fallen into a state of disrepair. Rick Seifert and executive director Ray Biswanger drove to Chicago, IL summer of 2016 to retrieve the specially restored instrument. The Celesta made its debut at this concert as Peter Richard Conte improvised the theme from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood disguised as "Early Bach". 

These late evening, after store hours concerts, have been a part of Philadelphia’s Musical scene since the Wanamaker’s first installed the organ in 1911. Thanks to Macy's and The Friends of the Wanamaker Organ; these special concerts have been re-instituted; and they are not to be missed.

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At the dedication of the plaque:

Left to Right: Barbara, Martha, and Rick Seifert, also thanked were brothers Vaughan, Donald and sister Judy (Mrs. Judith Seaman)