Shoppers at Macy’s in Philadelphia this past weekend were surprised when more than 600 voices throughout the crowds burst into a resounding rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus as reported and taped by The Creative Minority Report. Shoppers looked on in awe, some showing skepticism, while others simply closed their eyes and smiled in utter contentment as they listened with rapt attention.
The Opera Company of Philadelphia was influential in bringing this offering together as part of the Knight Foundation’s “1000 Random Acts of Culture” which will be performed across our great country over the next three years. I am excited to see and hear the next presentation.
The choristers were accompanied by the incredible Wanamaker Organ, known to be the world’s largest pipe organ. This organ boasts five staggered keyboards, one above the other, rising more than a foot above the organist’s head. In addition, there are at least twelve rows of musical stops and tabs along panels on either side of the organist.
The chorale sang out their joy with no embarrassment or awkwardness. Godbumps crawled up and down my arms as I scanned the crowds on the three levels in Macy’s huge foyer. Very young children and teenagers, along with the very young at heart, dispersed throughout the shoppers, sang together in perfect harmony.
Onlookers raised their arms in hallelujahs and praise, while cameras flashed everywhere. One lady was shown panning the crowds with her camera. A baby was held aloft as he joined in waving his little arms, a beaming smile spread across his face.
Way up in the farthest reaches of the highest balcony stood the maestro waving his arms as he directed the massive group. But I don’t believe they even noticed him, for they were rejoicing in their Savior, the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. The sights and sounds of this glorious concert I shall not soon forget.