Hallelujah! Last week the Opera Company of Philadelphia surprised holiday shoppers at Macy's in downtown Philadelphia (which many old-time Philadelphians still refer to by the name of the original storied store on that site: Wanamaker's) with the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah." The OCP has performed these wonderful "Random Acts of Culture" in the past, in which company members, intermingled with the unsuspecting crowds, burst unexpectedly into song. Here they are accompanied by the historic Wanamaker Organ. In my childhood, my parents used to tell my sister and me that among all the Santas who visited the area department stores, the "Real Santa" was the one who presided at Wanamaker's in Center City; and for generations of Philadelphians the store's Christmas concerts, led by the organ and supplemented by a dazzling light show meant that the Christmas season had truly begun. (You can get a sense of this at 3:12 in the video and you can even catch a glimpse of the famous Wanamaker eagle). And so, even though it's barely November, I guess it the Christmas season is upon us.
On a more serious note, it is surely wonderful to see praise of the Nativity of Our Lord introduced onto the floor of a department store floor during a busy Christmas shopping season. Hallelujah!