Hallelujah in Philadelphia!

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!


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Gerald Ragan
8 years 4 months ago
Dear Lord - While I am enjoying my exile in Augusta, GA, this video has made me so homesick.  Soft pretzels and Amoroso Rolls and Buttercake and Wawa how I miss them.  At least Scrapple, tastykakes and Yuengling have come South to give us expats a little comfort.  
Jim McCrea
8 years 4 months ago
Maybe it was just the result of the camera's choices, but it sure seems awfully white in Philadelphia!  I'm not used to that out here in Sodom by The Sea.
Carol Lott
8 years 4 months ago
My parents told us the same thing too about that Santa, and we passed on the story to our children.  Alas, the magic is not as magical anymore.  John Facenda is gone, and the program is shorter.  Last year, we had lunch at McGillins and watched the light show with our 27 and 30 year old.

In other news, the General Lafayette Inn has closed.

8 years 4 months ago
"famous Wanamaker eagle"

LOL.  And if you go to Philadelphia on New Year's Day, you can go to the "world-renowned Mummers parade"!
8 years 4 months ago
Here is another great piece by the OCP at Reading Terminal Food Market in Philadelphia last April


The eagle at Wanamakers was most recognizable place in Philadelphia to meet someone.  My mother used to say that when she went into downtown Philadelphia, she would always meet her friends at the Eagle.  Her sister, my aunt used to work at Wanamakers.

The Thanksgiving Day Santa climbed the building at Lit Brothers.  There was a lot of competitions between Wanamakers, Lit Brothers and Strawbridges.  There is a video of things in Philadelphia that are not there any more. 
Gabriel Marcella
8 years 4 months ago
Philadelphia at its best, a great city with great people.
Carol Lott
8 years 4 months ago
During the 1990s, they had a Dickens Village type of display in Strawbridge's.  Someone restored the Enchanted Village a few years ago, and they had it on display at the Atwater Kent and in the old Lit Brothers building at different times.


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