JWG (jwg) wrote,

One minute of fame?

Kimmel Center Organ I had my debut playing the new organ at the Kimmel Center (the somewhat new and very elegant concert hall) in Philadelphia on Saturday.

OK, not exactly; this wasn't a version of American Idol and I wasn't an invited guest auditioning for the Philadelphia Orchestra. As part of the inauguration of the new organ they had a Pay to Play session where could sign up for a minute for $25 or 5 minutes for $75. rsc, his brother Dan, and I each signed up for a minute. What ensued was a 4 hour event (we were at about 2 hours) with a variety of players. There were some little kids, some serious organists who signed up for 10 minutes and a mixture of other people. It was kind of fun, like a student recital; the audience was small, and everyone got applause, no matter how good or not good they were.

They had a real organist there helping out with stops etc. Dan played a jazz improvisation of some sort even though he'd brought some Schoenberg and Bach Well Tempered Clavier Vol II, Robert played the opening minute of the Bach Cminor Partita, and I played an improvisation mostly based on a A minor chord. It was fun making lots of noise and trying out the pedals. I've never touched an organ before (oh, perhaps a little pedal organ once) and it was fun. If I had to do it again I'd sign up for 5 minutes so I could play around with the gazillion stops as well. I wish I'd asked for some trumpets.

When asked what I was going to play I said something like; I don't know, I was thinking of playing John Cage's 4'33" (4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence) but since I only signed up for 1 minute....

The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, Dobson organ Op. 76, ranks as the largest concert hall organ in the United States. With its nearly 7,000 pipes, four blowers, 300 levels of memory, 111 stops, pipe sizes ranging from about the size of a drinking straw up to two feet square by 32 feet high, this is truly the King of Instruments!

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