A random act of culture

Remember the flash mob choir brindisi thing?

Get a load of this, which I picked up from CMR.

600 choristers break out in song with the largest organ in the world, in Macy’s in Philadelphia.

It’s a random act of culture.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. albinus1 says:

    I lived in Philadelphia from 1984-1996. Isn’t that Wanamaker’s? I admit I haven’t been back to Philadelphia in several years. Is Wanamaker’s a Macy’s now?

  2. Frank H says:

    albinus1 – yes. it is Wanamakers. Click on the CMR link for the story.

  3. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Wannamakers suffered the same fate a Marshall Fields -assimilate, resistance is futile.

  4. pattif says:

    What I loved about this was the number of ordinary shoppers who joined in. I’d like to think that if this happened in the equivalent emporium in London, loads of people would know the words, but I’m not so sure….

  5. Microtouch says:

    We’ve experienced similar such events in Organ Historical Soc. conventions with around 300-400 music professionals in a church all breaking out in 4+ part harmony when singing hymns. To be surrounded by that much on pitch harmonic sound is truly awe inspiring.

  6. Girgadis says:

    It was annoying to see Christmas decorations up a day before Halloween, but I can let that pass. To think that nearly the entire store was captivated by an oratory dedicated to God gives me as many goosebumps as hearing the other-worldly sounds coming from that organ. Growing up, the store was John Wanamaker’s. Lord & Taylor had it for awhile, and now Macy’s and every time a new owner takes over, Philadelphians hold their collective breath over whether the Christmas light show will survive. You may have seen a glimpse of it as well as the famous Wanamaker eagle in some of the shots. For me, there is probably no greater Philadelphia treat than visiting Macy’s when an organ concert is in progress.

  7. MLivingston says:

    “Random act of culture” to keep it under somebody’s radar?? It’s an in-your-face, joyful, joined-in-by-many-in-the-crowd act of CHRISTIAN PRAISE! Maybe I can’t believe that anybody let it go by hiding it under that “culture” umbrella, but Glory to God anyway! I’ve sung that piece my whole long life, in many churches and halls and other places, so it resonates with me as it obviously did with lots of the shoppers that day, but it is CHRISTIAN PRAISE, start, middle and end. That was more lifting to my spirit today than all the Republican victories Tuesday night. Thank you!!

  8. Patikins says:

    That was awesome. I too noticed quite a few people without the badges who joined it. With so many community choruses preforming Messiah (in whole or in part) it’s not surprising that others joined in. I probably would have joined in too though it’s been quite a few years since I’ve sung the Hallelujah chorus.

  9. Fr. W says:

    How beautiful – no matter what the ‘culture’ says, Jesus still is in his people. How delighted they were to sing to the King of Kings. Jesus is living.

  10. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Did anyone else notice that not all the singers were the Opera Company Chorus???

    I love a PUBLIC demonstration of FAITH!!!!

  11. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Oh, and that nearly EVERYONE stopped? Except for one young woman wearing horns…

  12. JMody says:

    Ah yes — and nobody (on the video) suggested she lose them for a moment. Since culture is so lacking, do you think that maybe she didn’t realize it’s kind of a religious-themed song, or that the idea of devil horns might not jive with Christian music? Or was it all over her poor head?

    I think I’d have swiped my hat off my head and stood at attention — and I left active duty nearly 15 years ago!

  13. Nathan says:

    Isn’t it grand that the Opera Company of Philadelphia chose to do this (most likely unknowingly) on the day before the great Feast of Christ the King in the traditional calendar?

    In Christ,

  14. I don’t know. These flash mob things were funny at first, but now it just seems typical of our “insider desire” culture: People want to be “in on a secret” (we’re going to dazzle you with a song, and you don’t know it yet!). How would the opera company have handled it if people didn’t stop to listen to them, if they just went about their lives and kept shopping and talking? Would there have been resentment that the public didn’t applaud? Just my opinion.

  15. My daughter’s boyfriend is in the opera chorus, and I can tell you that (ahem) perhaps not all the chorus members are people of faith, and maybe they even experienced a touch from God doing this beautiful thing. And yes, there were other groups, like Philadelphia Singers, who joined in. I was moved to see the joy in the faces of the “surprised” ones, and that the message was ” HE shall Reign forever and ever!”
    Father T., with true respect, I say this–that the goal in all those singers (688) and Peter Richard Conte, the organist, giving up their Saturday morning,( in particular, one that was fraught with traffic gridlock, due to the fact that Pres. Obama’s presence (about 7 miles away) caused), was to share a joyful, and yes, surprising gift. No one in particular was singled out or recognized.

    Kelly (everything is grace) from Philadelphia @ http://amomforlife-theunconventionalfamily.blogspot.com/

  16. asophist says:

    Everyone identifies the Halleluja Chorus with Christmas. That’s why Macy’s orchestrated this event: to get shoppers into the Christmas shopping spirit – i.e., to spend LOTS OF MONEY – before even October has breathed its last. I’m glad that a great hymn of praise was publicly sung, even by a lot of people who really don’t care about the words, and I’m glad that it may have really spiritually inspired some people, and for all the other good effects it may have had, but I find Macy’s motivation and timing for this disgusting.

  17. Girgadis says:

    Father J. and others:
    Assuming you are not from Philadelphia, you probably are not aware of the violent flash mobs that cropped up in the city last year. One of the worst wreaked havoc outside this Macy’s store and committed random acts of violence against innocent bystanders who happened to be shopping or coming from work. It was a black eye on the city and, as a result, groups like the one who participated in singing the Hallelujah chorus have successfully made the point that you need not punch someone in the mouth or rob them to catch them off-guard and surprise them. I doubt the perpetrators of the violent flash mobs got the message, if they were even aware that this event took place, but I give the choristers credit for trying anyway.

  18. irishgirl says:

    I love this! It’s so cool!
    Seriously, though-this goes to show that ‘we know WHO WINS IN THE END!’ We know ‘the end of the story’!
    ‘Christus Vincit, Christus Regnant, Christus Imperat’!

  19. Melody says:

    I found this beautiful and inspiring. I too would have sung along.

    Girgadis: I’m very saddened to hear that people have been violent in your area. I’ve participated in a few flash mobs at anime conventions and they are always peaceful affairs meant to surprise and amuse. Last July we staged a zombie invasion (with a few defenders) who later danced to Thriller. It was good fun.

    Father J: Perhaps some think like that, but the meaning among those who originated flash mobbing is that life becomes sad when all time for fun is carefully planned. It’s wonderful to give people an unexpected laugh or especially unexpected joy. The reward for participating is not being in on the secret, it’s seeing faces light up.

  20. lux_perpetua says:

    i too was at this event. it was amazing. the whole entire building vibrated with sound… as others have commented, hearing “the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ!” sung so triumphantly in the epitome of American secular materialism was just spectacular.

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