The central court at Macy's isn't exactly a place where one is surprised to enounter music - it's home of the Wanamaker Organ, after all. But still, it was trememdously moving. It's one thing to hear music, another to hear it on this scale. About 650 singers from area churches, schools and choruses belted out Handel at noon, and there was something about the incredibly present spirit of all that humanity that just sent shivers up your spine.
Almost everyone I spoke with had something to say about the greater significance of bringing music out of the concert hall.
"The arts aren't just a frill, but a part of life," concluded Sandy Smith from the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus, one of 28 groups that participated in the sing-in.
Joanna McNeil Lewis, president of the Academy of Music, was there, and said classical events that can compete for attention in a crowded media world are the future. "It's about creating unusual things to get people's attention," she said.
Wide attention is likely on the way. The event was organized by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and the last time OCP did this sort of thing, in April, the video drew (as of last count) nearly three million views.
Hard to tell for sure, but some viewers may take the next step and look into what OCP is up to the rest of the year.