Kimmel Center’s free organ tours, demonstrations reveal instrument's inner workings
Ooooh, y’all—organs. They’re not known as the “King of Instruments” for nothing, and now, with the Kimmel Center’s newly minted free monthly organ tour program, you, too, can find out the story behind the King.
The Kimmel Center, in fact, is home to the largest mechanical-action pipe organ in the country, with Verizon Hall’s instrument cramming in some 6,938 pipes into one room. Known as the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the Kimmel’s star instrument is now open to the public for free tours and a 15-minute demonstration each month.
At 32 feet tall and 52,000 man hours in, Fred J. Cooper’s massive memorial organ has long gone underappreciated in Philadelphia in terms of its sheer size. The tours, hopefully, can change that, with the first one scheduled to kick off February 1 with organist Michael Stairs providing a demonstration.
Other guest organists include Dr. John Rameria, Fred Haas, and Tim Evers, each of whom will be performing in the coming months for tour groups. But, as organs go, that’s not all.
The tours will culminate in a free organ performance in June 7 that lasts five hours, which admittedly sounds more like a test of endurance than a celebration. However, with accompanying children’s hours, puppet shows, silent films, and more, it should breeze past.
If organs aren’t your thing, though, the Kimmel Center is offering a number of other events as part of their ramped up touring initiative, which includes an Academy of Music tour, a Building and Theater tour, and an Art and Architecture tour. If ever you wanted to get up all in the Kimmel’s inner workings, now is your chance.