The Wanamaker Organ in the 7-story Grand Court at Macy’s Center City Philadelphia is a National Historic Landmark attracting thousands of visitors for live concerts. The largest operational pipe organ in the world features over 28,000 pipes and has been the scene of both daily performances and historic concerts since 1911. Many performances there have been recorded for both broadcast and record and CD release.
It was the site for a viral Internet sensation when 683 singers converged on the Macy’s department store on October 30, 2010 to delight some 3000 shoppers with a “Random Act of Culture“ – a stirring rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus“ from Handel’s Messiah led by members of the Philadelphia Opera and featuring “The Reigning Monarch of All Instruments.“ The video was posted to YouTube and quickly received over six million hits. It was featured on CNN and ABC and became the fourth most shared video on Facebook.
Gotham has been honored to supply Jim Stemke (DSP Recordings), and his technical crew at Wanamaker, with Gotham microphone and multipair cable for ongoing upgrades to the recording facilities associated with this magnificent instrument.
Other recent landmark events at Wanamaker included a special weekend in June 2010 centered on concerts for the annual Wanamaker Organ Day and the dedication of a newly restored Wurlitzer Theatre Organ in the store’s breathtaking Greek Hall. Thousands came to listen to concerts by four world-renowned organists along with a large brass chorus featuring the Philadelphia Brass with added players and tympani.
In September 2008 the facility hosted a major event when the Wanamaker Organ was joined by the Philadelphia Orchestra for a landmark concert featuring organist Peter Richard Conte. The concert highlighted classics by Jongen, Bach/Stokowski and Dupre, along with a new piece by Howard Shore, commissioned by Macy’s for their 150th Anniversary. It marked the first in-store collaboration between the Orchestra and the Wanamaker Organ in 80 years, reviving a fabled Store tradition.
The Wanamaker technical team employed large amounts of Gotham GAC-4pairMiniAES and GAC-8pairMini AES low capacitance multipair cable for their long microphone runs. They have also been long-time users of the classic Gotham GAC-3 microphone cable, recently adding a supply of the much coveted vintage GAC-3-5.8mm NOS to their inventory.
Alex Martin, a member of the technical team upgrading the recording facilities at Wanamaker wrote to us regarding their use of low capacitance digital audio cable for long (> 100 meters) microphone runs:
“Jim Stemke and I have been extremely well impressed by the 4 and 8 pair AES snake cabling he ordered last summer…. We had contemplated using a fiber optic connection system, but for eight channels it would have cost over $5k. So much as fiber optic may seem snazzy, it’s vastly more cost effective to go with 500 ft. runs of the Gotham AES cable.“
After the Wanamaker Organ Day event in July 2010, Alex added:
“All of the audio pumped into the studio control room was exclusively conveyed on your Gotham cable, with preamps up to 600 cable feet away from the mics. Some of our engineering friends, who are locked into placing preamps on the stage near the mics, just couldn’t believe we got away with such long cable runs, but the modern DPA’s, Schoeps and Sennheiser condenser mics are all designed to work into very long cable runs. The other issue they raised was noise. Again, some of the engineers just don’t know what good, double Reussen shielding will do. We’ve never run into any cable noise whatsoever. Absolutely none!”