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Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be rededicated as Marian Anderson Hall, home of The Philadelphia Orchestra



Posted on February 22, 2024

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.


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FREE “Organ Day” presented by @EnsembleArtsPhilly (Facebook/Instagram)/@EnsembleArtsPHL (Twitter/X) and @philorch is back for its 12th year on April 20! @philorch performs in the morning, plus @phila_ballet (Twitter)/@philadelphia_ballet (Instagram)/@philadelphiaballet (Facebook), @OperaPhila, “Fred” the Organ, silent film, and MORE!


Press Contacts:
Lauren A. (Woodard) Hall                                             
484-832-1963 (cell) 


Stephanie Williams
610-952-6836 (cell)






Audiences of all ages are invited to a FREE Philadelphia Orchestra concert featuring the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the largest mechanical pipe organ in a concert venue in the U.S.


PLUS, experience Philadelphia Ballet, Opera Philadelphia, and even lie onstage in Verizon Hall to feel the organ vibrations


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA, February 22, 2024) –– Ensemble Arts and The Philadelphia Orchestra will present the 12th Organ Day on Saturday, March 23, 2024, a FREE, family-friendly event featuring the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.


Organ Day is a fantastic opportunity for the community to experience the vast array of artistic mediums presented in our venues, from orchestral music to opera, ballet to jazz, and so much more,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, president and CEO. “The event, which is generously supported by the Wyncote Foundation, celebrates and showcases the versatility of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, a majestic instrument in Verizon Hall.”


Organ Day kicks off at 11:30 AM with a FREE performance from the GRAMMY® Award–winning Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Assistant Conductor Austin Chanu with organist Paul Jacobs. Free tickets are required for this portion of the program; details are below. A small break from programming on the Verizon Hall stage will follow the Orchestra’s performance, during which the Lucas Brown Trio will play on the Plaza stage at 12:30 PM. Back in Verizon Hall at 1:20 PM, children are invited to touch and explore the organ with Kids Play the Organ, followed by the Gospel Fusion on the Organ program with organist Evelyn Simpson Curenton at 1:50 PM.


The day continues with a Philadelphia Ballet performance on the Verizon Hall stage at 2:30 PM, accompanied by Erik Meyer. After a small break, organists Dr. Jay Fluellen and John Walthausen will play together at the same time in a Multi-Player Organ Performance at 2:55 PM. Organist Christian Schmitt will then perform a solo recital at 3:05 PM, followed by the Opera Philadelphia Chorus with conductor Elizabeth Braden and organist Meghan Meloy Ness at 3:45 PM. The FREE day of activities wraps up with Saint Mark’s Church Boy & Girl Choir with choirmaster Dr. Robert Lehman and organist Dr. Thomas Gaynor at 4:35 PM; the return of a silent film screened with live organ accompaniment as organist Luke Staisiunas performs to Laurel and Hardy’s 1927 Leave ’em Laughing at 5:15 PM; and the popular “organ pumps” at 5:45 PM, during which guests are invited to leave their seats and lie on the stage of Verizon Hall, feeling the powerful vibrations of the organ.


The day will be cohosted by Tyrone Whiting and Michael Barone. Full schedule and repertoire are below.


The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, Dobson organ Op. 76, is located inside Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “Fred” ranks as the largest mechanical-action concert hall organ in the United States with 6,938 pipes, four blowers, 300 levels of memory, 111 stops, and a total weight of approximately 32 tons. The largest pipes are made of wood and are about 32 feet tall, while the smallest metal pipes are similar in size to a slender drinking straw. It is the culmination of more than six years and 52,000 hours of planning, construction, and voicing.


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Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts


Saturday, March 23, 2024 | 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM


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BELOW IS A SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES FOR ORGAN DAY. For the most up-to-date information, please visit  www.ensembleartsphilly.org. Additional information will be announced at a later date.



11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

The Philadelphia Orchestra with conductor Austin Chanu and organist Paul Jacobs


Widor Toccata, from Organ Symphony No. 5

Handel First and second movements from Organ Concerto No. 13 (“The Cuckoo and the Nightingale”)

Mascagni Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana

Barber Excerpts from Toccata festiva

J.S. Bach Little Fugue, Paul Jacobs solo without orchestra

Guilmant Second and third movements from Symphony No. 1 for Organ and Orchestra


12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

The Lucas Brown Trio (performance on Plaza stage)

Lucas Brown, Hammond B3 Organist
Victor North, saxophone
Buron Landham, drums


1:15 PM – 1:20 PM

Welcome from co-hosts Tyrone Whiting and Michael Barone


1:20 PM – 1:50 PM

Kids Play the Organ with organists Brett Miller and Dr. Doug Backman


1:50 PM – 2:20 PM

Gospel Fusion on the Organ with organist Evelyn Simpson Curenton

Oscar Payne, bass
David Gibson, drums
Sheila Booker, vocalist
Carolyn Bolger-Payne, vocalist
James A. Early, vocalist
Walter Early, vocalist


Gospel repertoire to be announced at a later date


2:20 PM – 2:30 PM



2:30 PM – 2:45 PM

Philadelphia Ballet with organist Erik Meyer


Pas de duex, from Angel Corella’s Carmen


White Swan


2:45 PM – 2:55 PM



2:55 PM – 3:00 PM

Multi-Player Organ Performance presented by the Philadelphia Organ Festival with organists Dr. Jay Fluellen & John Walthausen


3:00 PM – 3:05 PM



3:05 PM – 3:40 PM

Organ Recital with organist Christian Schmitt


3:40 PM – 3:45 PM



3:45 PM – 4:30 PM

The Opera Philadelphia Chorus with conductor Elizabeth Braden and organist Meghan Meloy Ness


Favorite Verdi Choruses
“Libiamo” (The Brindisi) from La Traviata
“Vedi! Le fosche notturne spoglie” (The Anvil Chorus) from Il Trovatore
“Va pensiero” from Nabucco
“Patria Oppressa” from Macbeth

Choruses from two Philadelphia Premieres
“Sleep Chorus” from Silent Night, by Kevin Putz
“Epilogue” from Margaret Garner, by Richard Danielpour

Three Choruses from Bizet’s Carmen
“Dans l’air, nous suivons des yeux” (The Cigarette Chorus)
“Les Voici” 
With special guests from The Philadelphia Girl Choir

A Bernstein Finale
“Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide


4:30 PM – 4:35 PM



4:35 PM – 5:05 PM

St. Mark’s Church Boy & Girl Choir with conductor Dr. Robert Lehman and organist Dr. Thomas Gaynor


Johann Sebastian Bach - In dir ist Freude, BWV 615 (organ solo)
Ralph Vaughan Williams - The Call
John Ireland - Ex ore innocentium
Jean Langlais - Ave Maria
Edward Elgar - Ave Verum
Leonard J White - Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester
Sarah MacDonald - All manner of thing
Maurice Duruflé - Pie Jesu from Requiem, opus 9
Maurice Duruflé - Fugue sur le thème du Carillon des Heures de la Cathédrale de Soissons, opus 12 (organ solo)


5:05 PM – 5:15 PM



5:15 PM – 5:45 PM

Silent film with live organ accompaniment by organist Luke Staisiunas
Leave ’em Laughing (1927) - Laurel and Hardy


5:45 PM – 6:00 PM

Organ Pumps with organist Dr. Doug Backman


Organ programming is generously supported by the Wyncote Foundation. All scheduled programming and performers are subject to change.


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Tickets are required for the 11:30 Philadelphia Orchestra performance. Free tickets can be reserved by visiting the Organ Day webpage at www.ensembleartsphilly.org and clicking “Free Orchestra Ticket.” All performances 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM are unticketed. Come and go as you please!


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About Ensemble Arts Philly 


About The Philadelphia Orchestra  


Our Commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Strategies (IDEAS)



For a PDF version of this press release, click here.

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