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November 8, 2010


Goosebumps in a department store: the conquest of a materialist temple

by quaesitor

A few years ago, I was staying with my wonderful godparents, Jim & Sallie, at their home in Philadelphia. We had a spare mo, one afternoon, and they took me to see the phenomenon that is the Wanamaker organ in what is now Macy’s. It is the largest pipe organ in the world and is wonderfully absurd. It is played twice a day, presumably as a not-so-subtle incentive to bring shoppers in and to lull them into false senses of secure profligacy.

Well, Jim emailed this link – filmed just over a week ago. Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah sung in the middle of the cosmetics department by a whole host of Philly choirs and organised by the Philadelphia Opera Company. What joy! It gave me goosebumps the first time I watched. I just love the sheer incongruity of it all. It was Halloween weekend, and so you have makeup artists wearing little devils’ horns wandering around the store while people sing this:

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Turn up the volume!! The sound quality is pretty good.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Rob Green
    Nov 8 2010

    Thank you!


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