May 27th, 2016 (WPVI) --This month marks 10 years since The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts unveiled the famed Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, and they're marking the occasion with a day dedicated to the so-called 'King of Instruments.'
"Here we are 10 years later and we really are very proud of the organ," says Kimmel Center Artistic Director Jay Wahl.
The organ was built in 2001 and made its Kimmel Center debut 5 years later. With nearly 7,000 pipes, it's the largest mechanical-action concert hall organ in the country.
"It has a lot of colors. It makes a lot of different sounds. It can make sounds of the strings from an orchestra, trumpets, and bells," says Wahl, "It really is a full orchestra in itself."
Organ Day is a day filled with family-friendly events designed to help visitors learn even more about it.
"When you first walk into the building, there's what we call an organ grinder going on in the lobby and you get to talk to someone about how the organ works," says Wahl, "kids can get really close and that plays as sort of an organ demonstration."
The jam-packed day will also feature games, performances, and activities that actively engage visitors with the organ.
"We bring in the Opera Philadelphia and the huge chorus sing with organ. We play silent films, where we do accompany with the organ," says Wahl, "We'll do jazz with the organ. This year you'll see some work by Duke Ellington".
And Wahl says Organ Pumps is an interactive way for children to truly hear the sounds that the organ can make, "We invite audiences to come and lay down on the stage and we play some big organ song and you can feel the vibrations on the floor," he says, "Organs have often been used for big ceremonial things or religious things and the 3-year-olds just think it's cool, and I enjoy that, and I'm always delighted to have families come in."
Organ Day is Saturday, June 11th from 11am-5pm. For more details, visit www.theartsinphilly.org.