Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia Celebrates Organ Day

By Aubrey Nagle

Opera Philadelphia is proud to once again join The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts for the 6th Annual Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Day on Saturday, June 11.

This free, family-friendly event is fun for all ages with Verizon Hall's Cooper Memorial Organ, the nation's largest mechanical action concert organ, at its center. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Kimmel Center will host demonstrations of this "king of instruments," silent film screenings with organ accompaniment, plus performances from the Philadelphia chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Philadelphia Brass and, of course, Opera Philadelphia.

Sixty members of the Opera Philadelphia Chorus will perform an abridged version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, accompanied by Bernie Kunkel on the organ, at 1:30 p.m. in Verizon Hall. Featured soloists soprano Jennifer Check and baritone John Viscardi will join this rousing performance. 


Credit: Daryl Peveto for the Kimmel Center

Organ Day is a real treat for the community and for the participating artists, too. The Cooper Memorial Organ is one of the largest organs in the world, with nearly 7,000 pipes ranging from the size of a drinking straw to the size of a three-story building. It's not every day you get to perform alongside an instrument that weighs 32 tons!

View the full Organ Day schedule below, and visit KimmelCenter.org for more information.

11:00 AM – PNC Grow Up Great: Carnival of the Animals
Eric Plutz (Organist), Liz Filios (Narrator)

12:00 PM – Film: Big Business by Laurel & Hardy
John Schwandt (Organist)

12:30 PM – Organ Recital by Daryl Robinson

1:00 PM – Members of the American Guild of Organists
Featuring: David Himmer, Aaron Patterson, Connor Fluharty, Joseph Russell

1:30 PM - Opera Philadelphia Chorus performs Carmina Burana
Bernie Kunkel (Organist), Jennifer Check (Soprano), John Viscardi (Baritone)

2:30 PM – 10th Anniversary of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Discussion with Michael Barone & Fred Haas

2:45 PM – Organ Pumps
Come lay down onstage and feel the vibration!

3:00 PM - Philadelphia Brass
Andrew Ennis (Conductor), Bernie Kunkle (Organist)

3:30 PM - Members of the American Guild of Organists
Featuring: Andrew Senn. Leah Martin, Kathleen Scheide, Edward Landin

4:00 PM – Jazz Standards by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, & More
Lucas Brown (Organist), Mike Cemprola (Saxophone), Madison Rast (Bass), Byron Landham (Drums)

4:30 PM – Film: The Goat by Buster Keaton
John Schwandt (Organist)

Opera Philadelphia’s participation in the 6th Annual Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Day is sponsored by the Wyncote Foundation.


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