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Spontaneous Messiah! Opera Company Performs Hallelujah Chorus to the Surprise and Delight of Macy's Shoppers

Aimee Herd : Nov 19, 2010  Knight Foundation

"And He shall reign forever and ever, King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever, King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halle—lujah!"

(Philadelphia, PA)—On October 30th of this year, the usual busyness and bustle of shopping at Macy's in downtown Philadelphia was pleasantly interrupted by one of the Knight Foundation's "Random Acts of Culture."

The Wanamaker Organ (the world's largest pipe organ) began to play the beginning strains of the Hallelujah Chorus from George Friderick Handel's Messiah, members of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, along with other choristers from all over the community—650 in all—who had infiltrated the store posing as shoppers, stopped what they were doing and began to sing.

spontaneous Hallelujah ChorusAs evidenced on the YouTube video, regular shoppers halted as well, enthralled with the spontaneity of the moment, and the beauty of that incomparable chorus of praise.

As the camera pans, every Macy's customer seems caught up—some laughing, some singing, others just watching, all smiling—as the powerful lyric and music echoes from floor to floor around them.

With the last few stanzas, the vigorous "hallelujahs" crescendo to their finale, and the anticipating crowd breaks into a huge ovation.

It's rumored that when Handel was writing the Hallelujah Chorus, his assistant—who had been calling his name to no avail—walked into his room and found the great composer in tears. When he asked why he was crying, Handel held up the music score and said, "I thought I saw the face of God."

…Perhaps another reason why this unmatched piece of music has carried with it such a great anointing down through the years. Maybe it's a little taste of a worship service in Heaven.

A press release from the Knight Foundation (the organization that arranges such "spontaneous" events) explains: Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Random Acts of Culture series brings classical artists out of the performance halls and into the streets and our everyday lives.

I look forward to the next Random Act of Culture planned on unwary crowds by the Knight Foundation, wherever and whenever it might be, and I hope I'm among that unsuspecting, serenaded throng.

To find out more about them, follow the source link provided—and enjoy the video!

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