Entertainment & Events

Things to Do in San Diego: Free Spreckels Concerts in Balboa Park

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San Diego boasts a wide variety of things to see, smell, taste, touch and hear during the summertime, and with the cloudy weather finally giving way to blue skies and warm sunlight, now is the perfect time to explore and immerse yourself in the city’s diverse offerings. Among the entertainment options is an event you’ll only find here, in the county’s beloved and historic Balboa Park—the Spreckels Organ concert.

In 1914, John D. and Adolph Spreckels donated the massive Spreckels organ, the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, to San Diego for the California-Panama Exposition. The awe-inspiring instrument, with its glinting metal, antique wood, and ornate craftsmanship, consists of 4,530 pipes ranging in length from the size of a pencil to 32 feet. But the instrument isn’t just for show—since 1917, San Diego has had a civic organist, who performs free weekly Sunday concerts in the park.

And in the summertime, there are even more opportunities to hear the organ’s beautiful melodies free-of-charge, as the Pavilion plays host to an impressive range of world-class concert and theater organists during its International Summer Organ Festival. The event opens June 21 and runs through August 30th in celebration of 22 years of organ music in Balboa Park. Every Monday at 7:30 pm, as the sun sets and the stars begin twinkling, the majestic, hauntingly beautiful music drifts through the air, delighting the large crowds that gather for the rare opportunity to see a master at work. So if you really want to hear all that San Diego has to offer, take a trip down to Balboa Park, leave your wallet behind, and enjoy a concert on the Spreckels Organ Society.

Upcoming shows at the Pavilion include: Keenan Boswell and Nicole Cochran, two up-and-coming American pipe organ stars on August 16th, Movie Night with the world-renowned theater organist Dennis James on August 23rd, and Jazz Night with Carole William, guest trombonist Dave Scott and other San Diego jazz musicians on the 30th, the festival’s closing night.

Photo from aarmono via flickr

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