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Ever since John D. Spreckels gifted the City of San Diego with the largest outdoor pipe organ in America (almost 100 years ago), concerts at the pavilion in Balboa Park have been free to the public. Organists come from all over the world to try their hands on the 4518 pipes that make up the 100,000 pound instrument. (Additional specs here for organ geeks.)

Mayor Bob Filner will give a welcome address prior to the New Year's Day performance, which begins at 2 p.m. Carol Williams has been a San Diego Civic Organist since 2001 (the first woman in America to hold the title), and will be performing a special concert on New Year's Day to benefit the American Red Cross, or more specifically, "the people in our country who have lost loved ones and property in disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and are struggling to survive this winter."


Williams, who is also Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society, says, "I've chosen popular musical selections to ring in the New Year, including a Phantom of the Opera Medley as well as famous toccatas and marches."

Though everyone is welcome to enjoy the music for free as always, gold boxes will be set up at the pavilion to receive donations for those who are so inclined. "A contribution of $5 will provide a blanket for someone in a shelter."

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