Hilo temple hosting free concert for new organ dedication

  • Courtesy photo

    Rick Mazurowski and the new Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin organ.

Hawaii’s newest and most technically advanced church organ will be dedicated during a free concert at 2 p.m. June 10 at Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin.

Performing on the new organ will be Rick Mazurowski, organist and choir director at Hilo’s Church of the Holy Apostles and featured organist at the Palace Theater. The program will include original compositions by Mazurowski, favorites from Johann Sebastian Bach, traditional gathas from praises of the Buddha and transcriptions of well-known concert pieces arranged for organ. Also on the program will be violinist Megan Pascual, who will be accompanied by Mazurowski.

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The new organ was custom built by the Allen Organ Co. in Pennsylvania, the largest builder of church organs in the world. Its specifications were designed exclusively for Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin by Church Organs Hawaii partners Bob Alder and Jude Oliver, who also did the installation and tonal finishing of the organ.

Alder and Oliver, based in Hilo, are responsible for the care and maintenance of more than 250 church organs throughout Hawaii.

“Our temple’s organ was in need of an upgrade and Church Organs Hawaii, working with the Allen Organ Co., designed a brand new replacement that is sure to serve our congregation for decades to come,” said Hilo temple spokeswoman Karen Maedo. “Having Rick Mazurowski create a special program for the dedication concert is a highly anticipated event.”

The organ is the first in Hawaii to include touchscreen features that allow organists to easily customize hundreds of traditional pipe organ and orchestral voices for the specific musical needs of the services it will accompany. It has multiple voicing suites that include digital sampling from the finest pipe organs in the U.S. and Europe. It is a larger version of the Allen Organ recently installed in the Vatican’s Basilica of Saint Peter for accompanying the Sistine Chapel Choir and featured in the worldwide broadcast of the Pope’s Christmas Eve Mass.

“The console is beautifully and practically designed to complement the gorgeous temple interior, while allowing musicians to adjust the bench and music stand to their personal preferences,” Mazurowski said about the organ’s many impressive features. “The drawknobs are classically arranged for ease of use and beauty. It has the largest variety of timbres of any organ on the Big Island, featuring whisper-soft celestes, trumpets capable of commanding fanfares and an awesome variety of flutes and solo voices such as oboes and English horns.”

Mazurowski has served in churches in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Hilo, and has performed on the organs in St. Patrick’s and St. Paul’s cathedrals in New York City. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he studied organ under Edmund Ladouceur, and is a lifelong member of the American Guild of Organists. He is a retired pilot from Delta Airlines.

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Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin is the grateful recipient of funding for the new organ, provided by the Hiroaki, Elaine and Lawrence Kono Foundation. The Konos were lifelong active members of the temple.

The temple is located at 398 Kilauea Ave. A reception for the artists, with light refreshments, will follow the concert in Sangha Hall. For more information, visit www.churchorganshawaii.com.