Tonawanda News

Local News

January 5, 2009

MUSIC: Young North Tonawandan wins catholic music scholarship, performs at historic Buffalo church.

Attend Mass at Corpus Christi church in the heart of Buffalo and you’re bound to be moved by the place, its architecture and its acoustics.

During Sunday’s 11:30 Mass, one of North Tonawanda’s most talented young musicians took the helm of one of the finest all-around pipe organs in the region to make sure the music was as close to heavenly as possible.

Daniel Pisarcik, 14, commanded the church’s massive three keyboard, 32-pipe-set instrument for worshippers in the same house where it was built about 70 years ago, by Polish maker A. Radziewicz of New Jersey.

It is said workers at the time assembled the pieces in a building next door, eventually completing the installation of all 2,014 individual pipes (ranging in size from a half inch to 20 feet) in two separate chestnut wood housings on the church’s upper balcony.

Pisarcik’s teacher, Bruce Woody, said despite the rare quality of the instrument and fine acoustics of the building, it was his student’s solid playing ability which kept parishioners lingering in the aisles until the very last note of his closing rendition of “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”

“It’s coming from him,” said Woody, who has served as the church’s organist for about two years and before that as director of music for 18 years at what is now St. Jude the Apostle in North Tonawanda. “You could play a beautiful instrument poorly. He just sits there and you can tell he loves what he’s doing. He has a very sound understanding ...”

Woody also was organist for eight years at the now closed Ascension Roman Catholic Church in North Tonawanda. He has been the house organist at the historic Riviera Theatre on Webster Street for 10 years.

“If you can’t believe what Daniel does at church playing the organ, you’ll never believe what he does at the Riv,” he said of his student, also one of the theater’s organists, whose church performance Sunday was due to his third straight year winning the Buffalo Dioceses’ Monsignor Kawalec Young Organist Scholarship. The scholarship was $500 for the past two years Pisarcik won, and this year it was $250. He is one of two recipients this year.

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