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Organist Peter Gonciarz 
Graj, Panu, Graj!

New Christmas CD
Organist Peter Gonciarz
After high school, Peter spent his first year of college at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD, which is affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. He studied there with world renowned organist Donald Sutherland.

Peter is now currently in his third year of undergraduate study at Villa Maria College of Buffalo, N.Y. Peter is majoring in Music Performance and studies with Donald Sutherland's former colleague, Mr. James D. Flood.

Peter had a great dream of experience in accompanying different choirs, soloists, and other musicians, including weddings and funerals. Peter also has significant experience performing at Villa Maria College for various college functions. Peter has also performed on the piano for private parties, benefits and local fund raising events as well.

Recently, Peter cam in 2nd place in the 2010 Buffalo Young Artists Competition in organ playing.

Peter currently lives in Depew, N.Y. ad has shared organ duties at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament with Mrs. Mary Jane Mescall for 8 years now. In the spring of 2010, Peter has been the accompanist for the Cheektowaga Community Choir and has performed with them a modern choral work entitled "Sing for the Cure", a proclamation of hope benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Peter Gonciarz Discusses His Connection with St. John Gualbert's
At the beginning of this semester (Fall 2010), I gave the church around the corner, St. Gualbert's a call. I had heard that the church recently put $70,000 into their organ so I was hoping that I could get permission to have my lessons there, as well as practice there while I'm at school. Fortunately the pastor, Father David, is a fine organist himself and understood my situation. This is now a huge step up from what I was used to having most of my lessons on and finally I can play my Romantic and American literature on a more appropriate organ.

The organ at St John Gualbert's has had an interesting history. From what I understand, the organ was originally a 3 manuals and around 17 ranks and was built and installed by Kilgen in 1929. I don't know the original specifications but I'm sure it was typical of the day, mostly unison pitch stops, unified to death, and had a small pedal division consisting of a huge 16' Open Wood extended to 8', and a 16' Bourdon that was probably available at 8', and 32' as a resultant. In the 1980's the wrong person got their hands on it. Carl Stradtman (who from what I understand was the worst excuse of an organ builder/repairman/tuner in Buffalo) reduced the organ from 3 manuals to 2 manuals, and destroyed the original tone of most of the organ by re-voicing. He did add a much needed IV Mixture though, which is always useful no matter what.

About 2 years ago, the organ was completely rebuilt by the Tenerowicz Organ Co. of Buffalo NY. The goal of the project was to bring back the Kilgen sound. The first thing that was done was the console was brought back to 3 manuals! Supposedly the best pipes that were from the original organ were moved to the choir division. The 2 original pedal ranks were left as is. The only change in the pedal I believe was that the 32' Resultant was changed to a 10 2/3' Quint. However, the major change of the organ was the addition of almost all of the organ of the nearby closed church, Holy Name of Jesus. 3 reed ranks were also added from nearby closed church Queen of Peace as well. The only thing is that the organ of Holy Name of Jesus was not a Kilgen, but it was a Felgemaker, the organ at Queen of Peace was a Kilgen though. So with the additions, the organ from what was originally around 17 ranks, is now 32. And the acoustics at St. John Gualbert's are quite fine.

Overall this organ is a very fine instrument, and is a really good organ for American Romantic literature, as well as orchestral transcriptions. However, there are a couple flaws with the organ. Originally the organ was completely enclosed, and from where you sit at the console, the Great/Pedal/Choir was in the chamber to your left, and the Swell was in the chamber to your right. Naturally, with the big pedal pipes in the left chamber, the left chamber is at least 3 times as big as the right chamber, and there's no way the pedal pipes could fit or be moved to the right chamber. For what ever reason, the bigger chamber had to become the Swell, so the two 16' Pedal ranks are under expression in the Swell. Not to mention they are buried behind all the Swell pipes. And to make things worse, the new facade (which is divided in front of the two respective chambers), which on the left side is the entire Great with the exception of the 8' Trumpet, blocks about 90% of the Swell. So somehow the 16's have to get passed all the Swell ranks, and about 95% of the Great ranks to be heard, or felt. So from listening you would probably feel that the organ is lacking in 16'. That's why. And because the chambers were "switched", the Swell expression pedal is the first to the left, and not in the middle like it usually is. That will throw you off, I promise. Another problem is that the 16' Bourdon was not made playable in the manual, historically, all of these organs had a 16' in one of the manual divisions and I'm really not sure why it was left out. The chimes are also piercing loud, and very oddly there is no volume control. I thought all Mayland Chimes were equipped with a volume control? There's two 8' strings on the Great, but no 4' Flute. Hmm. And lastly, the 16' Trombone was left prepared for. The wind chest and stop tab is there, just no pipes, so hopefully in the future that will be added.

I know, I know - I'm really picky, but still love this organ though and it really has a wonderful sound to it. Daniel Tenerowicz really did a beautiful job with this difficult rebuild, and with the rather small choir loft, it couldn't really be done any other way. Brand new Peterson switching, pedal contacts, keyboards, stop tabs, transposer, and combination action were added as well.

HNJ - Holy Name of Jesus (Felgemaker pipes)
QP - Queen of Peace (Kilgen pipes)

Great (unenclosed) -

8' Open Diapason (HNJ)
8' Melodia (HNJ)
8' Gamba (original)
8' Dulciana (HNJ)
4' Octave (HNJ)
2 2/3' Quint (HNJ)
2' Super Octave (HNJ)
IV Mixture (added in 1980's)
8' Trumpet (QP - really a Cornopean)
Gt-Gt 4'
Sw-Gt 16',8',4'
Ch-Gt 16',8',4'

Swell (enclosed) -

8' Violin Diapason (HNJ)
8' Bourdon (HNJ - could have originally been a Tibia)
8' Quintadena (HNJ)
8' Salicional (HNJ)
8' Voix Celeste (HNJ)
4' Harmonic Flute (HNJ)
2' Piccolo (HNJ)
II Sesquiltera (HNJ)
8' Oboe (QP - capped)
8' Vox Humana (QP)
Sw-Sw 16',4'

Choir (enclosed) -

8' Geigen Diapason (original)
8' Melodia (original - it's like an "Echo Melodia" compared to the Great Melodia)
8' Vox Angelica (original - most likely a Dulciana)
8' Vox Etheria (original - either a Celeste or an Unda Maris)
4' Orchestral Flute (original - harmonic)
2' Flageolet (original - ext. of 8' Melodia)
8' Clarinet (original)
Ch-Ch 16',4'
Sw-Ch 16',8',4'

Pedal (enclosed, buried behind Swell pipes)

16' Open Diapason (original - Open Wood)
16' Bourdon (original)
10 2/3' Quint (original - from Bourdon)
8' Open Diapason (original - ext. 16')
8' Bourdon (original - ext. 16')
4' Choral Bass (ext of 16' Open Wood - only goes from 1-24, top 7 pipes are not there - useless stop)
16' Trombone (1-12 silent, 13-32 8' Trumpet played at 16' - this is a tease!)
8' Trumpet (from Great)
Gt-Ped 8',4'
Sw-Ped 8',4'
Ch-Ped 8',4'
Villa Maria College of Buffalo, N.Y.

Peter Gonciarz was born on June 9, 1988 in Buffalo, N.Y. Peter attended Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament grammar school and started his early piano lessons with Francis Fortuna, Villa Maria Institute of Music, at age 7.

In the 7th grade, Peter began playing piano during the O.L.B.S. school Masses and a year later, Rev. Louis S. Dolinic, pastor, offered Peter the opportunity to take organ lessons. During high school, Peter took organ lessons with Mr. Patrick Barrett at Fourteen Holy Helpers Church in West Seneca, N.Y. Peter also began playing both organ and piano on a regular basis during weekend Masses at O.L.B.S.
Peter Gonciarz after the Advent organ recital at St. John Gualbert Church in Cheektowaga, N. Y.


St. John Gualbert R.C. Church
83 Gualbert Avenue
Cheektowaga, NY 14211-2799

Advent Organ Recital Photos
In July, 2011, it was announced that Peter was chosen to be one of two interim organists to play at St. Stanislaus Church for weekend Masses. The invitation arose following the unexpected passing of long-time organist Thomas Borowski. The other organist is Valerian Ruminski of the Nickel City Opera.  Noon Mass is broadcast on WLOF-FM, 101.7 every Sunday. Congratulations from Polonia Music to bothe Peter and Valerian.

Valerian Ruminski
Polonia Music
Saint Stanislaus Parish, Historic Polonia District, Buffalo, New York: Organist & Music Director Peter Gonciarz performs "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today" on the 1892 Johnson & Son Pipe Organ. (April 1, 2012)

For more information visit http://www.ststansbuffalo.com/.
Three Improvisations of "W żłobie leży"
by Peter Gonciarz