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Waiola Church to join in Makawao Union Church’s island-wide Centennial Choral Celebration

By BY CINDY SCHUMACHER - | Mar 31, 2016

On April 3, Makawao Union Church will begin commemorating 100 years in the present sanctuary. In 1985, the church was placed on the Hawaii and the National Register of Historic Places. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAKAWAO UNION CHURCH.

PAIA – Makawao Union Church (MUC) in Paia will celebrate a very special event on Sunday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m. The celebration will mark the beginning of a yearlong commemoration of 100 years in the present sanctuary and also of their first pipe organ.

The Mark Thallander Foundation and MUC together have organized the extraordinary evening of choral, instrumental, organ music and hula.

“MUC is proud to host our Centennial Choral Celebration,” said Pastor David Schlicher. “This is the first event in the centennial of our historic church, culminating in the rededication of our worship space in September 2017. Those attending this event will hear respected vocalists and instrumentalists, but also a number of original organ pipes from 1917 that have stood mute for over a generation.”

“We thank the Mark Thallander Foundation, our Music Director and Organist Elisabeth Gregg, Moderator Jay Slaughter and the talented musicians of Maui for making this celebration possible. We invite the people of our island to enjoy an evening of great music,” said Pastor Schlicher.

Organist, composer and author Mark Thallander is best known for his long and distinguished ministry at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. In 2005, he started the foundation to bring joyous and inspirational music events to communities nationwide and enable individuals to experience growth in faith and community through the gift of music.

The pipe organ, the largest on Maui, has been played by world-renowned musicians over the last four decades,” said Makawao Union Church Musical Director and Organist Elisabeth Gregg. PHOTO BY CINDY SCHUMACHER.

“It is so wonderful that a world-renowned organist and members of his foundation are joining to help us in giving God our best by bringing in some amazing pros,” said Liz Gregg, MUC musical director and organist.

“The performance features not only the master organist himself but also award-winning Theatre Organist Christian Elliott and renowned Conductor Dr. Peter Green,” said Gregg.

“Choristers and instrumentalists from 14 churches, including Waiola Church in Lahaina, and two community choirs are participating. A bell choir and hula halau will also be performing.”

“We have four Waiola members, Alberta Nobu, Ron and Alexa Vaught, and me, who will be singing in MUC’s centennial celebration,” said Kent Stewart, music director of Waiola Church in Lahaina.

“Waiola members such as Alexa and Ron Vaught have played active roles in both churches.”

“I have sung with MUC members in many Maui choruses and appreciate their rich musical tradition and unique organ,” Stewart said. “This celebration is one I wouldn’t miss, and Waiola Church is pleased to be represented in this most special presentation.”

“Our sanctuary building, with its organ, is a real landmark in Paia, a constant reminder of the historical significance of our church and its relationship with Henry Baldwin,” said Pastor Schlicher. “Besides being a pioneer in Hawaii’s sugar industry, Baldwin was a deeply religious man who gave of his time, wealth and services to his church, his community and the people of Hawaii. Built in 1861, MUC was placed on the Hawaii and the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.”

“The pipe organ, the largest on Maui, has been played by world-renowned musicians over the last four decades,” said MUC Organist Gregg. The 1,200-pipe instrument, donated in memory of Jared and Leslie Baldwin, has always played a central role for the 154-year-old congregation.

“The organ is the only one on Maui that can play 80 to 90 percent of the organ repertoire,” explained Gregg. “Since its installation, the Reuter pipe organ’s reputation has grown on the island and beyond. With its recent renovation completed, the organ’s new wind chest (the component of a pipe organ on which the pipes sit) will increase the air pressure and connect some of the pipes for the first time in 60 years.”

“The sound at the upcoming celebration will be amazing!” Gregg exclaimed.

“We at MUC are looking forward to all of us having a fantastic evening together,” added Gregg. “We’ll be surrounded by great music and musicians and thanking God for it all! Please join us for an inspiring and entertaining evening of music.”

The church is located at 1445 Baldwin Avenue in Paia. There is no admission charge for the event. A free-will offering will be received during the performance. For more information, call the church at 579-9261.