The Malta Independent 12 July 2024, Friday
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Safi parish to hold concert to mark 100th anniversary since arrival of first pipe organ in Malta

Saturday, 6 April 2024, 09:44 Last update: about 4 months ago

A hundred years have passed since the arrival of the first pipe organ made by the renowned Mascioni family in Malta. It was done for the parish of Safi in April 1924, and since then, various churches in the country, including the St John's Co-Cathedral, have ordered organs from the same Italian family.

To commemorate this anniversary, a number of cultural activities will be held, including a concert to be held on Friday, April 12, at the Parish Church of Ħal Safi, featuring organists Sylvana Camilleri, Paul Portelli, Joe Caruana, and Mark Vassallo. Through carefully selected pieces, attendees will have the opportunity to appreciate the versatility of this instrument, while also admiring the talent of some of the finest organists in Malta. These organists will be joined by the Sine Macula Choir and soloists from the St. Paul Band of Ħal Safi.

"The pipe organ instrument in our churches is a distinctive aspect of our cultural and religious heritage as a country, and therefore, these activities are being organised to mark the centenary since the arrival of the first organ made by the Mascioni family. This event also sheds light on the relationship between our country and Italy, where cultural cooperation has spanned many years," said the Minister for National Heritage, Owen Bonnici.

Ħal Safi Mayor Johann Mula said that, "As a local council, it is our duty not only to preserve but also to promote in the best possible way the cultural and historical heritage of our village. Therefore, when approached with this initiative, we recognized its necessary importance, which also includes this musical concert as part of Ħal Safi Day celebrations."

It was the Parish Priest Giovanni Battista Ghigo in 1923 who ordered the present pipe organ, which was funded by benefactor Michelanġ Busuttil. The organ had to be made with a 56-note keyboard and a 27-pedal, arriving in Malta in April 1924 to be used for the first time on Easter Sunday, April 27, 1924. In January 1962, after an agreement with the Mascioni company, an electric motor was installed to operate the organ. Over time, the organ underwent two restoration interventions, one in the sixties by Dun Mikiel D'Amato and the other in 2004 by Robert Buhagiar.

During this concert, held in collaboration with the local council and the Western Region, there will also be historical interventions and visual presentations. Admission to the concert is free of charge.

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