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ROYALTY IN DENNIS – Playing, respectively, the king and queen of instruments, Donald Enos and Audrey Wright will perform June 3 at South Dennis Congregational Church. The church’s organ was built in London in the middle of the 18th century. Dennis church presents the king (and queen) of instruments The South Dennis Congregational Church, known as “the Sea Captains' Church,” is celebrating the 250th anniversary of their pipe organ. Their extremely well-pedigreed pipe organ, one might add. Organist Donald Enos and violinist Audrey Wright will perform at the church on June 3, at 4 p.m. A free-will offering benefits the organ’s ongoing maintenance fund.The organ was built in London by Swiss organ builder John Snetzler who, according to Enos, was probably the premier organ builder in London in the last part of the 18th century. Snetzler was the official organ builder to King George III.The organ came to Boston in 1762, and then was moved to King's Church in Providence a few years later. When King's Church expanded, the sea captains in South Dennis bought it for $600 in 1858. It was a wise investment.“It is a small organ, so it was more apt to survive,” Enos notes. “There were five Snetzlers that were imported in the 18th century, two of which still exist. One of them is about half the size of the South Dennis organ, and that's in the Smithsonian.” The Smithsonian organ has six stops, to the Dennis church's 12. The organ in South Dennis is also reputed to be the oldest organ in the country still in weekly use.“It's a great sounding organ,” says Enos. “Absolutely perfect. It always has the sounds I want for the music I'm playing.” For this concert, Enos and Wright will be playing music for solo instrument and orchestra, including an Albinoni concerto and a Marcello sonata.Both Enos and Wright studied at New England Conservatory. They met when Wright won the Cape Cod Symphony Young Artist's Concerto Competition. A Cape Cod native, Audrey Wright is a graduate student at New England Conservatory, where she is a founding member of the Futura String Quartet.Enos, also a Cape Codder, holds a masters degree from the New England Conservatory. He has appeared with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and is pianist for the Chatham Chorale and Chamber Singers, as well as organist and choir director at the South Dennis Congregational Church. He is the founder and director of the Meeting House Chamber Music Festival.Donald Enos and Audrey Wright perform June 3 at 4 p.m. in the South Dennis Congregational Church,
218 Main St. (Old Bass River Road),
SOUTH DENNIS— Inside the white, steepled Congregational Church of South Dennis is a piece of history older than the United States itself — the pipe organ.Built in 1762 by Swiss organ builder John Snetzler, the organ is reputed to be the oldest pipe organ in the country still in regular use, church organist Donald Enos said.Only five organs crafted by Snetzler were imported to the United States before the American Revolution, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s website. Of those five, only two remain — one in the Smithsonian and the one in South Dennis, Enos said.A marvel to historians and organ connoisseurs, the organ is a "well-kept" secret to the general public, said Enos, who has played at the church for more than 30 years."It goes beyond ’lucky’ to have that organ here," said the Rev. Dr. Paul Adkins, who has worked at the church for two years. "It’s an absolutely amazing instrument. You look at it, and it has one keyboard, but you can’t imagine the range of music that comes out of this one instrument."The small organ has nine ranks of pipes, a set of foot pedals and 12 "stops," which are knobs that direct the air to certain pipes and alter the sound of the instrument. The organ can range from an airy, flutelike sound to the high-pitched metallic sound atypical of pipe organs.Enos, who majored in piano at New England Conservatory, said he has played a lot of organs but the Snetzler sounds "so different" because of its pedals.The combinations of stops used on each piece of music is up to the organist, Enos said. He described finding the right sound for each song as a "puzzle.""I’m like a chemist," Enos said. "I have the piece there, and I experiment until I find the right sound. I don’t find this a limited organ."The church also is blessed to have Enos as its organist, Adkins said."Being a small church, you typically don’t have that caliber of musician with that training," Adkins said.The organ had a storied past before it found its way to the South Dennis church, Enos said.Sometime in the 1700s, the organ was shipped from London to a privately owned music hall in Boston. In the late 1700s, it moved to a church in Providence, R.I.It landed in South Dennis in the mid-19th century when the church acquired it for $600, Enos said.Remarkably, it retains much of its original state, Enos said. A few pipes have been replaced through the years, foot pedals were added sometime in the 1800s, and it was electrified in the 1920s."I’m amazed at how young it sounds," Enos said. "For an old organ, it doesn’t sound wheezy or sluggish."