BY JESSICA MASULLI
Weston Jennings strives to change the perception of pipe organs at every concert he plays.
Though the pipe organ is sometimes thought of as a strictly religious or ancient instrument, Jennings hopes to provide a different experience.
"I try to make everyone know that there is a lot more to this instrument," Jennings said.
Jennings is bringing his pipe organ talents to St. George's Episcopal Church this Friday night.
He will perform on the church's acclaimed new Parsons Opus 29 pipe organ, which was first played in December 2010.
Since St. George's installed the instrument, many musicians have been eager to play it.
Jennings, too, says he's looking forward to playing the new organ--especially since not everyone has heard it yet.
"The point is not to just use the organ for our worship services," said Todd Schwartz, a member of the church. "The point is to make it available to community."
Jennings has a similar philosophy about playing the pipe organ.
The musician, 19, tries to bring the instrument to a wider audience that may not be accustomed to it--including younger people.
"I try to make people see that it is not just for religious purposes," Jennings said. "I try to reach an audience that [might] not set foot in a church."
Jennings can pull in a younger crowd who often have many questions about the instrument.
"They ask, 'How do you play with your hands, feet and no music?'" said Jennings.
Jennings explains that sounds can be produced in many different ways, using feet and hands.
"There is not one sound to a pipe organ," said Jennings. "There are so many different sounds and combinations. It is endless creative process."
With his passion and talent for the instrument, Jennings has played on a pipe organ for hundreds of listeners at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington for the last two years. He plans to play again this year.
Jennings attends the Eastman School of Music in New York.
Before that, the young musician studied at Interlochen Arts Academy and Levine School of Music in D.C.
He has won numerous prizes, including first place in the Westminster Choir College Organ Competition.
While he has traveled around the country with his music, Jennings is a local, from Stafford County. He has been the substitute choir director and organist at the Fredericksburg United Methodist Church.
"It will be exciting to play in Fredericksburg for people from my hometown," he said.
Guests can expect Jennings to play music from Johann Sebastian Bach to Leo Sowerby.
The objective is to reach human immortality—that is, to create things which are necessary to mankind, necessary to the purpose of the existence of mankind, and which have become the fruit that drives the creation of a higher state of mankind than ever existed before."