Church organists aren’t so easy to find

STEPPING DOWN: St Paul's faces a challenge replacing long-term organ player Enid Dade. PHOTO: Mike Proudfoot MP130201 (8).

STEPPING DOWN: St Paul's faces a challenge replacing long-term organ player Enid Dade. PHOTO: Mike Proudfoot MP130201 (8).

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AFTER an 18 year stint at the keyboard of the impressive organ at St Paul’s Church in Ramsey, the retirement of 76-year-old Enid Dade will leave a difficult gap to fill.

Church warden Vivien Hare is hoping they won’t have to resort to using pre-recorded backing tracks.

‘Organists are very difficult to get hold of, they’re very skilled musicians, but not many young people are taking it up,’ said Mrs Hare.

She said her search has so far been fruitless, having placed adverts and contacted the island’s organist society for any players unattached to churches.

Vivien has been listening with interests to reports from UK of churches ‘falling silent’ as a generation of retiring organ players are not replaced, with the solution in many cases being to resort to using pre-recorded music through a speaker system.

‘When it’s played it’s fantastic. Tapes just don’t have the majesty of a live organ booming out around the church, it’s a wonderful instrument,’ she said.

She admits whoever takes on the part time job will be making quite a commitment, with services every Sunday in addition to choir practices, weddings and funerals, and is grateful to Enid for ‘very kindly holding on’.

St Paul’s hopes to have someone in place in time for Easter and the arrival of a new vicar, who will take charge of the brand new amalgamated parish of Maughold and South Rasmey.

Records indicate an organ was first installed in St Paul’s in 1852, by renowned English organ builders Forster and Andrews.

That original instrument was sold to Minorca Primitive Methodist Chapel in Laxey for £45, only for it to be broken up when the instrument from the closed Glen Road chapel was moved to Minorca.

The current St Paul’s organ was installed in 1883, also by Forster and Andrews, for a hefty sum of £540.

Enid has mixed emotions about stepping down.

‘It was about 1995 when I started, though then it had been many, many years since I had played’, she recalled.

‘One day I came to choir practice, and I asked for a little go. It must have sounded alright, and I sat with the organist Barbara Saville and she showed me the ropes.

The late Mrs Saville then took a short trip away, returning to tell a surprised Enid that she should take over as organist.

‘It has been lovely and I’ve enjoyed it all. I shall be sorry to stop, but it’s getting harder,’ explained Enid.

‘I have trouble with one of my hands, and I’m deaf as a post, so I don’t always hear what the congregation hears!’

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