"My belief is that the more elaborate and ornate an instrument, the more enhanced the experience to listen to it is. In other words, we hear with our eyes." -Paul Fritts, organ builder
The organ in Kilworth Memorial Chapel is named in honor of Bethel Schneebeck (1916-2004), who generously enriched the artistic and cultural life of the University of Puget Sound and the community.
The Bethel Schneebeck organ was modeled by Paul Fritts and Company after ancient pipe organs from the early Baroque period. Small village chapels throughout northern Germany and Holland house ancient pipe organs. These organs' pipes, stop and key mechanisms, and valves remain unchanged and functional today, having outlived numerous changes in styles and advances in technology. These organs have stood the test of time. To listen to one being played is to hear the echoes of centuries past, when the joy of listening to a magnificent fugue or sonata was a treasured rarity.
Paul Fritts, an alumnus of the University of Puget Sound, Class of 1973, built his first organ in 1978 and Paul Fritts and Company organs have since become known and respected throughout the world. The Bethel Schneebeck Organ, built in 1990, was the largest and most intricate of his creations at that time. Each level of construction, from the shaping of the pipes to the final touches on the ornate cabinet, has been specifically customized for the chapel.
As you enter Kilworth Chapel, your attention is immediately drawn to the 20-foot tall facade of pipes and delicate gold scrollwork above a dwarfed bench and keyboard. Despite the organ's stately appearance, grandeur, and intricacy, its power as a musical instrument is contained inside.
To come to Kilworth Chapel and view the organ is in itself enjoyable, but the Bethel Schneebeck Organ truly comes to life when played. As you listen to the music of the organ let your eyes follow the curves and rolls of scrollwork around the pipes. Enjoy the harmony of the music created by combining sight and sound.
Who Can Play the Schneebeck Organ?
Instruction on the Organ is provided through the University of Puget Sound's School of Music. Most rehearsal time is reserved for enrolled students, but there may be opportunities for individual study with our faculty. Please contact us for more information.
We have a list of approved musicians who are allowed to perform on the Organ - including for weddings, memorials, and other special services. Please contact us for more information; if you have an organist you would like to have accompany your service on the Organ, we will need to work with them to request permission from the School of Music.