Organ builders drawn to Timaru firm

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Organ specialists are being drawn to Timaru for work and the newest employee, from Germany, will take up a post in September.
South Island Organ Company directors John and Val Hargraves welcome specialists from around New Zealand and the world to the company’s ranks, which now number about 12.
That team has altered over the years, most recently when Josh Anderson moved to England to improve his skills.
The Hargraves’ ultimate goal would be to see Mr Anderson return, armed with a broader skill set and knowledge.
Mr Hargraves’ words of advice to Mr Anderson were to ‘‘learn as much as you can in England and bring it back’’.
Mr Anderson completed a four-year apprenticeship under the guidance of the South Island Organ Company.
During that time he was caught up in Christchurch’s February 2011 earthquake, which severely damaged the Durham St Methodist Church where he was working at the time.
Although extremely injured, he was pulled to safety, but fellow workmates Neil Stocker and Scott Lucy were killed, along with volunteer Paul Dunlop.
Neil Hooper, an organ builder at the company, praised Mr Anderson for his stamina to continue his love of the industry, despite an experience that could have put him off for life.
Instead, Mr Anderson has grasped an understanding of every aspect of organ making and restoration, including electrics, tuning and cabinet making — attributes that impressed Mr Hooper.
‘‘He covered a little bit of all of those and very well. And, he also played [the organ].’’
Mr Anderson also received the Neil Stocker Memorial Scholarship, which he used to attend an organ builders’ conference in Romania two years ago, alongside Mr Hargraves.
The South Island Organ Company, which received a visit from Prime Minister John Key last week, was also the subject of a book, being compiled for its 50th anniversary in 2018.