The three-manual Dobson organ, Opus 78, was installed in 2003. In worship this organ provides strong, warm leadership for hymn singing and sensitive accompaniment for choirs, soloists, and other instruments. And in the fall of 2003, this instrument inspired the creation of Concerts with a Cause, established with the primary goal of bringing the world’s greatest organists to Augusta.
Lynn Dobson built his first pipe organ in a shed on the Iowa family farm. In 1971, as a recent college graduate in art and industrial education. Lynn had become fascinated by a mechanical-action organ his sister played for a local church. So he built a 12 stop mechanical-action organ in the shed, and a nearby public radio station sent a reporter to cover this unique story. The resulting broadcast was heard by an alert and interested listener, and the first Dobson organ was sold to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sioux City, Iowa, where it still serves today.
Lynn founded Dobson Pipe Organ Builders in 1974. The organs are built in Lynn’s hometown, Lake City, Iowa, in buildings restored on picturesque town square. The construction of artistically-designed instruments that support vibrant church music has always been a high priority for the firm. Success in this field, which is extremely challenging because of the diverse nature of church music programs, has led to commissions from individuals and educational and public institutions as well. Among the instruments which Dobson has built are the landmark organs for Verizon Hall, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, St. Thomas Church NYC, and the firm’s first international installment for Merton College, Oxford, England.
In 2020, Lynn retired from full-time work, and John Panning, long-time tonal director, became president and owner of Dobson Organs. Lynn remains involved in the visual design work for new organs.