An Iowa business three decades old is having a very good year. Lynn Dobson knew from the time he finished college what he wanted to do — come home to Lake City and start a business making the pipe organs that grace the country’s churches, cathedrals and concert halls. Dobson says he always had a “passion for the music.” He loved organ music, and as a mechanical person he was fascinated by how they worked. Dobson has twenty employees at his workshop in Lake City, though they do much of their work “on location.” He says in January they began installing a mighty pipe organ that’s their biggest job yet, in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. A typical project might take 6,000 to 7,000 man-hours to build, though it’s taken 36-thousand man-hours so far for this cathedral. Dobson Pipe Organ Builders just got a contract to build an organ for an Episcopal congregation that has the oldest church building in Washington, D-C. An even bigger new contract is for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Performing Arts Center and they’ve already built the “case” in place and are ready to start building the pipe organ itself. Dobson says that job won’t be done till 2006. But then he says the art of organ-making is centuries old. He says they do most of the work the same way it was done 300-400 years ago, though the control systems use computers, and he also uses computers in the planning and construction process. After thirty years in Lake City, Dobson says he has no plans to move his internationally-known company from the western Iowa town of 1800 people.
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