Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Q/A BRIAN STOUT; Need an Organ Fixed? Then He's Your Guy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Q/A BRIAN STOUT; Need an Organ Fixed? Then He's Your Guy

Article excerpt


For more than 30 years, Brian Stout of Murray Hill has traveled the Southeast installing, repairing and rebuilding pipe or electronic organs. He's involved in other musical endeavors. Also, he wears a kilt every day. He gave up trousers about four years ago.

How did you get in to the organ technician business?

A friend told me there was a need for organ technicians. I met with an organ repairman named Dave Jones who told me to go back to school and learn about basic electronics. I went to Florida Community College at Jacksonville for less than two years and got what I needed. I went back to Jones and found out sadly that he had cancer. I worked for him for seven years until he died. I took over his clients, got licensed by the city and state. I've been doing this 31 years now. It's challenging. Mainly I work in churches, sometimes in people's homes. There are not many people doing what I'm doing. I keep busy, especially around Christmas time when churches are preparing for concerts.

The contemporary Christian music movement has pushed organs out of church worship services. How do you feel about that?

It seems many evangelical churches have given up the organ. There is a digital organ under a quilt at one local church that isn't being used and that makes me sad.

Organs are typically built better and last longer than a keyboard. Fortunately, the organ seems to be making a comeback in the Catholic church and I hope that is a sign of a trend.

Where are the best church organs on the Westside?

The Church of the Good Shepherd. The organ and organist at Riverside Presbyterian Church is marvelous. St. Mark's Episcopal also has a nice organ.

What do you do in your spare time?

I build harpsichords, which are a precursor to the piano. I built one for St. Mark's Lutheran and for the Basilica in St. Augustine.

My wife, Rosemary, and I both have studied and play African and Middle Eastern drums. We have participated in the Friday night drum circles at Riverside Park as part of Northeast Florida Drumming. …

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