The History of Hatter's Church Organ Service & Installation
In 2001, Dan Hatter, founder and owner of Hatter's Church Organs, met the director of a small local organ company. He learned Dan was a music major with a strong technical and audio background- the triple-threat of skills for becoming a successful organ builder. Dan took a position as an independent technician for Rodgers Organs of St. Louis. As naive twenty-something, Dan had no idea he was starting a business which would take him all over the United States and eventually establish his company as the most prominent and trusted organ company in St. Louis and beyond.
After getting familiar with the organ through basic Rodgers installations, he was introduced to Bob Walker, owner of Walker Technical Company and the gold-standard of custom digital organs. Shortly after, Bob asked Dan to assist on a project in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Seeing a large scale custom digital/pipe hybrid for the first time was not only an eye-opener to what was happening on the frontline of organ technology, but a new level of excellence he carries forward to this day.
Walker called again, this time to run a crew of their personnel in Winter Park, FL. As if working with the Walker crew wasn't good enough, now he was being asked to lead them. Again, this raised the bar in Dan's awareness and understanding of high-profile modern organ building.
Walker called a third time, this time to offer a permanent position as installation foreman. Dan took the job and Walker moved him, his Saintly wife Liz (who was 8.9 months pregnant with their second child) and their son Blake, to Allentown, PA. For several years, Dan worked 70+ hour weeks on the road, doing one digital hybrid installation after another, week after week, day in and day out. This was extremely difficult or him and his family and led to an eventual move back to St. Louis. His time at Walker was invaluable because it gave him unparalleled experience with virtually every installation obstacle, and expertise in all brands of pipe organ and pipe organ technology.
Now called Hatter's Church Organ Service and Installation, he continued to work for Walker for many years as an independent, still doing mostly digital hybrid installations and service. In 2007, Hatter's became the factory trained and authorized service company for Rodgers. Knowing he was a Walker protege, many other Rodgers dealers hired Hatter's to handle their high-profile or complex installations.
To deepen his knowledge of acoustics and acoustic theory, while working full time, Dan went back to school to earn his Bachelors Degree in Audio Engineering.
In 2013, Hatter's was approached by St. Louis Pipe Organs to purchase their company. This was a high honor since their heritage ties back to the Kilgen Organ Company. Hatter's bought a majority of the company and further solidified his local presence by adding another 100 pipe organ clients to his business.
Within almost a year of each other, the local Rodgers director passed away and Rodgers Instruments sold the entire company. After feeling the effects of these changes the local and corporate level, Hatter's sent a letter, officially resigning his company from Rodgers technical support and installations.
No longer under the limitations as a subcontractor, Hatter's sought out a turn-key solution for replacing worn out consoles and augmenting pipe organs with digital ranks. Following Walker's lead, they also became a Viscount Instruments representative. Within a year Hatter's had not just become a premier dealer, but product development consultant to Viscount North America.
Since digital organs are completely reliant on the audio system for high-quality sound production, Hatter's combined their real-world experience with the audio engineering training and developed a proprietary speaker system which is manufactured in-house. This new boutique audio system was designed from the ground up to break through all of the obstacles faced with integration into pipe chambers and church aesthetics, while reproducing the intense dynamics and range of the organ with authenticity. This proved to be a wildly successful endeavor, not just from the unparalleled sound, but because a typical Hatter's installation uses 3-4 times as many tone cabinets and 10x the power as the competition- without charging extra for an "expanded audio system."
Today, Hatter's has established themselves as the authority of stand-alone digital installations, pipe/hybrid integration, and pipe organ renovations. With the church in mind, Hatter's has built their company around stewardship and genuine love for God's people.