Previously this Blog posted “Virtual Organ” Supplier Closes Doors.  This occurrence continues to damage customers who had ordered instruments from Martin Digital Organs of California.  Below is a link to an article posted on, Channel 12.  It indicates that the New York-based church placed a deposit with Martin Digital Organs, but has since been informed that the organ will not be delivered.  In a church bulletin the congregants were informed:

“Unfortunately, the first week of March we received an email from Martin Digital Organ (located in California) that they were out of business.  There were some major legal issues with one of their principle employees and they cannot continue in his absence.  The parish had made a down payment of $13,500.  We have contacted a lawyer and Martin Digital Organ was notified that we would expect a full refund. I believe the New York State Attorney General has also been notified.  After receiving the lawyer’s letter, Martin Digital Organ responded via email that they were unable to return the down payment at this time, but they are working to maximize funds to refund customers.  At this time, I do not know how this will playout.  We have not begun planning for a new vendor.”

Even prior to digital organs, garage-type organ builders have purchased assemblies from third party suppliers and offered their organs as something unique.  These “boutique builders” often create associations with local organists who help bring legitimacy to a company with little substance.  These same local experts direct churches to small builders and often hinder a church’s due diligence process by ignoring products available from more legitimate organ builders.

In order to avoid the type of results reported in this posting, organ prospects need to do thorough due diligence on any organ builder considered.  This should include studying the instrument’s musical and technical capabilities, as well as build quality.  However, just as important, there should be a thorough background check on the stability and financial strength of any builder considered.

St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church not getting new organ or refund

5 thoughts on “Church Loses Deposit Made to Boutique Organ Builder

  1. I would be interested to talk, James. I have a contract that is not being filled.

    1. Who is the contract not being filled by? What can this Blog do to assist you?

      1. I have a contract with Martin Digital organs, and paid a downpayment, and have not been reimbursed. And I have been told they will no longer honor the contract. Is a mass action lawsuit being planned? I would like to participate.

        1. We are not aware of what legal actions may or may not be occurring relating to this issue. Allen Organ Company has assisted some customers that have been affected by this sad situation. If you would like to explore this please contact us at

  2. Can you put me in touch with James David Joder, perhaps forwarding my email contact information? He had requested contact with others who were put in a similar situation by MDO.

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