Dan Garland attributes his skill and passion for organ music to growing up with family members whose lives revolved around the Presbyterian Church. His grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, three uncles were Presbyterian ministers, and his mother was a musician and secretary on staff at First Presbyterian in Fort Worth, Texas for almost 30 years.
He took piano from an early age, and visited his mother at her church often. When he was a teenager, the organist there took him under his wing. William Barclay, Minister of Music from 1941 to 1969, allowed young Garland to assist him at the console and even do minor tuning on the instrument.
When Garland headed to Texas Wesleyan University, he already knew his calling. While working on a degree in music education and organ performance, he was awarded a fellowship to rebuild the organ in the college’s Fine Arts Auditorium. Following graduation, he apprenticed with organ builders Ross King in Fort Worth and Otto Hofmann in Austin. In 1982 he started his own company, and he incorporated the company, Garland Pipe Organs, Inc., in 1986.
“I would not be here if I had not grown up in a church that had a good organ, good music, good acoustics, a real music program, and an organist and a family who were there to guide,” Garland has said. “It’s such an unusual field and there are so few of us. It’s a gift. I feel very blessed.”
Garland remains an active member of First Presbyterian Church. He is a member of the American Institute of Organ Builders, the International Society of Organ Builders, and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America (APOBA). In 1992 he was listed in Who’s Who Among Rising Young Americans and, in 2002, was listed as an honored professional in the nationwide register, Who’s Who in Executives and Business.