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Quake deaths upset church

Last updated 05:00 01/04/2011

OLD ORGAN: Auckland Unitarian Church organist Gerard Van den Bemd with the organ that was restored by two South Island Organ Company workers who died in the Christchurch earthquake.

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Members of a Ponsonby church are saddened by the loss of two South Island Organ Company workers who died in the Christchurch earthquake on February 22.

Neil Stocker and Scott Lucy, who were involved in restoring the Auckland Unitarian Church's organ two years ago, died while dismantling an organ in the Durham St Methodist Church when the quake hit.

Organist Gerard Van den Bemd says it's a sad situation, with the Timaru-based company sending employees around the country to fix organs.

"I have worked for them myself helping to tune organs."

Mr Van den Bemd says the pair did a good job restoring the church's century-old organ, which needed leaky blowers replaced.

While it cost $30,000 to fix the organ, it still needs plenty more work done to it.

Visiting minister Reverend Julie Newhall says the church opened its doors for a special service after the quake to acknowledge the two men and other friends and family of affected parishioners.

"It was really sad to hear they were part of the tragedy. When you realise the personal connections many people had with Christchurch it's no wonder people were upset."

She says the "gorgeous" music that emanates from the organ helps pick people up when they're down.

"Music takes you into places that is hard to express with words. It can excite and calm you down."

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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