Meet The Man Reconstructing Chicago’s Largest Pipe Organ

CHICAGO (CBS) — The city’s largest pipe organ is getting a make-over. Pulling it off is a young man with the skills of a carpenter, the brain of a physicist, and an ear for music.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole spent some time with him.

As ethereal music echoes through Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church, calling the man at the keyboard a musician is only part of his story.

Pipe organ builder Christopher Soer says he is “kind of a rare breed.”

“Pretty much everybody looks at me like: is that even a job?” Soer said.

But for the one-time computer programmer, it is.

“You are building a gigantic tree house for adults that also makes music,” he said.

The pipes in view from the pews are merely decorations, so Soer took CBS 2 behind the altar inside his musical treehouse.

It is a cramped world populated by 8,000 pipes of all sizes.

Kind of like Spider-Man, he easily navigates a vertical labyrinth of towering spaces.

Since last summer, his job has been reconstructing the skeleton of the church’s musical centerpiece.

“It is a misunderstood instrument,” Soer said. “It’s considered a relic.”

But the work of this organ doctor sure sounds good.

A debut concert of the refurbished pipe organ is scheduled for next month.

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