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ORGAN PIPES ARE SWEET MUSIC TO TEENAGER'S EARS

To Christopher Loemker, little is sweeter than the sound of music - especially the music that comes from a pipe organ.

The Edwardsville teen loves pipe organ music so much he has spent the past four summers constructing and repairing organs in churches throughout Macoupin and Madison counties.Loemker, 18, has been playing pipe organ since he was 8 and installing pipes since he was 14. He is currently working on a pipe organ project at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wood River that will consist of 2,135 pipes when completed.

"I love the sound of the pipe organ," he told The (Belleville) News Democrat.

Loemker's mother, Judy Loemker, said she knew early on that Christopher was destined for musical work.

"He went to a cousin's wedding when he was 8 and heard a Bach prelude that he just loved," his mother said. "By the next morning, he already knew six measures."

"He could hear the music and put it into his fingers," she said. "His gift is God given."

Loemker will be taking a break this fall and spring from pipe organ restoration at St. Paul to learn more about the craft. He will begin his first semester at Indiana University where he is pursuing a double major in church music and organ building.