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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Pipe fitter

Musician, metallurgist, woodworker, historical detective, engineer, artist, designer John Brombaugh does it all

Growing up in Ohio, John Brombaugh remembers being fascinated watching the church organist. Standing next to the console, John was allowed to flick the blower switch off when the postlude ended.

When he was 10, his father chaired the committee to replace that old tracker organ, which was considered too hard to play. John tagged along with his father during the selection process.

Now 61, Brombaugh is considered one of the world's significant organ-builders. His 61 organs can be found in 27 states, in Europe, Canada and soon in Japan. A fine example of his craft leads his congregation every Sunday at Central Lutheran, Eugene, Ore.

In his workshop on the banks of the Willamette River in Eugene, Brombaugh talked with The Lutheran about his craft and the unique contribution organs have made to Christian worship for more than 1,000 years.


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