Houston Chronicle
Ben Crandall, a Mormon, plays an organ at Saint Helen Catholic Church in Pearland, Texas.

Our Take: This is a compelling story about a Mormon who is sharing his musical gifts with another faith in Texas by building an organ for the church and faithfully playing it for Mass.

Ben Crandall gently lifted the hand-carved top off the cherry-wood organ and laid it to the side. He reached in and pulled two flute-like tubes from the 165 wood and metal pipes inside.

He took out another smaller pipe and used a knife to gently scrape antimonial lead off the bottom. He was tuning his creation. "You have to be gentle. Too much, and you change the sound," he told Vickie D. Ashwill of the Houston Chronicle.

Crandall, 36, of Sugar Land, Texas, built the portable pipe organ from his mind's eye — converting his vision to reality for the St. Helen Catholic Church in Pearland.

He's the church's regular paid organist, playing the giant pipe organ in the main sanctuary. He's also Mormon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Crandall, who has a Ph.D. in organ performance from the University of Houston, laughed as he listened to the priest talk about him. His experience in a Catholic church was limited to recitals as he grew up. "I grew up pretty sheltered."

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