Portland First Baptist Church The Most Beautiful Performance Venue in Portland
Built in 1893 for a congregation of 25, the incredible sanctuary at First Baptist Church intimately seats 600 around the perfect stage for soaring feats of music. First Baptist Church plays host to Portland Baroque Orchestra, Cantico, and Kalakendra along with Oregon Music Festival.
The stunning stained glass windows are exquisite (even the backstage doors) and were done by the Povey Brothers, who did many of the old churches in Portland and were known as the "Tiffany of the Northwest". In fact, First Baptist's historian recalls that Povey's daughter would play with the windows' jewels in her father's workshop while he worked on the scenes and geometric patterns that now grace the sanctuary. She told the historian, "Daddy always said his best work was in that building." Included in the windows are stones from the collection of the congregation's pastor Roland Grant, an amateur gemologist, including all the jewels mentioned in the book of Revelations (saving a diamond, which would not do well in a windows). The sanctuary itself was designed by Warren Hughes, whom the congregation brought from Minnesota, because he was famous for his use of thrust stages and wrap-around seating to create intimate sanctuaries. The sanctuary played host to Queen Victoria's Portland memorial service, Oregon Symphony (when it was Portland Symphony), President Harding, President Carter, and many others. The Taylor Street entrance sports a small box office window, because the sanctuary a lot of community theatre in a time when going to an actual theatre would have been scandalous. During the Vanport Flood, families lived in the church for weeks until homes could be found.
Now, Oregon Music Festival calls First Baptist Church home. We play in the sanctuary because it has the absolutely best acoustics in Portland, bar none. The experience is exquisite. We hope you'll join us.