South Main Sanctuary Renovation

By Daryl Robinson, Former SMBC Organist & Artist-in-Residence

The Sanctuary of South Main Baptist Church is absolutely one of the finest treasures the city of Houston has to offer. For many years people admired the room, rightfully, for its architectural beauty, and of course the glorious windows. However, for those of us privileged to work in the space on a regular basis, there were numerous functional issues: a failing organ, a choir loft with oddly shaped steps at weird angles, a postage-sized chancel, a lack of ADA access for worship leaders, and acoustical issues (dead spots and slap back from the flat back wall). The goal in my mind for the renovation was always to resolve these issues in ways that honored the amazing architecture of the room, the functional needs of the congregation, and to make South Main a destination for worship and music in the city.
Well, to say that the renovation was a success is an understatement! South Main has gained new recognition around the country (and globally, thanks to the excellent webcasting) for the installation of a monumental new pipe organ in a renovated space that is acoustically splendid. Locally, many professional performing arts organizations now hope to perform at South Main and view it as the most-desired destination thanks to the ample parking, prime location, and functional Sanctuary that works for everything from jazz to choral music of the Renaissance (and of course organ music, too!). It was a privilege to serve the congregation of SMBC for 15 years and to return to Houston in time to see the completion of the Nichols & Simpson instrument and perform the dedicatory recital in December of 2018. Congratulations to all involved in the campaign to restore and enhance the worship space of South Main for generations to come!

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