Seattle’s oldest Protestant congregation, Plymouth Church has resided in the heart of Seattle for over 145 years. Founded in 1869, Plymouth plays an important role in the city’s civic and spiritual history and is well known for its social justice programs and community outreach. The current church building, the fourth in Plymouth’s history, was dedicated in 1967 and is a design by Naramore Bain Brady & Johanson, a global architecture firm founded in Seattle in 1943. The church is a distinctive part of Seattle’s modern architectural landscape. In 2014, the sanctuary underwent a major renovation, including acoustical improvements, under the guidance of LMN Architects of Seattle.
The arts and music have always been a focus at Plymouth Church. Their first organ, a manually-pumped reed organ, was brought to Seattle in a covered wagon by the church founders. It remains on display in the Plymouth Lounge. The church has had a succession of outstanding organists and choirmasters, including world-renowned present Director of Music and Organist, Douglas Cleveland.
Plymouth’s new organ, Opus 140, is placed front and center in the lofty sanctuary. Charles Nazarian’s case design, while honoring the modernist architecture of the building, also subtly incorporates elements of French organ case design in its appearance. The case is built of solid maple and features the burnished tin Grand Orgue Montre 16' in its façade. The stoplist is resolutely French Romantic, but it includes certain voices of the French Classical models in order to expand the organ’s ability to lead congregational singing, to accompany the church’s excellent Choir, and to perform the solo organ repertoire. The final specifications are the result of discussions with Douglas Cleveland and comprise 3 manuals and pedal, 55 stops, 45 independent voices, and two divisions under expression. The instrument was delivered to the church in March 2015 and the dedication concert was played by Douglas Cleveland on November 15, 2015.