2017 Annual Appeal

“Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC) functions as a beacon for mostly serious art music in Rockford. But, how does a person find words to express the total importance of music in our lives in Rockford? Struggling with this same question, MPAC’s namesake Felix Mendelssohn claimed that words alone were inadequate to express the thoughts that music can convey. Indeed, his struggle with this idea led him to compose ‘Songs Without Words’ for the piano. I think that, in a way, MPAC is continuing to ‘sing’ its songs without words for the people of Rockford.”
-Wayne Hatwich

MPAC is a music organization like no other. In addition to presenting internationally acclaimed performers, we also produce dynamic arts collaborations and unique concert programs that celebrate the wealth of talented music professionals in our area. Many of our performances include an educational component, and every Mendelssohn concert is followed by an after-party where our entire audience is invited to meet the artists. We take pride in offering performing opportunities that engage music lovers, students, teachers, and artists of all ages and skill levels.

“As a life-long choral singer, I was delighted when I moved from Orlando, FL to discover a group like the Mendelssohn Chorale in Rockford. The commitment of MPAC and the Chorale members to keeping this kind of great art thriving in Rockford is one of the things that makes living here so wonderful.”
-Margo Stedman

In 1963, I began studying piano with Mrs. Eloise Trumbull, who was an active member of Mendelssohn [PAC] Club. Each spring, she held a student recital in the performance hall, and I, along with all of her other students, had an opportunity to play the beautiful grand piano on a big stage for an appreciative audience. Mrs. Trumbull was a role model and these piano recitals were my first public musical performances, ‘setting the stage’ for my musical life. Through the years, I have participated in Mendelssohn scholarship auditions, as a student and as a judge; I have attended countless performances; and, now, serve on a committee that takes MPAC out into the community. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is truly a Rockford treasure.”

– Lisa Weckerly

133 years strong, MPAC has grown and changed with the needs of our community to become a critical presence in downtown Rockford’s rich and vibrant art scene. Music lovers and performers young and old come to MPAC to explore their passions and interests, develop their skills, and discover new musical experiences.

“My association with Mendelssohn began quite a few years ago.  Prior to that, I was teaching in my private studio and performing in the area. However, I was lacking the networking I needed to expand my studio, promote competition and performance opportunities for my students, and as a singer to connect with opportunities to perform. MPAC has met those needs in a very significant way. My students for many years now have benefited from performance in recitals and success in competition. Additionally, I have enjoyed collaborating with other excellent musicians in opera and recitals over the years. It was a particular honor for me to be the recipient of the Amelia Guthrie Promising Singer of Merit Award a number of years ago. It is not an exaggeration to say that MPAC is at the center of my experience as a musician.”
-Beth Fredrickson

Our volunteers and donors are the foundation of Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. Our organization would cease to exist without the investments our supporters make in our mission throughout the year, and we are truly grateful. Your support matters. Please help us enrich life in our community through music by making a tax-deductible donation. Even a small donation of $10 towards our Annual Fund will help MPAC to continue to provide excellent concerts and educational opportunities for the Rockford area. As a patron of the performing arts, you understand their ability to empower communities and change lives. Your gift will allow Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center to make a lasting impact for years to come.

The Annual Fund supports all of MPAC’s concerts, programs, and operations.
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Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center
406 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103-6881

(Please make checks payable to Mendelssohn PAC)

“Besides performances, which I have enjoyed very much, I appreciate how MPAC strives for an education component to every concert. MPAC has given many students in Rockford an opportunity to hear first class musicians by taking programs to their schools and arranging concerts and master classes at Mendelssohn Center.”
-Barbara Simon

“My wife and I appreciate Mendelssohn because it provides us the opportunity to hear and get to know some of the talented local performers as well as those from the outside. As for myself, Mendelssohn has presented me with a variety of musical genres in which to participate.”
-Mike Alongi

“When I graduated from N.I.U., I had been very involved with the concert choir and opera workshops. Although I was only there for my Junior and senior years,  I had sung several solos with the concert choir and had many opportunities to sing many dramatic parts for Opera workshop. When I graduated the first thing I thought of is ‘Where will I get other opportunities to sing classical music?’  I had a double major of classroom music teacher K-12 and performing. I sang with my church choir but the quality was just not the same. My first year teaching music I met a lady who had been a long time member of Mendelssohn, Leonne Rhoads. She suggested I audition for the club as there were many opportunities to sing with choirs, solo and in operas. I was so thankful that she told me about this wonderful organization. I have been a member for almost 40 years and have enjoyed ever minute of being a part of such a great musical group. Not only did it give me a chance to perform classical music but also to attend so many awesome concerts and make so many wonderful friends.
Thank  you Mendelssohn for playing such an important part in my life!”
-Rita Weber

“My son Brian asked me to share some of the things I learned about your group when I volunteered in the office. One of the most enjoyable activities was going to the basement and getting lots of correspondence placed in the numerous categories. It was so interesting to see all that happened in the past with regards to how your group was started, people involved, activities over the years. It was also interesting to see how things were done in the past in comparison of what is being done today.  Can’t forget the day I was a ‘traffic cop’ directing a bus load of students coming in the building for a concert. Tracey had me do many different projects and was so appreciative of all my efforts. I knew very little about you and discovered so many ways you have been involved in our city! My hope is that you will survive for many, many years to come and that you will continue to offer quality entertainment for our Rockford community and the surrounding area.
Thanks for letting me be a part of your organization!!”
– Marlene McIntyre

“I was first introduced to MPAC when I attended an event. I brought my 10-year-old granddaughter, and we had the opportunity to walk through the building – up these stairs; down those stairs; around those corners and such. We found all types of nooks and crannies; closets and it seemed like we explored forever. We went up in the attic and got to sit by the grand organ. I became hooked that day!! Shortly thereafter I joined the board of directors. Things at MPAC – although challenging at times – have always been near to my heart. It does not hurt that I was the president of my high school orchestra for three years as well – so I do like the music too!!”
– Brian McIntyre

“I have been involved with Mendelssohn since first moving to Rockford in 1991. When Rockford Clinic was interviewing my husband they introduced me to an active member of Mendelssohn Club over lunch. Learning about all the performance opportunities, community involvement and educational activities at Mendelssohn Club, as a musician, made Rockford an extremely appealing small city. Since that time I have been involved on several committees, as a member of the board, assisted with in-school educational performances, produced and performed in concerts and opera productions and fundraisers. Mendelssohn has been an active music organization for 134 years in the Rockford community. They have fostered music to all age levels through education activities involving classrooms, masterclasses and competition; guest artist performers; performance opportunities for area musicians (the Mendelssohn Chorale, concerts at Emerson House and on the MainStage series. Mendelssohn is truly a community arts organization that supports and promotes local talent and enhances the quality of life in Rockford, especially for amateur and professional musicians who live here.”
-Martha Dahlberg

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Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center || 406 N. Main St || Rockford, IL 61103 || 815.964.9713