About Us

MPAC’s Mission: To present exciting, personal, interactive music experiences and to enrich our community by fostering and supporting the performing arts. 

We invite you to feel at home on our campus. Join Piano Group or The Art Song Project, attend one of the many recitals featuring talented area youth, or stop in on a Sunday to sample fabulous jazz. Consider purchasing season tickets, and return often to experience our impressive concerts and events. We look forward to seeing you!


On October 4, 1884, Mrs. Clara Blanche Ellis Starr (the wife of Rockford businessman Chandler Starr) entertained a group of Rockford ladies who loved music, especially that of composer Felix Mendelssohn, in her home on North Main Street. That day, the Mendelssohn Club of Rockford was born, with Mrs. Chandler Starr as its first president.

Incorporated in 1894, the Mendelssohn Club grew from a group of local music lovers performing for each other into a community music organization. Club membership was made available to everyone in the greater Rockford area. An annual concert series with national and internationally-known musicians as well as local performers was implemented. Music programs for local youth were formed, including the Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition, first held in 1961. In 1985, the Mendelssohn Chorale was founded by Ralph Nielsen, father of Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen.

After meeting in several different locations during the early years, the Mendelssohn Club began construction on its own building at 415 North Church Street in 1950. In 1952, the building was dedicated and the first concert presented in its 220-seat auditorium. As audiences grew, Mendelssohn season performances expanded to other locales in the area, and through the years, several wonderful venues, rich in history, have been used by the organization to carry out its mission.

The Mendelssohn Club was officially re-named Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center in 2006, marking the transition from private club to community performing arts center. MPAC has truly become a place and a space for the arts in Rockford.

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