Founded as the Mendelssohn Club on October 4, 1884 by Mrs. Clara Blanch Ellis Starr, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC) is the oldest continuously operating music organization in the United States! Originally started to enhance music for women in the community, the Club gradually grew from in-home gatherings to public performances in various Rockford halls and auditoriums. Upon its incorporation in 1894, membership was made available to everyone in the Rockford area and an annual concert series featuring regional, national and internationally known musicians was established.
MPAC continues to adhere to its mission – to present exciting, personal, interactive music experiences thereby enriching our community. Our performance programs include: scholarship recitals; programs featuring young musicians; performance opportunities for adults (Art Song Project and Piano Performance Group); programs featuring area soloists and ensembles; Sunday afternoon jazz concerts; informal studio programs; Charlotte’s Web and MainStage concerts. Also, our educational outreach provides guest lectures, demonstrations and performances for students in Rockford area schools, enriching programs for adults, pre-concert guest lectures, and a special summer two-week music/arts enrichment camp program for students at our Community Centers. In an effort to continue to provide musical experiences during this current Covid-19 pandemic, MPAC will also include live-streaming of selected performances for the 2020-21 concert season.