April 22, 2020
To: Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC) Associates and Friends
From: MPAC Board of Directors
Subject: The Future of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center
Since its inception 135 years ago in Mrs. Starr’s living room in Rockford, the mission of the MPAC has consistently been to enrich lives through music and music education.
Over the years, the operation and campus have grown. Starr Center was built in 1952 and was home for 60 years. In 2005, the Emerson House at 420 N. Main St. was acquired. Soon after that the organization’s name was changed from Mendelssohn Club to Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. In 2012, the former First Presbyterian Church building at 406 N. Main St. became the third MPAC facility.
For the past six months, the MPAC Board of Directors has done a great deal of in-depth study, analysis and soul searching regarding the organization’s future. It was determined that owning three aging buildings is a daunting situation resulting in more time and resources spent on real estate than on the mission of providing quality musical experiences.
Last fall the Emerson House was put up for sale, but there is no buyer as of yet. At its March meeting, the Board decided to return the base of operations to Starr Center and to put the church building on the market. Most programs will be presented in Starr Center with the occasional use of other venues as needed.
While the business part of MPAC is being worked out, an exciting and varied 136th season has been planned for 2020-2021. There will be great concerts to look forward to on the Main Stage, Charlotte’s Web, Music On Main and Jazz At Starr Center series. Watch for the details to be announced soon.
The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center Board of Directors appreciates and is grateful for everyone’s support. This “return to our roots” move will result in an even stronger and more flexible organization better able to focus on its mission to sponsor, promote and present quality music for all.