A church that has stood in Rockford for over 100 years will have a new purpose.
Members of First Presbyterian Church voted to put their building and property up for sale late last year due to rising costs, unused space, and a shrinking congregation. Now, thanks to a donation from Dr. William and Leah Baskin, the landmark will still hold a strong place in the Rockford community.
Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center will expand its current campus to include the church and, therefore, be able to expand what it offers as well. Educational programming, including visual arts and dance, will join Mendelssohn's offerings of music lessons. Kantorei, The Singing Boys of Rockford, will also take up residence in the church.
"Mendelssohn will have the opportunity to not only expand its physical campus for new performance and rehearsal space, but to also expand its educational programming to include a broad spectrum of the arts, including visual arts and dance...Mendelssohn's desire is to contribute to the vitality of downtown Rockford by becoming a vibrant 'Space and Place for the Arts.'"
Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center has been in northern Illinois since 1884 and is home to the Rock Valley Children's Choir, the Mendelssohn Chorale, and Kantorei, The Boy Singers of Rockford.
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