Mendelssohn partners with Children’s Choir

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC) and Rock Valley College (RVC) have joined together to support and grow the RVC Children’s Choir in a new partnership.

Previously on the RVC campus, the Choir now has a new physical and artistic home, moving rehearsals and performances to the MPAC in the heart of Rockford’s Cultural Corridor. Mendelssohn will provide artistic and logistic direction to the Choir, while RVC will continue in an administrative role by managing registrations and collection of fees. The group will continue to be called “The Rock Valley College Children’s Choir” and will remain under the direction of Leah Baskin, a long-time choral director from Rockford.

“We’re delighted to be able to add Rock Valley College Children’s Choir to our roster of youth programming, especially in this time of budget cuts in area school arts programs,” said Bridget Fraser, executive director of MPAC. “These choirs offer children a quality introduction to music and an experience that we hope will serve as a stepping stone to a lifelong dedication to music and the performing arts.”

Kimberly Patterson, manager of Community Education at RVC, added: “We’re very pleased about this new partnership—it is a tremendous artistic boost to the Rock Valley College Children’s Choir to now be under the umbrella of Mendelssohn, the oldest continuously operating community music organization in the country. We are looking forward to a close and productive collaboration with Mendelssohn to grow the program and to foster even greater artistic accomplishments by the children.”

The RVC Children’s Choir is a performing and education choral organization for children in the Rock Valley area. Beginning in 2002 with one small choir, the program has grown to three separate choruses that encompass grades one through eight. Choruses include the following:

“Do-Re-Mi Singers” for grades one through three;

“Music Makers Chorus” for grades four through eight; and

“Music Masters Choir,” an audition-based choir for grades six through eight.

The Choir has sung in concert with the Rock Valley Chorale, performed at the Coronado Theatre, sung for the opening of a Smithsonian Institute exhibition and performed for civic and festival groups throughout the region. Children in the Choir come from all types of schools and education programs, including public, private, parochial and home schools, and represent more than a dozen communities in the RVC district.

In addition to the partnership with the children’s group, MPAC and RVC will present “Sight Reading for Singers,” a program targeted at adult choral performers who wish to improve their sight-reading skills. This class will be taught by Baskin and meet Monday evenings at MPAC.

More information about the partnership, the choirs or the adult class is available by contacting MPAC at 964-9713 or visiting MPAC’s Web site at; or by contacting RVC at 921-3900 or by visiting RVC’s Web site at

To register for the Fall Choir session, which begins Aug. 29, or the Sight Reading for Singers class, which begins Sept. 11, contact RVC at 921-3900.

From the Aug. 2-8, 2006, issue

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