Marilyn Cade wins 2011 Starr of Excellence Award

Staff Report

Marilyn Cade, who has performed and taught piano in Rockford and elsewhere for many years, was named the winner of Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s 2011 Starr of Excellence Award.

The award was presented to Cade at a May 6 concert with pianists Angela Cheng and Alvin and Alan Chow at Court Street United Methodist Church in Rockford.

Cade taught piano at Northern Illinois University and Beloit College, and then at Rockford College for 19 years. She also started Rockford’s first Suzuki piano training program at the Music Academy of Rockford College. Her students have competed successfully in the Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship, Beloit/Janesville Symphony Concerto, and World Piano Competitions, Greater Rockford Music Teachers Association and Illinois State Music Teacher Association assessments, and Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra and Young Keyboard Artists Association auditions.

Cade is a longtime supporter of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s youth programs and has served as adjudicator in the Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition’s piano division.

Marilyn is also an accomplished pianist who frequently performs on the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s concert season and Music On Main series, and also is co-chairman of Mendelssohn’s Piano Club.

Cade has given many performances at Rockford College and the Music Academy. She held the principal chair for piano with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for 15 years. She is active in the Greater Rockford Music Teachers Association and the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women. She was also an active member of First Presbyterian Church for many years, and is now an active member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center initiated the annual Starr of Excellence Award in 1985. The award is named after Mrs. Chandler Starr, who established the Mendelssohn Club in 1884 and was also its president for many years. The award is given to those who have made a major contribution to the advancement of quality music in the Rockford area, is significantly involved in the community, and can be held up as a role model, particularly to youth.

Mendelssohn can be reached at (815) 964-9713 or online at

From the May 18-24, 2011 issue

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