Music Center Commemorates Milestone

Community members gather for a ribbon-cutting at St. Cecilia Music Center to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the organization on Sept. 27, 2023. Courtesy photo.

St. Cecilia Music Center and the Grand Rapids Chamber held a special ceremony to commemorate the organization’s 140th anniversary on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

“St. Cecilia Music Center is so excited to be celebrating 140 years! It really is remarkable to think that nine Grand Rapids women gathered in 1883 and conceptualized this organization and now 140 year later, here we are on the steps of the building they built in 1894 that has been in continuous operation as a music center since its inception,” said Catherine Holbrook, the center’s executive and artistic director.

The oldest performing arts organization in the West Michigan region, the SCMC was listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971, and is the only building in the U.S. to have been built by women solely for the purpose of music.

St. Cecilia Music Center truly was the epicenter of the cultural life of Grand Rapids and is referred to as the ‘mother of the arts’ in Grand Rapids as many of the city’s arts organizations all had their roots at SCMC including the GR Symphony, Opera and Civic Theater,” Holbrook said.

SCMC was created to promote the appreciation, study, and performance of music in order to enrich the lives of the residents of West Michigan. Its mission is to promote the appreciation, study, and performance of music to enrich the lives of West Michigan residents. The Center fulfills this mission by presenting visiting world-class artists in concert, providing music education for all ages through its School of Music, and preserving a historic building for musical activities and community events.

Upcoming performances on the SCMC Royce Auditorium Stage include folk musician Amos Lee, Thursday, Oct. 12; jazz musician Madeleine Peyroux, Saturday, October 21; and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, which will perform “Trios Transformed” on Thursday, Nov. 9. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information visit the SCMC website.

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