Since 1883, the mission of St. Cecilia Music Center has been to promote the appreciation, performance and study of music in order to enrich the human spirit and enhance the quality of life for the residents of West Michigan.
St. Cecilia Music Center is the only organization of its kind in West Michigan. Established in 1883 as St. Cecilia Society by 9 Grand Rapids’ women determined to “promote the study and appreciation of music in all its branches.” The organization was named for the legendary patron saint of music. In 1883, the year of St. Cecilia’s founding, Grand Rapids was the nation’s Furniture City, home to some of the largest furniture factories in the world and renowned for the distinguished craftsmanship and design of its signature product. The heyday of the furniture industry produced an era of affluence that made it possible for many Grand Rapids women to turn their talents and energies to the development of arts and cultural organizations. During St. Cecilia’s earliest days, members met in each other’s homes and performed for one another. It wasn’t long before they were bringing internationally renowned musical artists to the city to perform for the general public and raising the funds needed to build suitable quarters for their musical activities. Over the years, succeeding generations of St. Cecilia donors have continued to carry on the tradition that the founders established so many years ago. St. Cecilia Music Center enjoys the distinction of being the “mother of the arts” in Grand Rapids. Many of the city’s most prominent arts organizations trace their roots to programs that originated at St. Cecilia including the Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids and Civic Theater.
There is something for everyone at St. Cecilia Music Center, where a broad range of affordable and accessible music education and performance programs spans the seasons and the generations. Over the years St. Cecilia has brought some of the world’s finest artists to perform on its Royce Auditorium stage and has introduced young and old alike to the joys of listening to and making music. Through an impressive and ever-expanding variety of programming, as well as collaborations with many other arts organizations, St. Cecilia Music Center has enriched the lives and touched the hearts of countless area residents of all ages, backgrounds, musical tastes and talents, giving the priceless gift of music through education and performance to the community it has served since 1883.