One of Pennsylvania’s greatest acoustical treasures, the historic WCR (Woman’s Club of Reading) Center for the Arts provides the setting and stage for the concerts of the Friends of Chamber Music of Reading.
The WCR Center for the Arts is located at 140 North Fifth St in the historic heart of downtown Reading. Erected in the 19th Century on the site of Reading’s first Post Office, the former Wyomissing Club occupied the building until 1919, when it became the home of the Woman’s Club of Reading.
“There are some places one plays where you feel like the music is going directly from you to the people in the audience — not just to their ears, but right into their souls. The Woman’s Club is such a place. It feels like you are having an intimate conversa- tion with everyone in the room. It is rare and it is exciting and it needs to be preserved.”
— Michael Kannen, cellist
Director of Chamber Music
The Peabody Conservatory
From the outside, the building looks a bit larger than a stately city townhouse, with its new sign and carriage lights inviting the public inside to a wonderful facility, at the center of which is a 265-seat auditorium with an acoustical quality unmatched anywhere in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In this spectacular setting is a superb vintage Steinway Grand Piano, purchased by the Woman’s Club and still in use for concerts today. The facility also boasts a fine gallery and reception hall, and two spacious rental spaces on its second floor.
In the summer of 2004, several community leaders came together to form a new entity, “The WCR (Woman’s Club of Reading) Center for the Arts”. The organization was formed for the purpose of helping the present members of the Woman’s Club save this historic building as a unique performance and exhibition venue for the community. Already much has been done in rehabilitation of the structure, which has been made more user-friendly with comfortable auditorium seating, modern bathroom facilities, and an inviting space for receptions and exhibits.
The Board of Directors of the WCR Center is now engaged in a second phase of improvements, which will bring wheel-chair accessibility, an upgraded electrical system and enhancements to the auditorium and the dedicated parking area in the rear of the structure. With this final phase of work, the WCR Center for the Arts will have not only been preserved, but will have been transformed into a first class artistic venue, capable of serving the community in a variety of ways into the future. With the recent renovations of the Sovereign Performing Arts Center and the GoggleWorks, and the new Miller Center for the Arts at Reading Area Community College, the WCR Center is taking its place in the center of a wonderfully revitalized Reading.
The directors of the WCR Center are profoundly grateful to the many members of the community who have made our progress possible. More needs to be done. Inquiries, pledges and gifts for the second phase of work are invited and should be addressed by mail to: The WCR Center for the Arts, 2650 Westview Drive, Wyomissing, PA, 19610, or by Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit wcrcenter.org for more information.