Our Mission Statement

We are a community that fosters and inspires personal and artistic growth by empowering students to the highest level of artistic expression in all genres. We nurture the talent within.

The Wirth Center for the Performing Arts is a not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3) community school of the arts that enriches the region’s cultural environment by providing exceptional performing arts education and performance opportunities for students of all ages and abilities.


Since our beginning in 1981, the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts (formerly Central Minnesota Music School) has had a twofold philosophy:

“WE DEVELOP TALENT” and “MUSIC IS FOR EVERYONE.” It has been infectious, and successful.

At WCPA, we believe that having something to teach, and being able to motivate students are like two necessary oars in a rowboat. Without both oars, the boat will go in circles! Our teachers are highly trained, professionals who love what they do – and that’s infectious. Our programs also promote a group dynamic wherever possible – and for pre-college aged students, that’s motivating. Even the bustling sound experienced when entering the music school is part of this philosophy, inspiring students and honoring their musical lives with a beautiful facility in which to make it. Along with the cutting edge pedagogy we are known for – at affordable tuition rates – We are here to DEVELOP TALENT. Developing talent, which is the “ability” to make music and dance is our goal and our enduring success, because we believe everyone has it.

Making music is quintessentially human. The ingredients of music are at the core of all of our beings. Our hearts beat in systolic and diastolic rhythm and at different tempos throughout our day; our voices make sound, fluctuate in various pitches (melody), change volume (dynamics), articulation, and produce harmony when we sing together; and even our bodies, which have form and movement are all part of each and every one of us. We ARE music! Our dance IS music!… And so MUSIC IS FOR EVERYONE – It’s been our success.

We would love to share our music and dance with you!


In the spring of 1981, Dr. Paul Wirth was completing his second year of teaching at the College of Saint Benedict. One of his students was Julie Graves, wife of the successful developer Jim Graves. With their encouragement and assistance, Paul began working on an exciting project to develop a music school to bring his exceptional teaching ability to young pianists in Central Minnesota.

The school grew quickly and by the summer of 1983, with 125 students, Paul started working with prospective board members on incorporating as a not-for-profit. This process took seven exhausting years to complete. Along the way, the school moved three times until finally settling in its current location on the third floor of the former St. Mary’s Grade School located behind St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown St. Cloud. This location required many volunteer hours and generous donations/loans from supportive families and friends of the school to make it habitable.

What We Teach

We don’t just teach music theory and technique, but foster in our students a life-long love of music, dance, and the performing arts. We believe that art helps us be better people, and better people create a brighter world.


  • Music Instruction – Private and Group Lessons
  • Dance – Traditional and Modern
  • Private Instruction for Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Violin, Voice, and more!

Board Of Directors

Anita Baugh, President, Director of Financial Aid, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Arnie Kahara, LTD. Certified Public Accountant
Erin Szabo, Secretary, Professor of Communication at College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.
Jason Tangen, Owner of Shrewd Real Estate, LLC
Matt Westlund, Area Director with N2 Publishing
Dr. Paul Wirth, Pianist and Teacher of Young Artists – Co-founder and Artistic Director

School Directors

Dr. Paul Wirth – Artistic Director
Christopher Goering – Executive Director

Office Staff

Laura Anderson – Assistant to the Executive Director, Bookkeeper and Finances
Robin Cruze – Office Assistant, Student Tours and Coordinator