Play music at the playground in Wapakoneta

WAPAKONETA – When kids are playing on the playground, you don’t normally equate it to playing musical instruments.

At Belcher Park in Wapakoneta, new equipment allows young people to play music.

Freenotes Harmony Park is a heritage project run by the Riverside Arts Center in honor of the late Auglaize Municipal Court Judge Gary W. Herman.

“He was a member of the Riverside Art Center,” said Deb Fischer, board member of the Riverside Art Center. “He loved this community. He was very fond of music so we thought about this project two years ago, before COVID and then COVID happened so we had to wait. It gave us more time to plan and organize this wonderful project.

On Saturday, groundbreaking ceremonies for the new equipment were held and featured local percussion students playing music.

“We now have 16 musical instruments and there are a few more on the radar,” Fischer said. “This project was especially fun to work on, as it benefits the entire community by involving children and adults in our downtown park. It also honors Justice Herman and his enduring commitment to our community. We would like to thank all of our generous sponsors and volunteers who made this project possible.

The new play space combines the positive power of music with the riverside playground and picnic area. The instruments are durable and low maintenance, made from recycled plastic.

One of the first people to sponsor an instrument was Terry Blosser.

“It was a good project for the city and the city children. I dedicated one of the butterflies to my wife because she was in the art center and she was also inclined to music and not me, ”said Blosser.

Another godmother, Mary Petty, wanted to do something to honor her 15-year-old son.

“I think it’s a wonderful project. Everything for the kids. I did this in memory of my son, Ryan Petty, who has been gone for a while, ”said Petty.

Ryan Petty was stabbed to death in December 1987.

Freenotes Harmony supporters at the Riverside Art Center help cut the ribbon on Saturday in Belcher Park.

Wapakoneta High School students Juliet Wheeler (left) and Molly Hansen play some instruments at Freenotes Harmony Park, inside Belcher Park in Wapakoneta.

Contact Sam Shriver, reporter at 567-242-0409.

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