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New Musical Playground Opens Next To Bridge View Center

By Nick Davis, August 04, 2017

Bridge View Center, using funds from a generous donation by an Ottumwa Family Estate, recently installed a unique playground near the Ottumwa Trail System.

The Freenotes Harmony Park was paid for by a generous donation by the Harold and Florene De Buhr estate.

Musical parks and playgrounds are a new trend in musical expression. The outdoor musical instruments are durable, sustainable, play real music, and can withstand the elements allowing them to be installed outside. Most instruments are based on pentatonic a scale, which is a 5 note scale, the basis for much of the folk music around the world. These have been created with no wrong notes, allowing anyone to become an “instant expert” in making music, no matter the age or ability.

“The purchase was made possible through the funds that were designated to Bridge View Center Inc. from the Harold and Florene de Buhr estate” said Michael Philipsen, BVC Inc. Board Member, “we sincerely appreciate the generosity of the de Buhr family. We hope people will come down and enjoy making music on the banks of the river.”

The instruments in our Harmony Park include the Griffin, Pagada Bells, Tuned Drums, Pegasus, Imbarimba, Swirl and the Contrabass Chimes. The instruments in the Ensembles blend harmoniously with one another, providing the greatest variety of sound possibilities when played together.

“The de Buhr family and BVC Inc. are providing a rare opportunity for our community that is unique to southeast Iowa,” said Nancy Menke, Bridge View Center Inc. Board Member. “The park is ADA compliant and will be an asset to the community for years to come.”

Scott Hallgren, Executive Director for VenuWorks at Bridge View Center commented, “We are grateful to both the Bridge View Center, Inc. Board of Directors and the Harold and Florene de Buhr estate for their gift and commitment to beautify our campus at Bridge View Center. We would also like to thank the City of Ottumwa Parks and Recreation Department and Director Gene Rathje for their help and support of this project with the installation of the seven musical instrument playground pieces. We are committed to supporting the performing arts within Ottumwa and SE Iowa region, and this is one reason why we chose to locate Freenotes Harmony Park right next to the City’s trail system – providing easy access to both the public and those attending events at Bridge View Center to enjoy the musical instruments. We proudly host numerous musical events and support the performing arts within both our beautiful Theater and flexible Expo Hall performance spaces at Bridge View Center, and now our residents and guests will be able to have a little fun in making some music at Freenotes Harmony Park when they’re coming to listen to music at any one of several shows throughout the year.”

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