The sound of Federal Hill: New park features permanent, outdoor instruments

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By Mark Ambrogi

 

Noblesville Parks Dept. Director Brandon Bennett was intrigued by the idea of permanent outdoor instruments.

“Since first seeing the (Freenotes) Harmony Park instruments at a conference, I wanted to see these instruments in our system somewhere, but never had the right location or opportunity until this park came up,” Bennett said.

Bennett wanted the instruments as part of the design for the City of Noblesville’s sixth park, Federal Hill Commons, which opened April 29 and held its grand opening celebration May 13.

“The park has a focus on different arts, and these instruments fit right into that focus,” he said. “I knew I wanted them in the park design, but I was not sure where, as I didn’t want them to be a distraction when there was a show going on if they were placed somewhere out in the lawn.”

Bennett said the architects came up with the unique idea to install them along the back of the stage wall of the amphitheater. That accomplished several things, he said.

“First, it gave the back of the stage wall some depth as well as some additional visual artistic value,” he said. “Second, it activated the stage when nothing else was going on. Finally, it protected them from being played when there was an event on the stage and not allowing them to become a distraction as I once feared. Now, people come up on stage and play the instruments and make music when they are at the park visiting, making them the stars on the stage. People playing these instruments has quickly become my favorite sound resonating throughout the park.”

Joshua Rannells, lead design engineer for Colorado-based Freenotes Harmony Park, said the instruments are designed to be outdoors.

“They can take the abuse of rain and all that,” Rannells said. “They don’t have to be covered. The instruments are designed so anyone can play. You don’t have to have any music background.”

The Noblesville Parks Foundation donated the instruments.

“I’m glad the foundation stepped up and partnered on this, because I think it adds so much more to this park and the experience we want users to have,” Bennett said.

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