Music Plaza to open June 1 in downtown Maple Grove
by Sue Webber
The sound of music is coming to downtown Maple Grove.
The Rotary Club of Maple Grove, in partnership with the city, is installing an interactive Music Plaza for youngsters, oldsters and all ages in between on Main Street near Town Green, behind the library.
Construction on the Music Plaza began May 13. It is expected to be open June 1.
“It’s a beautiful prime spot,” Rotary President Chuck Beach said.
Instead of slides, swings and jungle gyms, the park will feature six large-scale Freenotes sound sculptures, stationary instruments hardy enough to withstand Minnesota’s theater of seasons, and inviting enough to entice residents of all ages and abilities to step up and make music. Each instrument comes with two durable mallets attached to the instrument with stainless steel cables.
Pagoda Bells: A vertical array of bells that ring with blended tones.
Sunset Yantzee: Low notes created by two-and-a-half-inch aluminum bars resonated by three-inch diameter tubes ranging from one- to two-and-a-half feet long.
Swirl: Made of 26 resonated anodized aluminum chimes in the key of C major and A minor, ranging in pitch from soprano to alto.
Contra Bass Chimes: Seven chimes pitched one octave below middle C and ranging in height from seven to nine feet. They are made of four-inch diameter heavy-duty anodized aluminum tubing.
Glass Imbarimba: Combines elements of two classic African instruments: the marimba (a resonated xylophone) and the kalimba (a thumb piano).
Tuned Drums: Five molded plastic drum caps ranging from seven to 15 inches in diameter.
Instruments will be handicapped accessible, require little maintenance and are “highly resistant to vandalism,” according to information on the Rotary website.
“The instruments are basically indestructible,” Beach said. “They handle the weather really well.”
The idea for a Music Plaza in Maple Grove started about three years, when area Rotarians attended a conference and heard about another club’s sponsoring such a project, according to Beach.
“We thought then how cool it would be to have something like that in Maple Grove,” Beach said. “What’s neat is that you hit one of the instruments and it sounds good. One of the coolest things is that it’s intergenerational. A grandfather can enjoy it with his granddaughter. It’s something everyone can do. No training is required. It would be great for autistic kids.”
The Rotary has committed $56,000 to building and maintaining the park, Beach said. That includes a maintenance fund for ongoing upkeep of the area.
Beach said 95 percent of the money has been raised through donations. Additional funds will be raised through the sale of engraved pavers, he said. Once or twice a year, people will be invited to sponsor the $150 pavers as gifts or memorials.
“It would be a nice gift for a music teacher, grandparent, or on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day,” Beach said.
The city’s role is to provide the area at Town Green and to supervise the coordination of the project, according to Michelle DeBace, Program Specialist in the Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Department.
“It will be something different and new, something you won’t see at any of our other parks,” Debace said. “It won’t be real big, but it will be a perfect size for families and children.”
Since the Music Plaza is not in a residential area, the sounds from the instruments won’t disturb anyone, said Debace, who noted that the tones are “very subdued.”
“The Rotary has hired the contractors and is responsible for the installation to completion,” DeBace said
The 54-member Rotary Club, which spent the weekend of May 11-12 working on sod and bushes at the plaza site, is “just so excited” about the project, Beach said.
“It will be a blessing,” Beach said. “I can’t wait to bring my 1-year-old granddaughter there. She’s old enough to grab it [the mallet] and play.”