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A magical, musical park in Valparaiso

A magical, musical park in Valparaiso


VALPARAISO — Earlier this year Mary Ann Claesgens and her husband were vacationing in Colorado.

As they headed out for the day, she heard music coming from a nearby creek. The sounds weren't those of the babbling brook. They came from the large musical instruments dotting the creek bank.

Claesgens, a member of the Valparaiso Sunrise Kiwanis, brought the idea back with her from vacation. The results were the recent installation of five oversize instruments near Butterfly playground at Foundation Meadows park on Campbell Road. A ribbon cutting took place this week to mark the completion of the Magical Music project.

"Music is so important. It opens so many brain cells," said Claesgens, adding, while at a playground, the instruments are meant to be played by "kids of all ages."

The project was funded by the Kiwanis Club, Porter County Community Foundation and family of Laurel Hahn, a former Kiwanian.

Claesgens said the donations mark the 30th anniversary of the Sunrise Kiwanis Club.

Paul Sciarra, of Valparaiso and lieutenant governor of the Duneland Division of Kiwanis Clubs, said the Magical Music project is in line with the Kiwanis Club goals and values including "volunteering to make the lives of children better."

Parks Director John Siebert said the addition to the park not only brings "joyful and beautiful noise," but also is an example of the partnerships the department has with several community organizations to provide quality services to residents.

"This is our community," he said.

Siebert said they hope that legacy is passed on as children and adults read the dedication plaques along the instruments and understand the "extraordinary effort of volunteerism we pass forward."


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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.

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