Oversized instruments will soon bring tunes to park


FERDINAND — From this weekend’s Heimatfest, to the annual Folk Fest, to the perennial power of the Forest Park Marching Rangers, music is an essential part of the culture of Ferdinand. And even more tunes could be on the way. Soon, life-size musical instruments could pop up in the town’s 18th Street Park as part of a Dubois County Leadership Academy capstone project.

Emily Fuhs, Jayme Lindauer, Brett Pund, Eber Menjivar and Tammy Sermersheim are all members of the Academy group that proposed the potential addition at the Ferdinand Town Council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday night.

They hope to have the musical park — which would include four or five pieces of weatherproof equipment — installed at the park before the Ferdinand Folk Festival on Saturday, Sept. 16. Some of the pieces could include oversized drums, chimes, xylophones and other percussive instruments.

“I look back on my childhood and think I didn’t have that exposure to music unless I listened to it on the radio or was in music class at school,” said Fuhs, who is an industrial engineer at Kimball Electronics. “With this, you can make your own song and do your own thing, and I think that will be really good as far as creativity. I think it will be a good opportunity for kids to work together.”

At the meeting, Ferdinand Town Council President Ken Sicard said the council “would definitely support” the addition to the park. Fuhs and her group estimate the total cost of the project to be around $16,000, with all of the money expected to come from fundraising, grants and possibly an endowment with the Dubois County Community Foundation. The group is looking at equipment from Playworld, a commercial playground equipment manufacturer, as well as exploring options with outdoor musical instrument manufacturer Percussion Play.

“I’m honored you picked Ferdinand,” Sicard said. “I’ll go to bed feeling good about that tonight.”

The Dubois County Leadership Academy launched in 2011 as an avenue for training leaders from across the county. The 10 Participants in this year’s program have met since April to hear from established community and business leaders and work on their projects, which are designed to provide a benefit and/or create a positive result for local communities. Participants will graduate on Aug. 10.

Past capstone projects have included the Jasper dog park, extending a walking path at Vincennes University Jasper Campus and stationing bike racks in various local towns, and placing the various Chalktalk chalkboards in public spaces in Dubois County. Members of this year’s other Academy group — Ansley Jenkins, Emily Peak, Mary Champion, Janessa Wolf and Tyson Bredemeier — are working on an expansion of the Little Free Library program in areas of Dubois County that are not served by a library facility.

Another musical instrument park might pop up in the Parklands in Jasper thanks to a donation from the Friends of the Arts and the Jasper Kiwanis Club. Friends of the Arts member Bob McCarty pitched the idea to the Jasper Parks Board at the board’s meeting Tuesday. Like the proposed project at Ferdinand’s 18th Street Park, the Parklands addition would include a handful of outdoor percussion instruments for people to play.

Fuhs said her group’s next steps are to meet with the Ferdinand Park Board to determine what kind of surface the instruments will be placed on and finalize where the music park’s location will be.

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