Rotary Park’s outdoor percussion instruments to be featured on Discovery Channel show
by Jeff Richards
Contributing Writer
Jun 05, 2014 | 2954 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Freenotes founder Richard Cooke is interviewed at Moab’s Rotary Park for an upcoming episode of “Innovations,” an educational show produced by the Discovery Channel. Photo by Jeff Richards
Freenotes founder Richard Cooke is interviewed at Moab’s Rotary Park for an upcoming episode of “Innovations,” an educational show produced by the Discovery Channel. Photo by Jeff Richards
The wide array of percussion instruments at Moab’s Rotary Park will be featured in an upcoming episode of “Innovations,” an educational television program airing on The Discovery Channel.

The installation is the brainchild of Richard Cooke, a Grammy award winner and a leading pioneer in environmental music. Cooke’s company, Freenotes Harmony Park, based in Durango, Colo., has since installed outdoor instruments in locations throughout the country.

Moab’s collection in Rotary Park started with a single xylophone in 1995, when Cooke was living in Moab. The collection has since expanded to nearly 30 instruments, said Moab City Community Development Director David Olsen, who worked with Cooke on the project.

“We’ve added about one new instrument each year,” Olsen said, noting that Moab’s is the oldest and the largest known collection of public outdoor instruments.

Olsen spoke of the “wow factor” experienced by first-time visitors to the park. Just like the local residents who have enjoyed the park for years, newcomers waste no time in grabbing up the sticks or mallets and beginning to create sounds music, Olsen said.

Cooke and his wife Christy, who is the president of Freenotes Harmony Park, were on hand at Rotary Park on Friday, May 30 as a small crew from The Discovery Channel filmed interviews for the show.

“Percussion instruments are so simple to play,” Cooke said. “There are no wrong notes, and everything is very simple.”

Cooke said the instruments are meant to “invite musical exploration” in people of all ages, and cited several of the many educational, social, and health benefits that playing music provides.

Cooke said the various instruments have been designed to be low-maintenance and highly durable, even under near-constant use and harsh weather conditions.

After the interviews were filmed, Cooke invited the people gathered at the park, including a group of children in Bonnie Nielson’s music class at the Moab Charter School, to play the instruments while the camera crew recorded the action.

The episode of “Innovations,” which is hosted by Ed Begley, Jr., is expected to air in October, according to information on the Freenotes Harmony Park website.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.