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Music for All in Harmony Garden

Music for All in Harmony Garden

Laclede Groves accessible arts

A new accessible outdoor musical garden is the latest amenity to grace Laclede Groves, a Lutheran Senior Services Life Plan Community in Webster Groves, Missouri.

Named “Harmony Garden,” it includes four instruments that are all ADA accessible: rainbow chimes, calypso chimes, and two sets of harmony flowers. The colorful instruments add a visually stimulating and musically pleasing component to the Chapel Garden of the historic 100-year-old Laclede Groves Chapel.

“We chose to put Harmony Garden in the Chapel Garden because it is accessible to all residents as well as visitors,” said Gina Timme, Director of Development for Laclede Groves. “We are really excited about how the outdoor instruments add to intergenerational play!”

Each year the Laclede Groves Auxiliary, a not-for-profit group that raises donations for the support of Laclede Groves and its residents, selects a special project to fund. This year, they chose instruments for the music therapy program. This included a collection of 9 large percussion drums, a set of handbells chimes, and a Q-cord, which is an electronic adaptive guitar. Not all funds were expended so the Auxiliary agreed to put the remaining funds toward outdoor instruments. An anonymous donor provided a gift to complete the project.

“This is such a special opportunity for Laclede Groves to create calming music in peaceful settings throughout our beautiful campus. These outdoor music instruments allow for moments of meditation, joy, expression, and much more. They will provide connections between residents, family members, staff, sound, and nature,” said Emily Sitzes, Music Therapist for Laclede Groves.

Sitzes says that music can help with pain management, encourages movement, and stimulates memory recall. “For older adults, music can be used to address physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. Music influences positive changes in mood and helps individuals cope with difficult diagnoses, grief, and more. Evidence has shown music’s effectiveness in reducing depression, anxiety, and agitation.”

Laclede Groves considers this Phase 1 of their vision for accessible music stations throughout the community. “We chose the courtyard first so everyone would be able to access it. But with funding, we would love to have Phases 2, 3, and 4 in the Commons Courtyard, Memory Care Courtyard, and REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation Spatio!” said Timme.

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