Rotary Music Garden


On July 26, 2017, Charter Oak Park re-opened with a public ceremony commemorating the parks renovation. The most unique feature of the park is the new Rotary Music Garden: a nine-instrument recreational site designed to encourage children and families to experience the musical arts through play.

Designed by Colorado Harmony Parks, the nine musical instruments will be arranged just to the north of the park’s recessed field, between the tennis courts and the softball field. The garden will be landscaped with walking paths and benches.The core of the garden will be laid with memorial sandstone bricks fanning out into six “spokes.” A central patio will connect the music garden with the new playground, providing a space where caregivers can rest with eyes on both play areas; this area will be paved by the Andrew Ansaldi Company.

According to Rotary Secretary and project champion Bob Rodner, one of the most exciting features of the Music Garden is that its instruments are open to all. In his presentation at the Manchester Arts Commission’s 2017 State of the Arts gathering, Rodner emphasized the openness of these instruments in terms of both location—outdoors, just off of Charter Oak Street, in Manchester’s southeast quadrant—and design.

“There is literally no way you can play these wrong,” said Rodner. According to the Harmony Parks guide, the instruments are designed so there are “no wrong notes,” making the instruments ideal for both young players and those with special needs.

According to Chris Silver, Director of the town’s Department of Leisure, Family, and Recreation, the garden provide all children the opportunity to develop the early childhood audiation skills critical to the development of musical intelligence. He also points out that the space makes for a more inclusive parks experience.
“There is a history of developing parks exclusively around sporting activities. Unfortunately, active recreational sites were not always welcoming to the segment of young people who excelled in creative, rather than athletic, pursuits," said Silver. “It’s crucial for us to design our facilities in ways that are inclusive of the diverse talents of the young people in our community.”

The Rotary Club of Manchester is part of an international network of individuals dedicated to “service above self.” Internationally, the organization is involved in providing community solutions that provide access to clean water, grow local economies, and provide educational opportunities. For more information, visit


50 Charter Oak Street, Manchester, CT 06040  View Map

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