A gift of music: Warren County dedicates instruments in music park

Lorraine Hultquist plays one of the instruments in the Lorraine LeHew Hultquist Music Park, which was dedicated by local officials Wednesday in Warren County's Rockland Park. Hultquist donated the funds used to buy the playable equipment installed by county staff over the summer. Alex Bridges / Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County officials dedicated a set of playable, musical instruments on Wednesday as the newest feature at the Rockland Park.

Department of Parks and Recreation staff had installed the metal instruments in the Lorraine LeHew Hultquist Music Park over the summer. But the county unveiled the sign commemorating Hultquist’s donation for the purchase of the instruments on Wednesday afternoon.

The sculptural collection features contrabass chimes, “manta ray,” swirl aria, lily pad cymbals and pagoda bells. Users play the instruments with attached mallets.

Department Director Daniel Lenz recalled how Hultquist brought up the idea years ago of creating a music park somewhere in the county.

Hultquist approached Lenz in February with information on the equipment and told him she would cover the cost. She provided photographs of similar parks installed in Utah and Oregon.

Lenz recalled feeling grateful for Hultquist’s offer. Land Planning and Design Associates designed the music park in the shape of a violin, Lenz said.

The Parks and Recreation Commission endorsed the project later approved by the Board of Supervisors. Park goers began using the instruments this summer, Lenz said.

“It’s truly fitting that she is honored today for this gracious and kind gift,” Lenz said.

Hultquist spoke briefly before the unveiling of the park sign. While visiting one of her sons in Moab, Utah, she saw a park that featured all the available instruments and recalled saying that the county needed one of these sets.

“I just think it’s wonderful how the group out here put them up and set them up because I didn’t pay for that; they did that and I thought that was wonderful the way they did it,” Hultquist said.

Hultquist said she wants to build another music park somewhere in the county but no site has been picked.

Board Vice Chairman Tony Carter, who represents the Happy Creek District, spoke at the dedication and thanked Hultquist for her donation.

“Her love of music and her community are unparalleled and we are truly blessed to have citizens of her caliber contribute to the betterment of our community,” Carter said. He also thanked county staff for their work on the project.

“This park has the potential, I believe, to inspire future musicians,” Carter went on to say.

The county pursued the creation of Rockland Park in 2005 when it bought land from Fishnet Ministries, Carter noted. The county uses a pay-as-you-go approach to building the amenities in phases with much of the cost covered by grants and other contributions. Work continues on the construction of ball fields and parking areas at the park.