Kingwood Rotary Club’s musical flowers are installed in Town Center Park and ready to be “played” by the young or the young-at-heart.

That is music you are hearing in Town Center Park, and it isn’t projecting from a band, or speakers, or someone’s iPhone.

The melodic sounds are coming from — flowers! Strategically placed by the Kingwood Rotary Club throughout Town Center Park, nestled between Kingwood Drive and West Lake Houston Parkway.

“Adults initially are pretty hesitant about touching the flowers but once they pick up the mallet and start playing, that inner child comes out and they totally enjoy the experience of creating music,” said longtime Kingwood resident Tommie Buscemi.

There is no hesitation on the part of youngsters, however, as Charlie Buscemi explained.

“Children love playing the instruments and creating their own music,” he said. “Several families have reached out to thank us for this project because their children adore it.”

The “project” is “Live in Harmony,” adorable daisy-shaped outdoor musical flowers just primed for a little human, or a big human, to pick up the mallet and create sweet music.

The “daisies” are sculptural percussion musical instruments that deliver a high-quality sound for both the player and parkgoers who happen to be nearby.

And the benefits of playing these daisies? Charlie Buscemi has quite a list.

“We know that music therapy stimulates brain activity, increases the capacity of memory, sharpens concentration, reduces anxiety, regulates blood pressure, and provides an overall sense of well-being,” said Charlie.

“We first learned about these instruments in 2020 when Charlie and I served as service project chairs for our Rotary District helping Rotary District Gov. Gary Gillen build a $40,000 Music Park with these instruments in Bryan/College Station,” explained Tommie.

“We thought, why not Kingwood, and why not Town Center Park?” responded Charlie. “We spoke with Tony Austin, and he loved it.”

The musical flowers were created by Richard Cooke, a four-time Grammy Award winner, who produced the idea in 1995.

“Cooke learned to play the flute without ever taking lessons or reading music, and he wanted to teach others how to play instinctively, so he created these outdoor instruments that sound so beautiful,” said Tommie. Cooke’s company, Freenotes Harmony Park in Chattanooga, manufactures the instruments.

The perfectly tuned daisies are fun and easy to play, the Buscemis said, and are especially helpful for children with special needs such as ADD, ADHD and autism.

“Kingwood Rotary Club paid $8,000 for the four musical instruments and the installation are part of our Stage One donation to Town Center Park,” said Charlie. “To help cover the cost, we were especially grateful for a $3,000 Rotary Foundation District Grant from Rotary District 5890.”

Kingwood Rotary was chartered in 2005 with the goal of “ … doing hands-on projects rather than just writing checks,” Tommie said. “If our 13 members see a problem that needs to be addressed or have an idea for a project that will benefit Kingwood, we work together to make it happen.”

“Charlie and I go back quite a long time,” said Austin, director of Town Center Park Association. “He has a leadership role with Rotary while I have a leadership role with the Kingwood Lions Club and Town Center Park. I have worked with him in the past in setting up Sept. 11 memorial services and the short notice concert that Lee Greenwood gave shortly after Hurricane Harvey devastated Kingwood.”

The Buscemis and Austin agreed that the flowers would be a great addition to the park, and the Park board agreed, too.

“Town Center Park is the heartbeat of social and family activities and events in Kingwood,” said Tommie. “This is where we gather for holidays, concerts, the Kingwood Farmers Market, picnics, or before and after dining with our families in the nearby restaurants.”

The Town Center Park Association has installed four frequently used picnic tables, according to Austin, and has been the perfect location for F3 Kingwood The River, a free bootcamp-style workout for men who not only exercise in the park in the early morning hours but have built a series of workout stations that can be used by everyone.

“Tony and the Town Center Association are dedicated to creating a beautiful park for all of us to enjoy when we come together to celebrate,” said Tommie. “So many family memories our made here, and our children definitely will remember all the fun they’ve had in the park.”

Expect more “instruments” in Town Center Park. Kingwood Rotary plans to install additional instruments each year. They have their eyes on a xylophone and a harp.

“The flower project is an outstanding example of our approach at the Park to make it more accessible and fun for the community,” said Austin.

As for the Kingwood Rotary and the Buscemi family, Austin said, “They recently held a blood drive at Walgreens. Just scroll their Facebook page and you will get an idea of what they do. Charlie, Tommie, and their daughter, Jenna, are solidly committed to Rotary and we are blessed to have them in our community.”

Kingwood Rotary meets monthly on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at Union Kitchen. Tommie Buscemi is 2021-22 club president and charter member. To join or learn more, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or KWRotary.org.

As for Town Center Park, Austin hints that there is more to come that Kingwood residents will be excited about.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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