Promoting music one park at a time
It looks like Sparta will be the pilot city for a musical campaign proposed by a southern Monroe County manufacturer.
String Swing Display Fixtures, located on Highway 131 between Wilton and Ontario, produces musical instrument stands it sells worldwide. At Monday's Park Board meeting, Tyler Westpfahl, a marketing intern working for the company, unveiled the company's new campaign, "Strings in the Park".
The idea is simple. String Swing will install a ukulele stand in one or more of Sparta's parks and securely tether a ukulele to it. Westpfahl said the stand would either be cemented into the ground or secured to a pavilion post using anti-theft screws.
The ukulele itself, which is water proof and weather proof, will be "security tethered" to the stand, which will have a plaque with a cord chart and information on how to download an app to tune it.
"It's to provide instruments for anyone to play who may not have the money or the opportunity to play and instrument," said Westpfahl, noting ukuleles are user-friendly instruments.
The Strings in the Park campaign will be accompanied by a social media promotion involving Instagram and Facebook. People will be encouraged to post pictures of themselves playing the ukuleles.
Westpfahl said Sparta would be the campaign's trial run because the relatively close proximity of the city to Sting Swings makes it easier to monitor and maintain the instruments. If it's successful in Sparta, the company plans to expand it to other communities.
"If people take a liking to it, we're hoping to go to Riverside Park in La Crosse as well and expand to other parks in the area," said Westpfahl.
While Park Board members seemed receptive to the idea, they expressed concern that vandals would destroy the instrument in short order.
"We do know that vandalism might be a problem," said Westpfahl, adding the String Swings would replace the ukuleles for a while and would remove them if vandalism persisted.
Westpfahl suggested placing one of the stands in Evans-Bosshard Park because it complemented the recreational area's music theme with its band shell and Music in the Park series.
"We thought it would be a real cool spot for kids to be able to play," he said.
Park Board members suggested that Mueller Square, located downtown, would be a better spot for the instrument stand, pointing out it also had a band stage and plenty of traffic when the Farmers market is open.
The board agreed to let Sting Swings install the ukulele but left it up to Parks & Recreation Director Brad Gilbertson to find a suitable location.