Aiding in child development while making a lasting impact on the Dayton community was the inspiration behind what is now a permanent, student-made, musical landmark at Dayton’s Levitt Pavilion, thanks to the involvement of two Chaminade Julienne students, and those who supported their idea.
When Grace Schaefer ‘22 and Sam Downing '22 were tasked with a semester-long project for their Project Lead the Way Engineering Design and Development class
, they knew that they wanted it to be special. That’s when Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, introduced the duo to Preschool Promise’s POP (Play on Purpose) Spots. These interactive and educational activities for children are located all across the Dayton area.
Learning that Levitt Pavilion Dayton was interested in installing a POP spot, Schaefer and Downing decided to work with the Levitt team to create something musical to fit with the performance venue, which opened for community enjoyment in 2018. They got to work researching, creating designs using CAD software, and receiving feedback from community partners. This allowed them to create a musically accurate C5 scale to assist in introducing children to the elements of music.
To construct the plans, they reached out to Accro-Cast Corp., a fabricating company, to build the frame with the student team taking part in the welding process themselves. They designed the colors to match Levitt’s color scheme as well as included CJ’s blue and green. Additional support came in the form of a CJ student group that helped begin the dig process for installation; Shook Construction which assisted in the installation; and Ernst Concrete which donated the materials necessary for the slab. The project was also made possible by a grant from Learn to Earn/Preschool Promise. Schaefer and Downing took an active part in all phases of the build, including rolling up their sleeves to help lay and level the concrete.
“Grace and Sam were instrumental in accepting the challenge to embark on, and go above and beyond to complete an innovative engineering design project,” said Draeger. “They engaged multiple community partners in creating an experience that will have a lasting educational and joyful impact on the children and families who visit Levitt Pavilion,” said Draeger.
In connecting the project to Dayton’s historical roots, Wright Brother stickers were installed to display information about their four exploratory flights. This helped aid in the creation of the chimes name, “Soar with Music Chimes,” as a final touch point of the project.
“Our main goal was to create a POP Spot that encourages creativity and collaboration, while being educational and fun,” Schaeffer said.
“We are excited for the coming season of concerts at Levitt Pavilion when we will see the interactive experience that this instrument provides for all ages,” said Downing.
Both Schaefer and Downing are now enrolled in university engineering degree programs beginning August 2022. They intend to come back with their families for years to come and enjoy the chimes and watch other families do the same.