Congregation Creates Music Both Inside and Outside All-Saints Lutheran Church

When renovating the All-Saints Lutheran Church in Mount Please, South Carolina, the pastor, Rev. Kris Litman-Koon, assessed the outside space and realized how accessible the building was. The space right by the Church door had been left bare mainly due to the hot summers Carolina experienced - they couldn’t grow flowers or plants - the space was empty. Kris and his wife, another pastor at the Church, wanted to take advantage of this accessible space and set about creating an inclusive play area.

The couple were determined for the play area to be different and not just an average playground. The congregation of All Saints Lutheran Church is particularly musical, with many playing instruments during services and worship. The reverend is a keen musician, so he had the idea to create an accessible play area with musical equipment.

The Sound Garden was born.

Taking the search online for outdoor musical instruments, Kris came across Percussion Play and realized from the website that the instruments were of high quality. Kris says, “We liked the website and realized the instruments were handmade – we needed this high quality if they were to endure in the brutal heat and sun. We really wanted to make sure we were buying instruments that would last for more than just a few years”.

Today the Sound Garden includes Percussion Play’s Calypso Chimes, the Cavatina, and a set of two Congas. The congregation – young and old – are drawn to the Sound Garden and quickly make a bee-line to the area before and after worship. The garden provides a space for intergenerational play – where the very youngest in the congregation can create music with their elders.

There’s been particular interest from the local Dementia care group, which meets twice a week at the Church and is now thrilled to be able to play in the Sound Garden. Music can be a highly efficient therapeutic tool, particularly in terms of stimulating memory, facilitating emotional regulation, and managing anxiety levels.

Reverend Kris is delighted with the Sound Garden, saying, “Everyone loves the space we created, and people are asking us if we can expand the garden and add more instruments. We plan to add a concrete pad to make it wheelchair accessible, so it will be a truly inclusive play area”. Along with the instruments, the garden will soon include several native plants that can withstand the hot climate. The Sound Garden will become a multi-sensory experience for not only the congregation but the wider community of Mount Pleasant.