ALBANY – The Herman and Libbie Michaelson Early Childhood Center at Temple Israel in Abany has announced the recent dedication of its musical garden. The garden was created in memory of Micki Groper and Ken Tarler.
The music garden at Temple Israel is a newly-created, outdoor play area that combines music with the previously established vegetable garden.
According to Temple Israel administrators, upon a visit to the musical garden one might see children making noise with the bongo drums and the xylophone, and a group of children playing on the “jumping stumps.” One might also see children looking for bugs in the garden and watching the pea pods grow. A highlight of the garden is the Wishing Well. Every rock that is dropped into the well hits a piece of metal that makes music. The wishing well is often surrounded by groups of children putting in rocks and listening as the rocks hit the metal.
Ken Tarler has been described by his parents as the kind of person who defines the phrase, “Pay it forward.” He would do things for people and, when asked how they can repay it, his response would be “Pay it Forward.”
According to administrators of the garden, Tarler actions throughout his life, as well as his attitude during his illness, inspired the book Hitchhikers Guide To The Soul by Robert Clancy. In a chapter of the book, it was reported that when Ken was at a supermarket he would often help elderly people with their carts and shopping bags.
Micki Groper was a teacher in The Herman and Libbie Michaelson Early Childhood Center for over 20 years. She taught the 4-year old class, but she also brought music education to every classroom at the nursery school. Whether she was leading a Shabbat party or simply singing early childhood songs, the children would gather around Micki and her guitar and sing with her.