“I lived in a town that I loved and I played in popular places. It’s everything I dreamed of.”
Kathy Wolf recalls her husband, Walt Edwards, telling her that before he died last September.
“He loved performing and he loved singing, and he had no idea how good he was,” she said.
That underscores the humility of a man who made a significant contribution to the community and to aspiring musicians. To honor his memory, Wolf established The Walt Edwards Ashenfelter Memorial Fund at the Greater Pike Community Foundation to support nonprofit organizations hosting live music events in the area.
Walt Ashenfelter, who used Edwards as his stage name, performed folk, light rock, and Irish ballads at many local venues, including the Milford Music Festival, Music in the Park, the Black Bear Film Festival, the Waterwheel Café, and The Lodge at Woodloch, among others. But Wolf says it wasn’t until the tributes came in that she realized how much people admired him for his humor, caring, and encouragement to many young musicians in the area.
The Walt Edwards Memorial Concert will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 11, at the Ann Street Park gazebo during the Milford Music Festival weekend. Organizer Mike Zimmerman, who heads the Music in the Park concerts and worked closely with Walt, said he hopes the money from the concert will help grow the fund to allow an endowment in the years to come. To do that, the goal is to raise $10,000 dollars and keep it growing.
The July concert will be a series of acoustic performances featuring Eric Langberger, John Curtain, Scott Palermo, Mark Ferguson and David McBride, Zimmerman said. “They played in the same venues and went to hear Walt perform,” he said. “He was involved not just in performing but in supporting music events. If his name could live on for years to come and help young, emerging and established artists in this community, it would be an appropriate way to remember him.”
Matt Osterberg, Pike County commissioners’ chair, hopes the future will bring expanded public access to the arts. “A discussion has begun to develop the county-owned section of the Santos farm into a venue for music, dance, art and theatrical performances,” he said. “That is long-term project but one that will benefit all of Pike County. The Walt Edwards Fund is one way we as a community can begin to recognize and appreciate all of the talent that resides in our county. It also celebrates and remembers Walt and his love of music and our community.”
Walt wanted Kathy to sell his equipment and use the money to support live music, and that’s how the fund was seeded. “It all just evolved into something I know was special to his heart,” Kathy said.
Donations to the Walt Edwards Ashenfelter Memorial Fund at Greater Pike Community Foundation can be made at greaterpike.org/fund_list (Scroll down to find the fund).
“He loved performing and he loved singing, and he had no idea how good he was.” Kathy Wolf