Holdsworths memorialized by community
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Saturday, June 3, was a night of reflection and revelation as many gathered to honor Gary and Patsy Holdsworth and saw what Versailles Main Street has been working on at the Pocket Park on the square.
A large crowd gathered for the dedication of the Holdsworth Pavilion with Eastern Kentucky University’s President David T. McFaddin saying, “The Music to my Ears – Holdsworth Entertainment Pavilion is a testament to the enduring impact you have had on the community.”
Versailles Town Manager Holly Wehr read the statement from the university’s president, which told of the Holdsworth’s journey beginning where they met through the School of Music. “As an alumnus of Eastern Kentucky University, I am particularly proud to witness the profound impact you have had on your students. Your influence continues to shape lives, inspiring a new generation of musicians and keeping the flame of your legacy burning brightly.”
The sentiment of the Holdsworth’s 30-plus years of instruction at South Ripley Schools was heard from former students as Jane Rogers, Deanna Young, and Darrell Day gave tribute. The Young Confederates Alumni performed Irish Blessing. Patsy established this choir, which was known as the “Goodwill Ambassadors of South Ripley.” They traveled often, performing perfectly under the direction of the Holdsworths. The South Ripley Jazz Band performed under the direction of Kris Lafary, and the Downstairs Dads band took the stage from 7-9 p.m.
The Holdsworths also formed the Ripley County Music Festival, an annual event where all the county bands and choirs came together for a performance. They took their students to the highest level possible.
It was easy to love the couple and when Patsy passed away in 2019 after a battle with ALS, it left a community saddened. The Pavilion is in honor of her and husband, Gary.
Gary, along with their sons and family members sang the National Anthem the way Patsy arranged it. Their voices blended perfectly throughout the night air on Saturday.
Accomplished musician Ellen Mulford made beautiful piano compositions as a prelude to the evening.
When Wehr told that it took the whole community to bring the evening to fruition, she wasn’t kidding. She told how when they hosted the Bicentennial Celebration in July of 2018, they didn’t have a single retail business on the Square. “So in 2019, Main Street Versailles ran an “I Wish This Was” campaign, taking pictures of our vacant places around the Square and asking you what you wished was in that space.” Wehr said. The resounding reply was live music, a splash pad, picnic tables, greenspace, a play area for kids, public restroom, and a place to sit and visit. All those wishes have been combined in one place – at the pocket park. A couple more picnic tables will be added, and the splash pad should be in place in sometime in July, but, the pavilion, restrooms and more are already there. Businesses have popped up on the square and the revitalization is in full swing.
Wehr has worked on getting grants and the people have responded by giving. A Ride and Share Bike Rack is pending. The South Ripley Art Club is working on the mural, which brightens up the space. “Thank you to this community for rallying behind the idea that started it all – the Holdsworth Entertainment Pavilion – you did this. We did this together!” Wehr exclaimed.
There is a 10-concert series that has begun and will run monthly through the summer. Watch the Versailles Main Street Facebook page for dates and times. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the music.