By: Abbie Smith, University of Denver Intern
Longtime history and music lover Dave Aldridge joined the Colorado Music Hall of Fame team as the museum’s volunteer archivist during the summer of 2020, after responding to an ad in the Hall’s newsletter seeking volunteers for various projects. “I was hoping to explore more of Colorado music history beyond the ‘big names’ of John Denver, Judy Collins, and Stephen Stills,” he says. A forty-year resident of Colorado and veteran concert attendee, Aldridge claims to have attended over 100 concerts at Red Rocks alone; he’s clearly not a stranger to Colorado music.
Despite having no training as a museum archivist, Aldridge’s volunteer work has been pivotal in the organization of artifacts and photos donated and loaned to the Hall. “I’ve organized and inventoried records, CDs, photos, textiles, posters, and other items given to us for our exhibits… but there is no ‘normal day’ for me,” Aldridge explains. He does what is needed, whether that means documenting and properly storing the Hall’s artifacts at the storage space or outsourcing to find new artifacts from donors in the area.
Two artifacts stick out as particularly interesting during Aldridge’s time exploring the Hall’s archives: an Elton John pinball machine owned by Barry Fey and an oxygen tank (to preserve the voice) used by John Lennon at Caribou Ranch recording studio. He was so taken by these items that he chose to feature them in the first two installments of “From Our Collection” in the Hall’s newsletter. That column was started in January 2021 to showcase artifacts not currently on display at the museum.
Aldridge’s passion for Colorado music history is evident when he speaks about everything from meeting Ginger Baker in an aisle at the grocery store to watching the moon rise over Red Rocks at a John Denver concert in ‘82. His stories are remarkable, and the depth of his knowledge of the music scene is profound. Although he stumbled into his volunteer role as an archivist, Aldridge believes in the importance of preserving this history for future generations of Colorado music lovers. Over the past year, Aldridge has become a fundamental part of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame team; his dedication to his volunteer work is a real gift to the Hall.
Photo Caption: Volunteer Dave Aldridge with his wife Nancy at the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour at Red Rocks