After it received formal approval from the Executive Board of the Pasadena Civic Operating Company last month, a commemorative plaque honoring the legacy of late electric guitar legend Eddie Van Halen has officially been unveiled.
The plaque itself, the result of a long campaign launched by local Pasadena 4 Van Halen organizers Randa Schmalfeld and Julie Kimura, has been installed outside the city’s Civic Auditorium – a venue at which an early years Van Halen performed numerous times.
Attending the media-only ceremony was Pasadena’s mayor Victor Gordo, who announced the event “brings together history and community to celebrate a world-renown artist”.
“It’s not just the history of Eddie as a guitar legend,” he said (via Pasadena Now (opens in new tab)), “but also the challenges he faced growing up mixed race in Pasadena, which always spoke to me.
“And the community support and initiative to make this happen is inspiring. Thank you to everyone.”
The plaque itself reads, “The Van Halen family emigrated from the Netherlands to Pasadena in 1962. Alex and Eddie Van Halen attended schools in Pasadena and began playing music together with Eddie on guitar and Alex on drums.
“Years later, the brothers formed the band Van Halen, along with bassist Michael Anthony and vocalist David Lee Roth. Between 1975 and 1978, Van Halen performed 14 concerts at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and Conference Center.
“Regarded as one of the most successful bands of all time, Van Halen will forever be remembered for reinventing rock ‘n’ roll and their connection to Pasadena.”
Thanks to Kimura and Schmalfeld’s fundraising efforts, the pair managed to raise $7,233 for the cause – smashing their original $3,000 target – which was put towards installation and material costs.
Posting to their GoFundMe page after the unveiling, Schmalfeld wrote, “It was a great morning here as our plaque was unveiled at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Julie and I are so happy to see our plaque in place at such a prominent location in Pasadena and we hope that you’ll have a chance to visit soon.”
For those who are unable to see it in person, the pair are offering to mail photos or rubbings of the plaques. Head over their GoFundMe page (opens in new tab) for more information.
Now, the duo have turned their attention to raising funds for a mural at Pasadena High School in honor of the Van Halen brothers.
"If you're a Van Halen fan and want to keep this party going, please consider donating to this great cause," a recent update read. "Music is the universal language and involvement in musical programs is often the hook that keeps at risk students in school."
Visit the Pasadena 4 Van Halen Facebook page (opens in new tab) to keep up to date with the pair's progress.