Band stalwarts reminisce

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DEDICATED: Four members of the Ashburton Silver Band have between them over 200 years playing experience. They are (from left) Gavin Hunt, Annette Hunt, Allan Aberhart and Peter Muir.
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Not ones to blow their own trumpet, but they could do given their experience, the fab four of the Ashburton Silver Band have 200 years playing experience between them.

They are conductor and bass-player Allan Aberhart, 60, baritone-player Annette Hunt, 70, tenor-horn player Gavin Hunt, 72, and tenor-horn player Peter Muir, 65.

Husband and wife Gavin and Annette are both life members of the band.

Gavin has been playing for 58 years.

‘‘My family has a long history with music. I started playing with a boy’s brigade band before joining the silver band. I have played cornet and tenor horn.’’

Annette has played both tenor horn and baritone over 57 years, all of which has been with the band.

‘‘I attended my first band contest at 15. Apart from the band accompanists I was the first female in the band playing an instrument. I like being part of the band because people enjoy listening to us.’’

Muir began playing 52 years ago, in the Greymouth High School band, followed by the Waimangaroa band before joining the Ashburton Silver Band.

‘‘I started on the drums, but have since played baritone, tenor horn and euphonium.’’

Aberhart has been playing since he was

six. About two years later as an eight-yearold, he started with the Ashburton Salvation Army Band.

‘‘We carolled all day on a Sunday and by the end of it when I first started I was so tired and my instrument – the bass was so big that band master Derek Argyle used to have to carry my instrument for me.’’

He started on the cornet and then went to tenor horn, baritone, euphonium and since he was 11 he has played bass. He was conductor of the Salvation Army band and now has this role with the silver band.

The band is a close-knit bunch who enjoy lively banter.

‘‘It’s great to be part of the band,’’ Annette said.

For Muir, his enjoyment comes from being part of a group.

‘‘There is comradeship from being part of the band.’’

‘‘We are committed to turning up because each of us is needed in order for the band to be able to perform, I enjoy it,’’ Aberhart said.

From the start of this month to Christmas Eve they and their fellow members have 19 playing commitments in the community.

They range from a Mitre 10 Mega night and the Santa parade held recently, to playing in rest homes and at the Ashburton Farmers Market.

They said one of their highlights was playing at a mid-winter Christmas on Lake Hood.

The band used to play at the Ashburton races as a fundraiser. Nowadays their major fundraiser is Christmas carolling. On Monday and Wednesday nights, members climb on to the back of the Mitre 10 truck and travel some of the town’s streets carolling.

When it comes to Christmas music, band members said public favourites included Jingle Bells, Silent Night, Away in a Manger and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

For Annette, her favourite is Deck the Halls, while Gavin likes Silent Night played at the right tempo, Muir enjoys the New Zealand carol Te Harinui, and Aberhart likes Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as he enjoys seeing people’s faces light up when it’s played.

  • Anyone who wants to learn a brass instrument, or who can play and would like to be part of a band, are welcome at band practice, held at the Ashburton Silver Band hall in Cameron St at 7pm on Wednesday nights.