Summerset's Three G's Brass Band

15 March 2018

When Graeme, Grant, and Grahame started playing musical instruments in their pre-teens, they didn’t expect they’d be part of a band when they hit retirement.

Three Gs Brass Band Wigram Graeme Grant Grahame  Three Gs Brass Band - Graeme, Grant and Grahame

However, the unlikely trio have been dubbed Summerset at Wigram’s ‘Three G’s Brass Band’ after they discovered their common connection – they all played brass instruments growing up; and at some points, alongside each other.

Cornet player Graeme Aldridge is the man that makes sure the group are practicing regularly, says band members Grant Hutchings and Grahame Wright, on trombone and euphonium respectively. Graeme arranges the music and his expertise is held in high regard by his fellow band members. 

“I started playing the cornet when I was six, and kept playing until I was about 24-years-old, when I then started conducting,” says Graeme Aldridge. “I won a few New Zealand championships, and all of the Canterbury champs as a teen,” he adds sheepishly. Graeme then spent 20 years conducting the Wigram Air Force Band as his full-time occupation, and went on to receive a New Zealand Order of Merit for service to bands in 1997.

Grant says he was thrust into playing trombone as his father was an eager musician. “It was a hobby, and I played in town bands, only retiring from it last year. It’s satisfying playing and being part of a band. It gives you a good feeling when people come up to you and say they appreciate it.”

Grahame Wright played in brass bands through high school and into his early working years (and for a period of time, with Grant) before he set the euphonium aside. He hadn’t played for 55 years when he crossed paths with Graeme and Grant at Summerset at Wigram.

“They joked about me playing again, and next thing I know, a euphonium turned up! Graeme had managed to get one second-hand. It’s been a great opportunity to play again,” says Grahame.

The trio practice twice a week, and started playing for residents in November. They’ve become a popular ensemble at the village. “If you want to be happy, make someone else happy – that’s what we’re doing. We’d hate it if the band fell through now, we really enjoy it,” says Grant. “We’ve all got very different personalities, which makes it interesting!”

The band practice in residents’ garages at the villages, and their popular self-made band flag goes everywhere with them.