A green fingered bandsman 

Chris Hendy receives the first John Hargreaves Memorial Trophy from John’s widow, Jean Hargreaves.  John and Jean were joint patrons of the band for many years before John’s death in 2020.  Photo: Richard Lummus  

Retired academic and bandsman Chris Hendy has been recognised for his lengthy involvement with the Brass Band Association of New Zealand (BBANZ).

A ceremony held as part of the May 25 Cambridge Brass Band annual meeting saw Chris presented with trophies for 39 years’ membership with BBANZ and 41 years playing with the Association.  He received his ribbon and bars for 30, 35 and 40 years of service, and at the same event, became the first recipient of the John Hargreaves Memorial Trophy.

John Hargreaves was a treasured member of the Cambridge Brass Band, playing with them for 72 years before his death in October 2020.  His widow Jean is now the band’s patron and it was she who presented the award to Chris.

Band spokesperson Bernadette Winter said the trophy had been made in John Hargreaves’ honour and to reflect something important to him.

“John had a great love of trees and spent many hours growing kauri trees. The trophy is made of swamp kauri and was crafted by local woodturner and family friend, Barry Harding.   It is given for outstanding service to the band.”

Chris, a tuba player with the band and former geochemistry professor from the University of Waikato, played in various bands around New Zealand before joining the Cambridge Brass Band in 2014.  He and his wife Vivien have spent much time producing and packing tomatoes and home preserves for sale at Lions markets, with proceeds going back to the band.  A couple of years ago, Chris sold heirloom tomatoes to help fund the band’s trip to Le Quesnoy, and for the past three years, he has grown hundreds of plants to sell in the community.

Bernadette said: “He has raised up to $1000 each year to help fund a new tuba.  We thank Chris for his fantastic musical and green-fingered contribution to the band, and his wife for her support and hard work, too.”

Chris’s musical life started at age seven when his father gave him an old French cornet. He joined the Dannevirke Municipal Band in 1953 and his first public performance was to Queen Elizabeth 11 on her New Zealand tour. He moved to an Eb Bass, winning the national Eb Bass solo in 1965.  After spending his early years playing with four national youth bands, Chris auditioned to join the national youth orchestra in 1966.

“I was doing my PhD research while employed as a junior scientist at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences.  I was called into my boss’s office and told the manager of the NZSO was on the phone and wanted me to take leave without pay because the orchestra’s tuba player was sick and there was a concert coming up.

“So, I joined the orchestra. I played with them until I went to New York on a Fullbright Fellowship in the mid-1970s.

Meanwhile I continued my PhD research on stalagmites and stalactites in limestone caves, with the travel costs largely covered by the NZSO, while playing for Onslow Brass and the National Youth Orchestra – the last time as guest soloist playing Tubby the Tuba.”

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