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Hanna's last ride to his plot in the Blackwood cemetery
Hanna's last journey
12.3.16 -
Blackwood cemetery is a way out of town and I know a few musos couldn't be there because of Port Fairy commitments, but there was a good turnout anyway. The cemetery itself is charming if a little unkempt, with Hanna's plot down quite a steep hillside. We chatted with Ross, Tania and Pat Wilson until the sound of a fiddle playing a lament presaged Hanna's casket being carried gingerly down the hill. (pic)
The service was simple but moving and Ange finished off proceedings by telling his version of events on the day of Ross' 'checking out' and saying some words of farewell in Greek before the casket was lowered into the grave. A man of few words and an inspiration to many.
Chants' guitarist dies
9.3.16 - I was already numbed by yesterday's widely reported death of Ross Hannaford when I got a call last night from former Chants' guitarist Matt Croke's step-son Peter informing me that Matt had died in his sleep earlier that morning, Matt and I had kept touch over the years and Matt's interest in buying and restoring guitars had been to the benefit of both Bill and me - I still use the Michael Kelly guitar on-stage with Spectrum that Matt gave me a few years ago. In fact, Matt had rung me only last Thursday to remind me that he'd been given a gift card on retiring from Ward McKenzie just over a month ago for which he had no use and insisted that I might find it more useful.
Matt was better known to us as Max Kelly when we auditioned him for the guitar spot in The Chants back in Christchurch circa 1965. Unbeknownst to us he had unilaterally extended his furlough from the RAAF for which misdemeanor he was eventually reported to the authorities and escorted back to Australia to face disciplinary proceedings and subsequent discharge.
This unforseen circumstance decided me on uprooting the band from its comfortable residency of two years at The Stage Door to reunite with Matt in Melbourne and try our luck on the local scene, which we did in 1966.
The Chants survived a mere six months before the band succumbed to the standard 'musical differences' and split up, leading to my joining the two Rosses in The Party Machine on bass guitar and ultimately founding my own band, Spectrum, a couple of years later.
It was a shock to learn of this gentle giant's death and Maria and I extend our heart-felt condolences to Margaret and Matt's family.

*See pic of Chants R&B with Matt Croke
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