Above: Gordon practising at home, aged 70
Above: Gordon as a youngster, Hahndorf Band, approximately 10 years old
Above: Gordon aged approx 20 with his father Lawrence aged approx 45, in Hahndorf Band uniform
Above: Gordon with son David, daughter Rosemary and grandaughter Rebecca after a playout with Marion Band
Above: Gordon with wife Irene, daughters Jackie and Rosemary and son David after Mount Barker Pageant.
Gordon Kramm lived in the street where he was born until is passing on May 30, 2022. His son David lives next door. When I received Gordon’s story David delivered it. It was written in the third person, which struck me as being a little unusual. My thinking was already orientated towards adding my informative, incisive and witty commentary to Gordon’s story as told by him. In 1942 at age 14 Gordon started keeping a diary which he maintains to this day. Gordon Kramm knows how to express himself with the written word.
Why was Gordon talking about Gordon Kramm in a reported conversation?
Further investigation revealed that Gordon and David had put their heads together after doing lunch on Fathers Day. Gordon did the talking and David did the writing.
All is revealed!
After writing Gordon’s story using the information supplied by the father and son team it became apparent to me that it would be difficult to talk about Gordon Kramm in isolation. He is a team player, both in terms of his family and interactions with the community, musical and otherwise. His own father was there at the beginning of the Hahndorf Band and Gordon, with his distinctively trimmed beard, called it a day in the cornet section a whisker under 60 years after he began.
Gordon’s story is about dedication to music, family and anyone who has the good fortune to know him.
I hope you enjoy it. Geoff Meikle, 2019
Name: Gordon Kramm
Born: 8/9/28-Church St, Hahndorf to Lawrence William Edgar Kramm and Elizabeth Mary Kramm.
Instrument: Bb cornet and soprano cornet for one year at Tanunda Comps.
Gordon Kramm’s first interest in music came through his father who was one of the main figures in starting Hahndorf Band in 1926 along with Bill Symonds. Instruments were made available for players to try, Gordon was about 8 when he started, received his first lessons from his father and went straight into the senior band, there was no junior band in those days. The band practised once a week for a few hours. Motivation for Gordon was his love for different sorts of music and having his Dad tell him that he had to attend band practice!
Obviously his father was a strong influence and Gordon progressed through the ranks from third cornet to principal cornet, a position he occupied for many years at Hahndorf. At times there were only two players on solo cornet at competitions.
Gordon Kramm played with Hahndorf for 59 years!
He then went on to play cornet with the Marion Band for 15 years, an enjoyable period in his life when many friendships were made. He eventually played in the Marion Masters with other retired players, doing the rounds of fetes and retirement homes, keeping the audiences entertained with light-hearted tunes and Oompah music.
Gordon has been playing at Glenelg for the past 11 years under the very capable direction of his son David. At the most respectable age of 91 years Gordon has now accumulated 84 years of brass playing, which also included some forays into the world of small ensemble music making, quartets and septets etc. He has participated in countless contests, which he says improve the standard of the band through extra practices.
David Kramm and I had a conversation recently about whether Gordon may clock up 90 years of brass playing. A mighty milestone in anyone’s language.
Gordon was also lucky to have a musical wife. She was not a brass player but was always supportive of him in his musical endeavours. Irene Kramm played in the Marion Masters on keyboard for their Nursing Home concerts and loved playing the organ in church.
Gordon and I had a yarn recently about the effect making music has on your health. He has happily informed his doctor that playing his cornet in a band is doing him at least as much good as whatever medications have been prescribed for him!
David Kramm is a shining example of how the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. He also played at Hahndorf for many years, following in his Dad’s footsteps. Like his father, David is dedicated individual who has devoted himself to the pursuit of excellence in music. He also played for 10 years at Marion and is presently conducting the Glenelg Band.
It’s interesting to note that the physical appearances of Gordon and David are quite different. Gordon, even at 91, still has the physical remnants of robust, large framed physique that probably would have made him a force to be reckoned with as a young bloke. David, on the other hand, is lean, wiry and projects the secure strength of a tradesman. When you shake David Kramm’s hand you get a clear message that he is no stranger to a hard day’s work. The quality that they both possess, which is clearly genetically inherent, is an unpretentious love for their chosen art-form. Gordon is good hearted and hearty, with a voice to match! David delivers his message with quiet understatement. Both men have that same honest-to-goodness, unbridled, nothing-to-hide, country-bred enthusiasm for life and music.
Tanunda, Nuriootpa, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Ballarat have been locations where the sound of Gordon’s cornet has been heard in the contesting context. He was there when the Hahndorf Band played in B grade. As a leading voice in the band Gordon has done his fair share of home practice, with plenty of hymn playing to develop a good tone.
Gordon is a conscientious person. His integrity and commitment to family, music and the community is beyond question. He is also humble and self-effacing enough to admit that, at times, he may have put band and music ahead of family. I would suggest that he is not “Robinson Crusoe” as far as that level of devotion goes! More importantly no-one seems to have suffered because of it, quite the opposite in fact.
Gordon has been a strong member of St. Paul’s Church in Hahndorf all his life, he volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 23 years. His working life was spent working in the family Greengrocery and General Carrying business, delivering fruit and veg. As the only son the expectation was that he would keep the family business going, which he did willingly…..for 50 years!
A fair and honest effort from a fair and honest bloke.
Gordon has received numerous awards for his service to banding, including a Badge of Merit whilst he was with Hahndorf in the 70’s, Irene Kramm received the same award at the same time. Gordon has also been made a life member of Hahndorf Band, Glenelg Band and the South Australian Band Association, in addition he has also been recognised by the SABA for his 80 years of playing.
The great news is that Gordon hasn’t finished playing yet. He intends to keep his music-making going for as long as his health permits. In between there is plenty of tennis, cricket and footy [unfortunately he barracks for Port Adelaide, but we won’t hold that against him!!] to watch on TV and music to listen on the radio.
I will end this piece on Gordon Kramm with a quote from David Kramm.
“Dad has given amazing service to Brass Banding. Encouraging me as a conductor with Glenelg, coming to Mitcham Band concerts and taking an interest in Banding generally. He is well respected and liked in the Band world and just maybe, perhaps, might end up doing 90 years in Brass Banding”.
Thank you Gordon Kramm.