Like so much of the world, ANZAC Day will look a little different this year.
While the traditional parade along crowd-lined streets is not in the cards thanks to COVID-19, Australians are finding new ways to pay their respects to all those who have served our country. In recent weeks social media has – amid eccentrically-clad bin outings and those frantically seeking toilet paper – fuelled a call for people wishing to observe ANZAC Day to do so from their own driveways and balconies at 6am on 25 April.
Among those who will do so in Townsville this year are members of Townsville Brass, who have committed to playing the Last Post as the rest of the nation stands silent for a minute at 6am.
President of Townsville Brass Jen Grant said the gesture, which is part of an Australia-wide movement called Music for Mateship, was an important continuation of the organisation’s long-standing involvement with ANZAC Day celebrations across the city.
“Our bands have been part of ANZAC Day commemorations in Townsville for many decades, and that tradition can continue this year, even though it will look a bit different,” said Jen.
“Playing the Last Post at ANZAC Day events is something that only a couple of people usually do each year, and it’s a daunting prospect to play such a well-known piece of music on your own.”
And for those lucky enough to be in earshot of a Townsville Brass player, the Last Post may sound a little different from usual.
“It is is usually only cornet or trumpet players that play the Last Post,” Jen said. “However, we’re encouraging all of our members to take part, no matter what instrument they play. That means, that you might hear the Last Post played on trombone, or tenor horn, or even tuba. We also have members of all ages, so some of our members have never played the Last Post before this year and have spent the last few weeks learning it so they can take part.”
The invitation is also open to other musicians across the city.
“Townsville is lucky enough to have a lot of talented musicians, and it would be wonderful to see (and hear) them take part across the region,” said Jen.
“I know many school students have taken the music for the Last Post home with them over the Easter break, and we really hope they all join in on this initiative as well. We are asking our members to do a letterbox drop to their neighbourhood to let them know that they plan to take part, so their neighbours don’t get an unexpected early morning surprise, and we encourage anyone else taking part to do the same.
“ANZAC Day is an important part of Australia’s national pride and identity. Although the pandemic means that we can’t stand together in the usual way to observe this important day, this initiative means we can still mark the day, albeit in a unique way. The spirit of ANZAC Day will live on again this year.
Townsville City Council, in partnership with ABC North Queensland and the local RSL Sub-branches, has pre-recorded the ANZAC Day Dawn Service so it can be broadcasted from the safety of your own home this ANZAC Day.
Tune into ABC North Queensland (AM 630) from 5.30am on 25 April 2020 for the Dawn Service which will include a minute silence.