Youngsters to sound Last Post for decades to come

19 Apr 2018

A group of young musicians has been learning how to bugle The Last Post to keep that fine brass tradition alive at this year's Anzac Day and many more to come.

Eight Hunter high school music pupils and two university students have received coaching in the rousing military call thanks to a Newcastle City Council grant to help the local RSL sub-branch buy bugles and uniforms.

Buglers Sam Shaw from Hunter School of the Performing Arts and Newcastle Grammar's Isabelle Moteff with the Lord Mayor.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Council's support would ensure faultless renditions of The Last Post echoed across the Hunter each April 25 for decades to come.

"This $5,000 grant is one of those initiatives that make you so proud to be a councillor," the Lord Mayor said.

"When we heard that a number of services across the region had been using recordings of the Last Post, this project was a no brainer.

"It's not a big allocation in terms of our annual contribution to projects and events but it will contribute so much to our culture by preserving one of its most hallowed traditions.

"I'd like to congratulate the young buglers and RSL District Council Sub-Branch president Dave Edmond on organising it, and wish the youngsters well when they play The Last Post at Anzac Day services this year and for many more to come."

Bugler Sam Shaw from Hunter School of the Performing Arts with the Lord Mayor, Newcastle Grammar School bugler Isabelle Miteff, RSL District Council Sub-Branch president Dave Edmond and Toronto Sub-branch President Ron Mitcherson. Below: Sam being fitted out by tailor Andrew Rundle.

Newcastle Grammar School's Blaine Stubbs, a member of the troupe, is scheduled to play the Last Post at six or seven services on and around this Anzac Day.

The 16-year-old said it took him about two weeks to master it after he had played the trumpet for seven years.

"The bugle is very similar to the trumpet, but the trumpet has more valves that allow you to play more notes," he said.

"The Last Post is hard to play at certain points and then at others it slows down and relaxes a bit.

"I feel honoured to be able to do this and I hope to keep doing it all through my life."

The young buglers were selected from music programs at Grammar, Belmont High School, Hunter School of Performing Arts and The Hunter Wind Ensemble.

The bugle corp's tutor David Thompson, who has a background as a bugler with the Australian Army, said his charges were "all very talented young trumpet players" before they began rehearsals last year.

"The lessons so far have been enjoyable for everyone involved and the team are already sounding great," Major Thompson said.

"We’ve had five separate rehearsals with the vast majority of the group able to play the Last Post and Rouse very well after the first lesson."

The Last Post, according to Australia's Department of Defence, is one of a number of bugle calls in military tradition marking different phases of the day.

Where Reveille signalled the start of a soldier's day, the Last Post sounded its end.

L-R: Alex Leeman, Isabelle Miteff, Emily Tenorio, Blaine Stubbs.

Today The Last Post is played at commemorative services as a final farewell and symbolises that the duty of the dead is over and that they can rest in peace.

The project to train the buglers is a collaboration of the District Council of RSL NSW, City of Newcastle RSL Sub-branch and Dave Thompson.

A record $560,000 will be offered in Newcastle City Council grants and sponsorships in 2018 to help activate public places, enhance community wellbeing and cement the city's reputation as a destination for tourism, business and events.