PASSION and respect were behind the decision of father-son duo Anthony and Brodie Van Heumen when they played The Last Post on their trumpets from their driveway in Tower Hill on Anzac Day, 2020.
Anthony was born and raised in the Mallee, spending his school years in Mildura where he first learned to play the trumpet.
After high school he moved to Swan Hill with his family where he worked as an electronics technician at the Electronics Doctor before opening Swantronics in partnership and later worked at Office National.
He joined the State Emergency Service (SES) 10 years ago at the recommendation of a friend.
After the 2011 floods he undertook training which allowed him to become a full-time staff member, a job he finds extremely rewarding.
As a regional trainer, he covers the area between Mildura and Gisborne.
Despite his important role with the SES it was his trumpet that threw him onto an unlikely stage last Saturday morning.
"The Last Post has always been really important to me," he said.
"It is open note and is a very passionate piece so I've always enjoyed playing it.
"Anzac Day is also really important to me personally having had family members who served including a grandfather who was a cook.
"With the COVID-19 situation this year, I still wanted to do something to acknowledge the Anzacs and Brodie and I have been practicing The Last Post for a couple of years so we decided to play it at dawn from our driveway."
Brodie is a 14-year-old year 9 student and learns the trumpet at Swan Hill College.
He is currently studying for his level 4 exams in trumpet.
When Anthony suggested the pair perform from their driveway in Moonah Court in Tower Hill he jumped at the chance.
"I don't really have plans to do music as a career at this stage but thought the chance to play the trumpet on Anzac Day would be a great experience," he said.
"It was a rare moment in time and I was proud to do something special in this unusual situation."
As residents in Tower Hill made their way to their driveways, they placed candles alongside other Anzac memorabilia and poppies.
As radios broadcasted an Anzac Day service and the Australian National Anthem was played for those lining the streets, Anthony and Brodie commenced playing.
In a poignant moment, the stillness of the 6am dawn was complemented by trumpets at 6.01am as the pair played a stirring rendition of the traditional Anzac piece that reverberated across the estate.
"We weren't sure how loud it would be or who would hear it, but we just played it together," Anthony said.
"I've never played at an Anzac Day service before but it was a great honour to do so, and we have had some lovely feedback from people who heard it.
"The Last Post has always been an important part of Anzac Day commemorations and our history,
"It has become intertwined with the Anzacs and we wanted to make sure that tradition continued, even in these unique times of lockdown."
Anthony's community spirit extends to his work with the SES and he is very proud of the work the organisation does.
"It's been a great way to be involved in the community and the SES also does a lot of important work behind the scenes," he said.
"In fact one of my jobs on Anzac Day has been to place the road barricades up so that the veterans can march and I've always been proud to do that, to make sure they are able to march safely."
Although Brodie is showing flare with his trumpet and Anthony attests his son has already exceeded him, Brodie's musical interests extends to other instruments.
He said being in lockdown has afforded him a chance to practice and has been a great boredom buster.
Anthony encouraged anyone with an interest in music to get involved at a local level.
"We have some amazing programs and teachers here," he said.
"Tim Croft at Swan Hill Primary School offers a lot of experience and he also coordinates the local brass band.
"Julie Romeo teaches trumpet at the college and Andrew Kelly has also been a great contributor to local music.
"It's a great community to be involved in and very inclusive so anyone who is considering it would be very welcomed."
While the effects of COVID-19 continue to cause changes to the way the community operates, it also provides glimpses of positivity and opportunities for change.
We may never experience Anzac Day from driveways ever again, but for Anthony, Brodie and the residents at Tower Hill, 2020s Anzac Day will be one to remember and treasure forever.
Photo: Father and son Brodie and Anthony Van Huemen provided an emotion stirring version of The Last Post on Anzac Day. Photo: PAMELA BLACKMAN