'Not the same': RSL slammed for 'changing tradition' after last post played on violin

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

An Anzac Day service in Queensland has come under fire after The Last Post was performed on a violin instead of a bugle.

Thousands gathered at the dawn service at Tewantin RSL near Noosa Heads, on the Sunshine Coast on Thursday to watch a local schoolgirl perform The Last Post.

Yet instead of using the traditional bugle, student Shania Oreb performed the military tradition on a violin.

And despite her performance being described as “beautiful”, several attendees voiced their concerns online.

Kerrie Clarke took to a local community Facebook page after the service to suggest the violin is just “not the same”, with many agreeing.

Shania Oreb playing The Last Post at last year's service at Tewantin RSL. Source: Facebook/ Tewantin Noosa RSL Sub Branch

“Last post should always be a bugle, it's what soldiers woke to & went to bed to. Changing tradition is wrong,” one person commented.

“Played beautifully but needs to be a bugle,” another said.

Others said they struggled to hear the performance.

Tewantin Noosa RSL Sub-Branch spokesperson Jess Goldthorpe told Yahoo News Australia that while they were aware of some resistance to the change, there was strong support in the local community.

“We’ve chosen the violin because it’s beautiful and its something unique. She’s a local schoolgirl and we’ve made the most of her special talent,” Ms Goldthorpe said.

It is the second year Shania has performed at the service.

The RSL Sub-Branch said the move to the violin had been welcomed by a large section of the community. Source: Google Maps

“There’s been a mixed response but it’s mainly positive,” Ms Goldthorpe added.

She said while there were “obviously some people in older generations that prefer the bugle,” there had been a strong appreciation of the teen’s performance.

Ms Goldthorpe said they act in the best interests of the community and that the RSL will “definitely take the comments on board”.

Violinist defends performance

Gold Coast musician and violinist Rachel Bostock has previously performed The Last Post on the violin, with a version of hers garnering nearly half a million views on YouTube.

Her performance was widely well received and prompted offers from several RSL’s to perform her version at events.

“The majority [of responses] have been positive but I have seen comments that it goes against tradition and it’s disrespectful,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

She said criticism of such performances, including that by Shania Oreb at Tewantin RSL, was unjust.

Rachel Bostock performing The Last Post. Source: YouTube/ Rachel Bostock

“I disagree that it’s disrespectful as long as it comes from an honest place paying respect for our men who sacrificed so much,” she said.

“I have the upmost respect for tradition.”

She said one reason why The Last Post might be played on a violin is because some towns don’t necessarily have access to bugle players.

Ms Bostock added she was touched by the response of former servicemen praising her version.

“I have received comments from veterans themselves who have loved it and thanked me,” she said.

While never performing at an Anzac Day service, Ms Bostock has played The Last Post at a Veterans’ Ball in Nowra, at Southport RSL and at a service in Weipa.

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