On the dawn of April 25, 2020, neighbourhoods turned silent as Australians commemorated the fallen on ANZAC Day from home.
Many in the Dolls Point and Greater Sydney community would remember the touching tribute made by Greek Australian boy Rocky-Dimitri (Spiliopoulos) Holt, who stood outside his house with his family and performed the Last Post.
Published on The Greek Herald’s Facebook page last year, the video has been seen over 30,000 times and placed a warm feeling in the hearts of all Australians.
The Greek Herald caught up with Rocky-Dimitri to see what he has planned for people this year, and how his cornett skills have improved.
“When I started I could only play a few notes, but now I’m playing advanced songs a few years ahead,” nine-year-old Rocky-Dimitri said.
“I’m also learning another instrument, the baritone.”
Performing the Last Post is a hundred year old tradition that is seen as one of highest honours bestowed upon the next generation of cornett and trumpet players. The Greek Australian boy has been learning to play the cornet for the past four years and is looking to constantly improve his skills, sitting the Grade Four cornet exam soon.
Rocky-Dimitri and his family know well of the commitment and sacrifices made by soldiers during war, revealing previously that their Greek ancestors were one of the 42,000 men who fought to protect Crete and Greece in WWII.
“My great-pappou Spilio, from my pappou’s side from Arcadia, fought in the Alvaniko Polemo,” Rocky-Dimitri said last year.
“My great-pappou from my yiayia’s side in Crete was also involved in WWII. Unfortunately I never met them but my mum and yiayia and pappou have told me some stories.”
While March 25 honours the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, it is also a time to remember all veterans who served their country in WWI, WWII and all conflicts leading to today.
Rocky-Dimitri was recently invited to join the St George Brass Band, an award-winning community band that performs in various locations across Sydney. The nine-year-old performed with the band at the Earlwood Bardwell Park RSL on Sunday morning, 25 April. He also be played The Last Post in front of his school on 22 April.
“This is a great experience for him to really improve and go into competitions with them and so it’s going to be a very exciting year for him, for his growth and learning,” Rocky-Dimitri’s mother, Heidi Holt, said to The Greek Herald.
Mrs Holt is a music teacher who Rocky-Dimitri said inspired him to play, wanting to be “just as good as her”.
“He enjoys it. I think with music, you still have to enjoy it. You might have goals set, but you have to enjoy what you’re doing,” she said.
The music and piano teacher also operates a music school in Ramsgate entitled ‘The Music Space’, which recently underwent new renovations. Holding an Open Day last Sunday, Heidi wanted to say thank you to her existing families and encourage them to bring more family members and friends to celebrate with them.
The classes will be instructed by Manolis Michalakis, who has written over 18 books about the method of teaching guitar and bouzouki.
For Australian’s who are looking to give back to former ANZAC soldiers and Australian veterans, they can do so by donating to the ANZAC Appeal online at anzacappeal.com.au. Donations support Australian veterans and their families in need.