SASKATOON – It’s a song synonymous with Remembrance Day ceremonies. The “Last Post” bugle call pierces through the air, evoking both emotion and memories of war.
At 10:36 a.m. CT at SaskTel Centre Wednesday, the crowd watched military groups, dignitaries and cadets parade into the venue’s lower level while one man remained behind the scenes warming up before his ceremonial debut.
READ MORE: Montgomery Place remembers Saskatoon veterans
Running through notes in a hockey dressing room, Lt. Aaron Vopni, 28, prepares for his first year as the ceremony’s soloist trumpeter. On Tuesday, he performed at a high school in Gravelbourg but never for an audience of more than 9,000 people.
“There’s definitely some nerves here but it’s also a piece of music that I’ve played quite a lot,” said Vopni.
“I’m confident in my ability to do it well, but definitely some nerves.”
His mother, a music teacher, introduced him to instruments early.
War memorial taking root in Estevan
Thousands expected at Saskatoon’s Remembrance Day service
He’s been playing the trumpet since the age of nine and was an air cadet growing up.
Now, he plays for a funk band, the University of Saskatchewan Howlin’ Huskies Pep Band, in a back-up band and occasionally for military ceremonies when asked.
READ MORE: Sgt. Hugh Cairns honoured with Saskatoon monument
“My great uncle was actually shot down over occupied France in World War II, he was a co-pilot and I had another great uncle that was actually at Dieppe.”
The Last Post originally signaled to soldiers that a camp was secure for the night. It’s also sounded at military funerals to indicate that a soldier has been laid to rest and at ceremonies to remember those killed in conflict.
“When I’m playing I’m mostly focusing on playing it correctly but it’s definitely a song that evokes a lot of emotion from a lot of people.”
The trumpet tribute was followed by a moment of silence.
“It was an honour and a privilege to be asked to do it and I’m very pleased to be able to do it for this Remembrance Day.”
Vopni’s first ceremony will likely not his last in helping to remember our fallen heroes.