HE MIGHT not be an athlete, but David Williams made sure Rockhampton was centre stage last night as the Beijing Olympics got off to a spectacular start.
David performed in front of 90,000 people.
And it was in the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium, and was watched by a television audience estimated at four billion, during the opening ceremony.
The Rockhampton-born and raised 24-year-old was one of nine indigenous Australians who mixed with musicians from around the globe to play for the athletes as they marched into the stadium.
Speaking exclusively to The Morning Bulletin yesterday, David said playing in "the world's largest gig" was the proudest moment of his life.
And it was equally exciting for his grandmother, Maureen Williams, who watched the ceremony at her home in North Rockhampton.
Maureen sparked David's interest in Aboriginal culture when he was a small boy, teaching him songs she had learned from her own great grandfather.
"I don't know where he learnt to play the didgeridoo, but he was always a talented musician as a boy and he's always travelling the world to perform. It's difficult to keep track of him.
"It's a big thrill for me. I always watch the Olympics anyway, but this is very special for me."
David grew up in Rockhampton and went to St Anthony's Primary School. But his family moved to Nambour in his early teens so David and his brother could go to a specialist music school.
Although he's a talented pianist and trombonist, it's the didgeridoo that has brought him fame and opened the door to the world. He's played in Europe and in America for John Travolta and this is his fifth visit to China.
But the Olympic experience is the highlight of his career. He's been in Beijing now for two weeks and performed in three dress rehearsals in the Bird's Nest before the main event last night.
"It's an amazing thing and the sheer numbers involved almost make it unreal - like a movie.
"The best thing is that I've had front seats at the most spectacular show ever staged."
Brisbane-based, David runs an Aboriginal design agency, Gilimbaa, and is also an internationally renowned artist with works in private collections in Australia, Italy, Spain, England, Sweden and Germany.
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