Meeting your idol does not always disappoint
MY son-in-law, percussionist Ronan McKee, has played some prestigious gigs in his time.
He has performed in orchestras in New York, Hong Kong and Ireland and guested with the best of British brass.
But this week an appearance in Derry, Northern Ireland, at the 20th anniversary of the charity Children In Crossfire, topped the lot. He was on the same bill as the Dalai Lama and Joanna Lumley.
Ronan was born in Ireland and studied at Huddersfield School of Music. After graduating, he was a music teacher in Kirklees for several years. He met my daughter Siobhan when she was at Huddersfield University, they married and moved to Ireland and live in Donegal with their three children.
The Dalai Lama is patron of the Children In Crossfire charity which helps young people in war zones.
Speakers, delegates and academics attended from around the world.
“The Dalai Lama was genuinely inspirational,” Ronan said.
“He talked of the need for mental wellness and how the ripple effect can change society. If a few people start doing something positive more join in until it can lead to changing the way governments think.”
Actress and activist Joanna Lumley was the final speaker.
Ronan was on stage to lead the 150 delegates in African rhythm and response, known as body percussion.
He said: “The organisers wanted me to start it by creating my own ripple effect as a practical illustration of what the Dalai Lama meant.”
His session was greeted enthusiastically and, at the reception afterwards, Joanna Lumley told him how impressed she had been.
“Iwish my husband could have seen it, he’s a musical director,” she said.
“I know,” said Ronan. “I’ve played with him.”
The actress’ husband, Stephen Baldwin, was in Northern Ireland in an attempt to start the Ulster Chamber Orchestra some years ago and Ronan was a member.
Ronan said : “She’s a beautiful lady. Down to earth and lovely with everyone.
“She said she was going to Ramelton that night so I suggested she call in at The Bridge pub.”
The Bridge is a music pub Ronan has played many times, in one of his other musical guises, in the rhythm n blues band D D and the DeltaBoys.