Meet­ing your idol does not al­ways dis­ap­point

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - NEWS -

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.

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