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Ronnie McCrea's Biography

Something from the Book Review Section: 'From Laurel and Hardy to Pavarotti' by Ronnie McCrea.

Ronnie was, for many years, both a very close friend and a long time member of the percussion section of the Royal Opera House.

I read this book in a single sitting because it’s such an enjoyable read.

Ronnie started as a percussionist playing in variety theatres in the late 1940’s and during that time he worked with an incredible number of people. Quite literally, people of the stature of Bob Hope and Laurel and Hardy, but later on, as I say, he started playing in Variety Theatres in Northern Ireland and found his way subsequently into the London West End scene for many years and then onwards to the Royal Opera House in the late 1970s and as a testament to a player’s career it’s well worth a read.

There are a lot of amusing incidents in the book, giving us an insight into the different things that happen during the course of earning a living. Ronnie, sadly, is no longer with us, but in his day he was quite a strongly opinionated person on various aspects and I think that makes it the more enjoyable to read, to be perfectly honest, because we are never confronted with the philosophy of “and then I did this”.

Everything works very well. It is a great pleasure to discover that somebody that you had known as long as I knew Ronnie was, in addition to his other attributes, such a talented writer and it really is a rattling good read from start to finish.

As a demonstration of the history of our industry, since the Second World War I think it should be something that every College encourages (but does not force) their students to read.

There is a great deal of common sense in there and some incidents from which we can all learn a good lesson.

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