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Music dies with Ralph.

DANCE band pianist Ralph Everitt, who brought sparkle to the popular melodies of the 1930s through his virtuoso piano playing, has died at his home in Radford, Coventry, aged 94.

Favoured by ballroom dancers for his strict tempo style, he continued to play in his twilight years for the Coventry-based Nostalgics Dance Band.

His long career started at the age of 19, when he played for old time dancers at the Tin Mission in Sackville Street. By 1924, Ralph had formed his own band, the Rhythm Players, playing all the popular city venues - the Rialto, Drill Hall and Heal's Ballroom.

After the Second World War, he was asked to play for civic balls - by then his 10-piece band was in the big time, playing at the Matrix Ballroom and the Masonic Hall in Little Park Street.

John Spencer, manager of the Nostalgics, recalled how Ralph joined his band of veteran musicians 10 years ago.

He said: "Ralph was the gentleman of the dancing years and when he joined the Nostalgics, he always said it was like joining one happy family.

"He was a great virtuoso of dance band music and provided dancers with all the magic of the ballrooms of the 1930s.

"I remember him saying how, as a young man, he never had the money to buy sheet music.

"Instead, his dad would give him a few pence for a seat at the Old Hippodrome, where he could listen and pick up the latest popular dance tunes."

It was also his dad, however, who insisted that Ralph learned a trade and sent him to work as a grinder at Coventry Climax.

He remained a part-time musician for more than 75 years.

A cremation service will be held in Coventry next Tuesday at the Charter Chapel, Canley Crematorium, at noon.
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Author:Draper, Keith
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 13, 2000
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