HIS passion for the music of Mantovani has made media headlines around the world.

Percussionist Paul Barrett, a lifelong Mantovani enthusiast, has devoted years to keeping the music of the great orchestra leader alive.

The retired 72-year-old businessman who lives in Poole, has also invested more than half a million pounds to recreate the cascading string sound that proved so popular back in the 1950s and 60s.

Although he had his doubters at the time, his last gala concert in 2016 was a sell-out.

Now Paul is back with another lavish tribute to Mantovani who spent many years from the late 1960s living in retirement in Poole’s Branksome Park.

Paul has recruited many of Europe’s top musicians to perform a gala concert, Mantovani Movie Magic, at Bournemouth Pavilion theatre on Sunday, October 8 at 7.30pm.

Although Mantovani is not widely known today, the bandleader was Britain’s most successful album act before The Beatles and the first act to sell over a million albums.

Together with conductor Gavin Sutherland and leader Geoffrey Allan, Paul has constructed an exact replica of the great Mantovani Orchestra.

The 2017 blockbuster, sponsored by Poole Audi, will feature the voices of Rossano Sal and Jemma Truss with concert pianist Sam Hanson.

Paul, a one man percussionist who will also perform on the night, says meeting Mantovani at the age of 13 after a concert in Sheffield was a major turning point in his life.

He persuaded the maestro’s long-standing percussionist Charles Botterill to give him lessons and, over the years, perfected every arrangement in the massive Mantovani repertoire.

Paul, who ran a builders’ merchants by day, kept his musical hand in as a percussionist in the orchestra pit of a Sheffield theatre. He played all the major musicals but yearned to perform with Mantovani.

Although he secretly hoped Botterill might be taken ill and he would have to save the day, the percussionist stayed with Mantovani to the end and he never missed a gig.

Tickets for Mantovani Movie Magic range from £20 to £29.50. To book, call 0844 576 3000 or bhlivetickets.co.uk.