Saturday, October 8, 2022

The day I met an angel

Recent stories

Ron Bell, Clarence Valley Independent

Working as a broadcaster in the radio and television industries over a period of more than 45 years, I had the wonderful fortune and privilege of meeting, talking and interviewing all sorts of people doing all sorts of things in life.

Politicians, musicians, celebrities, sports people, and of course many ordinary, everyday people.

Very few are remembered after the event, while even less are never forgotten.

This is a story about one of those people.

In the mid-1980s when I was working at Radio 2GF, I received a telephone call from Irene Notaras, who at the time along with other members of her family, owned the beautiful Saraton Theatre in Grafton.

Irene told me she had someone at the theatre she wanted me to meet and asked if I could join them.

When I arrived, I could see and hear Irene who was up on the stage with another woman and a man.

Arriving at the stage and greeting Irene, I was introduced to the other people who just happened to be Judith Durham and her late husband, English actor, pianist and composer Ron Edgeworth.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to meet the living legend, and being in the entertainment industry, I knew about Ron and his place in the music world.

When I enquired about my presence at this little get-together, I was informed that Judith and Ron had written a song about the Jacarandas, and they wanted to let me hear it. 

I should point out that at the time I had a close association with the Jacaranda Festival Committee which I continued for many years until only recently.

After a brief explanation by Judith in relation to the song, Ron sat down at the piano which was on stage at the theatre as Judith unleashed that magnificent voice to sing their song about the Jacaranda trees and Grafton. 

Following the performance, both Irene and Judith asked me what I thought of the song, and I just stood there, mouth agape and speechless. 

Irene then prodded me for a better response and all I could muster at the time was, “I am absolutely stunned.” 

Adding further that I couldn’t believe that I was standing on a stage next to Judith listening to the most angelic and wonderful voice in the whole wide world.

When I came back down to earth, we discussed how Judith and Ron should make contact with the Jacaranda Festival Committee to discuss some options.

In the wake of that meeting in the mid-1980s, a lot of unanswered questions still remain today.

Was that follow-up contact ever made?

What was the result of any such meeting?

And more importantly, whatever happened to Judith’s and Ron’s Jacaranda song? 

Another question lingers in my mind. 

How did the meeting between Irene Notaras, Judith Durham and Ron Edgeworth occur?

And I had the privilege to be there!

Unfortunately, I do not know the answer to any of those questions, but I will treasure forever the rare opportunity to meet Judith for a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

Clarence Valley Independent 17 August 2022

This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 17 August 2022.

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