Yes, I Think I Get The Message
John Edward photograph supplied by Di O'Neill
When Alfred St John married Margaret Wood-Collins, the wedding was covered in the British paper The Statesman. I guess it was fairly big news at the time, because the groom was a prominent singer, a tenor who regularly performed at Government House before the biggest dignitaries of the time.
He was hailed by critics as one of the finest tenors in what was then the British empire. How do I know that? As a little bloke, I remember being fascinated by a velvet-bound book with several old newspaper clippings extolling Alfred St John's voice.
All this suddenly became relevant to me in a very unexpected manner at the medium, author and television host John Edward performance at Hamer Hall on Thursday night.
At a sellout night by the US medium, author and TV personality who reckons he would move to Australia if he had half a chance, I was sitting in the balcony. I was with my wife, who lost her father very suddenly a year ago. She was there with a completely open mind, but I have to admit I was fervently hoping that a message would come through for her from her father, who passed away just minutes before she could get to the hospital - after a flight that had taken her almost halfway around the world.
In the second half of the performance, John Edward was talking to someone when he looked straight at us. He pointed directly to us and said: ``Who sang on stage? Someone sang on stage ...''
It took a split second for me to erase the perception that the message, if there was any, was for me and for my wife. But before I could answer, a young man three seats to my right and one row in front stood up very hesitantly and said he had sung to his fiancee at the weekend.
Not on stage, you see. And not where John Edward was pointing. But I sat there riveted as a long series of validations came through for the young man and several other members of his family.
You see, the tenor's full name was Alfred St John McMahon. He was my grandfather. I never met him, because he died when my own father, the eldest of four brother, was about 16. My Dad then had no option but to join the workforce to provide for the family and to pay the boarding school fees for his brothers.
In my school and university years, I regularly took significant roles in theatre and once sang on stage. My eldest daughter also sang on stage in a leading role in a rock musical. My son regularly performed on stage during his years with the National Children's Choir and continues to sing as a guitarist and vocalist with a Christian rock band.
Maybe the message that night was for me, maybe not. But I was absolutely delighted that the newly engaged couple and their family members were so clearly overwhelmed with the messages of love.
Later, I realised there had indeed been a validation for me and my family too.
Before the young bloke took the microphone, John Edward, still looking directly at my wife and me, said: ``They were there for you.''
Hamer Hall, Melbourne. Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON