Special performance to honour the late Aleda Johnsen Graham

ALEDA Johnsen Graham passed away in May, leaving the Putty community bereft. 

She was central to any function or performance at the Putty Hall and her outgoing personality, her theatrical and musical talents and her willingness to use them to help those less talented, endeared her to all.

Aleda, originally from Scotland, was formally trained as an opera singer, but it was not until she migrated to Melbourne at the age of 19 that her career began. 

She did voice over recordings for radio, before working as an assistant to producers and directors at Channel 9 where she became a regular guest singer, performing on variety shows hosted by Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton. 

After winning the Victorian heats of the New York Metropolitan Opera Auditions, Aleda’s career began in opera, oratorio, recital and variety.

She met her husband, actor Ron Graham, when they performed together in a musical in Tasmania. 

At the end of the show, they moved to Sydney and if both were in town with the same time off, they enjoyed riding a motorcycle out to the country and camping.

Eventually, weary of setting up camp, they decided to buy a place with a building on it and they found it at Putty. 

Initially their busy lives precluded them from the small community’s activities.

But, after a bad fall from a horse, Aleda could no longer perform professionally and she moved to Putty permanently. 

She compered bingo at the Balmain RSL Club before teaching singing and voice production at her Richmond studio. 

For more than 20 years, her students enjoyed great success in eisteddfods, delighted audiences with their Scottish repertoire at special events, and presented concerts for residents of an aged care facility where Aleda volunteered at weekly sing-a-longs.

To honour her memory, some of Aleda’s pupils will entertain at a concert on August 20 at the Putty Hall, starting at 2pm. 

The six students from the Hawkesbury, Divinia Eather, Duncan Grivas, Elise Lewis, Madalyn Crismale, Nerida Weles and Nicole Hulett, will perform a variety of songs, including folk, pop and from musicals.

The Putty Hall will be open from noon with a $10 lunch on offer with drinks from the bar – or come just for the concert at 2pm. 

Afternoon tea provided by Putty residents will be available during interval. 

For premier seating and catering, phone Margaret Ferguson on 6579 7077 or Kathy McKenzie on 6579 7047 by August 15.