Newsletter No 8

Marian Lines, Betty Roe’s long term librettist, died in November.  At a very moving memorial service on 13 December 2012, members of the Society performed two of Betty and Marian’s Three Songs for Graham and their Away from the Crowds.  The text of Betty Roe’s recollections of Marian was published in The Independent can be read at;

Marian spent her last months working with her daughter Robyn Lines on Lines by Lines a volume of her lyrics; each of which was set to music by Betty Roe.  The book forms an ideal introduction to the breadth of their collaborations as many of the works are still in manuscript.  Copies of this wonderful book can be purchased from Troubadour Publishing Limited.

Members of the Society ran a successful stall at the Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS) conference in November.  It gave delegates the chance to browse (and buy) copies of Betty Roe’s works published by Robish Music with a large selection of the Thames Publications and some of the works still in manuscript.  We also distributed 50 copies of a Robish Music catalogue, which contained details of the works with musical extracts.

A new Betty Roe CD

The Society is planning to record 11 of Betty Roe’s vocal published by Robish Music.  We have received acceptances from our President; Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Sarah Leonard (soprano), Nigel Foster (piano), Madeleine Mitchell (violin) and Lowri Blake (‘cello).  We also hope to pin down Simon Bishop to handle the sound engineering.

However, we will need your assistance, starting with anyone who might be able to help us with advice about setting up a bank account.

Society members will be invited to purchase their CDs in advance and assist the project financially with donations.

This is an important project for preserving Betty Roe’s legacy with her creative input and I hope you will all support it.


On Friday 19 April 2013 Madeleine Mitchell, 'one of the UK's foremost violinists' (The Times), soprano April Fredrick and pianist Nigel Foster perform music and classic songs with violin by Betty Roe (Two Garden Songs), Handel, Mozart, Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Ireland and more.  St Luke’s Church, Queen's Park Road, BN2 9ZB at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available on the door £7 / £5 concessions / £3 for under 12s.

This year’s London Song Festival, will be in two parts, the first includes an Association of English Singers and Speakers Centenary Concert on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 at 7.30pm.  Sarah Leonard (soprano), Stephen Varcoe (baritone) and Nigel Foster (piano) will celebrate the publication of the final three volumes of A Century of English Song.  As Betty Roe’s In a Garden is included in one of the volumes, we hope that the festival Director, Nigel Foster, can fit it into the programme.  Other concerts in the first part of the festival include the complete Verdi songs (5 June) and the complete Wagner songs (23 May).  All concerts are at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, Bedford Street, London WC2E 9ED.

On Sunday 19 May 2013 Café Cabaret will be performing with Nigel Foster (piano) in aid of the Pinkham Way Alliance.  Their show will include a performance of Betty Roe and Jacqueline Froome’s Diva’s Lament by the work’s dedicatee, Carol Caplan.  The show will also include favourite songs by Cole Porter and Jerome Kern with few numbers by Sondheim and William Bolcom.  At the Freehold Community Centre, 9 Alexandra Road, Muswell Hill, London N10 2EY at 7.00 pm.

Betty Roe will be holding a Come and Sing evening on 24 April 2013 for the Windsor and District Welsh Society. Details from Alison Taylor, 61 Ruddlesway, Windsor Berks SL4 5SG. 01753 851909.  Betty Roe and Alison Taylor previously worked together on the passion, Christ the King and the musical Lee Street.


The Association of English Singers and Speakers is publishing the final three volumes of A Century of English Song which will contain Betty Roe’s In a Garden a beautiful setting of Swinburne written on the occasion of the birth of her first great grandson.  This series was planned by Betty Roe’s late husband, John Bishop and the first seven volumes published by their publishing company, Thames Publishing.

Robish Music is finalising the publication of St George and the Dragon, words by Marian Lines and The Troop Train, setting of three WW1 poems by Vera Brittain, author of A Testament of YouthThe Troop Train will be in a limited edition of just 10 copies.  Please contact Robish Music if you are interested in purchasing a copy.

Work is continuing on preparing Betty Roe and Marian Lines pantomime Dick Whittington for publication.