Newsletter No 6

There will be three first performances of works by Betty Roe in the next few weeks. 

On Saturday 30 June 2012 at 7.30 pm, the Longlea Players will be performing Crowds and The Magic Fishbone by Betty Roe and Marian Lines.  Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Aikman Lane, Totton SO40 8FT.  Tickets £10.  Magic Fishbone Flyer

Crowds has proved to be one of Roe and Lines’ most popular collaborations.  The show covers various aspects of life between the First and Second World Wars and includes Away from the Crowds and Music-hall Song (Oo’s got a job for ‘Arry?).

The Magic Fishbone is a full length musical based on a story by Charles Dickens.  The Royal Bank is bust, the Queen is ill and the Chancellor is trying to dethrone the King.  The Fairy Grandmarina gives Princess Alicia a Magic Fishbone with a single wish.  How and when will she use it?  The Longlea Players will be performing many of the musical numbers from the show with a linking narration.  This will be the first public performance of songs from this show.

On Saturday 30 June 2012 at 5pm, the Churchfield Singers will give the première performance of Roe and Lines’ Jubilee Bells.  St. Mary's Church Gressenhall,  Norfolk NR19 2QH.  Tickets £10 with proceeds in aid of The Brian Cross Memorial Trust.  The programme will also include an eclectic mix of solo and choral popular vocal music ranging from Armstrong Gibbs and Bob Chilcott to Burt Bacharach, The Beatles and Michael Bublé.

On 7 and 8 July 2012, 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm, a reminder that there will be four performances of the première production of Swindon: The Opera at the Steam Museum in Swindon.  Tickets are £10 (£5 under 12s for the matinées) and the venue is just 10 minutes walk from Swindon station.  Free parking is available in the “outlet” car parks beside the museum.  The composer intends to be at all four performances.


Autumn's Legacy - coverRobish Music has published Betty Roe setting of Lewis Foreman’s Autumn's Legacy, which is available from  On the web site, the Preview link below the picture of the cover will enable you to see the first two pages of the song.  See also the review of the première below.


The W10 Singers concert, Simple Gifts, on 19 May 2012 contained seven works by Betty Roe including her three most recently composed solo songs.  The evening was carefully planned with a strong theme of dedications. 

The programming of Johnny has gone for a soldier and Paul Mealor’s chart-topping Wherever you are on either side of the first performance of Autumn’s Legacy highlighted the sense of loss in Lewis Foreman’s poem.  Roe’s setting matched the poem perfectly with a recurring theme echoing the wind and rustling leaves then brightening in the “Spring” sequences.  Robert Carlin’s performance captured the two moods, particularly as the last flurry of Spring blossom abruptly turned to thoughts of mortality. 

Richard Wilkins also had a chance to shine in two Lennox Berkeley preludes and his own beautiful setting of Herrick’s To Julia, sung with a lovely continuity of line by Rachel Seghers. 

The Merton Youth Brass Ensemble directed by Norma Whitson provided three of the highlights of the concert.  There was assured playing from all with two excellent horn players shining in some very tricky passages.  In the Galliard Suite by Roe, they handled the transition from the Cakewalk to Sentimental Song very well and really swung the final Galliard Bounce.  The ability to swing was also very evident in their final piece, Michael’s Boogie, which had the entire audience tapping their feet.