Roger’s funeral was held on 13 February at a packed Roseville Uniting Church, where he and his Swiss-born wife, Sue, had been members of the congregation for many years. Sue is well-known within the Choir as a result of her frequent work as a front of house volunteer at Great Hall concerts. At Sue’s request, a group of some 25 Choir members attended the funeral and sang Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, under Christopher Bowen’s direction.
Tributes to Roger were given by Sue, Roger’s son and daughter, Philip and Clare, and two academic colleagues from the medical profession, Dr Peter Zelas and Dr. Patrick Concannon. Rev. Laurel Barr officiated.
The comments about Roger at the funeral mirrored the high regard in which the Choir held him. Everyone talked about his willingness to be helpful and sympathetic and, in particular, of his concern to help troubled young people. Roger’s popularity in the Choir was not based on social gregariousness or ingratiation. Rather, it reflected his gentle and generous personality and the good vibes he emitted. I well remember the extraordinary efforts he made to offer comfort to Joan Whittaker, when she died in some misery in October 2006.
Roger Bartrop joined the Choir in 1994 and, while not a singer of outstanding gifts, he loved music and was an enthusiastic chorister. Without being in any way judgmental or sanctimonious, Roger ignored the whingeing and mischief-making practised regularly by the peanut gallery in the back row of the basses. Instead, he focussed on singing as well as he possibly could.
I shall carry with me one special memory of Roger. In 2007, I suffered a stroke and was taken by ambulance to RNSH. On arriving at the parking area of the Emergency Department, the first thing I saw through the ambulance window was the wonderfully sympathetic and reassuring face of Dr Bartrop, who was on duty that day (the Sunday of a long weekend), with the task of keeping up patient morale.. I decided then and there that I was destined to survive.
Thank you, Roger! God speed!