In Memorium – Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare was a beautiful woman with a superb singing voice to match. When I first met her she was 24 and she looked like the Venus of Botticelli – I was 33. I was immediately enchanted by her and she favored me and we started living together immediately. We were together for 13 exuberant and dramatic years. Many things happened and we weathered them all – together, and with my children Diana and John.

Virginia was born in Worchester, Mass on April 21, 1946 of American parents of Swedish descent. She displayed exceptional musical ability at a young age and started singing at 16 with the Worchester Symphony Orchestra. She attended the Mannes College of Music in NYC. In her early twenties she met and married Russell Smith, a writer. They moved to Paris where they led a “Bohemian” life. Virginia made a living singing in the streets while Russell wrote novels. Classically trained, she now also sang folk songs, blues and old standards.

When she returned to the States she left Russell and then met me. We raised my children, did a lot of traveling and engaged in artistic projects. We had adventures – some terrific, some precarious. Virginia started composing songs and singing in local clubs. One highlight was her oratorio Odisea, a multimedia show created and produced by her and accompanied by compelling photographs which dealt with Woman’s journey through the ages.

It toured the New York area and was featured on WBAI radio.

When we parted ways, but remained good friends, she became involved with Joya Verde (Nee Fry). They stayed together until Joya’s death. During this time Virginia started a recording studio – Toad Hall, in Snedens Landing. There she recorded her own music as well as that of many well-known musicians including Tom Chapin.

With Joya, she moved to Block Island,where she continued with her music and produced several recordings such as Quail Eggs and Caviar and Songs to the Divine Mother. Several years after Joya’s death Virginia met Sadie Flateman in Block Island and they lived together until Virginia’s death on September 10, 2023.

Virginia had many talents: she was a carpenter, could fix almost anything and was also a fine poet. During her lifetime Virginia had terrible luck with her health. She had a serious melanoma scare in her late twenties, open heart surgery at 33, uterine cancer in her fifties and then breast cancer. Despite all this she persevered and continued with her music and her life with panache.

Virginia is survived by her partner Sadie, her sister Anne Michelle, her brother David Carlson, several nieces and nephews and a number of devoted friends.