New Singers

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 17th August 2017

Fifteen singers gathered in The Chichester Inn, but without David to lead us we had to encourage Alan to give us a starting note so that we could tackle The Brisk Young Ploughboy, Country Life and Rosebuds In June. Alan seemed to think that we ought to move out of the sweet smelling meadows and so he sang The Muckspreader with Anne’s assistance. We couldn’t remember who wrote this delightful tale, but as it is obviously from Dorset we won’t be in a hurry to add it to our repertoire. Then we sang West Sussex Drinking Song, The Nightingale, Ha’nacker Mill, Life Of A Man, A Smuggler’s Song and Twanky Dillo before taking a break. Basically we ran through the set list for Arundel with Pleasant And Delightful, Oak, Ash And Thorn and Fathom The Bowl adding The Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey and Valiants All to the mix. We rounded off the evening with three catches that we had learned with Emily at the Weald & Downland Living Museum: Joan Glover, The Cat Sits In The Plum Tree but failed to recall the Icelandic one with enough confidence so ended with Rolling Home.

Do take a look at The Southdowns Folk Festival, Bognor website, on Friday 22nd John Fitzpatrick is appearing with Home Service and Skerryvore on the evening of 23rd September.

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 15th August 2017

Another lovely summer’s evening, so much so that The John Harvey Tavern was very busy and we decided to use the vacant upstairs room. Eventually, eleven of us arrived and we made a late start with The Farmer’s Toast, The Magpie, On Sussex Hills, Rosebuds In June, A Smuggler’s Song, Green Grow The Laurel and The Turnip Hoer.

At some time we took a break to refill glasses. At Bateman’s, Peter B was handing out our flyers and met Valerie who, I am delighted to say, joined us for the evening. Valerie is a bit of a historian and knows Chris Hare from many years ago.

We also managed to sing through Ha’nacker Mill, Old Adam, Drink Me Brave Boys, The Ladies Go Dancing At Whitsun, All Things Are Quite Silent, Hard Times Of Old England, Country Life, East Sussex Drinking Song, and Thousands Or More, by which time we all felt 100% better for a good sing!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Singing at Danny Park 300th Anniversary Cricket Match, Sunday 9th July 2017

Update 12th August 2017: A selection of photo images from the 300th anniversary cricket match can be viewed and downloaded here.
To celebrate 300 years of cricket at Danny House, the beautiful Elizabethan country house set in lovely grounds, there was a friendly cricket match, in full period costume, played out between the Danny Park residents and Hurstpierpoint village.

It was a great day, full of fun, with Chanctonbury Morris dancing and the South Downs Folk Singers offering their singing of local folk songs, some from the same period. Spit roast lamb was consumed, ale flowed, games commenced and the onlookers were treated to an exciting match with those dropping the ball sent to the stocks for a good soaking.

Great fun for all and did the sun shine!

A message from Richard Burrows, the organiser of the event:

"Dear John,

I wanted to thank Emily and all the fabulous singers who entertained us so well on Sunday and played a big part in making it such a pleasurable and memorable day.

I hope we can find another occasion to invite you all back to Danny."

Thanks to David Broadhead and Damon Hart for the photos below.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Arundel Festival Sunday 27th August

A change of performance site and time this year, as we requested from the organisers after last year's experience.

We are in the temporarily-pedestrianised Tarrant Street at its widest part outside Fanny Adams / Nineveh Chapel from 1.00pm to 2.00pm, with a 10 minute break in the middle.

Don't take any notice of the Festival's website or brochure which list us spuriously as the South Downs Singers (an Eastbourne community choir) and have our performance an hour earlier!

There will be masses to see and do, but please be around the performance site half an hour before the start so we can go straight into it.

We will put the banner on the raised footway railings behind us. Please wear elements of green, blue, cream/yellow colour clothes if you have suitable garments.

Parking is abysmal any time at the weekend but especially on a Bank Holiday, so I will be parking as usual off the Ford Road in Torton Hill Road, and that can be well up the hill depending on time of day. Cross under the A27 road bridge by the river and walk through The Slipe into Tarrant Street, it takes about 10 minutes depending on pace.

Please let me know if you are coming via, the more the merrier! Fingers crossed for the weather, we might have to retreat to the pubs.

John C.

First Set:
  1. Country Life Eb - Ab
  2. Rosebuds in June B
  3. West Sussex Drinking Song E
  4. The Nightingale A - D
  5. Ha’nacker Mill E
  6. Life of a Man B
  7. A Smuggler’s Song C#
  8. Twanky Dillo A

(10 minute break between sets)

Second Set:
  1. Pleasant & Delightful G
  2. Oak, Ash & Thorn E
  3. Fathom the Bowl D
  4. On Sussex Hills A
  5. The Magpie D
  6. Home Lads, Home B
  7. Thousands or More A
  8. Sussex by the Sea A
  9. Jolly Good Song

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 2nd August 2017

At our Beechwood session we gave a few moments to consider plans for the Bateman’s event on 6th August and advised all to watch the website for song and time details for Arundel Festival on 27th August, but soon got on with singing. We warmed up with Country Life, then proceeded with a few of the songs listed for Bateman’s: The Magpie; Home Lads Home; Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun; Ha’nacker Mill; Rosebuds in June and All Things Are Quite Silent. After a well-earned break we continued with Follow Me ’Ome before moving on to the many verses of Valiants All. This old song (collected in the Midhurst area) was offered and sung for fun by a few singers who know it from our Chichester group’s sessions. We then all sang The Stedham Oysterman and Brisk Young Ploughboy. We finished by returning to our roots and learning by ear the first verse of Song Of The The Sussex Downsman - with of course Emily leading us as skilfully as ever. Thanks again Emily! This was a lovely way to close the evening and we look forward to learning more next month.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Brisk Young Ploughboy

The words for Brisk Young Ploughboy can be downloaded here.

Before printing this, please note that the pdf file contains the song in two versions and you may want to print only one of these. The version on the first page includes bar lines to show where the beat falls and thus help with scanning the words. The second page is the conventional 'lyrics only' version.

If the first version makes no sense to you then please see me (Keith) as it really is very straightforward and will only take a few seconds to explain.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It has not yet been decided whether this song is to be included in the SDFS repertoire and used in any of our public performances.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 20th July 2017

We enjoyed a very pleasant evening singing in the Chichester Inn last Thursday and were pleased to welcome two newcomers who had heard about SDFS via a recent singing workshop.  We started off the evening with On Sussex Hills and then reprised Valients All, The Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey (which we hope might be included in the regular song list) and Saucy Sailor that had been sung at the Tullecombe event near Midhurst on Tuesday. All three songs had been collected in the Midhurst area.  We thought we’d practice some of the songs on the list for Bateman’s and so sang Home, Lads, Home, The Ladies Goes Dancing at Whitsun, Follow Me ’Ome, All Things are Quite Silent and Ha’nacker Mill. The Sussex Wedding Song and Jim, the Carter Lad were then requested which we all enjoyed singing, and rounded the evening off with a rousing Rolling Home as usual.

Friday, 21 July 2017

WW1 Battle of Passchendaele Remembrance, Sunday 6th August 2017

Bateman's, Burwash

This will be the third year that we join the volunteer re-enactors in remembering the fallen of WW1.

Starting on the 31st July and continuing till the 6th November, echoing the Somme Battle of the previous year, the Battle of Passchendaele (officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres) claimed 325,000 Allied casualties, mainly British and Canadian, and 260,000 German casualties for an advance of hardly 5 miles, over a limited salient.

I will be at the entrance kiosk from 10.00am to tick off the names of the up to 40 volunteer Singers for entry on the day [editor's note: this means a maximum of 40 singers, NOT singers up to 40 years of age!], who reserve a place by email to by the 1st August. I hope to abandon that position before 11.00am to grab a coffee.

If you have N.T. membership cards please bring them to be registered as it helps the site to bid for extra funds from the central N.T. pot.

Please bring friends and family if you wish, but their entry will be at normal rates if they cannot use membership cards.

Timing of the two song sets will be agreed on Saturday with the re-enactors, to not clash with any noisier activities on the adjacent encampment field. They will be either side of lunch at similar times to last year. If you have a poppy left over from last November please wear it together with any general green, blue, cream/yellow garments you fancy wearing.

Let's hope the weather favours us again, we brought the sun out last year with our singing.


1st Set:
  1. Country Life
  2. Pleasant & Delightful
  3. The Magpie
  4. Thousands Or More
  5. Home Lads Home
  6. Dancing At Whitsun
  7. A Smuggler’s Song
  8. Rosebuds In June
  9. Oak, Ash & Thorn
  10. Twanky Dillo
  11. Jolly Good Song

2nd Set:
  1. Fathom The Bowl
  2. Ha’nacker Mill
  3. On Sussex Hills
  4. Life Of A Man
  5. All Things Are Quite Silent
  6. Ale Glorious Ale
  7. Follow Me ’Ome
  8. The Nightingale
  9. West Sussex Drinking Song
  10. Sussex By The Sea
  11. Jolly Good Song

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 18th July 2017

We had another uplifting evening singing in The John Harvey Tavern, with seven men and only four women. Tina is very busy at work and so hadn’t had time to prepare any new songs, but that didn’t matter as we have so many others that we don’t often sing. As we don’t have a confirmed set list for Bateman’s, Tina guessed likely candidates and threw in a few more.

Old Adam, Ladies Go Dancing, Hard Times, Fathom the Bowl, Home Lads Home, My Boy Jack, Eileen Aroon, All Things Are Quite Silent and Follow Me ’Ome were all worked through before the break, and then we sang The Magpie, The Nightingale, Green Grow the Laurel, On Sussex Hills, Oak, Ash & Thorn, Run of the Downs (more for the words than the tune as we haven’t got a replacement for the Floral Dance yet), A Smuggler’s Song and They Won’t Let Us Go To Sea Any More.

Staying with the East Sussex theme, we finished with a request for Adrian to sing his East Sussex Drinking Song and the rest of us joined in the chorus… “Put another barrel on Landlord and pull a pint for me, the ale in the east of Sussex is the best we all agree, put another barrel on Landlord, let’s raise a mighty cheer and we’ll drink to the health, success and wealth of all who sup in here.”

We then all left feeling a lot happier for singing jolly good songs and in good company, before travelling home to witness those fantastic electrical storms.

Singing at Tullecombe, Tuesday 18th July 2017

On a warm, sunny Tuesday lunchtime ten of us met up with enthusiastic song collector Stephen A at the Forestry Commission car park at Tullecombe, just north of Rogate. As you can see from the photos, we chose a pretty piece of the common to sing to a group of walkers who were on an officially organised hike along this section of the Serpent Trail. Whilst they sat and rested, Stephen told them all about the songs he’s been researching, which were once sung by local villagers in this small corner of Sussex. We sang four songs: the Saucy Sailor, Valiants All, the Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey and as an encore Pleasant and Delightful.