New Singers

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Monday, 15 January 2018

Transition Town Worthing Sow & Grow, Saturday, 10th February 2018

Seed Swap & Spring Fair

We hope you have had a great festive season and are now contemplating losing some calories by rummaging in your undergrowth, harvesting your turmuts and manuring your plots.

What better way to prepare for this than to support the above event with some of our songs.

The performance area will be in/on the Foyer/stairs as last year, for two short sets at 1.45pm & 2.45pm (please be there by 1.15pm) which we are advised will avoid clashes with the opening speeches and the raffle at the end. Any changes to this arrangement will be posted here, as will the full programme when received. Make sure you wrap up against the cold.

If you do not want to pay the £2 entrance fee, please email me by the 4th February so your name can be added to the list on the door.

First Set:
  1. Oak, Ash & Thorn
  2. Pleasant & Delightful
  3. The Magpie
  4. Brisk Young Ploughboy
  5. On Sussex Hills
  6. The Turnip Hoer
Barbara has provided us with some alternative verses to The Turnip Hoer, download here.

Second Set:
  1. Country Life
  2. The Woodcutter's Song
  3. Poor Froze-out Gardeners
  4. Thousands or More
  5. Jim the Carter Lad
  6. The Farmer's Toast

John C.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 3rd January 2018

For the first Worthing meeting of the new year 35 SDFSingers gathered, still in festive mood, to sing a mix of seasonal songs – all sung with pleasure, some just for fun and others in preparation for our Wassail social on 20th January and our first public performance of the year at the Worthing Seed Swap on 10th February. We started with the Falmer Carol, including the extra verses David in our Chichester group has discovered. These were written by the Coppers and we have their permission to use them (if attributed). They make the carol considerably longer and richer, and we look forward to singing them again next Christmas. With the Seed Swap in mind we sang The Turmut Hoers and Poor Froze Gardeners before returning to the festive season with The Twelve Sheep of Christmas, a variation written by one of our singers, Hannah, and much enjoyed. The fun continued with The Three Moles, a song created by another of our singers, Gordon, in the Chichester group in honour of the pub where they used to meet in Selham. After a break we bridged the seasons with the Woodcutters Song, Oak, Ash and Thorn, and The Farmer’s Toast, before going back to a carol when Emily introduced and taught us a verse from Remember O Thou Man. This had been performed by Keith at the Chichester group’s ‘sing-around’ before Christmas, and it’s another one to try again next Christmas. Country Life, then Sugar Wassail and Apple Wassail followed, and we finished our evening with The Holly Bears a Berry. Happy New Year!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 21st December 2017

Our last sing together for the current year took the form of a jovial celebration of Christmas and 22 South Downs Folk Singers and friends came to the Chichester Inn armed with poems and songs ready to turn the evening into a bit of a party. We lit candles on the tables and Anne, Alan and Dave brought their guitars, melodeon and recorder to play a few tunes and accompany some of the songs. After a rendering of Silent Night we went around the circle inviting everyone to do their party piece or recommend a favourite song. Anne and Alan gave us Kipling’s poem Eddi’s Service telling the tale of the bleak mid-winter service conducted by Eddi the Priest in the chapel at Manhood End in AD 687. This was followed by The First Noel sung to the tune of Young Banker and While Shepherd’s Watched to the tune of Ilkley Moor bar t'at. We then sang the Sugar Wassail and Gordon recited a lovely Christmas poem he had written. There followed the Coppers’ Christmas Song, Sweet Chiming Bells, the Angel Gabriel, and Masters in this Hall. Stephen recited Robert Louis Stevenson’s Winter-Time and Chris got us all to participate in a rendering of G R Sims’ magnificently melodramatic monologue Christmas Day in the Workhouse! Keith sang the apocryphal Bitter Withy and Alwyn told us all about Snapdragon, a game in which you have to pick nuts and raisins out of a bowl of flaming brandy! Danny and Jenny sang the Hooton Pagnell Wassail from South Yorkshire. Les and Patsy requested the Boar’s Head Carol and Stormy Winds and Sue and Dave finished up the first half with the Cowboy Carol and a comic version of Deck the Halls.

After a break to refill our glasses, we went around the circle again; Anne and Alan treated us to a sprightly version of the Sussex Carol and a lovely rendition of The Terror Time by Ewan MacColl. We then sang more songs and carols, including the Sans Day Carol, Pentonville, the Falmer Carol, Righteous Joseph, Hark the Herald Angels, the Woodcutter’s Song, Here’s a Health to the Company and the round I Heard a Bird sing in the Dark of December. Chris got us all to join in with the hilarious I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and then Keith gave us the more solemn Remember O Thou Man written in 1611 by Thomas Ravenscroft. Time was sadly running out so we had one more from Danny and Jenny – Si Kahn’s beautiful song New Year’s Eve which ends “May the New Year bring you freedom peacefully.” We finally finished up singing We wish You a Merry Christmas and an impromptu Happy Birthday to You to a girl called Beth in the other bar! It had been a fantastic evening. Thanks to everyone for their excellent contributions. We’ll meet again on Thursday 18th January 2018 at the Chichester Inn. Hope to see lots of you there!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Local Group Report – Lewes – Monday 18th December 2017

Seven stalwarts came to The John Harvey Tavern. I’m sure Mac only came to try the Harvey’s Christmas Ale at 7.5% but that’s OK because it kept his bass voice working beautifully all evening. We started with Sweet Chiming Bells and The Coppers’ Christmas Song, both with lovely harmonies to put us in a festive mood before Tina introduced us to the Littlehampton Collier Lads and the contrast of The Brave Eleven and then back to our well-practised They Won’t Let Us Go To Sea Any More.

After a quick break, it was back to Angel Gabriel and Tina had the seven of us singing four beautiful harmonies. Then we polished off Masters In This Hall, Sugar Wassail, The Falmer Carol, “Pentonville” and Fathom The Bowl ending with Farmer’s Toast. Thank you again to Tina for planning such a productive and enjoyable evening.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

A bit More festive singing!...

Hello all,

For those of you who have not yet had your fill of festive singing you might be interested to know that a friend and I are organising another jolly singing gathering at Coast Café in Worthing on Thursday 21st December.

There will be a mixture of folky carols, good old traditional ones and some slightly more modern classics, with a few wintry themed rounds sprinkled in.

It'll be from 6pm til 10ish.

It's a lovely venue with yummy food and drink and the best view of the wild wintry sea.

See you there perhaps!

Em X

Michelham Priory, Sunday 10th December 2017

Braving a miserable and cold day and a road closure, the intrepid Singers made their way to the 'Victorian Christmas' to sing two sets of rousing seasonal songs.

They were joined, presumably by some sort of 'Outlander' time warp, by some Victorian ladies craftily  provided with degaussing rings in their skirts to pick up any WW2 magnetic mines in the vicinity.

The Catches at the end of the second set (when we were joined by our groupies and the odd audience member) were great fun, bring on some more Emily! It's a pity Tina's heavy work commitments prevented her joining us. Thanks also to Amaryllis, Mike and Alan.

The Priory kindly provided beverages, sandwiches, mince pies and chocolate biscuits to the Singers and Helen emailed us this after the first set:
"I'm just emailing now to say thanks so much for coming out today in awful weather. I heard you singing in the house and it sounded great – hope to catch up on some more songs later, but I'm running around a bit at the moment. Please pass on my thanks to the Singers.

Very best to all of you and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!"
John C.




Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 6th December 2017

Our last local gathering in 2017 saw another good turn out of singers, in spite of the deteriorating weather. Cosy indoors we enjoyed good songs, good company and good cheer – and the news that “Ye Olde House at Home” had just won the local “Pub of the Year” award! Plans for the SDFS ‘Wassail' social (also posted on our website) and thanks to singers for their contributions and support at recent events were shared before the singing began. In preparation for the next SDFS event due the following weekend at Michelham Priory, we sang again the seasonal songs familiar to most of us and recently used at the Weald and Downland Christmas Market. These included the catches Hey Ho, Winter Snow and Child of Light introduced by Emily this year, plus one other, Bird in December, tried just for the pleasure and fun of it! By special request from our pub hosts we added Silent Night before the evening concluded with a resolution to meet and sing together again on 3rd January for the first Worthing session of 2018.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

South Downs Folk Singers “Wassail” winter party!

Update 10th January: More than half the places have now been taken and Margo is still taking bookings. To be absolutely sure of joining in with us, email Margo now!
Our annual clan gathering to celebrate the turn of the year and look forward to a new season of song, is now on the diary page of this website.

South Downs Folk Singers, plus family and friends, are all welcome.

The fun will begin at 7.30pm (arrivals from 7.00pm) on Saturday 20th January 2018 at the venue we used last time:
St. John’s the Divine Church Hall, on the corner of Ripley Road and Elm Grove in West Worthing, BN11 5LD.

Tickets are £2.50 each.

Numbers are limited, so to avoid disappointment contact Margo NOW via the South Downs Folk Singers email (or you may see her at some local group sessions).

She will reply to confirm your booking, and also the payment arrangements (in advance if practical, otherwise ‘on the door’ when you arrive).

(NB Tickets may be available on the door too, but only if not all SOLD OUT in advance.)

Bring food to share and your drinks of choice – and as usual your voices and a readiness to join in song!

Individual contributions are also invited to add to the pleasure of the evening – songs, readings, dance and music – any and all are welcome. (Please let Margo know if you’d like to contribute.)

See you there – “Wassail”!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Local Group Report – Lewes – Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Eleven of us met on this altered evening and Tina led us through 15 songs. While Shepherds Watched to Pentonville, Sussex Mummers' Carol, Hark The Herald Angels to the new tune, The Angel Gabriel, The Moon Shone Bright and then switching to Apple Wassail before the break.

Continuing with Sugar Wassail, Christmas Now Is Drawing Near at Hand, Masters in This Hall, Sweet Chiming Bells, then the combined catches Child of Light and Hey, Ho, Winter Snow to which it didn’t take folk long to catch on, and finishing our winter collection with the tongue-twisting Falmer Carol.

Tina then refreshed our memories of our Dave’s Caburn Hill, and while he sang the verses we mumbled along and tried the harmony. We hope that we can present it to the whole group soon. And so to finish we sang Thousands Or More and The East Sussex Drinking Song which we hope will have a revised final verse in the New Year!

Looking forward to Michelham Priory on the 10th and our other altered meeting date of Monday 18th December.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

'Offical Opening' of Renovated 17th/18thC Barn at Sullington Manor Farm

Update 17th December: Gail emailed her apologies for the several changes of timetable on the day occasioned by circumstances beyond her control, but expressed her and the Church Wardens' thanks for our contribution making the day that bit more special for the community.

The event was reported in the local newspaper.
Update 27th November: The timing for some of the proceedings has been brought forward and singers are now asked to arrive at 12.30pm to allow for this.
Update 13th November: Further details have been added to the end of this post. Twelve singers have now volunteered. (Further update: 15 singers as on 15th November.)
The local MP Nick Herbert will be opening this Exhibition and Community use barn on Friday 1st December. Gail and Grahame (who organised and applied for the HLF grant funding for this second renovation, after the previous Great Barn restoration) have asked us if we could sing some songs on this occasion to enliven the proceedings.

The opening has been delayed, due to unforeseen circumstances, to a less clement time of year, so unless you are well wrapped up you may not want to take a trailer tour ride (which is also dependent on the weather).

Don't RSVP Gail, as on the poster, please email me on southdownsfolksingers@gmail.com if you can come.

Eight Singers have volunteered so far (as on 9th November) and further details will be posted as they become available, but the songs will be ones that you are all familiar with.

John C.


Further details

Singers please arrive around 1.00pm to ensure a parking space on hard ground.

We have been asked to sing an introductory few songs as people are gathering before the first trailer trip, and then again before the next one. This will allow listening to the intervening talk and participation in the 'champagne' tea.

Provisional song lists

First set:
  1. Country Life [Eb - Ab]
  2. The Coppers' Christmas Song [Bb]
  3. Old Adam [E]
  4. On Sussex Hills [A]
  5. Brisk Young Ploughboy (leaving out 2nd verse) [C]
  6. Sweet Chiming Bells [B]

Second set:
  1. Twanky Dillo [G]
  2. Rosebuds in June [B]
  3. The Holly Bears a Berry [C]
  4. West Sussex Drinking Song [E]
  5. Thousands or More [A]
  6. Here We Come A-Wassailing [C]