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New singers  are always welcome to join us – read more

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Monday, 21 May 2018

SDFS at the 'Rural Life' Historic Gardens Weekend, Weald & Downland Living Museum

Sunday 1st July 2018

Organiser's website

Here's a chance to both sing and find out how to keep the fly off your turmuts organically!!!

Details for the weekend are here and we will be the only wandering minstrels on the Sunday.

You will need to let me know via email by the 24th June if you want to sing on the day so that your name can be put on the list for free entry, as I won't be at the YOHAH, Worthing Meeting on the 5th June.

Many thanks,
John C

Sunday, 20 May 2018

SDFS at the Foresters Arms, Graffham

Wednesday 27th June 2018
7.00pm – 9.30pm

We have been invited to perform an evening of folk songs in the garden of the Foresters Arms in Graffham (GU28 0QA) on Wednesday 27th June as part of this year's Graffham Arts Festival. As is our custom we will be singing a rousing selection of songs that reflect life in the Sussex countryside across the centuries. It would be lovely if as many of our singers as possible could come along on this date and enjoy a few songs and a drink out of doors on a balmy midsummer’s evening. (Under cover if wet.)

We shall gather at 7.00pm and eventually sing two sets:

First Set 7.30pm till 8.10pm:
  1. Country Life [Eb]
  2. West Sussex Drinking Song [E]
  3. Oak, Ash & Thorn [E]
  4. The Magpie [B]
  5. The Bee-Boy’s Song [G - C]
  6. Ale, Glorious Ale [E]
  7. The Turnip Hoer [B]
  8. A Smuggler’s Song [C#]
  9. Pleasant and Delightful [A]
  10. Thousands or More [A]
  11. Jolly Good Song
Second Set 8.30pm till 9.10pm:
  1. On Sussex Hills [A]
  2. Fathom the Bowl [D# - G#]
  3. The Nightingale [A]
  4. Rosebuds in June [B - E]
  5. Rolling in the Dew [G]
  6. Where Stormy Winds Do Blow [A -D]
  7. The Farmer’s Toast [A - D]
  8. Twanky Dillow [G#]
  9. Sussex by the Sea [G#]
  10. Rolling Home [A - D]
Please sign up as usual by e-mailing your name to John C at southdownsfolksingers@gmail.com if you wish to attend this event.

There will be extra parking available by the Recreation Ground (follow the signs and take the turning on the left by the war memorial just beyond the pub).

David G

Monday, 7 May 2018

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 2nd May 2018

The arrival of May was duly celebrated in song during our gathering this month. We warmed up with Country Life before enjoying the seasonal songs chosen for our performance events this month: Hal An Tow, The May Day Carol, Summer is A-Comin In and It is the First of May / Good Morning Lords and Ladies. The Bee Boy’s Song, Lark in the Morning and Brisk Young Ploughboy followed with a break included. Still with an eye on our set lists for the Butser and Horsham events a few of our more established songs were requested and sung: A Smugglers Song, Sussex by the Sea and Life of a Man. The last request made was for Searching for Lambs, about which some discussion ensued on whether or not to change “doth” to “do” and “step” to “tread” – no changes were made and our evening closed with this lovely song.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

SDFS at the Morris Day Of Dance, Weald & Downland Living Museum

Sunday 10 June 2018
10.30am - 6.00pm

Organiser's website

Come along for a day to celebrate this traditional form of English folk dance, its music and song.

We (SDFS) have also agreed to join the programme. PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY THE 1ST JUNE IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE so that I can put your name on the list as a Singer for free entrance on the day.

A whole host of sides will perform at the Museum to show the wide range of dances and music in the Morris tradition, and prove that it doesn’t just involve bells and handkerchiefs!

Confirmed morris sides participating include:

  • Knockhundred Shuttles
  • Sompting Village Morris, with Morris Minors
  • Fleur de Lys Morris Dancers
  • Minden Rose
  • Deorfrith Morris
  • Victory Morris
  • TRADS with Gail Duff

There will be displays of maypole and country dancing with plenty of opportunities to join in.

John C.

Monday, 23 April 2018

SDFS at the English Festival, Horsham

Update 1st May 2018: The set list has been added below. Car parking passes are available to singers on the day to be issued this Wednesday (2nd May) at YOHAH on submission of the car's registration (apologies for the late notice but this concession only came through today, despite being mooted more than a month ago). Car sharing would help as spaces are limited (not specified).
Sunday 13th May 2018

For the second year running we will be supporting the Horsham Folk Club's musical day on behalf of the Samaritans, at the Bandstand in the Carfax.

It will be a 40-45 minute song set commencing at 2.00pm.

Final details will be posted here as they become available.

Organiser's flyer download (pdf file)

Song List

  1. West Sussex Drinking Song E
  2. Pleasant & Delightful A
  3. The Magpie B
  4. Oak, Ash & Thorn E
  5. The Bee-Boy’s Song G
  6. Ale, Glorious Ale E
  7. The Turnip Hoer B
  8. A Smuggler’s Song C#
  9. The Nightingale A
  10. Brisk Young Ploughboy C
  11. Sussex Drinking Song A
  12. Life of a Man B
  13. Thousands or More A
  14. Country Life Eb–Ab
  15. Sussex by the Sea A
  16. Jolly Good Song

The Last Trip Home with Cotillion

A celebration of the working horse and ox in folk song and verse
with Cotillion (Anne, Alan, Linda and Bonnie).

Saturday 28th April 2018 at 7.30pm in St Giles’ Church, Shermanbury (map)

Tickets £10 include refreshments, available at Village Care, Henfield,
or on the night at the door,
or from Richard Putnam 01273 493154.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 19th April 2018

Fifteen singers plus Stanley the dog came to the Chichester Inn on Thursday night and even the landlord agreed that we were in very fine voice as we sang through the two sets of songs planned for Saturday evening at Butser Ancient Farm on the 5th May. We were reminded that it was Primrose Day, which marks the death of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli on 19th April, 1881. “And all England, so they say, yearly blooms on Primrose Day.” We were more concerned however with preparing to “sing in the May”, so we started with Sumer Is Icumen In and Hal-an-Tow and then went on to sing about Country life, Downland trees and Sussex creatures, including Magpies, Bees and Larks. After a short interval at 9 o’clock, we had a go at Searching for Lambs just because the tune is so beautiful. We all agreed that it should be sung with the men singing the protagonist’s verses and the women singing the responses from the maid who from home had strayed.

In the second half we enjoyed singing Good morning Lords and Ladies it is the first of May, Pleasant and Delightful, Ale Glorious Ale and The Nightingale, before turning our attentions to rural tradesmen such as turnip hoers, brisk young ploughboys and farriers. We finished up singing Thousands or More at which the ladies commented that the men were “wallowing” in the refrain. So this prompted a quick chorus of The Hippopotamus Song in which we could wallow to our heart’s content!

Hope to see you all at the Chichester Inn on Thursday 17th May when once again we will have fun singing the old and not so old songs that connect us with our beautiful county of Sussex!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 4th April 2018

Our April session attracted a goodly crowd of songsters. With enjoyment and future performances in mind, and with Emily’s patient guidance, we worked on a couple of the songs we are still learning (The Bee Boy’s Song and Lark in the Morning), and then two more also on the setlist designed for the Butser Farm event in May (Hal an Tow, with Alan doing an excellent solo on the verses, and the May Day Carol). After the break we returned to more familiar material and sang our way through most of the songs planned for use at the Weald and Downland Museum’s Spring event on 15th April (Old Adam, Green Grow the Laurel, Ebernoe Horn Fair, The Brisk Young Ploughboy, The Farmer’s Toast and Rosebuds in June). Just for us we finished with Rolling Home, a song not from the South Downs but now beloved by many, to conclude our sessions. We look forward to welcoming the merry month of May and all comers again at our next sing at Ye Olde House at Home on 2nd May. See you there!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

SDFS at the Weald & Downland Living Museum, Sunday 15th April 2018

Update 8th April 2018: The set lists have been added below. Emily will be leading us with announcements by Mike. Entry for Singers will be by name on the list at 'The Gateway' / Museum Shop. Final date to be included on the list is 11th April.
This will be the first in a series of Rural Life Weekends, focusing on how people of the past would have lived at this time of the year.

This is a new departure for us with the Museum, to be phased between other site activities, with shorter song sets, but more of them during the day. If it proves successful then we may participate in further events of this nature.

These will commence at 11.00am, 12.30pm and 2.00pm with the possibility of 3.30pm if weather conditions and numbers of visitors on the day make it worthwhile. Performances will be around the Market Square or indoors adjacent if the weather is variable.

The songs will be from our usual cannon for this time of year. Final details will be posted as they become available.

Please email John on southdownsfolksingers@gmail.com if you are volunteering for the event.

Further information on the organiser's website.

Song Set 1:
  1. West Sussex Drinking Song (E)
  2. The Magpie (C)
  3. The Nightingale (A)
  4. Hard Times Of Old England (F)
  5. Green Grow The Laurel (A)
  6. Fathom The Bowl (D)
Song Set 2:
  1. Country Life (Eb)
  2. A Smuggler’s Song (C#)
  3. Pleasant & Delightful (G)
  4. Brisk Young Ploughboy (C)
  5. Rosebuds In June (B)
  6. The Turnip Hoer (C)
Song Set 3:
  1. Twanky Dillo (G)
  2. Oak, Ash & Thorn (E)
  3. Rolling In The Dew (F)
  4. On Sussex Hills (A)
  5. Ebernoe Horn Fair (G)
  6. Jim The Carter Lad (B)
Song Set 4:
  1. The Farmer’s Toast (A)
  2. Old Adam (E)
  3. Rosebuds In June (B)
  4. Thousands Or More (A)
  5. Life Of A Man (B)
  6. Sussex By The Sea (A)
  7. Jolly Good Song

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 20th March 2018

The John Harvey Tavern still had their heating set for a frosty night so fourteen of us roasted as we toasted the songs in our repertoire, starting with Fathom The Bowl, Green Grow The Laurel and Hard Times of Old England. We then worked through three recent additions, Brighton Camp, The Bee Boy’s Song and The Brave Eleven to fit the words into tunes before enjoying the lyrics of Old Adam. After a break it was time to tackle Lark In The Morning and Searching For Lambs, and Brisk Young Ploughboy with harmonies. We also sang Hal an Tow even though none of us will be singing at Butser. The evening wound down with The Turnip Hoer and finally Thousands Or More.