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Thursday, 19 October 2017

PLEASE NOTE – Change of Venue for the SDFS Worthing Local Group

Next Worthing singing session Wednesday 1st November 2017

Very sadly The Beechwood Hall Hotel in Worthing has had to close, so our next singing session with the SDFS Worthing Local Group will be at a different venue.

We will be meeting in the public bar at “Ye Olde House at Home” pub in Broadwater (77, Broadwater Street East, Worthing, BN14 9AD) (01903 230103). Our hosts there are Derek and Carole. The pub has its own car park, in addition to street parking nearby. The session times remain the same – arrivals from 7.30pm, to start singing by 8.00pm and finish by 10.00pm.
We look forward to seeing you there for a jolly good sing of some jolly good songs, with some new hosts who are keen to meet and hear us.

NB Some other parts of this website still refer to the Beechwood Hall Hotel. These will be brought up to date as time allows and as more information becomes available.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 4th October 2017

Our October gathering to sing at the Beechwood came hot on the heels of this year’s SDFS Annual General Meeting (thanks to all who attended and contributed). Having started a little late we motored through the songs planned for use at Sullington Church on 7th Oct. The Song of the Sussex Downsman had two outings during the evening and others more familiar took their turn. Jim the Carter Lad, Ha’nacker Mill, The Brisk Young Ploughboy, The Farmer’s Toast and Hares on the Mountain (another import, like the Downsman’s Song, for the Sullington event) preceded a break. The Woodcutters Song, Oak, Ash and Thorn, Pleasant and Delightful, A Smugglers Song and The Magpie soon followed and we finished a productive evening with a cheery Country Life – and no time left to brush the dust off any of our festive season songs. Roll on November!

(P.S. – Due to unforeseen circumstances we may need to use a different venue for our next sing in Worthing on 1st November – so please check this website for details nearer the time.)

Hares On The Mountain and more...

Here's a verse of Hares On The Mountain from Emily, for anyone who's not familiar with it.

Download mp3

Child of Light:

Download mp3

Hey ho winter snow:

Download mp3

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 19th September 2017

Thirteen of us rolled through 19 songs.

Winter is on its way so we aired Where Stormy Winds Do Blow, Poor Froze-out Gardeners, The Magpie, Pleasant & Delightful and The Woodcutter’s Song. As we are nearer to Hastings than the rest of the group, we regularly sing They Won’t Let us Go To Sea Anymore and we want extra Brownie points for starting on the Christmas repertoire with Christmas Now is Drawing Near At Hand and The Coppers’ Christmas Song, then it was Country Life and A Smuggler’s Song before a well-earned break.

Then we happily launched into The Farmer’s Toast and Jim The Carter Lad before Hard Times of Old England and Ha’nacker Mill where we tried to develop a harmony but have found drones instead!

The Nightingale, Oak, Ash and Thorn and The Three Maidens brought us to a penultimate East Sussex Drinking Song with a loud “John Harvey Tavern” and ending with Thousands or More. Well done everyone!

Friday, 29 September 2017

A.G.M. Reminder

Our Annual General Meeting (further details here) is on Wednesday 4th October at the Beechwood Hall Hotel, Worthing. We aim to start promptly at 7.00pm to cover as much as we can before our singing begins at 8.00pm.

The agenda (download pdf file) invites you to come along with your comments and ideas and to have your say!  I look forward to seeing you there.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Southdowns Folk Festival Report

The South Downs Folk Singers sang brilliantly at the Southdowns Folk Festival in Bognor Regis on Saturday 23rd September. First off many of our singers joined the Secret Shore singers to sing a super set of shanties and sea songs outside the William Hardwicke public house and then performing as the South Downs Folk Singers we sang an hour of folk songs in the main street, with lots of people joining in with the choruses – especially Sussex by the Sea.

Photo: Richard Corkrey and his team of Festival Photographers

Monday, 25 September 2017

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 21st September 2017

It was lovely to welcome sixteen singers to The Chichester Inn on Thursday 21st September for our monthly sing. The number included three new members – Chris, Vicky and Patsy – who came along to lend their voices to our group, having seen us perform at the Arundel Festival. Talk of course was of our two upcoming performances at the Southdowns Folk Festival and at the special “Songs, Poems & Pints” concert in Sullington Church in October. To that end we spent a good half hour practising the Song of the Sussex Downsman. With Keith on hand to guide us expertly line by line through the quite complicated melody, we eventually felt that we were beginning to master this beautiful song. After that we sang through much of our repertoire, songs both old and new, and especially the ones which were deemed by the group to need a bit of practice. We sang Rosebuds in June, the West Sussex Drinking Song (all four verses), Ebernoe Horn Fair, Home Lads Home, and Oak, Ash & Thorn before stopping for a break, a natter and a spontaneous sing of some of Emily’s catches. After the interval we visited the Stedham Oysterman’s Donkey, the Saucy Sailor, Hares on the Mountain and the Brisk Young Ploughboy and, in a surprising change to our usual routine, finished up with the shanty Leave her Johnny Leave Her. It was a convivial evening and we hope to see everyone again next month. Remember there’s no fee – you only have to turn up to come and join the South Downs Folk Singers!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

'More Songs, Poems & Pints' At Sullington Church, Saturday 7th October

Evening performance commencing at 7.30pm.

As you know we have the lovely Sullington Church performance coming up soon. It was so well received last year at the biennial Flower Festival (which will be held again next year in June) that we have been invited back in this intervening year. The refreshment break will be made in the newly-refurbished 17thC smaller barn adjacent to the Saxo Norman church if the weather precludes it being available outside the church.

It is a ticketed event so we need to be at our musical best! To this end we have made a couple of extra practice dates, one on the 20th and one on the 27th, to go through the set and make it as good as it can be. We've chosen two dates to make as much extra practice available as possible, to those who want to come. You don't need to come to both, but just whichever one suits best.

As the Sullington Church is quite small we have limited the spaces to 20/25 people. So if you are hoping to come please make sure you can make at least one extra rehearsal, and do please give your name as soon as possible to John to confirm your place. Update 20th Sep: all places are now taken. Also, please have a listen to the Song of the Sussex Downsman which we will be singing.

Thanks indeed, see you soon,


Here is the provisional set list:
On Sussex Hills
Ha'nacker Mill
Oak, Ash and Thorn
A Smuggler's Song

Pleasant and Delightful
Hares on the Mountain


Country Life
The Magpie
The Woodcutter's Song
The Brisk Young Ploughboy

Jim the Carter Lad
The Farmer's Toast
Song of the Sussex Downsman

Song of the Sussex Downsman

Update 19th October: Please note that the audio file has been revised, as indicated by "rev2" in the filename. (Apologies, in the previous update three days earlier an incorrect file was uploaded here.) One note has been changed, for the syllable "be" in "Wool-ston-be-ree". This is at 1m9s from the start. The score remains unchanged and corresponds to this revision.
For everybody who will be singing at Sullington in a few weeks' time (and of course anybody else who takes an interest in this!), here is a recording of Emily singing the first verse of Song of the Sussex Downsman.

Download mp3

Download score pdf

Monday, 18 September 2017

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 5th September 2017

We made a prompt start with brief notices on future events, including a reminder about the AGM due on 4th October (see notices on this website). Emily confirmed the finalised song list for the Sullington Church event, for the particular attention of the limited number of singers able to attend (the location has limited space). The evening’s singing proceeded by warming up On Sussex Hills before spending time on the Sullington list – all worth a sing whether going to the event or not. We sang The Woodcutter’s Song with a repeat chorus to finish; The Brave Ploughboy; Jim the Carter Lad and The Farmer’s Toast. Emily then took us through the opening lines of the first verse of The Song of the Sussex Downsman that some of us had tried at our last session, and by the end of the evening we had gradually progressed to complete all of the first verse and tried the chorus. We sang Pleasant and Delightful to conclude the break and, last but not least, we worked on another lesser known song Hares on the Mountain including trials of different arrangements between male and female voices. (Like The Song of the Sussex Downsman this song is not in our official repertoire but suits the requirements of the Sullington event, and may thereafter join the queue of songs awaiting consideration by all three of our local groups.) A busy but enjoyable evening – more please!