Friday, 9 December 2016

Local Group Report – Beechwood Wednesday 7th December 2016

Over 30 of us gathered at the Beechwood Hall Hotel for our December Sing. David led the singing and we practised our wassailing songs for the Slindon Wassail on Saturday 14th January. We sang the four wassailing songs that we know, namely: The Gloucester Wassail, The Sugar Wassail, Here we come a-wassailing and The Apple Tree Wassailing Song. Then David introduced two more songs in this genre: The Jacobstowe Wassail and The Gower (or Somerset) Wassail, which we agreed might be fun to learn for another year.
We’re hoping that the words for all six wassail songs will soon be added to our lyrics page on the website.
We then sang a post-Christmas version of the Coppers Christmas Song – the last verse will now go: Now Christmas is gone and our song is almost done, for we now have seen the turn of the year...
After an interval we invited individuals or tables to suggest or perform a song of their choice, which resulted in a jolly selection of seasonal songs from Dark December and The Old Woman from Ryde to Jennifer’s Rabbit and a Carol from New Zealand! We finished the evening singing the Falmer Carol, Pentonville, Sweet Chiming Bells, the Sans Day Carol and Pity the Poor Gardeners. Finally we sang We Wish you a Merry Christmas, on which note we do indeed wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope to see you soon again in 2017!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 17th November 2016

Six brave souls braved the wind, rain and wilds of Selham to sing at The Three Moles on 17th November: Stephen, Carol, Peter, Dermot, Debbie, Gordon and Julie. We did our best with the Christmas songs for the WDOAM event despite trying to sing the words of one song to the tune of another (we got it right in the end!). Gordon had written a song especially for The Three Moles, called of course The Three Moles, which we sang to the delight of our patrons and the recording of which is now doing the rounds on Facebook. We finished off the evening with a rendition of some of our favourites including The Turnip Hoer and Pleasant & Delightful. We'll be at The Chichester Inn, 38 West Street, Chichester, PO19 1QP on 15th December.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 15th November 2016

We thought we might be depleted because of rehearsals for the Brighton Pub Carols, but Judith and Jacqui joined us for their first visits and hopefully will become regular participants. Tina led us through the set list for WDOAM which at least eight of us will be attending on Sunday 27th. Tina helped us with the various harmonies and we even managed a credible rendition of the round at the end of The Sussex Mummers Carol. The only song that really didn’t warrant practice was We Wish You a Merry Christmas and so we finished with Thousands or More, instead.

Monday, 14 November 2016

WDOAM 'Christmas Market' Sunday 27th November 2016

Again a packed event with over 120 stalls, so if the weather is reasonable it's worth making a day of it.

As always Sunday is the busiest with the whole of the overflow car park filled out to West Dean College by 1pm on a good day.

If you arrive early (by 10.30am) you may be able to park in the permanent parking area, or nearer to the entrance booths, and avoid being in the long traffic queues around the site. Use the dedicated 'Friends' / stall holders queue for quick entrance by showing your pass.

We have two sets, at 1.00-1.30pm on the decking outside the Gridshell building and 3.15-4.00pm at the Music Tent in the Market Square, with Emily leading us.

Dress for cold variable weather and wear stout shoes, but please don whatever festive headgear you want for the occasion.

I will be at the practice at Worthing on the 23rd with the remaining Singers' free passes for those of you who have already booked but not collected them.

If you are one of the above Singers, and in the interim you have discovered another commitment and cannot come to the Market, please email so that I can reallocate the remaining passes to those Singers still on the reserve list on the 23rd.

John C.

Song sets below are subject to revision at the rehearsal on 23rd November.

First Set:
  1. Sweet Chiming Bells
  2. Righteous Joseph
  3. The Holly and the Ivy
  4. The Moon Shone Bright
  5. Deck the Hall
  6. The Falmer Carol
  7. The Holly Bears a Berry
  8. The Coppers' Christmas Song
  9. While Shepherds Watched
Second Set:
  1. The Holly and the Ivy
  2. Hark the Herald Angels
  3. The Sussex Carol
  4. The Falmer Carol
  5. The Holly Bears a Berry
  6. Masters in this Hall
  7. Wassail, Wassail!
  8. Sweet Chiming Bells
  9. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Local Group Report – Beechwood Wednesday 2nd November 2016

The gathered throng at this month’s Beechwood put their voices together to sing through the songs most likely to be used at the Weald and Downland Museum’s Christmas Market event later this month. From last year’s set the two Holly carols and Wassail were aired, also the Sussex Mummers Song including a pleasing three times ‘round’ on the last refrain. The Moon Shone Bright was tried with the gents joining in throughout, singing softly alongside the ladies. We then worked on While Shepherds Watched with the harmony parts, the Coppers’ Christmas Song and also Hark the Herald after agreeing with the Selham group’s recommendation to trim it by not repeating the refrain. Christmas Drawing Near was discussed, but the majority present did not favour singing it – so the minority await another opportunity to give it a try! An in-house ‘flashmob’ struck up with Sweet Chiming Bells to resume proceedings after our thirst-quenching break and later the Sussex Carol closed the session on an uplifting note. And there’s the promise of more... at the Extra Session booked at the Beechwood for 23rd November!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Finding Lyrics For Our Songs

Most of our songs are listed on the Lyrics and Recordings page (there's a link to this in the menu across the top of each page), however some of our newer songs are not listed there. So how do you find these?

  • You can use the search box at the top of the column on the left to search this website for a particular song.
  • Lyrics and recordings for our newer songs appear in a post on the News page as they are released and you can use the New Songs link in the menu at the top of the page (this is a recent addition) to see all of these posts. You may need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the 'Older posts' link to see more of them.

Remember that most website browsers allow you to search for text within a web page. On a desktop computer or laptop you can type control+F on a Windows PC, or command+F on a Mac, and enter the text you would like to search for on the page. You will need to investigate for yourself how to do this on other portable devices.

Eventually – time permitting! – our new songs will all be listed on the Lyrics and Recordings page along with the older songs. If anybody would like the job of building an index to all of our songs on this website, please make yourself known!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 20th October 2016

We had to move venues last Thursday owing to an ‘at home’ darts match at The Three Moles so we tried out The Chichester Inn hoping that regular Selham members wouldn’t mind the trek to Chichester and that the pub would be suitable.  As it was 21 singers arrived and the venue was excellent.  We sang a dozen songs, old favourites like Country Life and On Sussex Hills and we practised many of the new Christmas carols that we’re trying to learn. These included the Coppers Christmas Song, Masters in this Hall, While Shepherds Watched (to the tune of Pentonville) and Hark the Herald Angels (to Alan Wheeler’s tune). We also sang the Falmer Carol, the Gloucester Wassail, Sugar Wassail and the Cruel Mother and finished up with a spirited rendition of Rolling Home.

We thought the venue lent itself well to our singing. It was certainly a jolly evening! We’re back at the Three Moles on 17th November but homeless again for 15th December so may well go back to The Chichester Inn again for a Christmas get-together if all agreeable.

Saturday, 22 October 2016


For anyone interested in singing at our seasonal events this winter ... we have booked some more extra time at the Beechwood Hall Hotel in Worthing to help us prepare.

In addition to our regular gathering there on 2nd November we will be back on Wednesday 23rd November, from 7.30 - 10.00pm.

Do come along and join us if you can.

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 18th October 2016

Sixteen singers make a good gathering for singing and harmonising. Tina started us with the autumnal Halnaker Mill before progressing to Christmas Now Is Drawing Near at Hand, The Moon Shone Bright, the flowery, Pentonville version of While Shepherds Watched, Poor Froze Out Gardeners and the seraphic Falmer Carol. The Woodcutter’s Song, Sweet Chiming Bells, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, Masters in This Hall, Coppers’ Christmas Song with the recent changes, Seasons Turn (in Cmaj - starting on G and the emphasis on THIS), Pleasant And Delightful. So you can see we worked hard on concentrating on winter songs. Dawn’s daughter made the mistake of saying she was too tired to go for a run and still gave her lungs a good workout. Cat came along for the first half only so as to get the baby used to regular bed times! Only five weeks to go. We finished the evening listening to Adrian’s lovely ballad – Jack and Jill.

AGM and Local Group Report – Beechwood, Wednesday 5th October 2016

About 25 singers arrived in time for the SDFS Annual General Meeting before our usual gathering at Beechwood this month, with more joining us in time for the singing.

At the AGM, in addition to the annual reports and elections for the committee (all current members were re-elected unopposed), there was time to share and discuss ideas and plans. This included a review of hopes to make a new SDFS recording, with agreement to go ahead and an appeal for volunteers to reply to the SDFS email address if they can help with this project. We looked at having another social Wassail in January 2017 (if a suitable venue can be found now that Heene Gallery has closed), and we debated again the pros and cons of colour co-ordinated outfits for public performances and considered having SDFS badges.  Watch this space for news of these and for details of events in the pipeline for 2017.

Our singing began a little late and thank you David for stepping up when Emily was needed at home and had to go.  We managed to cover some of the songs in the set planned for Slindon Apple Day and then tried a few of our seasonal songs including the Coppers’ Christmas Song and the newly-introduced Masters in this Hall and While Shepherds Watched (Pentonville).  A busy evening but always a pleasure and we look forward to having more time on these and other winter songs at our November and December sessions.