Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Some New Old Songs

Stephen A came along to the last Easebourne session with some new material and has now kindly provided files for three songs (The Saucy Sailor Boy, The Young Recruit and Valiants All) so that we can have a go at singing them ourselves. For each song we have a doc file with the words, a PDF file with the score and a MIDI file to play.

Here are the links to Stephen's files:
The Saucy Sailor Boydoc filePDF fileMIDI file
The Young Recruitdoc filePDF fileMIDI file
Valiants Alldoc filePDF fileMIDI file

Here are some additional notes provided by Stephen:
In 1911 and 1912 Dorothy Marshall of Chithurst House, near Midhurst, invited Clive Carey to Sussex to collect traditional songs. He visited on three or four occasions and together with the material Miss Marshall noted down herself they amassed over 200 songs, collected from some twenty odd individuals. The singers included some of Miss Marshall’s domestic servants and ranged from as far afield as Duncton and Sullington in the east to Treyford in the west.

Most of their material is now in the Clive Carey Collection of the Vaughan Williams Library of the EFDSS, recently made available online as part of their Full English project.

On occasion either words or tune are missing and when they took down two or more versions of a song it is not always clear which melody went with which text. In my selection I have tried to fill the gaps with words or text from other versions in the Full English that seem to fit and were collected elsewhere in the South Country.
Please note that at the moment these songs are provided here just for our own enjoyment. They may later be added to our official repertoire, taking into account how well liked they are and how we get on with them. Please make your thoughts known!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 18th November 2014

A small but enthusiastic group of seven singers met in Lewes on 18 November (well, we were competing with the Bellowhead gig in Brighton amongst other distractions to our members!). We were in the cosy downstairs room at the John Harvey Tavern, our temporary home while the Royal Oak hosted a darts tournament. This lent a convivial atmosphere to the proceedings, despite being directly outside the ladies’ room. We were joined by new singer Rachel from Lewes who came along having heard about us from Tina.

We revisited the carols we had sung at the Weald and Downland Christmas Market and each of us tried out all 3 harmonies, whether male of female, for Falmer Carol and Sweet Bells and we also sang some non-seasonal songs including Thousands or More.

With regard to upcoming events don't forget the Napier Quire pub carol sessions in Brighton which some of us are joining – see last month’s report, the diary and Adrian’s separate report for details. Come along to sing (words are available in advance or on the nights) or just to listen; it’s great fun.

We’re back at the Royal Oak on 16 December for a seasonal get together. We’ll  make a start on the other new Christmas numbers (Christmas is now Drawing Near at Hand and Coppers’ Christmas Song) as well as looking again at the other newer songs for 2014 (Ha’naker Mill, The Constant Lovers and Country Life). With no specific events immediately on the horizon we can then open it up to sing anything else we fancy on the night so if you want to give a favourite party piece an airing now’s your chance!

Look forward to seeing as many of you who can make it, old or new, from any of the three local groups, for this last session of 2014.

Season’s greetings etc.


Monday, 1 December 2014

South Downs Folk Singers Wassail!

We will soon be welcoming the new year with our “Wassail” gathering in the evening of 17th January, 2015 at the Heene Gallery in Worthing.

South Downs Folk singers, plus family and friends, are invited join us for this festive frolic – bringing food, drink, and songs to share with all for a merry time.

Tickets are £2.50 each.  Numbers are limited so get in quick and secure your tickets NOW by contacting Henny, via the South Downs Folk Singers email.

(Tickets will also be available at our local singing sessions in December – but don't delay, confirm today!)


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Singing in Sainsbury's

Here's a message from one of our singers, Sydney B:

Hi All,

There is a fund raiser for the Sussex M S Treatment Centre (based in Southwick) on December 13th at Hove/Portslade Sainsbury's. It starts at 11am with the M S Centre's own little singing gang, followed by Amaryllis's group "Good In Parts". At about 11.50am they will start a FLASH MOB singing Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem.


I realise that there is singing at Sainsbury's in Chichester as well, but I am sure that some of you would come to this instead, either because it is nearer or because it will be great fun, OR just because I am GROVELLING!

After we have all come out from the fruit and veg, or baked beans aisles, etc, South Downs singers will have a slot of about 30 minutes to sing our carols and/or some of our usual South Downs songs. I already have a few volunteers, but need as many as possible.

Please let me know through the usual channels.

Many thanks

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 20th November 2014

We had a really good sing at the White Horse in Easebourne on Thursday 20th November. There were 18 of us, happily ensconced in the room adjacent to the bar and we all had a jolly time singing a mixture of carols and our favourite SDFS songs. Stephen Allberry brought along Ian and Penny, a couple of friends from Petersfield, and they enjoyed the camaraderie and singing along with us. I hope they'll come again. There was also a return visit from Jo Gunning who joined us for the first time last month at the Three Moles. Thanks also to a large contingent of singers who came over from Brighton, Shoreham and Worthing to sing with us. It was great to see them this far west!

Stephen A introduced us to three songs from the album he has recently made of folk songs collected in the locality and sourced from the Full English website. They were The Saucy Sailor, The Young Recruit and Valiants All. It's absolutely great that one of our members has taken the initiative to track down and print out more authentic West Sussex songs but we'll need a bit more than a few notes played out on a mobile phone to be able to learn the tunes properly! Watch this space...

Oh and the regulars in the pub enjoyed our singing so much that several of them came through to say how great we all sounded and one even put a donation into our collecting bucket as a measure of his appreciation!

David G

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Singing in Chichester – Saturday 13th December 2014

Here's some information from Shirley B about this event, at which we are all invited to sing. Please note some of the provisional details previously issued have been changed.

Sainsbury’s, Chichester

We have been invited by Chichester Hospital Radio to take part in their festive outside broadcast. The event will be broadcast to the patients, staff & visitors of St Richard’s Hospital as well as raising much needed funds to keep them on air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

They would like us to sing some of our seasonal and South Downs songs (as performed at WDOAM Christmas Market) for between 20 and 30 minutes.

John Lewis at Home, Chichester

Just over the road from Sainsbury’s we continue our support of Chichester Hospital Radio (but not part of their outside broadcast) singing and collecting for another 30 minutes, this time at the invitation of John Lewis.

Please note that both venues, although outside, are under cover.

This is a great event for all of you who have Christmas shopping to complete with free parking, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, BHS at Home, Pets at Home, Halfords, HomeSense & Home Base plus others close by!

Please contact to put your name down for the day or for further information.

WDOAM Christmas Market – 16 November 2014

Well, what a festive hoot!

Everyone looked brilliant in holly festooned hats and general Christmassy sparkle, and we managed to sail with great energy and delight through our whole set, even the ones we'd only managed to practice once... harmonies too!

There was a sense of robust joy and confidence in our singing and it sounded really lovely.

Thanks to all of you who were there and gave it your all, we were a veritable seraphic throng!


Thanks to Peter B for providing the photos.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Poignant Opportunity – 20th November 2014

We sang at the Look and Sea Heritage Centre in Littlehampton for the re-dedication of a WW1 Memorial Plaque which commemorates the employees of John Eede Butt & Sons (Littlehampton and Shoreham timber yards) who died in that conflict.

John C, who organised our attendance at this event, passes on his thanks to all the Singers who took part for its success. Here are extracts from an email received by John from Valerie after the event:
Dear John

I just do not know where to start to say thank you for all you did to make the event today such a wonderful success. Your singers were just fantastic and it was so moving, and so appropriate to hear those particular songs today.


Please pass our thanks to all the group. Our Chairman has specially asked if I could pass on his thanks as well,  as he was incredibly impressed and very moved by the songs performed by your group.

Can I also say a personal thank you to you for all your help in finally getting the memorial plaque "back home". It was so nice to meet you and to put a face to the name. Hope we may be able to work together in the future.

Very best regards

Emily has also made a lovely comment on the event (originally made here):
This was an intimate and lovely event, the songs were really well received and people found them very moving, thanks partly to the sensitive order they were in, from songs expressing rousing hope and camaraderie to ones reflecting the realities of the loss of so many men. Thanks to David who introduced each one so eloquently, and who also raised the mood in the end with an inspired round of Jolly Good Song, much to the quiet relief of some of our audience I think who were transported from 1918 back to their cake and tea! We sang as one body without a conductor at the front, moving together through the more subtle nuances of the songs well, easily and sensitively. Many of the audience said how much they loved the singing, one lady who had spent her life in theatre said she had heard many choirs in her time and hadn't been so moved in ages! Wonderful singing all, a pleasure indeed to be singing with you. Emily

Thanks to Peter B for providing the photos.

Update 27th November 2014: There's an article about the ceremony on the Littlehampton Gazette website.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Singing Our Carols

This rather long post gives notes for the performance of some of our carols at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum on 16th November 2014. Included are a song list, updates to some of the lyrics, the harmony parts to Sweet Chiming Bells, practice recordings for The Moon Shone Bright and The Holly and the Ivy, and an extra note about The Falmer Carol.

Friday, 7 November 2014

New Carols

Following on from practising two new carols, The Falmer Carol and Sweet Chiming Bells, at the Beechwood a few days ago, here are recordings to help with learning the notes. The recordings are computer generated and consequently not very exciting to listen to, but they do have the notes exactly as on the printed sheets that have been handed out. They will play directly from the web page if you have an up-to-date browser. With an older browser you can download the mp3 files to play.

The Falmer Carol:
You can download the mp3 file from OneDrive or Dropbox.

Sweet Chiming Bells:
You can download the mp3 file from OneDrive or Dropbox.

Get the scores:

Keith D