New Singers

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Monday, 19 February 2018

Two New Songs

Here are two new songs that we may soon be using in our performances.

The Bee-Boy’s Song Download pdf file

The Lark in the Morning Download pdf file

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 7th February 2018

We welcomed two new singers to this month’s gathering. They did well joining in as we ran through of all the songs due to be used at the “Worthing Seed Swap” event the following Saturday. With this event and the damp chill of the February evening outside in mind, we sang of a Country Life, of wood and woodcutters, farmers and ploughboys, frozen gardeners, carters and compost making (the Worthing alternative to “turmut growing”) – as well as of magpies and Sussex hills. The songs and mood continued Pleasant and Delightful and left us with energy and time not only for Thousands or More to complete the song set before the break, but also for trying two new songs afterwards. These were presented by Dave and Alan from our Chichester group. With Alan we sang through the lovely Lark in the Morning, and with Dave the Bee-Boy’s Song by Rudyard Kipling. Dave suggested that if we adopt this song for performance it could be a good ‘sister’ song for The Magpie. Thank you again to Emily for leading the session with what voice she could spare – we wish her well and look forward to hearing her in full voice again the next time we meet at “Ye Olde House at Home” on 7th March.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 15th February 2018

It was wonderful to see so many singers arrive at the Chichester Inn to join us for our monthly sing. We were twenty in all, plus two very well behaved dogs – Buster and Stanley! Some of our newer members are now returning regularly and their contribution to our sessions is very much appreciated. Dave began by explaining that, because our next official performance as a choir will be at the Beltane Festival at Butser Iron Age Farm on Saturday 5th May, we might think about learning and singing songs that connect us with the traditions of England’s ancient May Day celebrations. So with this in mind we warmed our voices by singing Oak Ash & Thorn and followed this with Country Life. We then had a go at Hal-an-Tow, not a Sussex song I know, but not too overtly Cornish either. The line: “Take not the scorn to wear the horn” reminded us that we ought next to sing the Ebernoe Horn Fair Song with its references to wearing “the finest horns that you ever did behold!” After this Dave introduced Wassail the Silver Apple, a short but powerful choral piece, which was very positively received. Sue C and Stephen A were able to lead this one as they have already sung it at Petersfield. We then sang The Magpie, which has become one of our favourite songs and then revisited Alan’s jolly version of The Lark in the Morning and sang Kipling’s The Bee Boy’s Song. After an interval to buy another drink and socialise for 20 minutes, we started to learn the very beautiful traditional song Searching for Lambs and then introduced two more May songs. Dave got us all singing “Good morning Lords and Ladies it is the first of May” which has a very upbeat tune, and Chris was able to teach us his version of the Oxfordshire May Day Carol. Both songs treat the theme of taking a garland or a branch of may (hawthorn blossom) around to people’s homes in return for a cup of the dairy maid’s best cream! Reflecting on the ancient belief that bathing in the morning dew at sunrise on May Day will make even the plainest girl more beautiful, we concluded a jolly evening by singing Rolling in the Dew. Our thanks to everyone who attended; our next group sing will be on Thursday 15th March at 8.00 pm at the Chichester Inn in West Street, Chichester. Come and join us there!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The SDFS “Wassail” 20th January 2018

Our “Wassail” winter social, held in January, was well supported by singers and their companions meeting to share and enjoy both the entertainment and the food and drinks they had brought with them. We had a good evening, made even cosier by getting the heating to stay on – which is more than we managed last year! Many thanks to all for coming, and extra thanks to those who contributed songs, music, stories and poems, splendid! Thanks must also go to those behind the scenes who helped with the setting up, kitchen tasks and clearing up at the end. Not, of course, forgetting Margo for her efforts throughout, from organising the tickets and entertainments to locking up and taking back the hall key at the end! Thank you Margo. It’s absolutely true to say – we couldn’t have done it, or enjoyed it, without you ALL!

Emily was there with us on Saturday and we gave her a gift from all the singers to thank her for everything she does for the SDFS. She has sent this message to everyone:

Thanks so much to all of you for your generous gifts to me, I am surprised and delighted and honoured!
It is of course a complete delight to be a part of the SDFS, it goes from strength to strength and I am always in the privileged position of standing in front of you all and being bathed in the wonderful, rich sound you all make.
May this next year bring many more songs and opportunities to sing and share them.
Thanks again you lovely people,
Emily X

You’re very welcome Emily.

(P.S. Lost property – If anyone who brought food on Saturday is missing a pyrex pie dish – just let us know. It was left behind at the hall but is now in our safekeeping.)

Friday, 19 January 2018

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 18th January 2018

Seventeen of our most stalwart singers braved the dark and cold to come out to the Chichester Inn on Thursday night to enjoy yet another lively evening of drinks and songs. After wishing everyone a Happy New Year, we set about singing the songs for the “Worthing Sow & Grow” event scheduled for Saturday 10th February 2018. Amaryllis has chosen some cracking songs for this. We warmed up singing: Oak, Ash & Thorn and Pleasant and Delightful and then sang The Magpie, Brisk Young Ploughboy, On Sussex Hills, The Turnip Hoer, Country Life, Poor Froze-out Gardeners and The Woodcutter’s Song before stopping for a break and a bit more socialising. In the second half we had a go at Barbara Shaw’s Worthing Grower and sang Jim the Carter Lad and the Farmer’s Toast before tackling a couple of new songs. Alan introduced us to his traditional Sussex version of The Lark in the Morning and was very successful in getting us to master this unfamiliar new melody. Dave then went on to present two more Kipling songs. The first one Rolling Down to Rio was sung to Peter Bellamy’s tune (not the Sir Edward German one!) The second was The Bee Boy’s Song which was very positively received and, with its echoes of old country lore, deserves to be learnt as a companion piece to The Magpie. Alan and Dave were delighted and not a little embarrassed to be presented with a lovely bottle of wine each from the Singers in recognition of their efforts in running the Chichester Group sessions over the past year. And Julie T was also given some chocolates for keeping us all regularly informed through emails and twitter. Thank you everyone, but we all enjoy doing what we do! Time was quickly running out so we sang a rousing version of Thousands or More before we set off for home. Our next group sing will be on Thursday 15th February at the Chichester Inn in West Street, Chichester. We hope to see lots of you there!

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 16th January 2018

New Year but Old Songs. Tina started us singing with Ale, Glorious Ale and The Farmer’s Toast, Poor Froze Out Gardeners, Where Stormy Winds Do Blow, before Apple Wassail, Sugar Wassail and Wassail Wassail. Then it was time to turn to spring with The Nightingale and Magpie (we still can’t find the harmony in the fifth line of the chorus!) We spent some time on Seasons Turn and were not too sure why some of the words have been changed, but stuck to the original as written by Sylvia Watts because a small group of us will be going to The Star at Alfriston on 13th February to sing two short sets at Mac’s Folk Club and we want unity in the ranks! That is why we sang The Woodcutter’s Song and Ha’nacker Mill too.

We did well with a few pub customers making a point of walking through to our snug and listening appreciatively and a couple who were visiting from Lincolnshire joining in singing with us.

After a refill break we had a surprisingly good run through Littlehampton Collier Lads and The Brave Eleven without Geoff and John who attended Secret Shore Workshops and also Dave’s seven-verse song titled Caburn Hill, together with harmonies. We finished with Thousands or More.

Monday, 15 January 2018

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

Update 4th February: Use this link to download the organiser's programme for this event. Please note the revised times for singing, as given in the programme.
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 1.30pm & 2.55pm (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.