Monday, 19 January 2015

Wassail Thanks

A BIG "Thank You" to everyone who attended our Wassail last Saturday and helped to make it such an enjoyable evening.

The splendid shared supper was a feast of contributions – and songsters, from noble soloists, duets and trios to the collective voices of South Downs Folk Singers, celebrated the occasion in time honoured fashion by SINGING!

Well done all and Thank you again.  We look forward to seeing you at our regular Singing sessions and other events planned for this year – and then for our Wassail 2016!


Editor's note: I have some photographs from Peter B to add to this post, so please check back here in a few days.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

"Wassail" Reminder ....

DON'T FORGET... our annual "WASSAIL" gathering at the Heene Gallery in Worthing from 7.30p.m. on Saturday January 17th is... VERY SOON !!

Tickets (£2.50 each) have been going well but we still have some to spare. You can pay at the door on the night, but why not contact us now via our email to reserve your place.
If you have tickets already be sure you know where they are and don't miss out on our Merry Musical Celebration for the New Year.

So – bring your family and friends, your drinks, and food to share, and of course your songs and voices for a jolly good SING !!

We look forward to seeing you there !

Wassail Songs

At our January Beechwood singing session we started to learn two wassail songs. We now have the words for these (pdf files):
Here We Come A-Wassailing
Sugar Wassail

NB There have been a few minor revisions to the words for these songs since they were originally posted here. The latest revisions are dated "12 January 2015" at the top of the page. Apologies to anybody who has already printed these out.

Here We Come A-Wassailing:
You can download the mp3 file from OneDrive or Dropbox.

In this performance of Sugar Wassail listen carefully to the start of the verse which begins "And if you’ve any maids within your house..." – it's the second verse here. There are a lot of words to fit in and as it is sung here, this verse begins before the previous verse is ended.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Clayton Windmills

Here are two photos which were sent to John C for our collection.

Jill Windmill in the foreground with Jack behind
photo courtesy of David Meares of the Jack & Jill Windmills Society
Jill Windmill
photo courtesy of Simon Potter of the Jack & Jill Windmills Society
There's more information about the Clayton Windmills on the website of the Jack & Jill Windmills Society at

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Brighton Pub Carols 2014

The SDFS were in evidence at all three Brighton Pub Carols sessions again this year – especially on Tuesday 23rd when, at The Park Crescent pub in Brighton, seven of us sang our hearts out for three hours!

Here's the evidence:

At the back: me, Cat, Margaret and Mac
In front: Tina, Judy (hiding!) and John

Here's a more composed shot – though Mac and Margaret had left by then ....

Here's to next year!  What a blast ....

Adrian F

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