New Singers

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New singers  are always welcome to join us – read more

Event Organisers  – want us to sing for you? – read more
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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

SDFS & Secret Shore Singers at the Southdowns Folk Festival, 2018

Update 21st September 2018: The set list below for The Big Sing has been amended.
Saturday 22nd September 2018

This year one of the themes is celebrating the songs of the South Downs, incorporated into the overall 'Big Sing' community concept at the final performance of each day. All led by Emily with Mike announcing.

There are various performance timings during the day as follows (please be at the individual performance venues at least 15 minutes before stated start time).

Secret Shore Singers Set (the only one for the day) – outside (or inside if wet) William Hardwicke pub 12.00-12.45pm
  1. John Kanaka
  2. Sweet Ladies Of Plymouth
  3. Littlehampton Colliers
  4. They Won't Let Us Go To Sea Anymore
  5. Roll The Old Chariot
  6. Spanish Ladies
  7. High Barbaree
  8. Mingulay Boat Song
  9. Rollin' Down To Old Maui
  10. A Rovin'
  11. Here's A Health
  12. Leave Her Johnny

1st SDFS Set – Small Performance Marquee, High Street opposite Arcade (whatever the weather) 2pm for 20 minutes
Arrive 1.45pm, or earlier if people want to listen to the two choirs performing before us, beginning at 1.20pm – RAFA choir and Broomdasher.
  1. On Sussex Hills
  2. The Magpie
  3. Pleasant and Delightful
  4. Oak, Ash & Thorn
  5. Ale Glorious Ale
  6. Thousands or More

2nd SDFS Set – outside (or inside if wet) William Hardwicke pub 3.05-3.55pm
This slot is to be shared with The Full Shanty. Emily writes "I have asked that we could go second but haven't had confirmation of this yet. I'll let you know when I do soon as poss! If so then we could arrive at 3.20pm ready to sing at 3.30pm."
  1. West Sussex Drinking Song
  2. The Bee-Boy's Song
  3. A Smuggler's Song
  4. Country Life
  5. Turnip Hoer
  6. Rosebuds in June
  7. Life of a Man

3rd Set – THE BIG SING!!
4pm at the Small Performance Marquee, High Street opposite the north end of the Arcade (or if wet in the Performance Marquee adjacent to the Regis Centre, opposite the south end of the Arcade)
This will be shared with RAFA, Broomdasher and The Full Shanty
  1. All – Country Life
  2. RAFA – Sailing
  3. Full Shanty – Skipper Jan Rebek
  4. Broomdasher – The Keeper
  5. SDFS – Thousands or More
  6. All – Song of the Sussex Downsman (first verse only)
  7. RAFA – To Make You Feel My Love
  8. Full Shanty – Haul Away Joe
  9. Broomdasher – Broomdasher
  10. SDFS – Pleasant and Delightful
  11. All – John Kanaka (verses led by The Full Shanty)

We managed to have an eclectic mixture of outfits for the Arundel Festival with both groups of Singers, so blue/green/sand shades predominately if you can for both naval gazers and landlubbers combined.

There are four expensive Pay & Display short-stay car parks in central Boggers, available street parking on a Saturday is at a premium except north of Upper Bognor Road B2259,  behind the University site, or around Victoria Drive with a 10-minute walk in. The London Road long-stay car park (98 places) is the cheapest at £3.00 for 4 hours and above with a 5-minute walk in.

Please let me know if you are coming if you have not already signed up, at

Further details of all Festival events are on the organiser's website.

John C.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

“South Downs Folk Singers” – AGM Notice

Our AGM this year will be on Wednesday 3rd October 2018 at our Worthing venue Ye Olde House at Home. It will start promptly at 7.00pm to precede our usual monthly singing session there. (Singing will follow at about 8.00pm.)

At the meeting the Committee Minutes file, the Constitution and the Accounts will be available to view, and we will hold the annual elections for the Committee. Voting will be conducted at the AGM by a show of hands and carried on a simple majority of those present.

If you’re interested in standing for election to the Committee, please contact me as soon as possible via the SDFS email address ( with your name and, if available, the names of the singers proposing and seconding you as a candidate. If seeking a particular role or office, please specify.

Also, if there are items you would like to raise for discussion at the meeting please let me know and they can be added to the Agenda.

I look forward to seeing you there, and to singing with you afterwards – Henny (Chairperson)

Monday, 17 September 2018

The South Downs Folk Singers sing at the Fernhurst Furnace Open Day

On Saturday 15th September 2018 sixteen of us sang lustily to entertain visitors and exhibitors alike at the Fernhurst Furnace Open Weekend. At this very enjoyable country fair we stepped back in time to an age when the Weald was home to important iron works, which manufactured cannons for the King’s Navy. As well as musket, cannon and longbow demonstrations and owl and hawk flying, there were many local artisans demonstrating the skills of the time: pole lathe turning, charcoal burning, spinning, blacksmithing and walking stick making. For over an hour in the morning we strolled like wandering minstrels singing songs all over the site, stopping to buy cakes and pies and glasses of beer. We sang Twanky Dillow to the blacksmiths, the Woodcutter’s Song to the woodmen, and several drinking songs to the brewers in the Greyhound Brewery tent. Then over lunch when everyone gathered to partake of the lamb roast (and the vegetarian homity pies) we sang a complete set of traditional Sussex songs which was very well received. In fact the organisers have written to us to say “Everyone thought you were magical and we thank you very much for your attendance, including Buster the spaniel!” Thanks must go to Dave who introduced the songs, Alan who conducted us and to all the singers who joined us and sang so well. I’m sure that we would all love to sing at this event again next year.

PS. Someone left a songbook behind at the site. If you have lost your songbook, let us know and we’ll try to get it back to you!

Downloading Files on Apple Computers

Here's a note for anybody with an Apple computer, following some advice received from Brian D, one of our singers. Thank you Brian.

Apparently, if you're using an Apple computer then when using many of the links on this website to download files you will get a blank screen, from which you may conclude that the download has failed. Brian writes for such users: "This is a common artefact caused by incompatibility between Apple and Microsoft download procedures, but in fact the files will still arrive in the Apple Downloads folder. If they go to the Apple Finder window and double click the Downloads folder the files will be there."

I have to say that I do not own and have never used any Apple devices (Apple Mac computers, laptops, iPhones, iPads, etc), which means I am unable to test the operation of this website on these. So any advice from those of you who do have Apple devices is welcome, please send this to

Keith D (the guy who keeps this website running)

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 5th September 2018

A genial but busy session began with reminder notices about the SDFS AGM in October and event plans for September. We started our singing with Thousands or More and some other old favourites: Rolling in the Dew, Old Adam, and The Turnip Hoer. Emily explained plans for our contribution to the BIg Sing at the Southdowns Folk Festival later this month, which includes joining in on the choruses of John Kanaka. This is not part of our usual folk repertoire so new to some, but fun was had in singing it through. Also in preparation for the SFF we sang the first verse of Song of the Sussex Downsman with the promise that although this is all that is needed for the Big Sing we will be learning the rest of the song in the future. With learning in mind Emily patiently helped us through the first verse of a new song The Fields Lie Silent to sing it without written words, before completing the song with the rest in print. A lovely song, liked by all. West Sussex Drinking Song and Ale Glorious Ale took us to a latish break before resuming with The Bee-Boy's Song, and again The Fields Lie Silent. Some more requests concluded the evening: Pleasant and Delightful, The Ladies Go Dancing At Whitsun and Ebernoe Horn Fair. (P.S. Our next meeting at YOHAH will be on Wednesday 3rd October, commencing at 7.00pm for the AGM to be completed before our singing starts.)

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Three Moles Song

Here's a song written by Gordon S of our Chichester group, which comes from the time (not so long ago) when the Chichester Group met regularly in The Three Moles at Selham. Here are the files provided by Gordon:

For anyone who is unable to play the midi file, here's an mp3 file:

Monday, 3 September 2018

SDFS at Hurst Festival's 'Super Sunday'

Update 9th September 2018: We have received an email from the event organisers with files attached giving further information about parking and what will be happening on the day. Use the links below to download these files.

Hurst2018 email.txt – the email we received
Hurst2018 Parking Super Sunday.docx – shows the map referred to in the email
Hurst2018 Super Sunday Leaflet.pdf – leaflet showing a summary of the day's events; shows when and where people will expect to see us singing.

Anyone planning to arrive early for easier parking and then wondering what to do before the Super Sunday events shown on the leaflet begin may like to know that the Hurstpierpoint Open Studios will be open from 11.00am. Also the walk with Mid-Sussex Ramblers (3 miles) will leave Trinity Road Car Park at 10.30am, finishing at midday.
Update 6th September 2018: The set lists have been added.
Sunday 16th September 2018

Join in with the whole village to celebrate the start of this year’s Festival.

It is taking over the High Street with a fun-filled programme of entertainment to surprise and delight including ourselves.

It will include the annual vintage vehicle transport parade led by a marching band commencing at 12.30pm, other dance and singing groups, combat archery, street entertainers, other interactive activities, morris dancers and the Harris old-time amusements throughout the day.

Street parking is in the estate roads to the north of the High Street, so best to be there by midday to ensure a place.

We are singing outside the New Inn starting between 1.30-2.00pm and 3.30pm in or outside the Village Garden Marquee. If the weather proves variable we will sing undercover.

Please check back here for set lists. Set lists appear below.

Please email me at to volunteer.

Further details of the Hurst Festival are on the organiser's website.

John C.

Set 1:
  1. West Sussex Drinking Song F
  2. Oak, Ash & Thorn E
  3. The Nightingale A
  4. The Bee-Boy’s Song E – A
  5. Hard Times Of Old England F
  6. Ale, Glorious Ale E
  7. All Things Are Quite Silent B
  8. Peasant & Delightful A
  9. Rosebuds In June B
  10. The Turnip Hoer B
  11. Jolly Good Song

Set 2:
  1. On Sussex Hills A
  2. A Smuggler’s Song C#
  3. Twanky Dillo G
  4. Life Of A Man B
  5. Country Life Eb – Ab
  6. The Magpie B
  7. Rolling In The Dew F#
  8. Fathom The Bowl D#
  9. Thousands Or More A
  10. Sussex By The Sea Ab

Friday, 31 August 2018

Song Lists for Fernhurst Furnace Day 2018

Update 13th September 2018: We will meet at 10.30am onwards as below, but most of our singing may now be in the quiet period at lunchtime (12.45-1.30pm) which will give us a better chance of being heard. Wear something comfortable – blue, cream, green and brown, with a cap or straw hat perhaps – but no blue jeans please!
Saturday 15th September 2018

We will sing as wandering minstrels intermittently from about 11.00am till 12.30pm, then a break for lunch, with more singing from 1.30pm till 3.00pm. Meet just after the entrance on the left at 10.30am.

More information on the Fernhurst Furnace website.

Set 1
  1. Country Life
  2. Ale, Glorious Ale
  3. A Smuggler’s Song
  4. Brisk Young Ploughboy
  5. Fathom the Bowl
  6. Hard Times of Old England
  7. Jim the Carter Lad
  8. Oak, Ash & Thorn
  9. On Sussex Hills
  10. Rolling in the Dew
  11. Pleasant and Delightful
Set 2
  1. West Sussex Drinking Song
  2. The Turnip Hoer
  3. The Magpie
  4. The Lark in the Morning
  5. The Nightingale
  6. The Farmer’s Toast
  7. Twanky Dillow
  8. Life of a Man
  9. The Woodcutter’s Song
  10. Sussex by the Sea
  11. Thousands or More

Thursday, 23 August 2018

The Fields Lie Silent update

There have been a few small changes to the lyrics of this song, which can be downloaded from this post.

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 21st August 2018

One of the best ways to spend a summer evening is sitting in a pub (or its garden) with a glass of something long and cool in the company of folk who just love to sing. Two new female voices joined us because their Lewes choir is on holiday and they needed to exercise their vocal chords – hopefully, we filled the gap and they will return next month. Jonathan came back for a third session, so there were 14 of us. We must be improving because a couple from Essex and another diner stayed for the whole of the first half and borrowed word sheets so that they could join in.

We warmed up with Fathom The Bowl and The Turmut Hoer, before looking at songs that a small group will sing at Mac’s Alfriston Folk Club in October. The two sets will consist of Kipling songs and sea songs, so we sang Follow Me ’Ome, Constant Lovers, Oak Ash And Thorn and Pleasant And Delightful, before a refill break and then Brave Eleven, Littlehampton Collier Lads, My Boy Jack, Bee Boy’s Song, A Smuggler’s Song and They Won’t Let Us Go To Sea Anymore. Tina had prepared harmonies for ten of the songs, mostly a lower drone line which could be sung by either low or higher voices. Our songs sounded much richer with the variety added.

We agreed that next month we will aim to arrive at The John Harvey Tavern earlier and try and start singing by 7.30pm so that we don’t overrun past 10pm. Probably wishful planning, but we’ll try anything to get more singing time! We finished with Thousands or More.