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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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 21st June 2018

On the evening of a balmy Midsummer Solstice 14 singers plus Stanley the dog came to the Chichester Inn and we sat round in a circle and filled the bar with merry song. We were joined by two welcome newcomers, Cathy and Gemma, who lent their voices keenly to our more popular traditional songs and were content to attempt the less well-known songs that we practised. We are always happy to welcome new singers to our group and are able to give you the song words so that you can join in with our singing. Many of the songs that we sang are on the set list for our concert at the Foresters Arms in Graffham on Wednesday 27th June at 7.00 pm. We started with Stormy Winds and went on to sing the Farmer’s Toast and A Smuggler’s Song. These were followed by the West Sussex Drinking Song, Rolling in the Dew, Fathom the Bowl and Poor Froze-out Gardeners. The singing sounded really beautiful, although this time we missed not having Amaryllis and her group of talented harmony singers to add that extra sparkle! The last two songs before the break were the Turnip Hoer and the Bee Boy’s Song.

In the second half we practised a new song To Be A Farmer’s Boy, which could easily become another gem in our repertoire, as it has a very well-known chorus. Then we sang the first two verses of Arthur Beckett’s Song of the Sussex Downsman and were grateful to Keith and Alwyn for guiding us through the trickier bits of the scansion and melody. Stephen regaled us with an interesting song he has researched called The Marler’s Song and Chris, when urged to contribute, gave us The D-Day Dodgers and we all joined in with the refrain. Finally there was just enough time to finish with Rolling Home. Our thanks to everyone who came along to sing. We hope to see you next Wednesday at Graffham, but if not then our next session at the Chichester Inn will be on Thursday 19th July.

SDFS at Graffham

Everyone is really looking forward to singing at the Foresters Arms on Wednesday 27th June.
Don't miss it!
It will be a grand evening.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 6th June 2018

After some chat about future events and calls for volunteers to enlist for these, we sang through a selection of songs from the setlist planned for our next outing to the Weald and Downland Museum on 10th June – Country Life; The Bee Boy's Song; Brisk Young Ploughboy; Oak, Ash and Thorn; Life of a Man and A Smuggler's Song.  Emily then introduced us to Reynard the Fox, a song she has just begun to learn from the Lucy Broadwood collection.  We followed her in trying out the first verse of this and we look forward to more at future sessions.  After the break we successfully repeated this verse and went on to remind ourselves of the what we’d learned from the Song of the Sussex Downsman a while ago.  Requests followed for Twankydillo and then Hares on the Mountain. The May Day Carol and Hal an Tow were similarly revisited, with the suggestion that these be added to our official repertoire for use again in Maytime performances next year. With seasonal songs in mind our evening finished with Alan and others who knew it singing Seasons of the Year – and very lovely it was too, thank you Alan and all.

Monday, 18 June 2018

SDFS sing at Weald & Downland Living Museum

On Sunday 19th June over a score of us merry South Downs Folk Singers performed at the Morris Day of Dance at the Weald & Downland Living Museum at Singleton. It was a lovely sunny summer’s day and Morris sides came from near and far to demonstrate their colourful brand of traditional dancing. We were invited to entertain between dances with three sets of songs from Sussex and the South Downs and our enthusiastic singing was very well received by a large crowd of people well versed in the folk tradition. Our lusty songs about country life, smugglers, ploughboys and turnip hoers could be heard loud and clear in the Market Square and around the park where groups of tired dancers sat and rested and joined in with the choruses. Our thanks as ever to Emily for leading the singing and for encouraging us to give a great performance!


Saturday, 9 June 2018

A Sussex Calendar with Cotillion

Anne's and Alan's folk group 'Cotillion' will be performing a folk show 'A Sussex Calendar'
at Newtimber Church (map link)
on Saturday 23rd June, arrive at 7pm.

It takes us through the seasons with local songs, tunes, poems etc.

Tickets £10 to include refreshments.

Contact Lucy Dalrymple, Church Warden on 01273 881877 for further info and tickets.

Friday, 8 June 2018

South Downs Folk Singers sing at Horsham English Festival

On Sunday 13th May twenty-five stalwart singers visited the Horsham English Festival and entertained the good people of Horsham with an excellent selection of Sussex songs. Introduced by Dave and conducted with great aplomb by Alan, we sang songs of magpies, bees, soldiers, smugglers, sailors and turnip hoers and finished the 45 minute set with a rousing rendition of Sussex by the Sea. We were complimented on our performance by the townsfolk, many of whom joined in with the choruses. The afternoon was organised by Horsham Folk Club and a collection was made in aid of the Samaritans. Well done to everyone who participated!



South Downs Folk Singers sing at Butser Ancient Farm

Following a very successful concert of songs celebrating country life and the arrival of May, which we performed in the ancient long house at Butser Ancient Farm on 5th May as part of the annual Beltain Festival, here is a sepia photograph of some of the singers who took part. We dressed up to reflect the dress style of rural folk at the beginning of the 19th century.


Monday, 21 May 2018

SDFS at the 'Rural Life' Historic Gardens Weekend, Weald & Downland Living Museum

Sunday 1st July 2018

Organiser's website

Here's a chance to both sing and find out how to keep the fly off your turmuts organically!!!

Details for the weekend are here and we will be the only wandering minstrels on the Sunday.

You will need to let me know via email by the 24th June if you want to sing on the day so that your name can be put on the list for free entry, as I won't be at the YOHAH, Worthing Meeting on the 5th June.

Many thanks,
John C

Sunday, 20 May 2018

SDFS at the Foresters Arms, Graffham

Wednesday 27th June 2018
7.00pm – 9.30pm

We have been invited to perform an evening of folk songs in the garden of the Foresters Arms in Graffham (GU28 0QA) on Wednesday 27th June as part of this year's Graffham Arts Festival. As is our custom we will be singing a rousing selection of songs that reflect life in the Sussex countryside across the centuries. It would be lovely if as many of our singers as possible could come along on this date and enjoy a few songs and a drink out of doors on a balmy midsummer’s evening. (Under cover if wet.)

We shall gather at 7.00pm and eventually sing two sets:

First Set 7.30pm till 8.10pm:
  1. Country Life [Eb]
  2. West Sussex Drinking Song [E]
  3. Oak, Ash & Thorn [E]
  4. The Magpie [B]
  5. The Bee-Boy’s Song [G - C]
  6. Ale, Glorious Ale [E]
  7. The Turnip Hoer [B]
  8. A Smuggler’s Song [C#]
  9. Pleasant and Delightful [A]
  10. Thousands or More [A]
  11. Jolly Good Song
Second Set 8.30pm till 9.10pm:
  1. On Sussex Hills [A]
  2. Fathom the Bowl [D# - G#]
  3. The Nightingale [A]
  4. Rosebuds in June [B - E]
  5. Rolling in the Dew [G]
  6. Where Stormy Winds Do Blow [A -D]
  7. The Farmer’s Toast [A - D]
  8. Twanky Dillow [G#]
  9. Sussex by the Sea [G#]
  10. Rolling Home [A - D]
Please sign up as usual by e-mailing your name to John C at southdownsfolksingers@gmail.com if you wish to attend this event.

There will be extra parking available by the Recreation Ground (follow the signs and take the turning on the left by the war memorial just beyond the pub).

David G

Monday, 7 May 2018

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 2nd May 2018

The arrival of May was duly celebrated in song during our gathering this month. We warmed up with Country Life before enjoying the seasonal songs chosen for our performance events this month: Hal An Tow, The May Day Carol, Summer is A-Comin In and It is the First of May / Good Morning Lords and Ladies. The Bee Boy’s Song, Lark in the Morning and Brisk Young Ploughboy followed with a break included. Still with an eye on our set lists for the Butser and Horsham events a few of our more established songs were requested and sung: A Smugglers Song, Sussex by the Sea and Life of a Man. The last request made was for Searching for Lambs, about which some discussion ensued on whether or not to change “doth” to “do” and “step” to “tread” – no changes were made and our evening closed with this lovely song.