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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Friday, 20 July 2018

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 19th July 2018

Fifteen singers and two very well-behaved dogs pitched up to our monthly sing at the Chichester Inn on Thursday evening. Our voices blended beautifully and we enjoyed singing through many of the songs on the set list for our concert at Bateman’s next month. This 17th-century house in Burwash, East Sussex was once the home of Rudyard Kipling and this year is celebrating the centenary of the end of the First World War. So we sang songs pertaining to Kipling and military service, notably Oak, Ash & Thorn, Follow Me ’Ome, All Things are Quite Silent, Home Lads Home, The Ladies go Dancing at Whitsun, The Nightingale and Ha’nacker Mill.

After a break to refill our glasses, Gordon taught us to sing his very amusing self-penned song The Three Moles, Anne and Alan gave us a lovely winter song entitled The Fields Lie Silent Now which has a very nice chorus, and Dave (acting on recent suggestions that we perhaps need a couple more Great War songs in our armoury) led the group in singing an easy medley of Keep the Home Fires Burning / Long Way to Tipperary / Pack up Your Troubles and a rousing version of Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire, all of which went down really well, especially when we split into parts and tried singing the three medley songs all at the same time! We finished the evening by singing Sussex by the Sea and then some of the ladies broke into We’ll Meet Again as we packed up. Well we will indeed meet again next month at 8pm at the Chichester Inn on Thursday 16th August. Hope you can join us!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 17th July 2018

For various summer-related reasons, only eleven of us arrived at The John Harvey Tavern. Jan had brought her friend Maggie, who recognised several of our songs, and Adrian and Jane managed to come over from Seaford. With only two male voices, we made a goodly sound. Tina had brought the set list for Bateman’s which was hot off the SDFS website, so we sang through all twenty one songs on the list (including My Boy Jack) and for good measure, East Sussex Drinking Song and Thousands or More – mind you, we didn’t clear away our glasses until 10.45!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Bateman’s: WW1 Final Defeat of Germany / Armistice Remembrance

Sunday 5th August 2018

As we did last year there will be two song sets, one before lunch and one in the afternoon, led by Emily. Please be on site by 11.00am.

If precipitation is forecast a gazebo will be put up in the Mulberry Garden outside the Cafe to shelter us.

We have been offered free teas and coffees and an ice cream this year.

Please wear an item of blue, green, cream apparel if possible and a B.L. poppy if you still have one.

The number of Singers participating is limited to 30 this year on a first-come first-served basis, with a reserve list if necessary. Free entry is by this list. Email me to volunteer:

Please car share if possible and let me know the car's registration number (unless you have already provided this for me at an event earlier in the year), to enable free parking. If you are a National Trust member then you will already have a parking sticker.

Fingers crossed for good weather again.

John C

First Set:
  1. Oak, Ash & Thorn E
  2. The Nightingale A
  3. All Things Are Quite Silent B
  4. Pleasant & Delightful A
  5. Dancing At Whitsun B
  6. The Bee-Boy’s Song G
  7. Follow Me ’Ome B-G#
  8. Ale, Glorious Ale E
  9. Rosebuds In June B
  10. Country Life Eb-Ab
  11. Jolly Good Song

Second Set:
  1. West/East Sussex Drinking Song F
  2. The Magpie B
  3. Home Lads, Home B
  4. On Sussex Hills A
  5. Life Of A Man B
  6. My Boy Jack C
  7. Hard Times Of Old England F
  8. Ha’nacker Hill E
  9. A Smuggler’s Song C#
  10. Sussex By The Sea Ab
  11. Jolly Good Song

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 4th July 2018

By popular vote our songs this month focussed mainly on the theme of the event we are due to do at Batemans in August. On an already hot summer evening we warmed up with Thousands or More before turning our attention to working on the wartime songs in our repertoire – Follow Me 'Ome; Ha'nacker Mill; The Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun; All Things Are Quite Silent and Home, Lads, Home. After the break we discussed My Boy Jack and ways in which we could use it at Bateman's, but since it was not known by many of the singers present this was deferred to a separate session for a smaller group to prepare and perform within the set on the day. We continued with some other requests for other songs in need of a polish – Where Stormy Winds Do Blow and Old Adam. So with some enjoyable singing and quenching of thirsts in good company, our evening was done.

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.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Local Group Report – Lewes – Tuesday 19th June 2018

Sixteen, enough to make four parts of four and sing through summer songs, new and old, with a few that may come up in the Bateman’s song list and the occasional request! Country Life, West Sussex Drinking Song, All Things Are Quite Silent, Follow Me ’Ome, Home Lads Home, Run of The Downs (we wish we had a better tune), The Bee Boy’s Song, The Magpie, The Nightingale and A Smuggler’s Song before the break. Then Littlehampton Collier Lads, Lark in the Morning, Song of the Sussex Downsman, Fathom the Bowl, Rosebuds in June, Pleasant and Delightful, Rolling In The Dew, The Farmer’s Toast and finishing with Thousands or More.

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!