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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Monday, 30 December 2013

Committee Meeting 18th Jan

The first meeting of the newly-elected SDFS Committee will take place at the Heene Gallery, Worthing, on 18th Jan at 6pm, prior to the Wassailing Party.

Notes from the meeting of 18th November will be posted shortly.  My sincere apologies for the lateness of these.

If anyone has anything they wish the committee to consider and discuss at this meeting, the details should be sent to John Crane as soon as possible and in any event by 4th January.  Please send them to him at the General Enquiries address on the 'Contact Us' page.  The final agenda will be posted by 11th January.

Adrian F

Friday, 27 December 2013

Merry (hic!) Xmas!

A very merry Xmas to all of the South Downs Folk Singers!  (No it's not over: today is day #3: there's nine more to go.  If you've got children, then that's lovely.  And exhausting.)  The end of Xmas is of course, not necessarily twelfth night as some customs carry it considerably further - the Christian faith into February in fact, when Candlemas is celebrated. The greenery (holly, ivy, mistletoe etc) has a religious connection but was not originally so related: an interesting page with more info is here.

And from Xmas, we drink seamlessly into Wassailing - which is all to do with singing for a good harvest in the forthcoming year and generally involves apples rather a lot.  Lots of interesting stuff about wassailing and the songs here.

Meanwhile, if you are not a South Downs Folk Singer yet, there's no time to lose!  Come and join us: check out the Latest News and Diary dates pages and explore the rest of the blog to learn more.

Happy New Year!

Adrian F

SDFS Xmas Party!

At last!  The details you've all been waiting for!

Adrian F

The Brighton Pub Carols

Saturday was even better than Tuesday! We crowded into the Sir Charles Napier in Hanover and began singing at 7.30. At 11.15, we finally stopped! Ok, we had had a couple of breaks but Ian Lamb worked us hard. Just four of us this time in the quire and I'm sure we will we there again next year! To everyone else: don't miss it in 2014 - it is the most fun singing carols you will EVER have! And, yes, of course we can pinch some of them for other SDFS Xmas time events: many are Sussex carols to less familiar tunes.

Adrian F

Friday, 20 December 2013

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 19th December 2013

A huge thank you to Shirley and Clive for their hospitality at this last Easebourne session of 2014.  We had a great sing and some lovely things to eat, especially Angela's Christmas sweetmeats!

We sang a few songs from the SDFS canon, but explored others too:

Dave G sang Old Jacky Frost written by Barrie Temple, The Year turns round again / Snow Falls by John Tams,  a Christmas medley which included snippets of Let It Snow / Santa Claus is coming to Town / Jingle Bell Rock / Jingle Bells and of course we finished with John Tams' Rolling Home.

Sue sang I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, which Tina correctly identified as based on the 1863 poem by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (we are a knowledgable lot!)

We also had a bit of fun after the eats, singing two of the drinking songs we learned at Chris Hare's Ale and Hearty day in Lewes, namely The Man who Waters the Workers' Beer and Ale Glorious Ale which might be fun for the SDFS to learn next year.

Alan sang a lovely song by Colin Gates called Fields Lie Silent (see the YouTube version by Martyn Wyndham-Read).  We also sang the Coppers' Christmas Song and the parody Batter Your Sole.

Shirley sang her version of Country Life which is another song worth learning (also on YouTube by the Watersons).

And after that, we collapsed!

Dave G

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Brighton Pub Carols

What a night it was on Tuesday!  Margo, Tina, Sandria, John K and I were there with the Napier Quire and four from Hullabaloo for 2 1/2 hours of great carol singing!  Just can't wait for Saturday!!

Adrian F

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Worthing Community Play

Those of us involved had a good time this afternoon running through most of the songs Ann has included in the play.  In addition to Green Grow the Laurel and part of Come Write Me Down, Jolly Good Song is featured in the play as is Fathom the Bowl.  The words are available on the WCP website here.  And some added amusement: we are also singing music hall ditties such as Daisy Daisy, The Boy I Love (is up in the Gallery) and Oh, I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside.  Great fun!

Even if you were not here on this occasion, you can join in again on Saturday 9 February for a second songs workshop between 2pm and 5pm.

There is lots more information on the WCP website.

Adrian F

Friday, 6 December 2013

Lewes Late Night Shopping 5th December

An enjoyable event took place yesterday at Lewes late night shopping, where brightly decorated shops and seasonal street events were strung out along the High Street (which was closed to traffic).

My journey hit an unexpected problem when the bus from Brighton was taken out of service after someone was sick on the upper deck!   Arriving mid-set, I found the other singers already in fine voice in the cosy back area of the Tourist Information Centre.

Angela Barber, Carol and Peter Bohannon, Tina Cox, Gaynor Gilbert, Henny Hawkins, Margo Hollingdale, John Lamb and Sandria Reese performed old favourites On Sussex Hills, Shepherd Of the Downs and Thousands or More, followed by The Sussex Mummers' Carol, The Sussex Carol and Wassail Wassail All Over the Town, before concluding with “singalong” numbers God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Deck The Hall.

The nearby competing charms of an excellent brass band and the equally excellent, exuberant Brighton Morris made it a challenge to be heard from the street and there was limited passing trade.  Nevertheless, the steady trickle of visitors to the TIC appeared appreciative of our efforts and the mulled wine and mince pies served by staff in Victorian costume further enhanced the occasion.  Afterwards, we joined in some carols with the brass band and performed a shorter flash mob set on the Law Courts steps before some of us visited the Christmas Market in the Town Hall to round off the evening.

Sandria’s husband Michael took the photo on Peter's camera; it will also appear on the photos page in due course. 

Thanks and well done to all those who took part - here's to next year!


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

New SDFS Committee

Main points from a meeting held to elect the officers needed to form a committee to run the South Downs Folk Singers

Date: Monday 18th November 2013
Venue: Beechwood Hall Hotel (in the downstairs meeting room)
Time: 7.30pm

Prsesent: John C, Tina, Henny, Phil, Angela B, Angela S, Linda T, Amaryllis, Richard H, Adrian
Apologies: Linda P, Shirley B, Margo

Make-up of committee agreed, including required positions of chair, secretary and treasurer.  All other positions could be revised as the committee saw fit during the lifetime of the committee.

Key posts elected:
Chair: Henny Hawkins
Secretary: John Crane
Treasurer: Angela Barber
Events Manager: John Crane
Lewes rep: Tina Cox
Worthing rep: Amaryllis Gunn
Easebourne rep: Shirley Blott (elected in her absence)
Musical consultant: Angela Shaw
Web / blog: Adrian Figgess
ex-officio: Linda Tobitt

All positions to endure until the first AGM, to be held in June / July 2014.

No-one was elected to the positions of Publicity Officer, Press Officer and Fundraising Officer: these posts will be filled as the need for them becomes more pressing.

The first formal meeting of the new committee was scheduled for Saturday 18th January 2014 at 6pm (venue to be decided) prior to the SDFS Annual Social.

The full version of the notes from this meeting will be posted on the blog in the next few days.

Adrian F

Friday, 29 November 2013

Lewes evening sing 5th December - final details

We now have 11 singers coming along on Thursday 5th December - 6 tune, 3 men, 2 harmony - so we should be able to produce a good sound.  We are singing at 7:00pm (**note different time**) inside Lewes Tourist Information Centre, 187 High Street, Lewes BN7 2DE (gather outside at 6:45pm or just inside in case of bad weather).

The songs are as listed in the previous Lewes post below (19 November): 3 from our usual repertoire, 2 Sussex carols and 3 more well-known carols.  There will be a runthrough at Worthing the previous evening and I will bring along word sheets (for us and the public) on the night.  There is the opportunity to do another, briefer set at the TIC later in the evening if we wish and there has also been mention of a possible flash mob or singing in a pub / pubs which can all be decided at the time.  The overall theme at the TIC for this year’s event is “A Victorian Christmas” or “The 12 Days of Christmas” so don’t be shy: your finest festive attire will be very much in keeping and welcomed!

Lastly if anyone else becomes unexpectedly available on the night, do feel free to come along, whether to listen or to sing.

Contact details:

Mine: Mobile 07795 335646 (my home e-mail is dead so apologies if you have sent me anything; please resend it to my mobile)

Clare Hunt (Lewes TIC) 01273 484002 - NB: please ONLY ring Clare if you cannot reach me and it is urgent!

See you next Wed / Thurs


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

December's Easebourne session

Festive fun, fine frolics and fabulous food - all at Shirley's house instead of the White Horse!

December's session will be a Christmassy affair
so bring some holly to stick in your hair
or maybe a hat with mistletoe
something to make the party go!

See the Local Group News page for details!

Adrian F

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Lewes Carols 5th December - final (nearly!) arrangements

We currently have 7 singers who have expressed interest.  The hope / aim is for at least 10 - 12 so to allow for last minute sickness / cancellation, more are very welcome.  The TIC needs to know fairly soon so please note the confirmation deadline is midnight on Sunday 24th November (see below for contact details).

DATE: Thursday 5th December

TIME(S): 6:30pm and / or 7:30pm (flexible and at our discretion, to be confirmed once definite singers and their availability known)

VENUE: At / in / near Lewes Tourist Information Centre, top of Station Street, on the NE corner of the crossroads (Fisher Street / High Street).  The TIC stocks our CD so this is a good opportunity to promote it and also to drum up interest in future events and possibly recruit some new Lewes singers. 

1. On Sussex Hills (Hilaire Belloc) 
2. Shepherd of the Downs (Traditional) 
3. Thousands Or More (Copper Family) 
4. Sussex Mummers Carol (When Righteous Joseph Wedded Was)
5. Sussex Carol (On Christmas Night All Christians Sing)
6. Wassail Wassail All Over The Town
7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
8. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

1-3  from our usual repertoire, on our CD and can be sent to you as a sound recording if requested. 
4-6  from our carols repertoire, lyrics are on the carols song sheet and sheet music can be sent to you if requested. 
7-8  for the public to join in. 

RUNTHROUGH: There will be a runthrough the previous day, Wednesday 4 December, at the Worthing local session at the Beechwood Hall Hotel, Wykeham Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 4JD at 7:30 - 9:45pm.  If necessary there may be a runthrough elsewhere, possibly in Brighton, the previous week.    

CONFIRMATION:  please confirm you'll be there by e-mailing / texting Tina Cox at (07795 335646).  Cut-off date / time is midnight on Sunday 24th November.  Please let me have definite confirmation even if you have already spoken to me recently.  Could you also say whether you know or are willing to sing the harmonies and if so for which songs? 

I look forward to hearing from you!


Worthing Community Play - Songs workshop

On behalf of Ann:

for the Worthing Community Play
with free mince pies, tea and coffee!
Christ Church, Grafton Road, Worthing - 1.30pm, Sunday 15 December

A fun-filled couple of hours are promised, singing the songs for the Worthing Community Play - which is set in Victorian times - and learning all about the role you could play as part of the crowd / congregation.

As writer and director, Ann Feloy has included many of the folk songs that were taught during the South Downs Songs workshops including 'Fathom the Bowl' and 'Jolly Good Song' along with music hall ditties such as 'Oh I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside' and 'The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery'.

Come along and hear more about this exciting community project which will take place on 14th, 21st and 28th June next year.  At this stage you are not committing yourself to anything.

Emily Longhurst and Ann will be running through the songs on the day and at 4pm there is a carol concert which everyone is welcome to stay for.
For more information about the play go to or contact Ann on 01903 200648 or 07809 697495.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Meeting to set up the committee

Notice of a meeting to elect the officers needed to form a committee to run the South Downs Folk Singers

Date: Monday 18th November 2013
Venue: Beechwood Hall Hotel (in the downstairs meeting room)
Time: 7.30pm


1. Apologies for absence

2. Agreement of committee make-up (ie members / roles) - the committee can change this once in office.
Roles of officers can be considered to be based on the details supplied previously and published on the blog.
Suggested committee posts are those shown on the blog.

3. Election of committee

Updates on items from 9 October meeting:
4. Carols with Brighton Morris (now the Napier Quire)

5. Uploading files to the blog

6. Monthly sessions

7. Any other business

8. Date of first committee meeting

All SDFS singers are very welcome to attend, whether or not they wish to become committee members.

If you have an item you wish to see added to the agenda, please bring it along and, time permitting, we'll discuss it.

Adrian F

Friday, 15 November 2013

Monday 18th meeting: the Future of the SDFS

If you have anything specific for the agenda, please let me know by the weekend and I'll add it.


Adrian F

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Carols lyrics

Here are the lyrics for the carols - corrected following the Beechwood session on 6th November.  We are also singing On Sussex Hills on Sunday (it is, after all, 'half November' ....)

This is our first download on the blog - huge huge thanks to Keith Dillon!  More to come!

Adrian F

Lewes Carols (and other songs) - 5 December

We have been invited by Lewes District Council to sing for the passing trade on Lewes late night shopping night - that's Thursday 5 December.  The Council are stocking our CD in their Tourist Information Centre and this space is big enough to take a modest group of us to sing for the shoppers.  The TIC is at the top of Station Street, on the NE corner of the crossroads (Fisher Street / High Street).

It should be a good evening - AND you won't have to sing outside in the cold!  Given that they are selling our CD there, it's a good opportunity to sing some of our existing repertoire alongside some carols.

Tina will be leading the session and Henny is co-ordinating the arrangements.  Please let them know if you would like to come as numbers are important in the TIC's space - e-mail addresses below.

It's possible that we may do some singing in pubs on the same night: all the details for the evening, including times etc, will be on the blog as soon as we have them.

Songsheets provided - but please ask if you need these as we'll only print for those who need them.

Hark South Downs Folk Singers sing
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Hear the streets of Lewes ring
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Call for Harvey's, raise your glasses
Fa la la, la la la, la la la
Entertain the Lewes masses!
Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Adrian F 

Tina Cox -

Henny Hawkins -

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Apologies ......

...... am running behind!  I'm off work tomorrow so all those things you thought should have been on the blog by now should (hopefully) miraculously appear.  Or something.

Adrian F

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lewes carolling, late night shopping Thursday 5 Dec

We have been invited to sing carols in Lewes on their late night shopping night (Thurs 5 Dec) by Lewes District Council.  Their Tourist Information centre (TIC) stocks our CD and it was thought a useful opportunity to promote it.  Exactly where we sing is yet to be settled: the TIC itself is quite small and we would not be obvious from the outside so we are thinking of alternative locations.

Henny Hawkins will be co-ordinating this event.

Please make a note in your diary - and watch this space!

Adrian F

Carols, carols, carols ....

Don't forget that tomorrow evening is the first of the Brighton Pub Carols rehearsals - see the relevant page for details.

Sunday at the WDOAM: the order of the carols is as follows:

Sussex Hills
The Holly & the Ivy
Deck the Hall
Sussex Mummers' Carol
Sussex Carol
The Moon Shone Bright
The Sans Day Carol
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Wassail, Wassail
We Wish You a Merry Christmas

News soon of the Lewes session on Thursday evening 5 December.  Block your diary!

Adrian F

Friday, 8 November 2013

Don't panic, but .....

Christmas Market at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

Just 10 passes left!

Please let John know by last thing Sunday at the latest if you'd like a pass - otherwise, my dears, ye'll be payin' !!

Adrian F

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Brighton Pub Carols

The first rehearsal is next Tuesday (see dedicated page).  If you are coming along, it would be helpful to know so that I have an idea of numbers.  It's not essential but it would be helpful so that I can tell Ian Lamb (Napier Quire convenor).  Ta.

Adrian F

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Isle of Wight Weekend

If anyone would like to write a couple of paragraphs about the first SDFS weekend away, please let me have them and I'll publish the results of your efforts on the blog.  I have been supplied with a few images to include too.

I'm quite happy to knit together text from more than one person (all will be credited) so if you don't feel able to write much, don't worry - I'm sure I can produce an interesting composite!

Adrian F

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Christmas Market at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

This event now has its own page - be sure to read it if you'll be singing that day!

Adrian F

The Future of the SDFS

'The SDFS in 2014' page has been updated again and there are two new pages setting out what's been happening about taking the SDFS forward into next year and beyond.

Why not come along to the meeting on Monday 18 November?

Adrian F

Brighton Pub Carols with the Napier Quire ...

... will be happening!  Keep Tuesday 17 December free: we'll be singing at the Park Crescent (39 Park Crescent Terrace, BN2 3HE) with the Napier Quire.  This will take the place of the usual Lewes Tuesday.  The previous FIVE Tuesdays will be rehearsal evenings (there are a lot of carols, many of them local).  More information on the Brighton Pub Carols page.

Adrian F

Friday, 1 November 2013

Local Group News – Lewes Tuesdays in November and December 2013

The November and December sessions will not be at the Royal Oak in Lewes as we are rehearsing for the Brighton Pub Carols in November and performing them in December – see the Diary pages.

Separately, as a result of the views expressed at the 9 October meeting (and I think this is a feeling probably shared by many who were not there) we will be looking for a cosier venue in Lewes – in order to create more of a 'pub' atmosphere rather than singing in a large room.  The latter is fine for large sessions, workshops, major rehearsals etc but not so appropriate to what we are really about.

If anyone's any ideas, please share them!  I'm struggling to think of anywhere ....

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The WDOAM - Tilling with the Tudors

The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum is about to become a TV star!  Doubtless it's been on telly a few times before but this is a bang up-to-date production, due to air Wed 13 November 2013 at 9pm on BBC 2.  And there's more than one episode, apparently.

More details in the West edition of November's Sussex Life here.

"Bread and ale, bread and ale
such keeps me well-fed, hearty and hale
bread and ale, bread and ale
Thou know'st no better to grow a strong yale*."

[yale = "dweller at the fertile upland"]

Adrian F

Friday, 18 October 2013

Deck the Halls

Found this on the web just now:

Tis the season to be naughty
Falalalala lalalala
Tell your father he is crummy
Falalalala lalalala
Break a window, pop a tire
Falala lalala lalala
Light your teachers pants on fire
Falalalala lalalala

Deck the halls with gasoline
Falalalala lalalala
Light a match and watch it gleam
Falalalala lalalala
Watch the school burn down to ashes
Falala lalala lalala
Aren't you glad you played with matches?
Falalalala lalalala!

Gosh!  Written by some wit in Oklahoma who wasn't that keen on hiis school, apparently!!

Adrian F

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 15th October 2013

Pronunciation lessons
Good session tonight.  A mere ten of us but we rattled (yes, we did – well, it's been a year) through the carols for this Xmas season.  And we had another new member join us from Newhaven – Sandria Reese.  Welcome Sandria!  She brought along her brother-in-law who lives in Paris (because her husband can't sing).  I did suggest that he take back a love of South Downs songs and set up a satellite group there – but I won't hold my breath.

Now then, he told us that we can rhyme "wind" with "mind" (God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen, verse 5) as that was how they used to pronounce it in the 16th century.  I seem to remember that we did do that last year .... but he was less sure about "blood" and "rood" (verse 4 of Righteous Joseph) ....

However, when it came to The Holly & the Ivy (verse 3) we should pronounce "blood" with a strong northern accent apparently – because it used to be spoken that way (down 'ere too) and DOES rhyme with "good"!

Don't say I don't learn yer anyfink ....

PS – Sandria's brother-in-law doesn't live in Paris because her husband can't sing.  Just thought I should clear that up.

Christmas is coming!

What!  You're mad, Adrian.  It's 16th October.

Well, yes, but last night at Lewes, we ran through the carols we will be singing at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum's Christmas Market on Sunday 17th November.  We learned a bit about pronunciation too - see the Local Group News page ..... Tomorrow at Easebourne they'll be doing the same and the whole exercise will be repeated at Worthing on Wednesday 6th November.

There will be information on the blog in a few days' time regarding singing on that day: please read it carefully as the arrangements will be a bit tighter this time - in essence, you will need to commit no later than ten days in advance.

"Of all the singers that are in the pub, the SDFS bears the crown."  Oh, yes .......

Adrian F

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Forgotten carols

Hullabaloo Quire is hosting some Forgotten Carols workshops in November / December (see the flier here) which are open to non-members.  If you are interested, write to

John Crane's campaign

John C has asked me to post the following information - not singing-related but of significant interest to many of us.

Adrian F

"Dear Friends,

I have just created a new petition which I'd be grateful if you could sign - it's called: 'Sledghammer' Combats Prostate Cancer.  This issue is very important to me, and I’m trying to get to 100 signatures and could use your help.  Read more about it and sign it here:

Campaigns like this always start small, but they grow when people like us get involved - please take a few moments if you can to help out by signing and passing it on.

Thank you so much,


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Halsway Manor - mini-festival, 4-8 November

Julie Thurston has forwarded some information about Halsway Manor in Somerset.  I had never heard of it - it's a centre for things folk - including songs, tunes, storytelling and folklore.  Julie especially wanted to draw our attention to one of their many events: they have a mini-festival from 4-8 November (residential) which sounds wonderful.

Indeed, the place itself sounds wonderful - click here and explore the website.  We could possibly stay there for a few days and run a workshop or two as well as attending other events.  If the Isle of Wight was fun, then perhaps it was the first in an annual series of SDFS getaways .... what do you think?  Leave a comment, why don't you?!

Adrian F

Monday, 7 October 2013

Come All Ye (helpers, that is ......)

This Wednesday at the Beechwood, we will be discussing the future of the South Downs Folk Singers.  Where we are, where we want to go, what we want it to achieve, what we want out of it and how we are going to get there.

If you are at all able and willing to give some time on a regular basis, please do come along with your ideas.  There is already a rough structure which covers the main jobs - those that occur on a ongoing basis - and I'll bring that with me.

In particular, if you have good web design skills, PR skills or are a good organizer / administrator, that would be good.  We also need more leaders when we sing and a teacher or two.

It's a fabulous beast, the SDFS - but it needs nurturing, maintaining and supporting to help it grow and stay healthy.

See you Wednesday.

Adrian F

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Xmas party

The subject of a Xmas get-together was raised at the Worthing session last night and all were keen for there to be some sort of event.  Everyone agreed that last year's bash at the Barn in Horsham was a good do.  Trouble is, that cost over £500, with a contribution for that coming from the SDS.  But if we got 50 people @ £10 we could do it again .....

But there are other options:
  • hiring a cheaper place and singing  / reciting / storytelling amongst ourselves would be great fun: many of us sing other sorts of songs in other places and it would be nice to hear some of these;
  • wassailing after Xmas when things get a bit dull - people's Decembers get horribly busy.
Ideas, anyone?  We do need to get cracking though, or we'll ALL be booked up .....

Adrian F / Linda T

Isle of Wight weekend

I gather you all had a good time though maybe the local inn left something to be desired? ......

If anyone would like to write a report for the blog, I'll happily put it up here.  If I receive several, I'll just edit them together - everyone will be credited!

And don't forget the photies .....

Adrian F

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Isle of Wight weekend - 27-29 September 2013

All photos courtesy of Angela Barber.

SDFS singers to entertain at Birch Trees Nursing Home on Thursday 17th October

We have been invited to sing a few rousing songs for the elderly residents at the Birch Trees Nursing Home in Hollist Lane, Easebourne, GU29 9AD, at 7.00 pm on Thursday 17th October.  We will entertain for 30 minutes before retiring to the White Horse Pub to continue our monthly session.  Singers from the Easebourne group of SDFS and any others from further afield are most welcome to join us on this occasion.  Please indicate your intention to come by sending Shirley Blott a note to her e-mail address: so that we have an idea of numbers.

Songs to be sung will be:

Fathom the Bowl
Sussex by the Sea
Twanky Dillo
On Sussex Hills
Rolling in the Dew (or Drink Old England Dry)
Thousands or More
West Sussex Drinking Song
Jolly Good Song

So many songs - so little time.  Lets make a gladsome noise out there!

Dave G

Friday, 27 September 2013

Isle of Wight weekend

Have a wonderful time if you are off to the Isle of Wight this weekend!

Take lots of pictures - maybe some small groups or individuals (we have quite a few of 'all' of us) and they can go in the Photo Gallery here on the blog..

If you'd like to write something for the blog about it, that would be great too: just e-mail it to me and I'll work it into something.

Adrian F

Wednesday at the Beechwood

At Wednesday at the Beechwood next week, we'll be singing / refreshing / learning(?) all the stuff we oughta know by now.  Most of the portfolio is fine but there are occasionally songs that folk say they have seldom sung or didn't learn at their workshop or just don't know very well.

Please have a look at the Learning New Songs page.  And if you have any particular songs you'd like to go over, let me know.

See you next week.

Adrian F

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Apple Fair - not happening

The Apple Fair at Middle Farm will not see the SDFS this year.  We finally made contact today when I rang them and they told me that a) an external promoter handles all the appearances and b) it starts being organized in April.  And they're full.  One has to 'apply' to perform there, it seems and even morris dancing has been rejected this year too.  They were quite apologetic that the promoter had not responded to John (the farm were aware of John's e-mails but had passed them on, understandably) but I gained the distinct impression that it's not our sort of gig.

Ho hum .... onwards and upwards!

Adrian F

Monday, 23 September 2013

Photo gallery

Yes, we now have a photo gallery!

Bit of a posh thing to call it, really, but despite that, I have finally started to put the photos up.

More will appear when I get a moment and when I'm done, I'll post to that effect and if you've any that are not featured that you would like added, please send them to me!

Adrian F

Friday, 20 September 2013


help n. 1. act of helping; person or thing that helps, esp. in context of running folksinging groups.  2. cry or appeal for assistance, e.g. when requesting same in order to promote and develop a folksinging group or groups.

(See the Help required! tab .....)

Adrian F

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 19th September 2013

17 enthusiastic members of the Easebourne contingent of the South Downs Folk Singers met at 7.30 pm at the White Horse Pub in Easebourne Street, just north of Midhurst, for their monthly sing.  Phil & Angela Barber, Anne Sartain & Alan Wheeler, Stephen Allberry, David Garrard, Beryl, Sue Crawford, Wendy Revill, Ian Bartle, Rebecca Laughton, Julie, John Kydd, Viv, Christine and Margaret ably led by our esteemed organiser Shirley Blott, sang until 10.30 pm, revisiting many of the songs that we are less familiar with and practising some of the Christmas Songs including the Sussex Mummers Carol, Wassail Wassail, and The Moon Shone Bright that we know we will probably be singing at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Xmas Market on Sunday 17th November.  We even gave The Cruel Mother a good airing as, despite its length, our members do enjoy this song!

We were having such a good time and singing so well that we attracted the attention of a gentleman in the bar who came through to congratulate us and request that we sing half a dozen songs to the residents of the Birch Trees Nursing Home in Easebourne next time we all get together.  This has now been organised for Thursday 17th October – see  Latest News page for further details.  By the way, the South Downs Folk Singers just love singing for pleasure but we are delighted when we are given the chance to sing in public!

Dave G

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Easebourne Thursday

Yep, it's tonight!

Don't stay at home: come and sing!  If you've stumbled across this blog and don't know who we are and you live within 50 miles of Midhurst, do the following:

a) read the blog from end to end (it's Jolly Interesting)
b) come to the White Horse at Easebourne* at about 8 tonight
c) when you get there, find the South Downs Folk SIngers and start singing!

"With my here it goes and there it goes, all the fun's before us!"

Adrian F

*it's near Midhurst.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

New singers at Lewes!

Last night, we were delighted to welcome Nick & Isobel Moore from Uckfield and Ruth & Steve Robotham from Henfield into our merry gang.  Nick and Isobel found out about the SDFS at a Hares gig (Chris, Ann and Sam) at Anne of Cleves' house in Lewes recently whilst Ruth & Steve were at Findon and tripped over us there.  A warm welcome to you all.  There's more about last night's session on the Local Group News page.

Adrian F

Findon Sheep Fair, Sat 14th Sept

"Findon a Great Success!" .... "South Downs Folk Singers Do it Again!" ... "SDFS - Such damn fine singers!"  Oh, how the headlines screamed - our public love us!  Yes, Findon was a good gig, despite the drizzle and having to sing straight into the wind - read Dave's report on the Findon page ......

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 17th September 2013

A warm welcome was extended to four new SDFS singers who joined us for the first time last night.  Steve and Ruth Robotham from Henfield and Nick & Isobel Moore from Uckfield are our latest recruits.  We had a full evening and the time absolutely flew by, with Tina leading us in Nightingale and Life of a Man – though we focused on the songs that need a bit of polish, namely the newer ditties plus those we have never quite got nailed.  We'll repeat the exercise at Worthing in a couple of weeks.

So we tackled East Sussex Drinking Song (a rollicking good way to start the evening – if folk songs can be said to have 'rollick') West Sussex Drinking Song (all four verses) Cuckoo, Where Stormy Winds do Blow, Gooch's Beer and The South Downs Folk Singers' Song.  And – wait for it – CRUEL MOTHER!  Yes, all 437 verses.  Needs a bit of work but we're on the way.  Depressing song but we like it!

Our new singers had a good time and reckon they'll be back!  Excellent!  Thanks to Tina for leading us.

Advance notice: either or both of the November / December sessions may take place at another venue (Darts rule ok ....).  Rather than change the day, I thought it easier to change the venue.  Which depends, of course, on one being available.

Watch this space ....

Adrian F

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Learning new songs

Earlier in the year, we talked about learning one new song a month to expand the repertoire and maintain the interest.  However, we have to make sure we know all our existing songs first, top to bottom, harmonies, men's + women's parts, the words themselves (!) ..... 

I've posted a piece on the 'New Songs' page for your perusal - comments welcome!

Adrian F

The SDFS is growing its own singers!!

Huge congratulations to Bex, Ian and Rosie Thurston on the arrival of Freddie on 12th August!   Rosie has already sung him Twanky Dillo and Dad is apparently writing lullaby arrangements for other SDFS favourites!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Findon Sheep Fair - 14 September 2013

The South Downs Folk Singers were delighted to have been asked to sing at Findon Sheep Fair - an ancient and traditional Sussex village festival and countryman's show. The weather was slightly cold and damp but it didn't seem to deter the large crowds who flocked to the event. About thirty of us gallant singers gathered at 1 o'clock in the main arena and gave brisk and spirited renditions of ten songs from our repertoire, ably led and introduced by Dave Garrard. After the appearance at the open air arena, we moved up the site to the livestock area and sang three more songs to the sheep handlers and the poultry fanciers!

Songs sung included Drink Me Brave Boys, Rolling in the Dew, Rosebuds in June, Shepherd of the Downs, Three Maidens, Life of a Man, The Ebernoe Horn Fair Song, Twanky Dillo, On Sussex Hills, Fathom the Bowl and The West Sussex Drinking Song. The songs were very well received and generated much interest in our singing group, together with some CD sales (Hurrah! - ed.). From our point of view, the day was a complete success as for many of us living and working in Sussex all our lives, this was the first time we had ever visited the Sheep Fair! We'll definitely be going again!

Dave Garrard

photo courtesy of Angela Barber

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Brighton Heritage Day, 14 Sept

I received too few responses to the blog entry and an e-mail I sent and those that did respond couldn't make it.  I had one taker!!

In fairness, I think it might be too early in the development of the group to be doing two gigs on one day - especially given that many of us had already committed to the Findon Sheep Fair anyway.

In addition, we didn't promote it internally very well and left it quite late before ramping up the volume.  Not to worry.  There will be plenty of other opportunities.

I'm sure Findon will be just fab!


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Brighton Heritage Day, Saturday 14 September

For those of you not singing at the sheep fair, we have been invited to take part in the Brighton Dome and Museum Heritage Day at the Dome complex on Saturday week.

The details are only now known: suffice to say, we have very little time to decide on this one.  They need to know by Monday latest whether we will participate so please e-mail me (not John) if you are interested.

They are being very flexible: we can do one or more sets of varying length anywhen between 1100 and 1600.  We will be in the Dome Bar at the east end on a small stage - we will have mikes and be amplified: the sound is excellent apparently as the acoustics are very good.

I suggest we mainly do the upbeat songs as it won't be a folk music audience per se.  We can decide on what times we sing when the singers and their availability are known.  Best thing is to e-mail me and say "I'm up for it - but only between 2 and 4" - or something like that:  then I can gauge whether or not we can do it.  We'll only need about ten minimum, I reckon.

E-mail me now!!

Adrian F

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Findon update

Following tonight's session at the Beechwood (weren't we good after the break, eh?  Think I'll START with the break next time ......), it was agreed that Where Stormy Winds do Blow was rather too new and not enough of us knew it.  Consequently, the setlist has been revised: please see the previous post which has been edited.

The post from 9 August (further down) gives details of the day: it's a 30' slot, starting at 1300: please be there 15' before.  See the post.

Adrian F

Monday, 2 September 2013

Findon, 14 September

Suggested setlist for the Findon Sheep Fair:

  • Drink Me Brave Boys
  • Rolling in the Dew
  • Rosebuds in June
  • Shepherd of the Downs
  • Three Maidens
  • Where Stormy Winds do Blow
  • Life of a Man
  • Ebernoe Horn Fair
  • Twanky Dillo
  • On Sussex Hills
  • Come Write me Down (The Sussex Wedding Song)
  • West Sussex Drinking Song (first two verses only)

We'll go through these on Wednesday.

I was horrified to discover, when looking for songs about sheep and shepherds that, unless I am mistaken, we have but two (Rosebuds and Sh'd of the Downs) - this is clearly a learning priority!!

So if you know any good old songs about woolly mutton or bleating crooks, dig 'em out, bring 'em along - and we'll learn 'em!

At a push, I s'pose we could sing about sweaters and roast lamb and mint sauce .....

Adrian F

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wednesday at the Beechwood

Just a quick note about future Beechwood sessions: whilst we are a very sociable lot, we've songs to sing and from time to time, new ones to learn - so we need to get on with it!  As from next Wednesday, we'll start no later than 7.45 so please aim to be there, beer in hand / on table by 7.30 or shortly after.  There will be a loo / beer break - but only for 15 minutes max.

Next week, we'll be checking we know the songs for Findon (anything to do with sheep for a start) - there should be a setlist by then.

I should also know by next Wednesday if we'll be doing the Brighton gig on the same day (and details thereof).


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Arundel Festival - a good day!

The South Downs Folk Singers returned to Arundel for their second festival appearance: read all about it on the Arundel Festival page .....

Arundel Festival - 25 August 2013

Our return to the Arundel Festival went well. Perhaps not as tight as we could have been but very well received by the audience nonetheless, which included our esteemed former leaders Anne and Chris! Our main performance was between 1630 - 1700 on the Jubilee Stage although as things were running late, we didn't take our places until about 1640. The artists' area behind the stage was tiny this year and not really feasible for all of us to gather in, so a rather cramped group assembled at the side entrance to the stage to listen to the last few songs of an excellent young lady opera singer.

Linda T did a great job on her first occasion at a major event leading about 35 of us in the singing whilst I made an attempt at linking. We sung Drink Me Brave Boys, Shepherd of the Downs, Old Adam, Life of a Man, West Sussex Drinking Song, Thousands or More and Rolling in the Dew, none of which we had sung at last year's festival. We made a few slips but these were more than covered up by our sheer numbers, the overall weight of the sound and the amplification.

Earlier on, about 15 of us wandered up to Tarrant Street and entertained the festival goers there, to good effect and appreciative applause. Songs sung were drawn from those we had sung in the main event last year, namely Hard Times of Old England, Green Grow the Laurel, Nightingale, Fathom the Bowl, Come Write Me Down, Rosebuds in June, Twanky Dillo, On Sussex Hills, finishing with Jolly Good Song. I led the singing for this set (after a fashion: on one song, I managed to try and start us using the melody line from another - DOH!)

So roll on 2014 - I hope we can negotiate a later start time: at 5pm, the sun has just dipped below the back of the stage so that the audience can actually see us as well as hear us!

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to come - especially those who supported the earlier street singing. It's events like these that help us reach a much wider audience which in turn helps to secure new members.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 20th August 2013

We rehearsed all the songs for the main set at Arundel – and had time to run through a spirited version of Where Stormy Winds do Blow.  Really looking forward to Sunday!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Arundel, Sunday

If you are singing at Arundel tomorrow, remember that our performance starts at 1630 on the Jubilee stage.  Please arrive no later than 1615 in the area behind the stage.  We may also sing earlier elsewhere in the town.  See the Arundel festival page for details - this has been updated.

We won't be using lyric sheets so brush up on your words during this week!  The final running order is on the Arundel page.

Adrian F

Monday, 12 August 2013

Saturday Folk Club, Lewes

Last Saturday, in the upstairs room at the Elephant & Castle, Lewes, we were guests of the Lewes Saturday Folk Club and made very welcome indeed.  Throughout August, the club is holding a series of 'Come All Ye's so we took our turn amongst fellow singers and readers.  The theme for the evening was 'Birds, beasts and other relatives' and seven of us (me, John & Gaynor, John Kydd, Margo, Judy Robinson and Tina) gave full voice to Twanky Dillo, The Cuckoo and The Nightingale in our first mini-set.  When our turn came round again, we delivered Rosebuds, Three Maidens and Old Adam.  And, yes, they all have animal / bird references!

John K offered for us to sing some more but at 11.15pm we were told that the evening was, sadly, over!  Nice try, John!  SDFS - Such Determined Folk Songsters!

We have been asked to come back and surely will.  Thanks to Bryan Creer, Valmai Goodyear and Don Morgan for a great night.

Adrian F

Friday, 9 August 2013

Findon Sheep Fair - Sat 14 Sept

We are singing at 1pm for about 30' on Nepcote Green in the village: please assemble at around 1245.  There MAY be a request for a second session outside Wattle House (the only building on the green).

Parking: on the A24 (in Wyevale Garden Centre car park) then follow the signs to the green - it's not far.  There will be some disabled parking available on the green itself.

Stagecoach Bus 1 serves Findon from Worthing, Tarring, Washington, Pulborough, Storrington, Midhurst and Petworth (timetable)

Metrobus Bus 23 serves Findon from Crawley, Horsham, Southwater, Ashington, Washington and Worthing (timetable)

Setlist to follow nearer the time.


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Balcombe - Anti-fracking singsong

Hullabaloo and other choirs are gathering in Balcombe on Sunday as part of the overall protest against the proposed fracking that is due to take place there in due course.  I mention it here as it may be that SDFS members might wish to join with other choirs on this occasion; I have another engagement or would offer to lead a group.  I would stress though that this would NOT be an official SDFS event but, since we sing together, we might like to attend.  If anyone would like to organize something, please reply to this post and maybe leave contact details for others to join with you.

This is the Hulla facebook entry:

"Join a collective of choirs from across the South East and Belt It Out @ Balcombe. Bring your best pair of lungs and any instruments you claim to be able to play. Led by the Brighton City Singers choir Director, MJ Paranzino, this is a family-friendly event and open to all. We’ll sing and stand as one – a formidable and harmonious show of community protection!

Suggested dress-code: all clothing and shoes, black and white, with a yellow ribbon for your wrist or sash. TOTALLY NON-COMPULSORY, but unified colours will counteract the corporate media's incesant attempts to divide and catorgorise us."


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Arundel Festival 2013

We are singing on Sunday 25th August.  Our main performance will be between 1630 - 1700 on the Jubilee Stage (by the bridge).  There will be an extra performance somewhere else in the town: still not finalized though will be after 1500.

See the Arundel Festival page for full details and keep checking the blog for updates!


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Local Group News – Lewes Saturday Folk Club 10th August 2013

During August, the Saturday Folk Club are hosting singarounds and we have been invited to join in.  On Saturday 10th, there will be songs with a theme of "Birds, beasts and other relatives" – so you can guess the setlist!  No?  Oh, all right then, here 'tis:

Twanky Dillo (horse)
The Cuckoo (bird)
Nightingale (bird)
Rosebuds in June (sheep and oxen – oh, and small warbling birds)
Eilean Na Ruin (bird)
Three Maidens (bird)
Old Adam (horses, foxes)
Ebernoe Horn Fair (horse)
Rolling in the Dew (implied cow!!)

Note that because it's a singaround, lots of people get a go so we'll probably only get to sing a few – but it will be great fun anyway, listening to others.  With this in mind, the songs we sing will depend on how many of us there are and how many will harmonize.
So please let me know asap
a) if you are coming
b) for which songs you know the harmonies.

It's £3 to get in (but only £1 if you are singing – i.e. us) – bring lots of audience: the more the better!

Venue: The Elephant & Castle (upstairs room), White Hill, Lewes, BN7 2DJ

Time: 8pm start (the club usually runs till 11 so I'd ask for us to sing reasonably early).
We will meet in the bar downstairs at 7.45pm to finalize what we'll sing and agree any other issues (like harmonies etc).

Call / e-mail me if you need any more information.

Adrian F
07792 056132

The Elephant approaches!

On Saturday 10th August, the SDFS will be singing at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club.  It's a Come All Ye so we'll be taking our turn amongst lots of other performers and a great night is promised.  Don't miss this one: it's a mere £1 to get in if you are a singer - bring your fan club too (they pay £3).  A bargain!  More details on the Local Group News page.

Adrian F

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Get involved, why don't you!

The South Downs Folk Singers are going from strength to strength!  We are being invited to sing at festivals and fairs, having great fun at local sessions across the area and generally singin' up a storm!  Want to get more involved?  In October, we will be meeting to put a simple committee structure in place to make sure that even more fun can be had in the future!

Interested?  We could certainly use your help - see the 'Help required' tab .....

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

CD - Live at the Burpham Sessions

Further to Adrian R's note, don't forget that we will be selling the CDs ourselves at sessions and at gigs - a snip at £10!

Adrian F

Saturday, 27 July 2013


A message from Adrian Revill ......

Hello folks

In order to better promote the CD, I've removed all the original recordings from Soundcloud.

The link below will take you to a set of excerpts of some of the best songs and this will soon be on the South Downs Society website where CDs can be ordered.

Best wishes


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Wowing Them at the WDOAM - 24 July 2013

Volunteers Dinner at the WDOAM
Wednesday 24 July

A big 'Thank you' to all the singers who took part last night.

Charlie Thwaites, Chief Warden & Volunteers Manager (the lovely blonde lady in the primrose dress, keeping everything in order) again greatly appreciated our participation, as did the volunteers who sang along with us from the provided song sheets.

The hog roast was great, as were the artisan ice cornets which followed, washed down with beer, wine, soft drinks and other beverages. Dave Garrard again led us with gusto, combined with excellent intros to the songs.

The Museum will always be part of our calendar, in recognition of the free support they have given us following the first experimental day workshop held there by Em, Chris & Ann.

John Crane

Sunday, 21 July 2013


Dont forget to check out the 'Local Groups News' page!

Nine of us arrived at the private party in Warningcamp, near Arundel, to sing to the bride and groom and all the guests. We were made to feel very welcome and plied with champagne and Arundel Ale and lovely things to eat before singing to a very appreciative audience. The songs we sung were Fathom the Bowl, the Sussex Wedding Song, On Sussex Hills, the West Sussex Drinking Song, Rolling in the Dew, Thousands or More followed by Jolly Good Song and also included a brilliant rendering of Sussex by the Sea, which had been specially requested by our hosts. All are agreed that we should add this song to the SDFS repertoire in the near future!

Much laughter was had when the cows in the adjoining meadow trotted over to the fence to come and listen to the singing! Thanks to Dave & Sue, Ann and Alan, Stephen, Shirley, Jan, Angela and Judy for supporting this event, which again proved that singing together is a great way to forge friendships and have a good time!

David Garrard

Friday, 19 July 2013

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 18th July 2013

Due to the fact that the White Horse at Easebourne was packed with polo players gathering for the annual Cowdray Park Gold Cup matches, Shirley Blott, our esteemed leader, kindly invited us to retire to her nearby garden to hold our monthly sing there. A dozen of us sat around her patio table in the cool of the evening and sang our hearts out. We practised all the songs for the Warningcamp party and the Volunteers Dinner before finishing off at 10.00 pm with John Tam's Rolling Home. A big thank you to Shirley and husband Clive for providing refreshments and making their lovely garden available for us to sing in. It was a very sociable occasion and very much appreciated.

Saturday, 13 July 2013


TuesdayJuly 16th  

Lewes local session at the Royal Oak, Lewes (7.30pm)

Thursday July 18th  

Easebourne local session at the White Horse, Easebourne (8pm)

Wednesday,July 24th WAD Volunteers Hog Roast

For those who know they are going

Here's the setlist for those attending the WDOAM Hogroast on Wednesday 24 July:
On Sussex Hills
Shepherd of the Downs
Drink old England Dry
Old Adam
Life of a Man
West Sussex Drinking Song
Ebernoe Horn Fair
Thousands or More
Rolling in the Dew
Jolly Good Song

So get practising!!


Jubilee Stage, 16.30-17.00hrs.

We have also been asked by Sharon the organiser if we would like to sing at some time between 13.00 & 16.00 near the Swan Pub in the center of Arundel or similar venue (TBC depending on responses).
Hence this email to see how many of you volunteering for the late afternoon performance would like to also take part in the above, so I can confirm or decline the offer.
Details about parking etc. will be on the blog from the beginning of August.
Many thanks,
John Crane 

Don't forget to check out the 'diary dates' page for other singing opportunities!

Thursday, 4 July 2013


Private Party at Warningcamp
Tina Gard has seen the SDFS perform and would love it if a few of us could attend her party at her home in Warningcamp and do a short 30 min set.  We would need to arrive about 2.30 pm, to sing around 3.30 - 4pm.  (There don't need to be many of us.)

There is a marquee to sing in and there will be a drink and something to eat for the singers.
This event is on 20th July but Tina needs to know by this weekend as to whether it can go ahead.
Dave Garrard is organizing this so please contact him in the next day or two at the latest so that he can make the arrangements.  If you would like to participate, bear in mind that it may not be possible to do so if Dave does not know in time!

Monday, 1 July 2013


More than thirty enthusiastic South Downs Folk Singers attended Amberley Chalk Pits Museum's first ever Arts and Music Festival on Saturday 29th June. The occasion was a very pleasant one and made all the more enjoyable by the lovely warm sunny weather. Throughout the day various music groups, morris men and solo artists played, sang and danced in various locations throughout the site. Towards the end of the afternoon SDFS luminary Ann Feloy and her son Sam performed their special songs about shepherds' smocks, woolworking, blacksmiths and Horsham gingerbread to rapturous applause in Humphrey's Barn. This was followed by the South Downs Folk Singers singing their songs in the open air to a large and appreciative audience.

Songs we sang included On Sussex Hills, the West Sussex Drinking Song, Twanky Dillo, the Sussex Wedding Song, Rosebuds in June and Jolly Good Song. Shortly after this we joined the parade of singers and dancers which made its way up to the White Pit arena for the Grand Finale.

Alan Wheeler, whose excellent folk group Shipwrecked had performed earlier in the festival, was prevailed upon to lead the singing of Simon & Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy) and Chris Hare and Ann Feloy performed their rendition of Ewan McColl's Paddy works on the Railway with everyone joining in with the choruses and doing the actions (corduroy britches, pulling the switches, dodging the hitches!).

I think it fair to say that a great time was had by one and all! Our sincere thanks must go to the Museum for putting on such a successful event and to Ruth Dewdney and her team of organisers for inviting us to participate.

Here's to us doing it all again in 2014!

Dave Garrard our Roving SDFS reporter!