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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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