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, 29 December 2014

Clayton Windmills

Here are two photos which were sent to John C for our collection.

Jill Windmill in the foreground with Jack behind
photo courtesy of David Meares of the Jack & Jill Windmills Society
Jill Windmill
photo courtesy of Simon Potter of the Jack & Jill Windmills Society
There's more information about the Clayton Windmills on the website of the Jack & Jill Windmills Society at

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Brighton Pub Carols 2014

The SDFS were in evidence at all three Brighton Pub Carols sessions again this year – especially on Tuesday 23rd when, at The Park Crescent pub in Brighton, seven of us sang our hearts out for three hours!

Here's the evidence:

At the back: me, Cat, Margaret and Mac
In front: Tina, Judy (hiding!) and John

Here's a more composed shot – though Mac and Margaret had left by then ....

Here's to next year!  What a blast ....

Adrian F

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Some New Old Songs

Stephen A came along to the last Easebourne session with some new material and has now kindly provided files for three songs (The Saucy Sailor Boy, The Young Recruit and Valiants All) so that we can have a go at singing them ourselves. For each song we have a doc file with the words, a PDF file with the score and a MIDI file to play.

Here are the links to Stephen's files:
The Saucy Sailor Boydoc filePDF fileMIDI file
The Young Recruitdoc filePDF fileMIDI file
Valiants Alldoc filePDF fileMIDI file

Here are some additional notes provided by Stephen:
In 1911 and 1912 Dorothy Marshall of Chithurst House, near Midhurst, invited Clive Carey to Sussex to collect traditional songs. He visited on three or four occasions and together with the material Miss Marshall noted down herself they amassed over 200 songs, collected from some twenty odd individuals. The singers included some of Miss Marshall’s domestic servants and ranged from as far afield as Duncton and Sullington in the east to Treyford in the west.

Most of their material is now in the Clive Carey Collection of the Vaughan Williams Library of the EFDSS, recently made available online as part of their Full English project.

On occasion either words or tune are missing and when they took down two or more versions of a song it is not always clear which melody went with which text. In my selection I have tried to fill the gaps with words or text from other versions in the Full English that seem to fit and were collected elsewhere in the South Country.
Please note that at the moment these songs are provided here just for our own enjoyment. They may later be added to our official repertoire, taking into account how well liked they are and how we get on with them. Please make your thoughts known!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 18th November 2014

A small but enthusiastic group of seven singers met in Lewes on 18 November (well, we were competing with the Bellowhead gig in Brighton amongst other distractions to our members!). We were in the cosy downstairs room at the John Harvey Tavern, our temporary home while the Royal Oak hosted a darts tournament. This lent a convivial atmosphere to the proceedings, despite being directly outside the ladies’ room. We were joined by new singer Rachel from Lewes who came along having heard about us from Tina.

We revisited the carols we had sung at the Weald and Downland Christmas Market and each of us tried out all 3 harmonies, whether male of female, for Falmer Carol and Sweet Bells and we also sang some non-seasonal songs including Thousands or More.

With regard to upcoming events don't forget the Napier Quire pub carol sessions in Brighton which some of us are joining – see last month’s report, the diary and Adrian’s separate report for details. Come along to sing (words are available in advance or on the nights) or just to listen; it’s great fun.

We’re back at the Royal Oak on 16 December for a seasonal get together. We’ll  make a start on the other new Christmas numbers (Christmas is now Drawing Near at Hand and Coppers’ Christmas Song) as well as looking again at the other newer songs for 2014 (Ha’naker Mill, The Constant Lovers and Country Life). With no specific events immediately on the horizon we can then open it up to sing anything else we fancy on the night so if you want to give a favourite party piece an airing now’s your chance!

Look forward to seeing as many of you who can make it, old or new, from any of the three local groups, for this last session of 2014.

Season’s greetings etc.


Monday, 1 December 2014

South Downs Folk Singers Wassail!

We will soon be welcoming the new year with our “Wassail” gathering in the evening of 17th January, 2015 at the Heene Gallery in Worthing.

South Downs Folk singers, plus family and friends, are invited join us for this festive frolic – bringing food, drink, and songs to share with all for a merry time.

Tickets are £2.50 each.  Numbers are limited so get in quick and secure your tickets NOW by contacting Henny, via the South Downs Folk Singers email.

(Tickets will also be available at our local singing sessions in December – but don't delay, confirm today!)


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Singing in Sainsbury's

Here's a message from one of our singers, Sydney B:

Hi All,

There is a fund raiser for the Sussex M S Treatment Centre (based in Southwick) on December 13th at Hove/Portslade Sainsbury's. It starts at 11am with the M S Centre's own little singing gang, followed by Amaryllis's group "Good In Parts". At about 11.50am they will start a FLASH MOB singing Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem.


I realise that there is singing at Sainsbury's in Chichester as well, but I am sure that some of you would come to this instead, either because it is nearer or because it will be great fun, OR just because I am GROVELLING!

After we have all come out from the fruit and veg, or baked beans aisles, etc, South Downs singers will have a slot of about 30 minutes to sing our carols and/or some of our usual South Downs songs. I already have a few volunteers, but need as many as possible.

Please let me know through the usual channels.

Many thanks

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 20th November 2014

We had a really good sing at the White Horse in Easebourne on Thursday 20th November. There were 18 of us, happily ensconced in the room adjacent to the bar and we all had a jolly time singing a mixture of carols and our favourite SDFS songs. Stephen Allberry brought along Ian and Penny, a couple of friends from Petersfield, and they enjoyed the camaraderie and singing along with us. I hope they'll come again. There was also a return visit from Jo Gunning who joined us for the first time last month at the Three Moles. Thanks also to a large contingent of singers who came over from Brighton, Shoreham and Worthing to sing with us. It was great to see them this far west!

Stephen A introduced us to three songs from the album he has recently made of folk songs collected in the locality and sourced from the Full English website. They were The Saucy Sailor, The Young Recruit and Valiants All. It's absolutely great that one of our members has taken the initiative to track down and print out more authentic West Sussex songs but we'll need a bit more than a few notes played out on a mobile phone to be able to learn the tunes properly! Watch this space...

Oh and the regulars in the pub enjoyed our singing so much that several of them came through to say how great we all sounded and one even put a donation into our collecting bucket as a measure of his appreciation!

David G

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Singing in Chichester – Saturday 13th December 2014

Here's some information from Shirley B about this event, at which we are all invited to sing. Please note some of the provisional details previously issued have been changed.

Sainsbury’s, Chichester

We have been invited by Chichester Hospital Radio to take part in their festive outside broadcast. The event will be broadcast to the patients, staff & visitors of St Richard’s Hospital as well as raising much needed funds to keep them on air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

They would like us to sing some of our seasonal and South Downs songs (as performed at WDOAM Christmas Market) for between 20 and 30 minutes.

John Lewis at Home, Chichester

Just over the road from Sainsbury’s we continue our support of Chichester Hospital Radio (but not part of their outside broadcast) singing and collecting for another 30 minutes, this time at the invitation of John Lewis.

Please note that both venues, although outside, are under cover.

This is a great event for all of you who have Christmas shopping to complete with free parking, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, BHS at Home, Pets at Home, Halfords, HomeSense & Home Base plus others close by!

Please contact to put your name down for the day or for further information.

WDOAM Christmas Market – 16 November 2014

Well, what a festive hoot!

Everyone looked brilliant in holly festooned hats and general Christmassy sparkle, and we managed to sail with great energy and delight through our whole set, even the ones we'd only managed to practice once... harmonies too!

There was a sense of robust joy and confidence in our singing and it sounded really lovely.

Thanks to all of you who were there and gave it your all, we were a veritable seraphic throng!


Thanks to Peter B for providing the photos.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Poignant Opportunity – 14th November 2014

We sang at the Look and Sea Heritage Centre in Littlehampton for the re-dedication of a WW1 Memorial Plaque which commemorates the employees of John Eede Butt & Sons (Littlehampton and Shoreham timber yards) who died in that conflict.

John C, who organised our attendance at this event, passes on his thanks to all the Singers who took part for its success. Here are extracts from an email received by John from Valerie after the event:
Dear John

I just do not know where to start to say thank you for all you did to make the event today such a wonderful success. Your singers were just fantastic and it was so moving, and so appropriate to hear those particular songs today.


Please pass our thanks to all the group. Our Chairman has specially asked if I could pass on his thanks as well,  as he was incredibly impressed and very moved by the songs performed by your group.

Can I also say a personal thank you to you for all your help in finally getting the memorial plaque "back home". It was so nice to meet you and to put a face to the name. Hope we may be able to work together in the future.

Very best regards

Emily has also made a lovely comment on the event (originally made here):
This was an intimate and lovely event, the songs were really well received and people found them very moving, thanks partly to the sensitive order they were in, from songs expressing rousing hope and camaraderie to ones reflecting the realities of the loss of so many men. Thanks to David who introduced each one so eloquently, and who also raised the mood in the end with an inspired round of Jolly Good Song, much to the quiet relief of some of our audience I think who were transported from 1918 back to their cake and tea! We sang as one body without a conductor at the front, moving together through the more subtle nuances of the songs well, easily and sensitively. Many of the audience said how much they loved the singing, one lady who had spent her life in theatre said she had heard many choirs in her time and hadn't been so moved in ages! Wonderful singing all, a pleasure indeed to be singing with you. Emily

Thanks to Peter B for providing the photos.

Update 27th November 2014: There's an article about the ceremony on the Littlehampton Gazette website.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Singing Our Carols

This rather long post gives notes for the performance of some of our carols at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum on 16th November 2014. Included are a song list, updates to some of the lyrics, the harmony parts to Sweet Chiming Bells, practice recordings for The Moon Shone Bright and The Holly and the Ivy, and an extra note about The Falmer Carol.

Friday, 7 November 2014

New Carols

Following on from practising two new carols, The Falmer Carol and Sweet Chiming Bells, at the Beechwood a few days ago, here are recordings to help with learning the notes. The recordings are computer generated and consequently not very exciting to listen to, but they do have the notes exactly as on the printed sheets that have been handed out. They will play directly from the web page if you have an up-to-date browser. With an older browser you can download the mp3 files to play.

The Falmer Carol:
You can download the mp3 file from OneDrive or Dropbox.

Sweet Chiming Bells:
You can download the mp3 file from OneDrive or Dropbox.

Get the scores:

Keith D

Behold – I bring you glad tidings of exceedingly great joy!

Apologies: this is a bit late but, yes, it's that time of the year, folks! Yes, the Brighton Pub Carols are with us once again. Rehearsals have started but it's not too late to join in! If you would like to become part of the Napier Quire for the festive season, you'll need to attend as many of the rehearsals and pub sessions as you can. The role of the quire is to lead the rest of the pub in song – there are some well-known carols, but we will also be singing several less familiar ones – or different tunes/versions. Words will be provided. This is the most fun you will ever have singing carols and is coupled with a wonderful sense of cameraderie – perfect seasonal behaviour!

The Pub Sessions are:
Tuesday 16th December at The Hartington, Whippingham Road. Start 8.00pm
Saturday 20th December at the Sir Charles Napier, Southover Street. Start 7.30pm
Tuesday 23rd December at the Park Crescent, Park Crescent. Start 8.00pm

Practices will again be on Tuesday evenings at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Dorset Gardens, off St James's Street. 8.00pm – 10.00pm. Doors open from 7.30pm.

Dates: 4th, 11th, 25th November, 2nd, 9th December. There will be no practice on 18th November.

The facebook page is here – carols (words and some music) will be provided – bring what you have from previous years if you attended as 'audience'.

In the pubs we cheerful neighbours
Talk about our Christmas spree
Pause to spare a thought for all those
Not so fortunate as we
So the turkey and the pudding
Comes upon the tables then
And the alehouse door is opened
Let the poor folk enter in.

Merry Christmas!

Adrian F

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 21st October 2014

Lewes Group report + the forthcoming Brighton Pub Carols

Nine singers met at the Royal Oak at Lewes on 21st October, including returning singer Judy from Hove who attended the original workshops, then had a break before being so impressed when she bumped into us performing at the Brighton University event that she decided to come along and sing with us again. We also welcomed Pat who has just moved from Worthing to Hove and has sung in folk clubs around Arundel, Shoreham and Lewes over more years than she wants me to mention here…

Congratulations to Mac & Margaret who got married on 4th October just round the corner from the Royal Oak at the White Hart Hotel. Also a plug for Mac who is performing as part of acoustic voice & guitar duo "Andy Mac" at the Cellarfolk Club at the Round Georges pub, Sutherland Road, Brighton on 11th November at 8:30ish with a set of sea songs (arrive early to get a seat). Cat & I will definitely be there, everyone else welcome to come along.

Despite the almost balmy evening we launched with great gusto into the carols for the Christmas Fair at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum on 16th November including the folkie version of The Holly and The Ivy and some excellent (though we do say it ourselves) 3 part harmonies to the Falmer Carol and Sweet Bells.

Next month we will be in the small upstairs room at the John Harvey Tavern, Cliffe High St, Lewes BN7 2AN on 18th November as the Royal Oak has a darts match.

Some of our number will once more be joining the Napier Quire in their Brighton Pub Carols sessions. This group lead hearty renditions of Sussex and other carols in pubs in Brighton. The Pub Sessions are:
Tuesday 16th December at The Hartington, Whippingham Road. Start 8.00pm
Saturday 20th December at the Sir Charles Napier, Southover Street. Start 7.30pm
Tuesday 23rd December at the Park Crescent, Park Crescent. Start 8.00pm.

Practices are on Tuesday evenings at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Dorset Gardens, off St James's Street. 8.00pm – 10.00pm. Doors open from 7.30pm. Practice Dates: 4th, 11th, 25th November, 2nd, 9th December. (There will be no practice on 18th November.) Anyone is welcome to all or part of these sessions where words and music are available. See their Facebook page or email me for more information.

The Lewes Group will then be back at the Royal Oak on 16th December for a seasonal get together and with no specific gig immediately on the horizon it can be a free and easy evening to sing anything we fancy on the night.

Look forward to seeing you at a session soon.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Beechwood Hall Meetings in November

UPDATE:  BEECHWOOD HALL Monthly Meeting 5th November / Practice Session 12th November, WDOAM CHRISTMAS MARKET 16th November.

Dear Singers,

Doh! A penny should have dropped a long time ago that the 5th of November was Guy Fawkes Day, but as I live in Littlehampton, and we had the best major celebration in the area last weekend (Ya Boo biggest attendance yet, cars parked in our road a kilometre from the Green), it didn't register!

Quite understandably some singers wish to participate in their local festivities instead of coming to the Beechwood session. You will recall that that was the final date to pick up Singers' free passes for participation at the Christmas Market.

It has therefore been decided to extend the availability of any remaining passes (when they're gone they're gone!) to the Festive Song Practice Session on the 12th as well. The last day for requesting a pass by email to be sent by steam mail, is still the 5th.

If you can make both sessions, all the better, as in addition 16 singers are also supporting  the re-dedication of the WW1 Memorial plaque at the 'Look & See', Littlehampton on the 14th.

Like a bad penny I will be present at both the 5th and 12th to hand out passes.

Look forward to seeing you there.

John C

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Local Group News – Easebourne Local Meetings

Easebourne Thursday on the 20th November will held at The White Horse, Easebourne Street, Easebourne, GU29 0AL. We have relocated as the Three Moles have a darts match arranged on the same night. We will be back at The Three Moles in December for a festive get together.

Shirley B

A summary for the coming months:
Thursday 20th   7:45pm  Easebourne Thursday at The White Horse, Easebourne

Thursday 18th   7:45pm  Easebourne Thursday at The Three Moles, Selham

Thursday 15th   7:45pm  Easebourne Thursday at The Three Moles, Selham

Thursday 19th   7:45pm  Easebourne Thursday, venue to be confirmed

Weald & Downland Christmas Market – Sunday 16th November 2014 – last call

I have a few passes left for participating Singers at this event.

First come first served, with a cut off date of midnight on the 5th November.

I will be at the monthly Beechwood session to issue passes and complete the list. If you can't make it, email or phone me and I will mail the pass to you, I'm sending out two today. I will be in Cornwall for a week from this Saturday so they will eventually turn up well before the date.

We will do a final selection of the seasonal songs that we will be singing at the two sessions during the day and I will confirm them with you on the 6th by email but as usual at this event, bring along your own sheets of lyrics if you need them, as some of the songs will be the least familiar to you of our repertoire.

John C

Monday, 20 October 2014

Film Screening of ‘The Just Cause’ – Worthing’s Community Play

The film of ‘The Just Cause – Victorian Romance and a Rollicking Good Riot’ is being shown on the Big Screen on SUNDAY, November 9th at 3pm at the Worthing Pavilion. This was Worthing’s unique community play that took place in June this year and included a cast of 200 and a total audience of around 1,500.

Many South Downs Folk Singers took part in the play or came along to see it. Ann Feloy, writer and director, who ran the South Downs Songs workshops with Chris Hare and Emily Longhurst, included a number of the traditional songs of the South Downs in the play which everyone sang along to.

Admission on November 9th FREE. Doors open at 2.30pm, so please come early to avoid disappointment.

If you didn’t get to see the play, now’s your chance. This is a one-off event to see the film on a cinema screen. Don’t miss out on all the fun.

Ann Feloy
History People UK

Update 30th October:
News from the Worthing Herald is here, where we are told the DVD of the performance will be on sale for £5.
A review of the play is here.

Various related videos on YouTube:
The Riot Scene
Chris Hare shares his knowledge of the Christ Church in Worthing (venue of the Community Play 2014)
Worthing Community Play Trailer
The first songs workshop for singers in the Worthing Community Play.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Follow us on Twitter...

Here's a message from Julie T, who is looking after our brand new Twitter account:

I am giving Twitter a go as a way of promoting the SDFS, both to encourage new singers to join us and for possible future event bookings. If you would like to follow the Twitter feed we are the SDownsFolkSingers. As you can see, the Twitter feed has also now been added to the Blog (it's in the column to the left, below the Diary panel). It would be good to get some followers from the SDFS, but primarily I will be following other organisations such as the Weald & Downland Museum, The South Downs Folk Festival, and Amberley Museum etc. so that we get our name out and about.

Any suggestions for either who to follow on Twitter or anything you would like to be Tweeted you can either email me at (bearing in mind you can only send out a maximum of 140 characters per Tweet), or if you are a Twitter user, Tweet us yourself!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Easebourne Thursday in Selham tomorrow

Here's a reminder that this month's Easebourne Thursday (16th October) is almost upon us and, in case we have any new singers who are not yet aware of this, our Easebourne Thursday singing session is not in Easebourne, it's a few miles away in Selham, in The Three Moles (postcode GU28 0PN).

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Weald & Downland Christmas Market – Sunday 16th November 2014

Update 14th November: Please also see this post and this post for notes about the carols we will be singing.

Once again it's that time of year!

The 120 exhibitor stalls for this year were completely booked up before Christmas last year. 7,000+ visitors on the Sunday and 13,000 overall. Our CDs have been, and are, selling steadily throughout the year in the museum shop, and on the day we can sell them at our performances.

As at last year's Christmas Market we have been invited to sing traditional songs and carols in the Gridshell @ 1.00 to 1.30pm, and at the Music Tent in the Market Square (by the hot chestnuts!) @ 3.15 to 4.00pm. The site is open from 10.00am and there will be long traffic queues to get in.

FREE SINGER ONLY entry (reduced entry price for others on the day), as in previous years, is by Day Pass which to save postage can be picked up from me at this Wednesday's 1st October Beechwood session, or at the very latest, at the 5th November Beechwood Session. If you want to participate but can't make either of the Beechwoods ask one of the other attendees from your local group to sign up for you and collect your Pass. Please volunteer by email if neither of these options are applicable and I will post you your pass. First come first served.

As before we will practise the songs at our local monthly sessions, and wear something seasonal in whatever form on the day!

John C

Monday, 29 September 2014

Southdowns Folk Festival today – 28 September 2014

IT WASN’T ‘****** BOGNOR’! (George V quote) Today!

Many thanks to all the singers who participated in our first ever set at this event today, at a sunbathed Hotham Park. The punters were out in their thousands to sample all the myriad stalls and performances.

Led by our Emily, supported by Johnny & the girls, we had an appreciative audience which included members of several other groups of singers in that greater area. It has led to the suggestion that we investigate the possibility of establishing a fourth venue for our monthly singing sessions nearby, we shall see.

I will follow up today with a request that we appear on the main Bandstand Stage next year, now they have got to know us. Although there would have been advantages for both us and our audience, if the weather had not been so good.

A definite for next year's main events programme.

John C

Photos courtesy of Peter Bohannon

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Revised Songbooks Available

New revisions of our 2013 and 2014 Songbooks are now available for download on the new LYRICS AND RECORDINGS page.

A big thank you to our 'keeper of the words' David G for carefully checking the previous issue of our songbooks and advising me of all the required updates.

Will these be the final songbook revisions? No! So to help us keep track in future of what we're looking at, you'll find that each page of the songbooks now shows the issue date of the songbook and also that page's own revision date (where known) and this will be continued with any further issues of the songbooks. This will give us an easy way to check everybody is using the latest revision at our singing sessions and also obviate the need to reprint the whole book if only a few songs are revised in the next issue of a songbook.

For the songs which you have already learned you will want to know what the changes are and for all the songs you have already printed out you may want to know if the changes are sufficiently minor for you to mark them up by hand, rather than printing new copies of everything. To help you with this, two files are available (one for each songbook) which list all the changes to the song lyrics and performance notes. These changes are with respect to the previous issue of the songbooks. When you look at one of your old printed pages, how do you know if it was, until today, the latest revision? Sorry I can't help you with your old songbooks, but in future you will be able to see the revision date.

The format of the old LYRICS AND MUSIC page has been changed (in fact it's been completely reconstructed) and all the songs are now listed in a table so that you can easily find lyrics and recordings for each of our songs. You will also be able to see easily where these are not available. The page title has also been changed to LYRICS AND RECORDINGS to remove any uncertainty about whether "music" refers to a printed score, or to audio and video recordings, or something else. Everything that was available before on the old page is still there, nothing has been removed. There are 86 links on the new page and I will confess I haven't yet clicked every single one of them to check they are all working, so if you find any that don't work please tell me.

For a short time the old LYRICS AND MUSIC page will be available for reference using this link:

The 'NEW SONGS FOR 2014' link has also been removed from the menu, but this page hasn't disappeared. The page contents have been added to a post which is now linked from the new LYRICS AND RECORDINGS page.

Keith D

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Shoreham Beach Sand Dance – 20th September 2014

The Shoreham Beach Sand Dance performance was arranged at short notice with a small group of our singers, so it's good to hear it went well, as you can read in the report below from Carol.

Just reporting on our sand dance performance. We were grateful that Emily, with her family, joined us and gave us great support. Beryl, Sydney, Margot, John K and Wendy joined Peter and I. We sang four songs and John led with the solo in Jolly Good Song. We were very well received.

We all enjoyed the other music by a selection of groups and some of us enjoyed a dance on the sand. It was a fun afternoon, and with lovely weather.

I am sure we would be welcome to sing next year and we would be able to give much better notice.

Carol B

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 18th September 2014

Now meeting monthly on a regular basis at the quaint little country inn – the Three Moles at Selham, GU28 0PN – a small but select band of singers gathered on Tuesday 18th September to spend a couple of hours quaffing great beer and singing our favourite songs. Present were Dave G who led the singing, Shirley B who gave out the current notices, Carol & Peter B, Barbara W, John Kydd, Sue Crawford, Julie T and Stephen A. In the small but intimate bar with its excellent acoustic we sang through the song list for the Southdowns Folk Festival – Twanky Dillo, On Sussex Hills, Fathom the Bowl, All things are quite silent, Ladies go dancing at Whitsun, Life of a Man, West Sussex Drinking Song, Thousands or More, Sussex by the Sea and Jolly Good Song. In the second hour we invited requests from the floor: Dave introduced a new song – the Woodcutter’s Song, which seemed to be well received, John requested Pleasant and Delightful, which has a great chorus, Julie wanted Shepherd of the Downs, and Shirley led us in singing A Miner’s Life. [There are of course chalk quarrymen working on the Downs!] We finished with Ale Glorious Ale and Rolling Home specifically requested by Sue. If you couldn’t make this month’s sing at the Three Moles, be sure to be there on Thursday 16th October when we’ll all meet again! New singers are always welcome.

Dave G

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Shoreham Beach Sand Dance

Update 19th September: Carol says they hope to be singing before 5pm, possibly about 4.30 or 4.40. The original post follows.

Carol B is asking if anybody would like to join her and a group of SDF Singers at the annual Shoreham Beach Sand Dance this Saturday, 20th September. You can read a report from last year's event here.

Here's the message from Carol:
I have been asked by the people responsible for Shoreham Beach Sand Dance, a FREE community event this Saturday 4 pm 'till dusk, if we might provide a few South Downs Folk to sing a few of our songs. The event is good fun given fine weather. Dancing on the low tide sands to: Naked Voices, Shoreham Allstars, Old Play – dance tunes, DJ Hungrrr and some Shoreham Singers.

I have been able to recruit at least six singers and maybe, via the blog a few more will join us.

The venue is on Shoreham Beach via Beach Green, right of the toilet block. Car Park nearby. Bring your own picnic, drink, blanket or chairs.

There is a sound system. Sorry about the short notice.
Best wishes, Carol B

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A Poignant Opportunity

About 3 years ago my neighbour Roy told me that he had a WW1 memorial plaque in his garage, that he and a colleague had saved from a skip when the offices of Travis Perkins in Littlehampton were demolished and the 'Look & Sea' Centre was built on the same site.

It commemorates the employees of T.P.'s forerunner Ede Butt & Sons of Littlehampton and Shoreham timber yards, who died in that conflict. This plain plaque was made by Eric Gill the artist, who among many other commissions designed the stations of the cross in Westminster Cathedral and many of the fonts you will find on your computer.

To cut a long story short, several approaches were made to various organisations to have it again on public display, without result. It was therefore placed in Littlehampton Museum's store for safe keeping.

Earlier this year the Centre approached me about placing the plaque within the building as part of the national WW1 commemorations. The Museum has subsequently agreed to place the plaque on permanent loan to the Centre.

On Friday the 14th November there will be a low key re-dedication of the plaque, with the Mayor, Vicar, local school children and the press in attendance and we have been asked to sing a few of our WW1 repertoire songs, particularly the ones that brought tears to a few people's eyes when we performed them at the Arundel Festival.

Unfortunately as it's a weekday this may limit singers participation but we will be performing indoors, so numbers are not as important, and the weather will not be a factor.

If those singers who might be interested in taking part could email me by the next Beechwood session at the latest (1st October), I can then confirm with the organisers that we will be there and pursue a possible mention on local T.V. news.

John C

Update 11th September:
I am now informed that the re-dedication ceremony will take place take place mid morning on the above date.
The final times have still to be arranged to tie in with whether we will be performing or not depending on singer support.

Southdowns Folk Festival Song List

The details for this event have now been updated with a song list – see it here.

Chichester Hospital Radio Outside Broadcast – 13th December 2014 HOLD THE DATE

Update 20 November 2014: The information given below is now superseded by this post.

We have been invited to sing outside Sainsbury's Chichester (SDFS proposed time 12:30pm tbc) as part of their outside broadcast between 10am and 4pm. Afterwards (again tbc) at The Chichester Garden Centre from 2:30pm collecting for Chichester Hospital Radio. Further details will follow.

Event co-ordinator - Shirley Blott

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Amberley Chalk Pits Museum – Ale and Music Festival, 31st August 2014

Peter Bohannon
We had a welcome return of the summer sunshine and a good turnout of our singers from across Sussex for this event.  We welcomed some first-time performers from our Lewes sessions and a good time was had by all.

The stage provided was full to the brim with SDF Singers, and with the occasional accompaniment of toots and rumbles from the train and bus rides around the site, we kicked off the day’s proceedings with a tour de force of about an hour of songs to entertain the visitors to the event.

This was well received, and for our own and others’ fun a more modest “flashmob” group repeated some of the songs later in the afternoon outside the old cafĂ©.  Then some singers joined the visitors there for a cream tea and others returned to the ale barn (and many did both) before we all rolled home!

Colin Bolton
Colin Bolton

Peter Bohannon
Peter Bohannon

Peter Bohannon
Peter Bohannon

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Annual General Meeting to be held on 1st October 2014

Our first A.G.M. – on Wednesday October 1st 2014 at the Beechwood Hall Hotel in Worthing – is fast approaching. It will precede our usual monthly singing session at the Beechwood, therefore please gather from 7.00pm to start promptly at 7.30pm.

It wasn’t easy to find a date and venue to suit everyone – but October 1st is already established in our singing calendar and Worthing is a relatively central location – so we hope you can make it.

The AGM is a necessary formality but also a chance to celebrate and review the achievements of our first year as the independent “South Downs Folk Singers”, and to look ahead and make plans for our next year.

Although conducted quite informally, our Committee has the traditional roles and titles of Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary, plus the all-important Blog Manager, Events Organiser and the Worthing, Lewes and Midhurst Leads.

All in the Committee will effectively resign at the AGM to allow elections for the new year’s Committee to proceed – but all have said they are willing to stand for re-election.

That includes our busy Events Organiser who has also been covering the Secretary’s role, although he has said he would be glad to pass that on – and there are other ‘vacancies’ to fill (e.g. Co-ordinator for Promotion and Publicity of our activities) to help the SDFS stay on track and prosper.

So – now is your chance to stand for Election to the Committee – to seek a specific role or just to get more involved and be part of the team supporting the SDFS.

If you are interested please make yourself known to us as soon as possible – by email to, or by adding your name to the AGM Election Candidates list (to be available at each of our local singing evenings this month).

As well as your name, please state the name of the singer/member who is nominating you to stand and another who is seconding that nomination.

Voting will be at the AGM by a show of hands and carried on a simple majority of those present.

We look forward to meeting all the candidates and to seeing as many of our singers as possible for an enjoyable AGM, and of course to SING, on October 1st.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Southdowns Folk Festival, Bognor Regis, Sunday 28th September

This post contains all the available information for singing at Bognor. There is the song list and the original post from John C. The last update to this post was on 10th September.

Here is the order of songs for Bognor:
  1. Twanky Dillo
  2. On Sussex Hills
  3. Fathom the Bowl
  4. All Things Are Quite Silent
  5. Ladies Go Dancing At Whitsun
  6. Life of a Man
  7. West Sussex Drinking Song
  8. Thousands or More
  9. Sussex by the Sea
  10. Jolly Good Song

Original post from John C:

They come thick and fast!!

Another new venue (for us) is this established large event in a different area where we can display our constantly developing wares and hopefully recruit even more members.

I won't go into great detail as if you visit all the information is there.

One point about parking though, I for one will be parking free, to the north of the Upper Bognor Road / A259 in one of the residential streets and walking in.

We are in the Dance & Music Stage Marquee at Hotham Park with amplification, so variable weather will not be a problem.

Performance slot is 13.30 - 14.00 hrs, so please be there at the latest by 13.00. There are many other performances that you may wish to watch on the day.

As we have had several recent performances a dedicated practice session will not be necessary, so just turn up at your usual monthly session to fine hone the songs.

Songs will again be selected from the Amberley list below, and optional dress colours the same. [Update 10th September: the song list is now given above.]

As usual please email me if you are coming, or sign up personally with me at the Beechwood Hall session next week.

John C

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 19th August 2014

At the Royal Oak on 19th August eleven singers gathered in the upstairs room. Regular singers were Adrian, Angela B, Cat, Dave T, Margo, Sue, Tina and Wendy A. We were also pleased to welcome three new singers. Christine from Peacehaven picked up our flyer at the Con Club in Lewes and also saw an article about us in the South Downs National Park newsletter. Christine brought along her friend Angela P from Saltdean. Libby from Rottingdean was looking for folk singing opportunities in the area and found us via Google.

The focus of this session was on the songs for Amberley Ale Festival on 31st August and we got through 15 of the 17 songs with our new singers doing brilliantly to keep up. Angela B and Margo provided excellent harmonies as ever. Well done also to Adrian and Dave T who kept up the volume in the men’s section although greatly outnumbered this evening.

There is a good mix of singers generally. Some have been involved from the start of the original South Downs Folk Songs Project with “Emily and the Hares” while others have joined since Adrian launched the Lewes local group in April 2013. We currently have around 22 singers on the books. Not everyone can manage to get to every session but on the other hand a few stalwart singers regularly pop over to the other local groups in Selham and Worthing as well.

New singers are always welcome. Feel free to come along for all or part of a session as a taster. I’m usually there by 7:15pm putting up the notices in the downstairs bar or setting out the chairs in the upstairs room where we sing. By the time we have got drinks, settled in, done introductions and caught up with news we usually start singing by 7:45pm, we have a comfort/drink break at 8:45pm then carry on until 10pm. I bring along word sheets for each session so don’t feel shy, you just need to turn up with your voice and join in.  As with the other local group sessions there is a suggested voluntary contribution of £1 to £2 per session to cover photocopying and other running costs.

Any queries, comments, suggestions – feel free to contact us at and either Margo (Lewes Admin Rep) or I will get back to you.

Looking forward to seeing singers old and new at the next session on 16th September.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Singing at Amberley Museum, Sunday 31st August

This post contains all the available information for singing at Amberley. There are contributions here from Tina and John C. The last update to this post was on 23rd August.

From Tina:

Amberley Ale Festival 31st August – final arrangements.

Running order (same as at Arundel but grouped in sub sets by theme):
  1. Twanky Dillo
  2. On Sussex Hills

  3. Fathom The Bowl
  4. Gooch’s Beer

  5. Green Grow the Laurel
  6. Hard Times of Old England

  7. All Things Are Quite Silent
  8. Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun
  9. Home Lads, Home
  10. Life of a Man

  11. Rosebuds in June
  12. Nightingale

  13. West Sussex Drinking Song
  14. Ale Glorious Ale

  15. Thousands or More
  16. Sussex by the Sea
  17. Jolly Good Song
You can download this running order here.

Announcer / MC wanted:
To introduce us as a group, introduce each sub set of songs, thank the audience at the end, plug the CD etc. Adrian is willing to do this if he is there, but he is not yet able to confirm his attendance. If anyone else is able to do this or to be on standby please let me know via and we can sort out the wording.

Photographers / Flyer distributors / CD sellers:
If anyone has relatives or friends who are not singing and can take on any of these tasks please let me know.

Everything else as in John C’s earlier post below.

See you there.


From John C:

Dear Singers,

Here are the final details for the day:

The practice session is this Wednesday, 20th August commencing at 7.30pm sharp at the Beechwood Hotel, Worthing.

On the actual day can you please be on site from around 11.30am, as our sound check is at 12 noon at the Bus Stage adjacent to the Limeburners Restaurant, you can't miss it! Gates officially open at 12 noon but you can enter earlier as your names are ticked off on the list. It's the last day of the three-day Festival so let's stir their hangovers vigorously!

Our slot is 12.30 - 1.00pm, but as we have no instruments except ourselves we will commence singing as soon as possible to welcome the punters in. You will see that the song list allows for this with several songs denoted with an * which can be added if time allows. You can download the song list here. [Update 23rd August: this song list is now superseded by the running order given above by Tina]

Tina has kindly volunteered to lead us, and her contact mobile JUST FOR THE DAY is 07795 335646.

The car park by Amberley Station can get full up quite quickly, so you could come by train, or another suggestion is to meet up by prior personal arrangement at Whiteways Cafe Car Park, at the junction of the A284/A29 and combine transport.

As for the SUN U3A event at Brighton Uni. a combination of blues, greens, white or cream clothes is the theme if you have them but most importantly it's your voices that count!

We have a good number of Singers already signed up, but if you haven't already done so please email me before the 23rd at the latest, so you can be added to the list. Otherwise it's the full entry price on the door.

John C

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 15th July 2014

Eleven singers gathered at the Royal Oak on 15th July. We welcomed back Audrey from Brighton who had attended some of the original Brighton workshops and had kept up with us on the blog since then. Two new singers also joined us – Sue from Lewes had picked up one of our flyers at the Bus Station and had brought along her friend Wendy, also from Lewes. They were both looking to get back into singing regularly and keen on the idea of singing for pleasure in a small local group to start with.

Five of us had been amongst the 22 singers present at the Sussex University of the Third Age Network event at the University of Brighton the previous weekend on 12th July and all agreed this had been a fun and successful venture into the Eastern end of the Downs. This had been the first public performance for Margaret and Mac from Saltdean who assured us it would not be their last.

Gaynor and John from Lewes were basking in the glory of the trip they had organised to Waldshut-Tiengen, Lewes' German twin town the week before that, where they and six other singers had spent four days and had taken part in the Schwyzertag Festival. They also shared the news that as a duo they have been signed up for a paid gig early next year.

As well as chatting and looking at photos we did actually manage to fit in a lot of singing, getting through most of the War and Drinking songs (looking ahead to Arundel Festival and Amberley Ale Festival in August) as well as other newer songs such as Country Life and older established numbers Twanky Dillo and Thousands or More.

We are continuing with the Royal Oak as our permanent venue (subject to the occasional darts tournament when we may need to move to a different evening) so we look forward to seeing singers old and new in the upstairs room in August and beyond.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Today at Arundel Festival

Despite the short notice we managed to field over 20 singers (a thank you to all who participated for your support, it was much appreciated) today in Tarrant Square, just off the High Street, which made it a very busy location. Led by our lovely Emily, and helped by her diminutive flyer distributors (perhaps braces might be the answer to that particular problem Em!), we lustily banged out the 17 songs that Amaryllis had kindly selected for us.

Initially we were going to have a break half way but when we reached that point, and still had an audience, we didn't want to let them go. Also several singers had prior early evening appointments to get to.

The gods smiled on us for the weather as the location was without cover and the previous singer kindly lent us his mike for Sandria, our announcer for the afternoon, to eruditely top and tail our songs and performance. Sandria's husband Michael kindly took some photos for us and these should be added to this report soon.

Final details to follow for Amberley on the 31st.

John C

Monday, 11 August 2014

Arundel Festival and Amberley Museum Ale & Music Festival

For anybody who hasn't received this information by email, here's the latest news from John:

We have two possibilities for August to encourage new members to join us by knocking the occasional pair of hosiery off the general public!

Arundel Festival, Folk Weekend, Saturday 16th, 3.00pm to 5.00pm, acoustic stage Tarrant Square, Tarrant Street:

I should explain why this different date has suddenly appeared when the blog and the flyers put us there on the 24th. A miscommunication with the organisers (both sides to blame), despite us having appeared on the same weekend for the last two years, left us with no performance slot on that Sunday. We have been given the above slot because a 'noir progressive acoustic folk band' have cancelled leaving a void in the programme for the day which would enable us to provide a less 'Goth' regressive joyful range of our most practised repertoire to the assembled multitude! I know it's very short notice, but if you could register your ability to perform at the event by Wednesday evening at the latest to me, I can then confirm with the organisers that we will be there, otherwise there will be a lonely empty stage.

Amberley Museum Ale, Food & Music Festival, Sunday 31st, 12.00 - 13.00hrs (note the possibly longer slot), on the amplified Bus Stage adjacent to the 'Limeburners Restaurant':

No problem here for members already volunteering to appear, but I need to provide Ruth with a final list of performers' names for ticking off at the entrance, with a cut off date for emailing me of the 23rd. Singers wishing to attend the event after midnight on that date will unfortunately have to pay the full entrance fee on the day.

John C

Song List for Amberley

NB The list below was compiled before we heard from John about the possibility of a longer slot.

Here is the song list for the Amberley event on 31st August.

This is only a suggestion of running order, making sure we start with a song with which we are all very familiar and ending, before "A Jolly Good Song", with an upbeat song and again one with which we are all confident.
  1. Twankey Dillo
  2. On Sussex Hills
  3. Fathom The Bowl
  4. Gooches Beer
  5. West Sussex Drinking Song
  6. Glorious Ale
  7. The Nightingale Song
  8. Rolling Home
  9. Thousands Or More
  10. Half A Pint Of Burtons

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Extra Session At The Beechwood

Here are a couple of updates for our public performances at Arundel and Amberley:
  • Arundel Festival, 24th August: We are still not exactly sure what performance opportunities are being offered to us and consequently a decision has has not yet been made on whether we will be performing there. There will be more information here when it's available. If you would like to sing at Arundel, please give your name to John C as the number of singers wanting to participate may influence our decision on whether to perform.
  • Amberley Museum Ale, Food & Music Festival, 31st August: There will be an extra practice session at the Beechwood, Worthing on 20th August to prepare us for our performance at this event (and also for Arundel if we are performing there). If you are going to sing at Amberley, please give your name to John C otherwise you may have to pay to get in!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

SUN Event at Falmer Campus – 12 July 2014

The Sussex U3A Network held an open day to share an exhibition of work that many local groups had produced for their South Downs Project and organisers had invited us to join in – probably because of our name. About 22 attended in the Checkland Building at Brighton University and could enjoy a variety of ways to celebrate our area through Geology, Natural History, Walking groups, Art and Music.

taken by a member of the audience
In the Asa Briggs Theatre, at 2pm, a group of singers presented a set of folk songs – they came from seven different U3A groups and had never rehearsed as a whole before and stood in a straight line. Then a play reading finished early and we were ushered forward to start ahead of schedule before the audience wandered off. Tina acted as pitch finder and time keeper while Adrian introduced the songs. We were an equal number of men and ladies, which included Margaret and Mac from the Lewes Group who were singing at their first SDFS event. Our performance was well received and Adrian managed to sell another 3 CDs. We were followed by the Crowborough U3A Choir dressed in black and white with keyboard scarves or ties with a repertoire of old favourites from Shows (which were not connected to the South Downs).

We were wearing a variety of blues, greens and white and standing behind our beautiful banner.

The theatre and microphones were an advantage for the sound, but with the glass windows behind us photos taken did not reproduce well. Altogether, I think we appeared better prepared and put our songs across in rather a professional manner. Well done everyone.


Friday, 25 July 2014


Almost all the photos that have been submitted to the blog can now be seen here if you know where to look - and I am about to tell you!

When I looked through the photos Adrian passed on to me that did not yet appear on this blog, I noticed that almost every one related to some particular event. So in the menu above, in place of PHOTOS you will now find EVENT REPORTS. Click on this and you'll see - guess what? - reports for all our previous events (going back to March 2012), many of which include photos.

If you're one of the people who has submitted photos, you may notice that a few have been edited to straighten them up, alter the contrast, or in one set of indoor photos to remove the colour completely (I was present when these were taken and remember the room being partly illuminated by the red glow of heaters on the walls - the original photos are correspondingly very red!). Please tell me if you don't like what I've done.

Some of the event report posts are reconstructions of pages previously produced by Adrian, but which he later deleted from the blog (due to restrictions on the number of 'static pages' that we are allowed). Some others are completely new and I have constructed these from the few fragments of information that I have been able to find - some posts have only photos and some have only a sentence or two. In all there are 16 event report posts which weren't here a week ago. If you are able to provide any useful additional information, or corrections, please contact me.

Also contact me if you have provided any of the photos and would like to be acknowledged. Unfortunately I do not have any information regarding the sources of photos other than what you can already see here.

More photos are welcome!

Keith D (contact me at

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Local Group News – Easebourne Thursdays confirmed venue from August 2014

Following the positive feedback received after meetings at The Three Moles, Selham in June and July we are moving to this location from August until further notice.
The Three Moles is a small traditional pub about a mile south of the A272 between Petworth and Midhurst. Turn off the A272 opposite the Halfway Bridge Inn and follow the road south for just over a mile. There is a hump back bridge soon after the entrance to WL West's wood yard so take care!
Post Code GU28 0PN


Friday, 18 July 2014

Here we are in today's Sussex Express

Here's a press cutting from The Sussex Express, Friday 18th July, 2014. The caption beneath the photo reads "The South Downs Folk Singers, seen here in traditional dress, were among several groups who travelled to Waldshut-Tiengen, Lewes' German twin town, to take part in the Scwyzertag (sic) celebration marking the victory over the Swiss in 1415. The picture shows (left to right) David Garrard, Sue Garrard, Debbie Deadman, Cllr John Lamb, Gaynor Lamb, Steve Allbury, Alan Wheeler and Anne Wheeler. Their singing was described as 'lusty' by the local paper."

Well done to everybody who went for representing us in such excellent fashion.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Local Group Report – Easebourne Thursday 17th July 2014

Twelve stalwart singers (Henny & Steve, Angela & Phil, Anne & Alan, Sue & Dave, Les, Julie, Stephen A, and Sue's mum Muriel) attended a most enjoyable sing at the Three Moles in Selham. The weather was warm and sunny and on arrival we sat outside on the terrace enjoying a cool drink before coming indoors to practise our singing. We sang songs mostly of a drinking nature – in preparation for the Arundel ,Amberley and Bognor Festivals: Fathom the Bowl, Country Life, Twanky Dillo, the Constant Lovers, Oh Good Ale, Ale Glorious Ale, Gooches' Beer, Drink Old England Dry, the West Sussex Drinking Song, Thousands or More, and Stormy Winds, before finishing with a first go at Kipling's The Run Of the Downs and a rousing version of The Mermaid led by no other than Captain Hebley himself! Most of the patrons of the pub sat outside but they were most complimentary about our singing which wafted out of the open doors and windows into the evening air. The pub's acoustic is very good, the landlords – James and Emma – are very welcoming and we all agreed that it is indeed a very nice venue for our monthly sing. Watch this space for confirmation of where we will meet next month.

David G

Monday, 14 July 2014

Schwyzertag Festival

The trip to the Schwyzertag festival in Tiengen near the Rhine in Southern Germany was a great success. A group of eight of us – Debbie Deadman, Steve Allbury, Anne and Alan Wheeler, Sue and David Garrard, Gaynor and John Lamb – had a very enjoyable four days of singing, beer, sightseeing and warm German hospitality. We were put up in a guesthouse a few kilometres outside the town where we were really looked after by the patron Tomas who even cooked us a meal on his evening off.

Fortunately we had two German speakers: David and Steve. David led the singing and introduced our songs in German, his jokes even raised a laugh. The festival, which commemorates the defeat of Swiss invaders in 1415, was well attended and we found ourselves singing to an audience of 4-500 on Saturday and over 700 the following day. It was just as well we had microphones and amplification.

We were glad we had decided to dress up since many of the Germans wore traditional costume. The women in our group wore mob caps, aprons and white blouses, while the men put on brown corduroy trousers, braces, flat caps and a red neckerchief.   We sang Sussex by the Sea (a must we were told), West Sussex Drinking Song and Thousands or More in our first session and Fathom the Bowl, Rosebuds, Thousands or More and Jolly Good Song for the second set. Our efforts were well received. The local paper even described us as lusty, according to David.

SDFS was invited as part of a twinning delegation from Lewes, which included a lively woman’s morris side called the Cuckoo’s Nest and two stonking bands. We are planning to see if any other twinning associations would like a bit of the real Sussex to liven up their events. Gollier.

John Lamb

The barrel is sprung

Saturday, 5 July 2014


Here's a final reminder for everybody singing at the Sussex U3A Network (S.U.N.) event on Saturday 12th July that you will find details of the setlist, lyric sheets, what to wear and everything else you need to know on the event page here.

Looks like it should be an interesting day for all concerned.

Keith D

Horses at War

David G has already provided us with a report, complete with photos, of the recent Horses at War event held at the at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (read it here if you haven't seen it already). John C has now received the appreciative email below from one of the event organisers.

Dear John,

We wish to thank you and your team for your greatly valued participation in our recent Horses at War event. Despite the Saturday morning downpour we enjoyed nearly 4000 visitors over the weekend.

We have received an astounding number of compliments and thank you letters from many of our visitors and staff, with particular reference to the high quality of the displays and exhibits.

Of course the excellent quality of the music and singing was integral to visitor enjoyment!!

Many thanks for all your hard work and effort towards making this event the success that it was! We wish you all the best and look forward to working with you in the future.

Kind regards,

Sue and Kate
The Events Team
Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

So thank you to everyone involved, we can all give ourselves a pat on the back.

Keith D

Monday, 30 June 2014

Thanks - and see you later!

Today I am handing over the blog to IT wizz Keith Dillon.  I took it over from Linda T what seems like ages ago and it's been lots of fun to do.  A big thank you to everyone who reads it - and a big raspberry to those who don't!  It is a very useful way of keeping people updated as to the events and sessions we singers get up to, as well as providing other useful, interesting and relevant information so if you look at it only rarely, you're missing out!

Keith is a great successor and knows far more about the techy stuff than I do so the blog will be in even safer hands!  Thanks Keith.

Right.  Over and out.  See (some of) you on Wednesday at the Beechwood.

Adrian F

Friday, 27 June 2014

To all the singers in the play .....

Tomorrow's the last performance of the Worthing Community Play!  Good luck to the many SDFS singers who have been a part of it all - what a ride!

Adrian F

PS - should we create the SDFS Mummers to take advantage of our acting talents?!

Thursday, 26 June 2014


Links to the lyrics of 37 songs and ten carols are now on the Lyrics and Music page.  More to come in due course!  There may be a few tweaks made but they are broadly correct.

The carols will have another three titles added in time for Christmas: The Falmer Carol, While Shepherds Watched their Flocks By Night (Sweet Chiming Bells version) and Christmas is Now Drawing Near at Hand.

There is a training version of the last one already available.

Adrian F

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

SDFS Committee Meeting

The next SDFS Committee Meeting is scheduled for 31 July.  If you have anything you would like raised, please let the secretary know via the general enquiries e-mail address on the Contact Us page.

Adrian F

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 17th June 2014

At the Royal Oak on 17th June we welcomed new singer David Turner from Brighton (who sings with the Orpheus Choir and is rediscovering folk singing) and returning singer Andy Miller from Lewes (who still works for Harvey's Brewery after 43 years).

We ran through the eight songs on the setlist for the Sussex University of the Third Age Network event on 12th July and then turned our attention to some of the newer songs including Ale Glorious Ale, Constant Lovers, Country Life, Gooch's Beer and Ha'nacker Mill. We have now sung all the 39 songs in our repertoire at least once (except for the carols which we will look forward to starting come October ... but let's not wish the summer away with Amberley and Arundel just around the corner – look out for announcements soon...)


Easebourne tomorrow!

Just another quick reminder, folks: this and next month's Easebourne sessions will be held at The Three Moles, Selham.  More information on the Local Group News page ....

Adrian F

Monday, 16 June 2014

S.U.N. event - Brighton University, 12 July

Coming to the S.U.N. event?  Lyrics for all the songs we will sing at Falmer are now on the dedicated S.U.N. event page below (edited to enable deletion of dedicated page). But then you know them all already, don't you?!

Adrian F

Sussex U3A* Network (S.U.N.) - Saturday 12 July at 3pm
- Celebration of 'Sussex and the South Downs' project

This is a follow-up to the e-mail sent out last Wednesday, 11 June.

The S.U.N. event celebrates the history, natural history, literature, art, crafts, music, industry and traditions of the South Downs and aims to have 10-12 musical performances of about 20 minutes each.  With this in mind, I’ve put together the following setlist adding up to around 21 minutes (download the lyrics here):

Fathom the Bowl
Hard Times of Old England  
All things are Quite Silent
On Sussex Hills
Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun
Life of a Man
Rosebuds in June
Thousands or More 

These songs cover class / politics / poverty; drinking and festivity; farming and industry; life cycles; love and loss; nature; roving; the sea and the seasons.  As an acknowledgement to the anniversary of the Great War it includes a couple of our gentler new war-themed songs which we can go through at the sessions in Lewes on 17th June, Easebourne on 19th June and Worthing on 2nd July. 

The comments on the blog and from singers at Horses at War regarding a dress code seem to indicate a majority wanting some kind of identity - but not a uniform.  A couple of people have suggested green for the Downs and blue for the sea and I thought we could try this out for this event with added white and / or cream for a more summery feel.

So basically, any kind of clothing / hat / buttonhole of your choice in any shade or combination of green / blue / white / cream.  All of which should accommodate Lincoln green SDFS polo shirts (if you have one) blue jeans, pale chinos, summery dresses, straw hats and anything else anyone may wish to wear.

We need to know how many singers will attend so please let me know as soon as possible at

Any questions?  Send them to me at too.


PS - a reminder of the details:

Event details:
The overall event will all take place over three floors in the Checkland Building, University of Brighton (Falmer campus) between 10.30am and 3.30pm.  We will be singing in that building.  There will be many stands, suitable for all ages, displaying the wide range of activities promoted by the project.
More details from the website here. 

Getting there:
The Falmer campus is adjacent to the Brighton & Hove F.C. Stadium.  There is free entry for the public and free parking.  It is easily reached by train (Falmer) or bus (23, 25 direct; 28, 29 to Sussex University - alight opposite Falmer station).

* University of the Third Age

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Horses at War

We sang for a full 50 minutes outside in the sun at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Horses at War event on Saturday 6th June and our songs were very well received by an appreciative audience. In my humble opinion, we sang the best we have ever sung out of doors, thanks largely to the spirited conducting by our musical director Emily Longhurst and also the beautiful singing of Amaryllis Gunn and her quartet, ably backed by the rest of the group. But as you can see from the smiles in the photos, the big reward for us is to meet and sing and be happy together. First outing for the new SDFS banner too!

Let's have more of these events please!


David G

Friday, 13 June 2014

Sussex U3A Network (S.U.N.) Celebration of 'Sussex and the South Downs' project

Further to the e-mail sent out last Wednesday (11th June) Tina has now put together a dedicated page for the S.U.N. event on 12th July, with setlist and what-to-wear info!  This is a real chance to get ourselves a little more known in the east so have a look at the page and make it a date!

Adrian F

Thursday, 12 June 2014

VENUE CHANGE - Easebourne sessions, 19 June and 17 July

If you are planning to go to the Easebourne session this month and in July, please note that they will be held at

The Three Moles
West Sussex
GU28 0PN

The Three Moles is small traditional pub about a mile south of the A272 between Petworth and Midhurst.  Turn off the A272 opposite the Halfway Bridge Inn and follow the road south for 1 1/2 km (1 mile).  There is a hump back bridge soon after the entrance to WL West's wood yard so take care!

The sessions should return to the White Horse at Easebourne in August - but keep an eye on the blog for up-to-date information.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Come and join in!

Are you coming to the monthly sessions?  There are three song sessions every month, at Lewes, Worthing and Midhurst - so there's bound to be one near you!  Unless you're reading this in Cumbria, of course.  Come along and stretch your lungs, meet some great people and wrap your larynx around the wonderful folksong of the South Downs.

We ask for a modest contribution of around £2 per session - but it's voluntary so if you need to keep something back for the bus fare home, that's ok.

See you soon!

Adrian F

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Horses at War

It went very well, my sources tell me.

What did you think?  If you were one of the singers yesterday, write and tell me what you thought and I'll put something on the blog.

If you are not (yet!) one of the South Downs Folk Singers but watched us sing, why not write and say what you thought of us?  Did you enjoy our songs and our singing?  Are we any good?  Would you recommend us to a friend?!

Adrian F

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


Thanks to "Anonymous" x 3 for your comments in the last 24 hours - it's great to have some involvement and feedback.

But please put your name to your comment so that a more meaningful exchange can take place: any thread (if one develops) is tricky to follow if all contributors are called "Anonymous" !!

Keep 'em coming!

Adrian F

New SDFS blog header!

So .... do you like the new header to the blog?  Designed by a Jolly Nice Lady called Clare Mullineux, it replaces the well-used and well-loved original design introduced by the South Downs Songs Project all those years ago.  It will also be used on a new banner for us to display at events, leaving our enraptured audience in no doubt as to who we are!

Stationery and publicity will also carry the new design.

Adrian F

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

SDFS Dress Code (yes, really!)

Should we adopt a particular style of dress or uniform when we sing at events?

It would enable us to build up an image - something that would be recognizable from event to event, helped by our new banner.  The issue has been raised before, with some people adamantly against it and others going so far as to print shirts with logos.  I think consistency is important here (ie we'd all have to wear it - at all events) - but also a rationale.  Why would we do this if we perform at, say, just six events a year plus a similar number of local events?  John Lamb and the team have a 'uniform appearance' planned for the German trip - but no uniform as such.  Indeed, is uniformity in general compatible with our professed background - namely casual singing for pleasure in the pub for ourselves and anyone else who cares to listen?

The committee discussed this at the May meeting and would now like your views.  What's it to be?  Dungarees with SDFS standard issue pieces of straw for our worn out hats?  Or a smart lincoln green polo shirt with a neat embroidered SDFS logo above the left breast?

Let us hear what you think - you can use the 'Comment' facility below (click on 'comments').

Adrian F

Monday, 2 June 2014

Keep on checking!

It's a very good idea to check in often with Folksinging Central - ie this weblog!  Here you will find all the news about the SDFS, what we are doing and where we are doing it, updated frequently for your delight and delictation!

If you are singing at a main (ie whole group) event (as opposed to a normal monthly session) please let John C know if you are coming.  (If it's a local event, please let the local admin person know.)  This is important for logistical reasons (parking, passes / permits, general numbers - will there be enough of us etc).  Contact details are, unsurprisingly, on the Contact Us page.

If you need or can offer transport, please also let John or the local person know.  We can then make sure that everyone can get there and back.

Adrian F

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesdays 15th April and 20th May 2014

– and looking forward to 17th June ....
A few of our regulars were away on holiday or taking part at other events such as the Brighton Festival but we were pleased to be joined by returning singers Rona Couper from Hove, Penny Steel from Brighton and a new singer Frances Ocean – also from Brighton.

We mainly rehearsed the songs for the Horses at War event (see here for the report and photos from this enjoyable and well-received performance).  Several of the newer songs for 2014 were started and we also sang some old favourites, in particular The Moon Shone Bright, a request from Penny who just likes it, hadn't heard it for a while and and thinks it a shame that such lovely old carols are only aired in the latter part of the year.

At the next session on 17th June we will reprise eight of the Horses at War songs for the Sussex University of the 3rd Age Network event at the University of Brighton on 12th July (details here).  If you would like to sing in this event please e-mail me at  Do come along to the Royal Oak session next week – you will be very welcome!  If you can't make it, there will also be runthrough sessions in Worthing and Easebourne (see Diary Dates).  The lyrics for these songs will be on the blog shortly so you will be able to learn / brush up your words between sessions. 

I look forward to seeing you soon.