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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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.