New Singers

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New singers  are always welcome to join us – read more

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

South Downs Folk Singers Wassail!

We will soon be welcoming the new year with our “Wassail” gathering in the evening of 23rd January, 2016 at the Heene Gallery, Heene Road 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 quickly and secure your tickets NOW by contacting Margo (NB not Henny as previously given here and as given erroneously in the email you may have received), 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!)


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Slindon Apple Day

A brief report on Slindon Apple Day was published a month ago, but the photos have only just been added. See them here.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Sweet Chiming Bells

Here's the recording we made of Sweet Chiming Bells at the Beechwood on Wednesday 2nd December.

You can download the audio file using one of the links below. It's available in different file sizes with the larger files giving better audio quality. However, unless you have good equipment, quiet surroundings and discerning ears, you may struggle to hear any difference between these.

Sweet_Chiming_Bells_128kbps.mp3 128kbps 2.93MB
Sweet_Chiming_Bells_192kbps.mp3 192kbps 4.40MB
Sweet_Chiming_Bells_320kbps.mp3 320kbps 7.33MB
Sweet_Chiming_Bells.flac lossless 17.5MB (your computer or audio player may not recognise this format)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Find us on Facebook

For some time now we've had a page on Facebook, which you can find here. For future use you will also find a link to this in the column to the left, below the Twitter panel. Thanks to Colin for setting this up for us.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Haywards Heath 'Winter Festival' – Saturday 28th November

We have 17 Singers so far supporting this event (as at 16th Nov) but it would be great if some more of you could come.

Festive hats etc optional, song set list as used at the WADOAMuseum 'Christmas Market' last Sunday.

Our initial set is in the Orchards Shopping Precinct commencing at 11.15am with cover and general amplification, so gather at 11.00am there. Please car share if possible.

Our base for the day is St Wilfred's Hall (see map below) where parking is available, as well as the other car parks in the town which are free for the day. There will be free beverages, warmth and clean toilets there. The best way to get there is from Church Road, turn into St Wilfred's Way.

After refreshment we will sing a song or two at three other locations in the town which can be under cover if the weather is inclement.

There is a large torchlight procession as it gets dark, dragging the Yule Log to the park for burning, with fireworks to follow.

Contact mobile on the day is 07542 167828.

For further information about this event see

John C

Some Christmas Singing Events

Don’t forget the M.S. Centre’s Christmas Fundraiser at Sainsbury’s in Hove on Saturday 12th December (arrive 10.15 for an 11.00am start). For more details and to confirm your availability to join in the singing please contact Sidney, via the SDFS email address, a.s.a.p.

Also – see our Proposed Events Page for details of an invitation to sing at “Christ Church” in Worthing (known to many as the location of the ‘Worthing Community Play’ last year) in the evening on 17th December.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Brighton Pub Carols: Singing Dates

Following the rehearsals now underway, the actual pub dates (same venues as last year) are:

Tues 15th Dec at The Hartington, Whippingham Road (8pm)
Sat 19th Dec at The Sir Charles Napier, Southover Street (7.30pm - but get there VERY early...)
Tues 22nd Dec at The Park Crescent, Park Crescent (8pm)

For more details, including of the rehearsals, see here.

Adrian F

Friday, 13 November 2015

Singing at "The Mockingbird Cafe" on Saturday 5th December 2015

Please see the invitation to sing at "The Mockingbird Cafe" on the Proposed Events page. Don't forget to email Amaryllis if you want to join in.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

N.T.’s Slindon ‘Apple Day’, 10th October 2015

A great day and we were very lucky with the weather, thank you to all the singers for your support. Katie sends her thanks below. Note we are invited to attend the Wassail on 16th January and next year’s event.
“Please thank the South Downs Folk Singers for coming too, we really appreciated them coming along to sing. Folk music, singing and dancing have always been at the heart of English traditional festivals, fetes and get-togethers, and so it felt very right that you were there singing traditional songs. So many people commented on how much atmosphere the music, singing and Morris dancing gave the event. I do hope you would like to come again next year.

Our Wassail is on the evening of 16th January if you would like to come along to enjoy the event or to sing, which would be brilliant!”
John C

Thank you again to John for following up The Slindon Apple Fair event. The venue was rural and the weather autumnal but calm. One of the first to arrive was Steven who tried his face at apple bobbing and then had to dry his jacket out by draping it over the hawthorn hedge in true traveller style. Most of us only caught the aroma of pressed apples and pizza! And just admired the wonderfully colourful display of apples and pears – not a ladder in sight.

We gathered in front of the music marquee and had our biggest audience yet because there were straw bales and deck chairs for the visitors to sit on. Again Bright Phoebe winked at us on cue. Thank you to Emily for keeping us on track with smiles and passion and thank you to Dave for doing the links.

After our first set of songs we could either listen to Phil and Jane (Bang on the Ear) or watch Fishbourne Morris and, after our second set, Said the Maiden entertained the crowds (Lady Maisery style) with traditional songs like Spencer the Rover from the Copper Song Book and some of their own compositions. Said the Maiden can be found on YouTube and Facebook.

Slindon is a lovely village to walk around. The clever display and annual sale of pumpkins was on and the parish church open, as well as the Jubilee Orchard and the Forge Café.


The first photos are from Amaryllis and show Steven apple bobbing.

Head in...
Got one!
Was it worth it?

Here are some photos from Angela B:

And photos from Peter B:

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Weald & Downland Christmas Market – Sunday 15th November

Once again it's that time of year, gird up your loins and give those punters at the Market a seasonal blast they’ll never forget! Rambling Sid Rumpo ( Kenneth Williams)

The 120 exhibitor stalls for this year were completely booked up before Christmas last year with similar large numbers of visitors over both days. 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 around the Gridshell @ 1.00 to 1.30pm (gather outside by 12.45pm), 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, so get there early if you don’t want to be stuck in a traffic jam.
Fast track the entry queues by showing your wristbands at the Friends kiosk on entering from the overflow car park (you don’t have to wear them on your wrist).
The song list is below for both sets, and wear something seasonal in whatever form you fancy on the day!
John C )

The Holly and the Ivy
Deck the Hall
The Falmer Carol (See Seraphic Throngs)
Sussex Carol (Horsham)
Christmas is now Drawing Near at Hand
The Sussex Mummers Carol (Righteous Joseph)
The Holly Bears a Berry (Sans Day Carol)
Sweet Chiming Bells
Wassail, Wassail
We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Thursday, 15 October 2015

New Christmas Songs

Here are links to download pdf files and a piano recording for the two new Christmas songs that were introduced at the last Beechwood singing session.

Coppers' Christmas Song pdf

Coppers' Christmas Song piano recording mp3

Christmas Now Is Drawing Near At Hand pdf

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Brighton Pub Carols

Lo - the musical star is rising in the east once more! Well, Brighton, anyway.

Indeed, the Brighton Pub Carols are with us again, as delivered by the Napier Quire, augmented by ourselves. Rehearsals start on Tuesday 10th November and run weekly until 8th December. We then take the results of our labours to pubs around Brighton in the days leading up to Christmas.

If you would like to become part of the 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. This is the most fun you will ever have singing carols and is coupled with a wonderful sense of cameraderie – perfect seasonal behaviour!

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.

The pub sessions will be announced on the blog in due course. Photos from last year are in the December 2014 news archive here and the facebook page is here – carols (words and some music) can be downloaded from there.

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

Friday, 9 October 2015

Singing at Slindon Apple Fair, Saturday 10th October 2015

Update 9th Oct: song 9 in the second set is now West Sussex Drinking Song

Parking is in the field behind the Village Hall / Forge Cafe / Village Shop.

Gather at latest 11.45hrs for 12.00 first performance.

First set:
  1. Country life
  2. On Sussex Hills
  3. West Sussex Drinking Song
  4. Nightingale
  5. Life of a Man
  6. Hard Times
  7. Dancing at Whitsun
  8. Fathom
  9. Rosebuds
  10. Thousands
  11. Jolly Good Song

Second set:
  1. Twankey Dillo
  2. On Sussex Hills
  3. Green grow the Laurel
  4. Old Adam
  5. Ale Glorious Ale
  6. Life of a Man
  7. Rosebuds
  8. Ebernoe Horn Fair
  9. West Sussex Drinking Song
  10. Sussex by the Sea
  11. Jolly Good Song

Monday, 5 October 2015

Xtra Singing Session for Xmas Songs

PLEASE NOTE – Our Christmas preparations are under way!!

We will be having an EXTRA Singing Session at The Beechwood Hall Hotel in Worthing on Wednesday 28th October at 7.30 pm to work on (and enjoy singing) our ‘Christmas' songs in readiness for the seasonal performances we have planned for November (see the Diary Dates and Events pages for more details of these).

So, if you are going to be singing with us at these events, please do join us if you can on 28th October at the Beechwood.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A Celebration of Folklore in Sussex and the South Downs

Here's a message passed on from Julie T about the Celebration of Folklore in Sussex and the South Downs. We were unable to sing at this event as we didn't have enough singers, but two of our singers, Alan and Anne from Cotillion, will be performing here.

A Celebration of Folklore in Sussex and the South Downs
Saturday 31st October 2015, 2-4 pm
Cloisters, Bishop Otter Campus, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 6PE

The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy is hosting a celebration of folklore in Sussex and the South Downs, with stories and songs, to celebrate our new illustrated map of local folklore created with the kind support of the South Downs National Park.

Dr Steve O’Brien will read ‘St Dunstan and the Devil’, Joanna Gilar will perform ‘The Witch of Ditchling’ and Cotillion will introduce the audience to a selection of Sussex folk songs for this special Hallowe’en event. With Special Guest of Honour Prof. Jacqueline Simpson, without whom the map would not have been created.

You can download the map of folklore for free here:

Tickets £5/£3 concessions; free to University staff and students. Contact to reserve your ticket or for more information.

With thanks for your time,

Heather Robbins
Assistant at the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy

Southdowns Folk Festival, Bognor – 27th September 2015

Angela B

Peter B

All photos below thanks to Barbara S

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

SDFS at the Southdowns Folk Festival, Sunday 27th September 2015

Here's the latest information for singers going to the Southdowns Folk Festival in Hotham Park, Bognor, where we will be performing on the Bandstand Stage. Please be there by 11.45am at the very latest to be ready to sing at midday. There is usually street parking available in the estates to the north of the A259 above the University Campus with a 5-10 minute walk.

Download a site map using this link.

You can see what else is going on at the Folk Festival here. There is much to see and to listen to!

Song List
  1. Country Life
  2. On Sussex Hills
  3. West Sussex Drinking Song
  4. The Nightingale
  5. Life of a Man
  6. Hard Times of old England
  7. Dancing at Whitsun
  8. Fathom the Bowl
  9. Rosebuds in June
  10. Thousands or More
  11. Jolly Good Song

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Singing at the Worthing Beach Clean and Coastal Fair – Saturday 19th September

With thanks to Barbara and Amaryllis for their work on this.

Please arrive by 12.30pm to meet on the seafront at the Beach House grounds – this is east of Worthing pier and near to the new Splashpoint Leisure Centre (postcode BN11 2EN), the replacement for the Aquarena. We will need to be ready to sing at 12.45pm. The suggested song list is below.

[ If you have to ask for directions, be sure not to get Splashpoint (the leisure centre) confused with Splash Point (which is where the Rowing Club is). Also don't get Beach House (the Regency beach-side villa) confused with The Beach House Bar-Café or The Beach House Hotel. ]

If possible please bring some spare copies of the song words – it’s been suggested we might try to get the audience to join in the singing.

FYI - Earlier in the day there will be breakfast on sale before the Big Beach Clean-up starts at 10.00am – and a free paella lunch afterwards for the registered volunteers! So do arrive early and join in if you can. Various other stalls and activities will be available during the day.

(For more details go to the “Transition Town Worthing” website:

Song List
  1. Country Life
  2. On Sussex Hills
  3. The Nightingale Song
  4. West Sussex Drinking Song
  5. Thousands Or More
  6. Sussex By The Sea

Arundel Festival – 31st August 2015

Here are some photos from Amaryllis of us singing in the Market Square in Arundel, after our performance on the stage in Jubilee Gardens.

Monday, 14 September 2015

A.G.M. Notice

Wednesday October 7th 2015 at the Beechwood Hall Hotel in Worthing. To start at 7.00 p.m. to precede our singing session.

The AGM is not only a necessary formality but also a chance to celebrate and review the achievements of our second year as the independent “South Downs Folk Singers”, and to look ahead and make plans for our next year. As usual, the Meeting Minutes file, the Constitution and the Accounts will all be available to view – and there will be the annual Elections for our Committee.

At the meeting the current Committee will effectively resign to allow for the elections, and although they may stand again for re-election new and additional candidates are always welcome.

If you are interested in contributing your ideas and energies to the Committee and would like to be a candidate in the Elections please let us have your name, the name of another singer who is willing to nominate you, and another happy to second this.

You do not have to take on a specific role on the Committee to be a member of it – but just to say – there are vacancies for the following: Minutes Secretary and Publicity Officer, and if you can help out with either of these tasks that will be of great help to us all!

Also, we need to cover for the absence of our Treasurer during 2016. Our current Treasurer will be away for much of next year, but hopes to resume in the autumn of 2016. She will be around until December to handover to her understudy before she goes.

So, if you’re interested in joining the Committee please contact me as soon as possible via the SDFS email address (

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

It may not be easy for all our singers to get to the AGM, even though it is at the most central of our regular singing venues, but it will be great to see as many of you there as possible – for the meeting first and to enjoy the singing afterwards.

See you at The Beechwood, 7.00pm, October 7th.

Henny (Chairperson)

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

'Secrets of the Heath', Petersfield, Sunday 6th September 2015

Update Friday 4th September:  Please note the song list has been revised.

Here are the details for singers participating at this event.

We will use the same song list as Arundel and singers should arrive by 12.45hrs. The programme for this event indicates our performance will take place 1.15-2.00pm in the 'Amphitheatre'.

Song List (revised 4th September)
  1. Old Adam
  2. Twankey Dillo
  3. On Sussex Hills
  4. Drink My Brave Boys
  5. Green Grow The Laurel
  6. Fathom The Bowl
  7. Life Of A Man
  8. Glorious Ale
  9. Country Life
  10. Come Write Me Down
  11. Rosebuds In June
  12. Gooches Beer
  13. The Nightingale Song
  14. Home Lads, Home
  15. Thousands Or More
  16. Half A Pint Of Burtons

Here is the organisers' map showing the location of the 'Amphitheatre', which is close to the 'Main Arena':

Please be aware: the organisers have produced this map 'upside down' - north is at the bottom, not at the top as it is on the map on the flier above. Use this link to see the location of the Amphitheatre on Google Maps (the right way up!), which will also allow you to obtain directions to Petersfield Heath and public transport options.

See the official website for this event, where you can download the full programme of events for the weekend.

2015 SDFS Events Programme Update

Here's an update from John C regarding the present situation (as at 30th August) with regard to the various main events we have committed to till the end of the year. NB The times given are the times of our various performances, not the times when singers will need to arrive.

Petersfield 'Secrets of the Heath': Sunday 6th September, 13.15-14.00hrs
15 have volunteered. We are in the amplified Amphitheatre in the middle of the site. Amaryllis has been asked to lead, a volunteer for song announcements would be appreciated.

South Downs Folk Festival: Sunday 27th September, 12.00-12.30hrs (note shorter slot)
17 have volunteered. Amplified main bandstand stage. Emily to lead, one-liners for song announcements due to the shorter set.

Slindon Apple Fair: Saturday 10th October, time to be confirmed at meeting next week
21 have volunteered. Amplified open-fronted marquee. Emily to lead, David with song announcements.

Chichester University Halloween Folklore Event: Saturday 31st October, 14.00-16.00hrs
11 have volunteered. This will be similar to the March Slindon Church event with us singing in between other contributions. There was some confusion by the organiser's change of date to early on the preceding Tuesday evening, but the event is now back on the Saturday. We don't have a lead or a song announcer, so unless there are more volunteers available for the confirmed date, I will probably have to cancel asap.

WADOAMuseum Christmas Market: Sunday 15th November, times tbc but 2 sets
11 have volunteered. As before this is an event where you will need a pass to enter freely to the site. Emily leading, song announcer to volunteer.

Winter Festival Haywards Heath: Saturday 28th November, 11.15-12.00hrs
13 have volunteered. The Orchard Shopping Precinct is providing us with an open fronted marquee for our two sets, and we will have the church hall with warmth and free beverages to use during the day. Lead and song announcer to be decided.

Uppark House: December
The kind N.T. request to take part in the 19thC themed event in December at Uppark House has been provisionally deferred to December 2016 due to Singers' other commitments, much as we deferred our visit to 'Bateman's' by a year with such good results. There is also the possibility of contributing to an event at Hinton Ampner next year as well.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Update for Arundel Festival, Monday 31st August 2015

Here's the latest news from John for meeting before we sing:

If the weather is wet as predicted then we will not have a warm up down Mill Road but will congregate in the foyer of the Arundel Museum at 12.00hrs, as it is just adjacent to the performance venue. If the heavy rain has cleared then we will meet at the original site for a couple of songs.

The original details for our singing are here.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Harmony Workshop Recordings

Those who went to our recent harmony workshop held in the Beechwood Hall Hotel in Worthing (and perhaps some others who didn't go) may like to refer to recordings of the songs. These are available for download as mp3 files here. Thanks to Julie T for recording these and also of course to Emily for presenting the workshop.

If your interest is in the men's bass parts, please contact Tina via for more recordings.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Coastal Fair and Beach Clean Event on Saturday 19th September

Our participation at this event has been proposed by Barbara S and you can read more about this on the Proposed Events page. If you would like to support this event, please respond as requested on that page.

This is our first proposed event to go on the Proposed Events page, following the procedure described in this post.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

SDFS at Arundel Festival, Monday 31st August 2015

Update Sunday 30th August:

If the weather is wet as predicted then we will not have a warm up down Mill Road but will congregate in the foyer of the Arundel Museum at 12.00hrs, as it is just adjacent to the performance venue. If the heavy rain has cleared then we will meet at the original site for a couple of songs.

[These original instructions are now superseded by the notice above. To enable us to have a few songs 'Warm Up' prior to appearing on the River Stage and avoid standing outside on a very crowded pavement for any length of time, we will meet at 11.30 hrs a bit further down Mill Road from the Castle Gates, on the wide grass verge adjacent to the Pitch & Putt. If the weather forecast is poor check the website the previous day to see if arrangements have altered, but we will stick to the arrangement if at all possible and be ready to enter the holding area of the stage at 12.00hrs.]

Dave G will introduce each song briefly, and we will decide before we go on stage which songs can be dropped because of time considerations. I have confirmed that the actual slot is 12.15 to 13.00 hrs.

Parking will be even tighter on Bank Holiday Monday. As usual I will be parking on the other side of the A27 off Ford Road, up Torton Hill Road which is a leisurely 10 minute stroll to our meeting place via the footpath under the A27 road bridge, and then through to Tarrant Street.

My mobile on the day is 07902 475620, look forward to seeing you there.

John C

Song List
  1. Twankey Dillo
  2. On Sussex Hills
  3. Green Grow The Laurel
  4. Hard Times Of Old England
  5. Fathom The Bowl
  6. Gooches Beer
  7. Eileen Aroon
  8. Life Of A Man
  9. West Sussex Drinking Song
  10. Old Adam
  11. Glorious Ale
  12. Country Life
  13. Rosebuds In June
  14. The Nightingale Song
  15. Thousands Or More
  16. Sussex By The Sea
  17. Half A Pint Of Burtons

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

John Lamb and Gaynor Gilbert at Lewes Saturday Folk Club

John Lamb and Gaynor Gilbert are being featured on 22nd August at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club (their Saturdays in August are always Come All Ye sessions).

For more information see this Facebook page.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Bateman's – 2nd August 2015

Here's a comment on the day from Emily (originally posted on this page):

What a lovely day! Singing in such a beautiful place under a warm sun and a blue sky. We sang through a fairly long set with undiminished feeling and gusto much to the delight of the gathered listeners. Jonny tells me we could be heard clear as bells down by the mill! It was great to hear all three groups singing together, a rich sound indeed, especially with a few more harmonies emerging, practiced or spontaneous!
Many thanks to John for arranging our participation in the day, so great to be able to sing there and to have the chance to look all around the delightful garden and the house, one of the many riches of being a part of the SDFS!
And thanks to you all for your wonderful voices, moving, delightful and rousing in equal measure. I look forward to next time!

Angela B

John C
John C

John C

Keith D



My Boy Jack

Kipling's poem My Boy Jack is often thought to be about the loss of his son, but there is some debate about this.

In one of the rooms at Bateman's these notes (click on the image to see it enlarged) are displayed about extracts from Kipling's writing read by Ralph Fiennes. Number 7 reads:
"My Boy Jack, Kipling's heart-breaking poem often mistakenly assumed to be about the loss of his son, who was always known as John. Nevertheless the emotion reflected must stem from his grief."
This page on the Kipling Society website throws further light on this. Scroll down the page to the section headed "The ‘Jack’/John confusion" to read more.

A couple of very old recordings on YouTube of My Boy Jack set to music may be of interest:

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

SDFS at N.T. Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex, Sunday 2nd August 2015

Here's a message from John for all singers who are performing at Bateman's on 2nd August:

Dear Singers,

We have been invited to sing two sets for the event commemorating the centennial of the First World War at this fine 17thC house and gardens, that was the home of Rudyard Kipling and his family (My Boy Jack). Emily and Amaryllis will be leading us.

The site opens to the public from 11.00 hrs so we need to be there at the latest by 10.45 hrs. We will meet in the car park adjacent to the ticket office and then proceed in a group to our first set's location TBC. Our first set will commence at 11.15 hrs till 12.00 hrs and then there will be a break for various noisy events and the Heathfield Silver Band to perform their set. We then sing our second set at 14.30 hrs in the Mulberry Garden on the SW corner of the house.

If you still have poppies from last year's remembrance events then please wear them, otherwise the same combinations of dress as at last month's Alfriston event will be great.

There will be a practice session at the Beechwood Hotel on the 29th July from 19.30 hrs.

As it's quite a distance to the venue, car sharing has been suggested, as we will have parking allocated for us. So if you are volunteering for the day please when you email John Crane at to confirm, please state whether you are able to give a lift to other singers, or would like a lift and where you are coming from, and then we may be able to match you up. I personally have two spaces available starting from Littlehampton.

I will not be able to reply to your email acceptances until next Sunday as I am at the Vernacular Architecture Conference in Cumbria, so bear with me until then.

Here's hoping that we can field a good turnout, as it will be our first National Trust site, with perhaps more to follow as the word spreads.

John C

Song List
  1. On Sussex Hills
  2. Old Adam
  3. The Nightingale
  4. Ha'nacker Mill
  5. All Things Are Quite Silent
  6. Hard Times Of Old England
  7. My Boy Jack
  8. Dancing At Whitsun
  9. Life Of A Man
  10. Thousands Or More
  11. Fathom The Bowl
  12. Rosebuds In June
  13. West Sussex Drinking Song
  14. Home Lads, Home
  15. Sussex By The Sea

Friday, 26 June 2015

Practice at the Beechwood for Bateman’s on 2nd August

There will be an EXTRA singing evening on Wednesday July 29th, 7.30 p.m., at the Beechwood Hall Hotel in Worthing.

Some extra time to prepare for our performance at “Bateman’s” on Sunday 2nd August 2015 – so if you’re planning to sing with us on the 2nd come and join us on the 29th too!


We now have a number of Performance Events booked and listed on our SDFS Diary Page – with thanks to John our Events Organiser for his hard work. In addition to these larger events many of our singers have expressed interest in singing at smaller or more local events and occasions, which may require fewer singers.

After discussions about how best to get these smaller events onto our programme (but leave John’s time free to focus primarily on the larger, Main, events) it has been suggested that the smaller occasions could be managed by the singer bringing the event to the SDFS’ attention, or by any other singer willing to take this on.

SO – If you have had an invitation, or have an idea, for the SDFS to perform at such an event – AND you or another singer are willing to manage the arrangements for SDFS to participate – then, providing there are no major clashes with an event already listed and enough singers are available, the event will be added to the others listed on our website.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO if you would like to add a small or local Event to the performance list ....
  1. Let John know the event details as soon as possible (you can contact him via the SDFS email address, and please include a brief notice about the event which he will forward to Keith our Web Administrator to post on our website’s new “Proposed Events” page. (A prompt to this will appear on the “Latest News” page.)

  2. The notice must provide details of the event and the contribution the SDFS is being asked to make – name the singer who is leading on the arrangements, – and invite singers (from any locality) to respond to them if they would like to join in (giving a closing date for replies). (The SDFS email address can be given for replies, to avoid personal contact details being displayed, and John will forward the messages to the nominated singer in charge.)

  3. Please let John know the names of any singers volunteering who have not used the SDFS address for their reply, and also keep him up to date with plans and progress (so that he can maintain an overview of all our engagements for future planning).

  4. Once singer numbers are known by the given deadline another notice should be prepared and sent to John for Keith to post on the website, to confirm and share final plans if enough singers have volunteered or to cancel if insufficient interest. If the event is confirmed it will be transferred into the “Diary Dates” list.

  5. When choosing the songs for a small group of singers, tried and tested material will enable a more confident performance without needing to arrange extra rehearsals, and if for a more informal occasion a musical lead ‘out front’ may not be necessary.
Let’s celebrate the South Downs Songs whenever and wherever we sing!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Local Group Report – Lewes Tuesday 16th June 2015

Twelve singers – Adrian, Angela B, Cat, Dave T, Dawn, John K, Judy, Mac, Margaret, Margo, Maria and Tina – gathered at the John Harvey Tavern. We didn’t sing beside the Ouse (maybe next month when we are doing less note-by-note learning of new songs and harmonies) but we posed for some photos outside in the last of the evening sun before heading back inside to the cosy downstairs Lewes Bar to start singing.

Photo courtesy of Margo

We looked back at the Sussex Day celebrations at Alfriston on Sunday which nine of us had attended (see separate report and photos) and looked ahead to the list of upcoming events, including some further singing opportunities over this side in Burwash and Haywards Heath. We were particularly excited to hear about plans hot off the press a few days ago for a possible 2016 singing trip along the coast on the ‘Waverley’, the oldest ocean going paddle steamer in the world.

Songs covered were My Boy Jack and Home Lads Home (which are likely to feature at the Bateman’s war themed event); Constant Lovers (including hammed-up music hall over the top scooping of notes and general woefulness); new songs Farmer’s Toast, Jim the Carter Lad, Pleasant and Delightful and They Won’t let Us go to Sea Any More; some new or newer harmonies for Rosebuds in June and Fathom the Bowl; an airing of an old favourite Three Maidens which has not been performed for a while; and East Sussex Drinking Song.

Any new singers are very welcome to join us in our sessions, third Tuesday of each month, just turn up with your voice and join in. Next few dates are 21 July, 18 August and 15 September.


Sussex Day Celebrations in Alfriston Village – 14th June 2015

Many of us arrived early to ensure a parking space and we enjoyed a wander around this beautiful village before our first sing at 1pm. Thank you very much to Tina for adapting our set list for the three different venues and setting us off on the right notes. The weather was kind and the National Trust Clergy House garden sheltered us from the wind and the Pentacle Drummers. True to her form, bright Phoebe came shining through the clouds during "Thousands Or More".

At 2pm we sang in the Parish Church and here was probably our biggest audience, although they didn't stay in the pews for long as they seemed to be trying to find a quiet place away from Eastbourne Scottish Bagpipers. Then a leisurely stroll up to The Star Inn to purchase a drink. I think we sounded our best here as Tina managed to sell five CDs. Then it was back down to The Tye where the Hunters Moon Morris were performing and the various stalls were set up.

It was a well-organised event but poorly attended. Unfortunately, there were other celebrations locally - Sussex Day, Magna Carta, Waterloo.... If we think we were too out of the way to attract an audience, then recall that none of the performers actually had a crowd larger than their own number even when in the middle of the Green. So don't feel forsaken or cast down, but rejoice that we could sing to our hearts' content in delightful settings.


Thanks to Peter B for the photos below.