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, 27 March 2017

Heathlands Reunited Project

The following information has been received from Stephen A, if you are interested in this please contact him for further details.
The enclosed email from Bruce contains as much as has been decided. The walk on day 2 cover sections 3-6 and I expect our performance to be either at Tullecombe or Borden Wood.

See the Serpents trail guide here:

I would hope to sing:
  • The Stedham Oysterman’s donkey
  • Valiants All
  • The Saucy Sailor
  • and Mayner’s Whip (Farmer Albery’s song)
and I would give a bit of a spiel  about how the songs were collected.

This is the email referred to above, sent to Stephen by the Heathlands Reunited Project Manager:
As part of the Project there are a number of project activities to be carried out over the next 4.5 years

The activity you are interested in - is to work around  a roving storyteller along the Serpent Trail creating heathland tales along the way, particularly stories that reunite the landscape to people’s lives. Two storytelling walks will be held; one around the start of the project to collect and tell the old stories of the heathlands.  The second will be held towards the end of the project to create new stories of the heathlands.  The purpose is to reunite people with their local heathlands; help them to understand the historical links between their community and the landscape.  It is intended people will have learnt more about their heritage and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage. The Project needs 90 people to attend the event and 100 people need to have contributed stories to this activity.  So far the plan is to walk just over 10 miles a day - over six days and it starts on the 17th of July and ends on the 22nd of July.  The walk will be led by Dan Cornell and myself each day.  We are going to aim to take around 20 people each day. Day one will start in Haslemere and end at Iron Hill, day two will start at  Iron Hill and end at Older Hill, day three will be from Older Hill to Petworth, day 4 from Petworth to Sutton End, day 5 starts at Sutton End and ends at Midhurst Common and then the last day starts at Midhurst Common and ends at Petersfield Heath.

The day that we walk through the Borden area is on the 18th of July - so if your team are happy to come and add to the atmosphere by singing some local songs to us walkers that would be much appreciated. We will be stopping around Rake to watch a bit of sword play about the capturing of two of the Essex Gang (Highway men) and then on our way into Harting Combe – Tullecombe and on to Borden. The general plan is to have the wardens of the heath sites talk to us whilst we go through their heath sites and have Dan and myself fill in the gaps but also to have 3 small re-enactment scenes telling stories each day.  To have yourselves come along and sing would be an additional event that will really add into the spirit of this activity. Over the week we are intending to meet a mixture of characters including: Tennyson, Turner, Shepherd (Wind in the Willows illustrator), Elgar and on the last day Fran - for a tour of Ballard’s Brewery.  So as you can see it will hopefully have a little bit to entertain most people’s interest.

“New Songs” – an update and reminder about how new SDFS material can be introduced

We are considering some ‘new’ songs to add to our South Downs Folk Singers collection, to extend our knowledge and enjoyment of the South Downs songs and to give us even more to choose from when we share the songs with the public on our website and at performance events.

For a while the task of sourcing and selecting new material for us all to learn was done by our song leads, but now if any singer attending the local monthly sessions wants to bring another South Downs song to our attention it will be considered by our song leads. Please note: the words and tune (recording or score), or a YouTube or other recording reference, will need to accompany any song suggested. (This process does NOT apply to the extra songs we might occasionally choose to sing or entertain each other with at a local session – unless wanting them to be more generally used by the SDFS.)

Once on a shortlist a new song could then be tried and learned at all of our local sessions and, if favoured by most of the singers, formally ‘adopted’ as a “SDFS" song. This final say will be with the singers – so don’t be shy with your ideas and with your comments, all our singers play an important part in this process!

Ostara 2017

Here is another opportunity to sing and share our songs – at this year’s “Ostara” celebration of the Spring, hosted by the Worthing Downlanders on 2nd April, for further details go to  If enough SDFS voices are together at the event we could contribute a few of our songs as a group, choosing whatever we like on the day.  This is not a formal event and there is no fixed programme, but if you’d like to join in be there by 3-3.30 pm with some song choices in mind, and we’ll give it a go! (For more information or to confirm you will be attending, contact Henny via the SDFS email.)

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 16th March 2017

Sixteen singers arrived for the first official Chichester group session at The Chichester Inn last Thursday. We welcomed newcomers Lyn and Chris and started off the evening with Rosebuds in June, Three Maidens, and Sussex Wedding Song. We looked at singing some appropriate songs for the first SDFS event of the year at the Food and Folk Festival so included The Turnip Hoer, Rolling in the Dew, The Nightingale Song, Where Stormy Winds Do Blow, Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun and Country Life. At the request of our newer members who didn't know them, we sang the two Kipling songs: A Smuggler’s Song and Oak, Ash and Thorn. In between we jollied up the evening with Ale, Glorious Ale, Gooch's Beer, Twanky Dillow, West Sussex Drinking Song and finished off the evening with Rolling Home before doing just that!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Edward Thomas song workshop

(NB - This is NOT about a South Downs Folk Singers event, but posted for your interest and information)

An outdoor singing workshop “Singing in the Spirit of Edward Thomas” is being held on Sunday 9th April 2017 from 2 - 5pm during a day of events to commemorate the centenary of this poet’s death in WW1.

It starts at Steep Village Hall and continues with a walk into the local Hampshire countryside.  For more information and tickets go to

This is the information provided by the organiser:


The writer Edward Thomas was a compulsive walker, he found “deepest ease and joy out of doors”. He was also a keen singer, preferring a folk song “ Beethoven”. He edited a volume of poems and songs for the open air and many of his poems were influenced by music or song in some way. As part of a day of events to commemorate the centenary of his death in WW1, Rebecca will lead a session singing folk songs, rounds and simple part songs inspired by his work. It starts in Steep Village Hall and continues with a walk out into the village and beyond, stopping at suitable points to sing in the beautiful surroundings of the Hampshire countryside. Come and commemorate the writer’s life by doing two of the things he loved!

2-5pm. £10/£5 under 18s

For more information visit

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 1st March 2017

We started our singing with some favourites, Pleasant and Delightful, Rosebuds in June and then Thousands or More, before working on The Farmer’s Toast, Jim the Carter Lad and Follow Me Home. After having heard it sung at our Wassail in January, we then tried and enjoyed a song known to some but not all of us - The Brisk Young Ploughboy. (It was suggested that, if also liked by our Lewes and Chichester colleagues, we could in due course consider adding this one to our SDFS repertoire.) We continued with a mixture of songs by request - Eileen Aroon and Poor Froze-Out Gardeners before a well earned break, and then Sussex Hills, Drink Me Brave Boys and Ha’nacker Mill, before finishing in more spring-like mood with a cheery rendition of Country Life. Many thanks again to Emily and Alan, our song leads for the evening.