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New singers  are always welcome to join us – read more

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Saturday, 23 December 2017

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 21st December 2017

Our last sing together for the current year took the form of a jovial celebration of Christmas and 22 South Downs Folk Singers and friends came to the Chichester Inn armed with poems and songs ready to turn the evening into a bit of a party. We lit candles on the tables and Anne, Alan and Dave brought their guitars, melodeon and recorder to play a few tunes and accompany some of the songs. After a rendering of Silent Night we went around the circle inviting everyone to do their party piece or recommend a favourite song. Anne and Alan gave us Kipling’s poem Eddi’s Service telling the tale of the bleak mid-winter service conducted by Eddi the Priest in the chapel at Manhood End in AD 687. This was followed by The First Noel sung to the tune of Young Banker and While Shepherd’s Watched to the tune of Ilkley Moor bar t'at. We then sang the Sugar Wassail and Gordon recited a lovely Christmas poem he had written. There followed the Coppers’ Christmas Song, Sweet Chiming Bells, the Angel Gabriel, and Masters in this Hall. Stephen recited Robert Louis Stevenson’s Winter-Time and Chris got us all to participate in a rendering of G R Sims’ magnificently melodramatic monologue Christmas Day in the Workhouse! Keith sang the apocryphal Bitter Withy and Alwyn told us all about Snapdragon, a game in which you have to pick nuts and raisins out of a bowl of flaming brandy! Danny and Jenny sang the Hooton Pagnell Wassail from South Yorkshire. Les and Patsy requested the Boar’s Head Carol and Stormy Winds and Sue and Dave finished up the first half with the Cowboy Carol and a comic version of Deck the Halls.

After a break to refill our glasses, we went around the circle again; Anne and Alan treated us to a sprightly version of the Sussex Carol and a lovely rendition of The Terror Time by Ewan MacColl. We then sang more songs and carols, including the Sans Day Carol, Pentonville, the Falmer Carol, Righteous Joseph, Hark the Herald Angels, the Woodcutter’s Song, Here’s a Health to the Company and the round I Heard a Bird sing in the Dark of December. Chris got us all to join in with the hilarious I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and then Keith gave us the more solemn Remember O Thou Man written in 1611 by Thomas Ravenscroft. Time was sadly running out so we had one more from Danny and Jenny – Si Kahn’s beautiful song New Year’s Eve which ends “May the New Year bring you freedom peacefully.” We finally finished up singing We wish You a Merry Christmas and an impromptu Happy Birthday to You to a girl called Beth in the other bar! It had been a fantastic evening. Thanks to everyone for their excellent contributions. We’ll meet again on Thursday 18th January 2018 at the Chichester Inn. Hope to see lots of you there!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Local Group Report – Lewes – Monday 18th December 2017

Seven stalwarts came to The John Harvey Tavern. I’m sure Mac only came to try the Harvey’s Christmas Ale at 7.5% but that’s OK because it kept his bass voice working beautifully all evening. We started with Sweet Chiming Bells and The Coppers’ Christmas Song, both with lovely harmonies to put us in a festive mood before Tina introduced us to the Littlehampton Collier Lads and the contrast of The Brave Eleven and then back to our well-practised They Won’t Let Us Go To Sea Any More.

After a quick break, it was back to Angel Gabriel and Tina had the seven of us singing four beautiful harmonies. Then we polished off Masters In This Hall, Sugar Wassail, The Falmer Carol, “Pentonville” and Fathom The Bowl ending with Farmer’s Toast. Thank you again to Tina for planning such a productive and enjoyable evening.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

A bit More festive singing!...

Hello all,

For those of you who have not yet had your fill of festive singing you might be interested to know that a friend and I are organising another jolly singing gathering at Coast Café in Worthing on Thursday 21st December.

There will be a mixture of folky carols, good old traditional ones and some slightly more modern classics, with a few wintry themed rounds sprinkled in.

It'll be from 6pm til 10ish.

It's a lovely venue with yummy food and drink and the best view of the wild wintry sea.

See you there perhaps!

Em X

Michelham Priory, Sunday 10th December 2017

Braving a miserable and cold day and a road closure, the intrepid Singers made their way to the 'Victorian Christmas' to sing two sets of rousing seasonal songs.

They were joined, presumably by some sort of 'Outlander' time warp, by some Victorian ladies craftily  provided with degaussing rings in their skirts to pick up any WW2 magnetic mines in the vicinity.

The Catches at the end of the second set (when we were joined by our groupies and the odd audience member) were great fun, bring on some more Emily! It's a pity Tina's heavy work commitments prevented her joining us. Thanks also to Amaryllis, Mike and Alan.

The Priory kindly provided beverages, sandwiches, mince pies and chocolate biscuits to the Singers and Helen emailed us this after the first set:
"I'm just emailing now to say thanks so much for coming out today in awful weather. I heard you singing in the house and it sounded great – hope to catch up on some more songs later, but I'm running around a bit at the moment. Please pass on my thanks to the Singers.

Very best to all of you and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!"
John C.

Local Group Report – Worthing – Wednesday 6th December 2017

Our last local gathering in 2017 saw another good turn out of singers, in spite of the deteriorating weather. Cosy indoors we enjoyed good songs, good company and good cheer – and the news that “Ye Olde House at Home” had just won the local “Pub of the Year” award! Plans for the SDFS ‘Wassail' social (also posted on our website) and thanks to singers for their contributions and support at recent events were shared before the singing began. In preparation for the next SDFS event due the following weekend at Michelham Priory, we sang again the seasonal songs familiar to most of us and recently used at the Weald and Downland Christmas Market. These included the catches Hey Ho, Winter Snow and Child of Light introduced by Emily this year, plus one other, Bird in December, tried just for the pleasure and fun of it! By special request from our pub hosts we added Silent Night before the evening concluded with a resolution to meet and sing together again on 3rd January for the first Worthing session of 2018.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

South Downs Folk Singers “Wassail” winter party!

Update 10th January: More than half the places have now been taken and Margo is still taking bookings. To be absolutely sure of joining in with us, email Margo now!
Our annual clan gathering to celebrate the turn of the year and look forward to a new season of song, is now on the diary page of this website.

South Downs Folk Singers, plus family and friends, are all welcome.

The fun will begin at 7.30pm (arrivals from 7.00pm) on Saturday 20th January 2018 at the venue we used last time:
St. John’s the Divine Church Hall, on the corner of Ripley Road and Elm Grove in West Worthing, BN11 5LD.

Tickets are £2.50 each.

Numbers are limited, so to avoid disappointment contact Margo NOW via the South Downs Folk Singers email (or you may see her at some local group sessions).

She will reply to confirm your booking, and also the payment arrangements (in advance if practical, otherwise ‘on the door’ when you arrive).

(NB Tickets may be available on the door too, but only if not all SOLD OUT in advance.)

Bring food to share and your drinks of choice – and as usual your voices and a readiness to join in song!

Individual contributions are also invited to add to the pleasure of the evening – songs, readings, dance and music – any and all are welcome. (Please let Margo know if you’d like to contribute.)

See you there – “Wassail”!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Local Group Report – Lewes – Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Eleven of us met on this altered evening and Tina led us through 15 songs. While Shepherds Watched to Pentonville, Sussex Mummers' Carol, Hark The Herald Angels to the new tune, The Angel Gabriel, The Moon Shone Bright and then switching to Apple Wassail before the break.

Continuing with Sugar Wassail, Christmas Now Is Drawing Near at Hand, Masters in This Hall, Sweet Chiming Bells, then the combined catches Child of Light and Hey, Ho, Winter Snow to which it didn’t take folk long to catch on, and finishing our winter collection with the tongue-twisting Falmer Carol.

Tina then refreshed our memories of our Dave’s Caburn Hill, and while he sang the verses we mumbled along and tried the harmony. We hope that we can present it to the whole group soon. And so to finish we sang Thousands Or More and The East Sussex Drinking Song which we hope will have a revised final verse in the New Year!

Looking forward to Michelham Priory on the 10th and our other altered meeting date of Monday 18th December.