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Friday, 16 February 2018

Local Group Report – Chichester – Thursday 15th February 2018

It was wonderful to see so many singers arrive at the Chichester Inn to join us for our monthly sing. We were twenty in all, plus two very well behaved dogs – Buster and Stanley! Some of our newer members are now returning regularly and their contribution to our sessions is very much appreciated. Dave began by explaining that, because our next official performance as a choir will be at the Beltane Festival at Butser Iron Age Farm on Saturday 5th May, we might think about learning and singing songs that connect us with the traditions of England’s ancient May Day celebrations. So with this in mind we warmed our voices by singing Oak Ash & Thorn and followed this with Country Life. We then had a go at Hal-an-Tow, not a Sussex song I know, but not too overtly Cornish either. The line: “Take not the scorn to wear the horn” reminded us that we ought next to sing the Ebernoe Horn Fair Song with its references to wearing “the finest horns that you ever did behold!” After this Dave introduced Wassail the Silver Apple, a short but powerful choral piece, which was very positively received. Sue C and Stephen A were able to lead this one as they have already sung it at Petersfield. We then sang The Magpie, which has become one of our favourite songs and then revisited Alan’s jolly version of The Lark in the Morning and sang Kipling’s The Bee Boy’s Song. After an interval to buy another drink and socialise for 20 minutes, we started to learn the very beautiful traditional song Searching for Lambs and then introduced two more May songs. Dave got us all singing “Good morning Lords and Ladies it is the first of May” which has a very upbeat tune, and Chris was able to teach us his version of the Oxfordshire May Day Carol. Both songs treat the theme of taking a garland or a branch of may (hawthorn blossom) around to people’s homes in return for a cup of the dairy maid’s best cream! Reflecting on the ancient belief that bathing in the morning dew at sunrise on May Day will make even the plainest girl more beautiful, we concluded a jolly evening by singing Rolling in the Dew. Our thanks to everyone who attended; our next group sing will be on Thursday 15th March at 8.00 pm at the Chichester Inn in West Street, Chichester. Come and join us there!

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