Fifteen singers plus Stanley the dog came to the Chichester Inn on Thursday night and even the landlord agreed that we were in very fine voice as we sang through the two sets of songs planned for Saturday evening at Butser Ancient Farm on the 5th May. We were reminded that it was Primrose Day, which marks the death of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli on 19th April, 1881. “And all England, so they say, yearly blooms on Primrose Day.” We were more concerned however with preparing to “sing in the May”, so we started with Sumer Is Icumen In and Hal-an-Tow and then went on to sing about Country life, Downland trees and Sussex creatures, including Magpies, Bees and Larks. After a short interval at 9 o’clock, we had a go at Searching for Lambs just because the tune is so beautiful. We all agreed that it should be sung with the men singing the protagonist’s verses and the women singing the responses from the maid who from home had strayed.
In the second half we enjoyed singing Good morning Lords and Ladies it is the first of May, Pleasant and Delightful, Ale Glorious Ale and The Nightingale, before turning our attentions to rural tradesmen such as turnip hoers, brisk young ploughboys and farriers. We finished up singing Thousands or More at which the ladies commented that the men were “wallowing” in the refrain. So this prompted a quick chorus of The Hippopotamus Song in which we could wallow to our heart’s content!
Hope to see you all at the Chichester Inn on Thursday 17th May when once again we will have fun singing the old and not so old songs that connect us with our beautiful county of Sussex!