Past Events

4 May 2019

East Grinstead Music & Arts Festival, Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre, De La Warr Road, East Grinstead

At this competition, we got to meet M.D. Miguel's other chorus, Coastline Harmony, and what super set of women they turned out to be. Things were going swimmingly well, until they were declared the winners of Class V1 (Choirs, Any Voice, with us competing as well). The ladies then demanded to know where the Terence Kennedy Shield was (which the Downsmen had won the previous year, and which the organisers claimed had not been returned). Talk about being dealt a rum set of cards. It was time to beat a hasty retreat, leaving our valiant Clive Stirling to explain what arrangements had indeed been made to return the wretched thing. At least the Downsmen came away winners of the V3 category (Male Voice Choir), having been the only ones to show up. No shield, thank goodness, so we can breathe easy until next year.

27 April 2019

Sing Out for Charity - CHILD, Paddington Station

It can be safely said, that we're glad this is not our usual rehearsal venue. At times it felt like somebody had just kicked over a human ants nest. The Downsmen did their utmost to be heard above the hubbub, and for those travelers within 5 yards or so, the strategy worked very well. Beyond that, was anybody's guess. The collectors for CHILD (a charity supporting maternity services in Kenya) raked in the cash and came away smiling: £559 on the day, with the same again pledged by the HM Government under their matching scheme. Enough to put 45 new mothers through the programme. We vacated the pitch just in time before the arrival of a 140-strong Rock Choir, complete with boogie box and hyper energetic 20-something conductor cum majorette. We hope Miguel didn't pick up any ideas.

6 April 2019

Downsmen Quiz Nite, Banstead Community Centre, Park Road, Banstead

Back by popular request! Digby R was the very capable springtime question master. Peter H shone with yet another round of top-notch organising. Paul B took the baton for the traditional song set to round off proceedings. Mark R dished out the raffle prizes and confirmed the whole thing had been a shot in the arm for the chorus finances. Which was just as well, as we'd recently spent a worthwhile bundle on 2 external singing coaches!

23 March 2019

Evening Concert in aid of the Shooting Star and St Raphael's Hospices, St Mark's Church Hall, Great Tattenhams, Epsom Downs

Event Photo It was all quite relaxing to be at the very back row, out of the limelight, enjoying the early part of the show. The Junior Sing! chorus sang "Be Kind to your Parents", which had all the heads nodding in agreement. The Epsom Male Voice Choir made our spines tingle with "Cwm Rhondda", giving this some real welly. All of a sudden the Downsmen were pitchforked out in front, blinking uncertainly in the bright lights. However, our 4-song set went without a hitch and was well received by the hall, and even MD Allan declared himself impressed. The only minor tragedy was that our vocal warm up coincided with the tea interval, which had cakes to die for, so we were told. The things we do for art...

16 March 2019

Chichester Music Festival, St Paul's Church, Churchside, Chichester

Event Photo Full marks to Gary the chairman for arranging a coach to take us all down to Chichester. Somehow we found ourselves singing in 3 different categories, with not much breathing space in between. Adjudicator Emily Barden took an immediate shine to us, and lavished high praise on our first song, 'Unchained Melody'. After that, there was only one way to go (downwards). Emily noted that some of our number were less than enthusiastic about 'What a Wonderful World', for which she scored a bullseye. During the return journey, the coach stopped at the Barley Mow, Stoughton, where everyone spilled out for beer and vittles. During the obligatory post-prandial song or two, the pub chefs emerged for a listen and one of the lady regulars was very visibly reduced to tears.Just as well she wasn't on the adjudicating panel...

26 January 2019

Sing Out for the Dorking Business Breakfast Group, Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking

Event Photo Never before have the Downsmen been so close to a bar without ordering! It was cosy at the small Gallery Restaurant of Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking (which is on the third floor, BTW, no lift). When we arrived, a little out of breath, we found the space already taken up by 53 members of the Dorking Business Breakfast Group, so we bunched up as best we could against the bar. Paul directed the singing with huge energy, successfully weaving his way between the crowded diners without calamity. Back downstairs, some kind person had laid on pints of Sheredrop bitter (they knew our weakness). At the ground floor restaurant we found a much bigger Burns Night gathering in full swing, anybody with Scottish connections from the whole of Surrey seemed to be there. (Its an annual event by the way, open to all). We left just before the haggis got murdered.

22 December 2018

Arts Alive Dorking, St Martin's Square, Dorking

Event Photo Back by popular demand, following our successful outing on September 22nd! This time we sung from the shelter of a disused shop doorway, so we were not quite so exposed to the elements. There was an outrageous amount of repetition (we sang Frosty 4 times), on the basis that the passing audience would renew itself each time, and so hear it just the once. On packing up the leaflet display stand, we realised that some kind person had donated 50p. It will kick start our charitable activities for 2019. We turned out all the leaflets in the hope of finding more, but were disappointed. With thanks to Clive for arranging Santa hats all round. And best wishes to you all for a great 2019!

12 December 2018

Downsmen Christmas Dinner, Tyrells Wood Golf Club, Headley

The annual bean feast with songs and entertainment. Digby conducted the table quiz, Miguel arranged for a case of port, quartet Quattro Voce did their stuff and Southern Electric paid their respects to baritone Allan, absent from the proceedings on medical grounds. Great to see a number of new faces as well as the usual stalwarts.The evening was rounded off with the chorus doing their Christmas songs. 3 members were all due to have their birthday the next day (the 13th); lucky for some!

9 December 2018

Pre-Xmas Sing Out, Ashtead Park Garden Centre

Event Photo Event Photo The Downsmen lined up alongside an impressively long queue of families waiting for their visit to Santa's grotto. Our set of Christmas songs were given a good airing, and not just the once either. Nobody seemed to mind. Several times we almost found ourselves distracted by the results of a very talented face painter somewhere in the building. We were stared at by an assortment of butterflies, tiger cubs and ginger toms. Santa's pixies were on hand to liven up proceedings further, and take part in the obligatory photo call. Merry Christmas!

8 December 2018

Epsom Male Voice Choir Christmas Dinner, Tyrells Wood Golf Club, Headley

Event Photo If you want to find out what one of the great singers of the past was really like, then find a tribute act. In the case of Elvis (the King, we were doing one of his songs, "Love Me"), we got talking with our fellow performer, Mauro Dirago. He said things went fine whilst Elvis was with Colonel Tom Parker doing films; he had a house on the beach in Hawaii where he always went to get back in shape for his next film. Not bad for a guy who couldn't read music! We sang 2 sets, with Paul acquitting himself superbly as a first time conductor. We were only too aware that our chorus was singing to a much bigger chorus, mostly dressed in tuxedos! We adjourned to the bar next door for beer and sandwiches. When we left, Mauro was putting on his star-spangled suit, getting ready for "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog" for the expectant clientele.

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