Past Events

19 June 2019

Making Music Day , Public houses in Leatherhead

Event Photo Making Music Day has become something of a feature, being nothing less than a hearty pub crawl masquerading as a cultural event. This outing didn't start all that well, in that the only punters we got to sing to at the Running Horse wanted the intervening door between us firmly shut! Those of us with long memories of stale beer last year at The Duke's Head effectively called a boycott, so the caravan moved straight on to the Penny Black. Half way through our set, the requests to sing Happy B came pouring in from various quarters. We pulled out all the stops for Bob (our new friend) and then had even more fun serenading Sarah, out with 3 friends who looked like they'd all had a good day at the Ascot Races. At our final stop (The Edmund Tilney, our favourite Wetherspoons), who should turn up half way through but our new lady friends from Ascot. They took away even more business cards, so we just might be hearing from them AGAIN. Roll on Making Music Day 2020!

8 June 2019

Ashtead Village Day (AVD), Ashtead Recreation Ground

Event Photo Previous experience had made us understandably cautious about noise (not ours, the others). Having learnt to keep clear of reciprocating engines, the Take 9 Rock Band and general mayhem from the main arena, we then found that our favourite pitch was this time well within earshot of the boombox under the Ferris Wheel. It was almost worth having subtitles under our songs, for all that the audience could make of us. Anyway, the next pitch along was occupied by a charity specialising is the refurbishment and sale of second hand tools. This stall kept exerting a magnetic attraction on our bass Steve Martin, who kept coming back laden with yet more over-size saws, widget extractors, etc, etc. (he said none if it was for him). With thanks once again to Gary Score for the gazebo, Clive Stirling for the display stands and Di Stirling for showing everybody how it all fitted together. Di came back at closing time to report on another staggering sum raised for charity by her flower arrangers. There must be an MBE here somewhere!

25 May 2019

Bournemouth Convention, Bournemouth International Centre

Event Photo There was a time when things seemed to be going swimmingly well: the chorus all present for warm-up at a nearby hotel, the new outfits gleaming (black waistcoat and skinny tie the same colour), successful negotiation by everyone of the labyrinth of passages to get to the main stage, a lusty rendering of "Love Me" and "Can't Buy Me Love"...which is where the wheels came off. Somehow the judges idea of good performance was fairly far removed from ours. In fact, it was about as far removed as it was possible to get. It was not our finest hour. Those of us who stayed for the Sunday competitions were able to see the lovely Lisa Robathan (our previous M D) conduct Endeavour to a creditable 2nd place in the Mixed Quartets Competition. Not forgetting our bass section leader Ted Smith, who appeared with E Q Rendezvous in the same Mixed competition to achieve a commendable mid-table result (gosh, what the Downsmen would give for mid-table result...)

4 May 2019

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

Event Photo At this competition, we got to meet M.D. Miguel's other chorus, Coastline Harmony, and what a super set of women they turned out to be. Everything seemed to be coming up roses, 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

Event Photo Event Photo 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!

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