Sussex Harmony singers strive to keep cheerful church music alive

Sussex Harmony. Picture by TB-PR.com
Sussex Harmony. Picture by TB-PR.com

Lewes-based group of costumed singers and instrumentalists Sussex Harmony is giving a concert in All Saints’ Church, Waldron, near Heathfield, in aid of the organ fund.

Spokeswoman Paula Nicholson said: “It is incongruous that the hearty music from the 18th and 19th century rural churches that the group strives to keep alive was driven out when the organs were installed by the straight-laced Victorian reformers.

“Music in Sussex rural churches was once a community affair with villagers joining in and playing their own instruments. Every village church used to have its own band. A group of singers backed by instruments, sang lustily and with great courage. Made up of flutes, viols and an oboe, the Waldron band would have also played for dances, so things could get a bit confused. Enthusiasm and volume were more prized than accuracy. Stories abound in Sussex of the conflict this caused between village and vicar. In Amberley the vicar ordered the inns not to serve the band with beer. They retaliated by whitewashing all his windows one night.

“The music was taken to America with the Pilgrim Fathers and vibrant versions sung unaccompanied in harmony developed. The tradition is kept alive in New England and the southern states but is rarely heard in England.”

The concert takes place at All Saints on Saturday, April 14, at 7pm. Refreshments from 6.30pm. Entry is free but donations are invited.

Visit www.sussexharmony.org.uk.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page

3 Follow us on Twitter

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

Be part of it.