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Come with us round the year with the village band and choir in this light-hearted look at the various seasons, customs and events, and some of the music selected for them.

Our programmes are continually improved, and different music may be substituted from time to time.

The Duke of Gloster’s March comes from a MS book owned by the Pyle family of Nether Wallop, started about 1822. Two parts are given in the MS and we have added the bass. Four-part band books are very rare; this MS is mostly just the airs.

Cornish or Weston Favel comes from a MS book now in Chichester Record Office, used for Psalm 34 NV (New Version) in Warnham, Sussex. Weston Favel is on the edge of Northampton. The tune is originally by William Knapp of Poole, who called it Dorchester.

Whitby tune comes from Houldsworth's Cheetham's Psalmody, which gives the first verse of Psalm 113 NV. This 19th century collection was made for the people of Halifax, and became widespread.

Zion Church tune is from a MS used in Frome. It was written by John Moreton (1764-1804) and included in Walker’s Companion to Rippon in 1811 with these words, Isaac Watts’ paraphrase of Psalm 122, subtitled Going to Church.

The Barley Mow Please join in this traditional Hampshire version of this widespread cumulative song extolling the people involved in the crop and its journey to the tankard.

Dance - Nottingham Swing. Tunes: Belle Isle March & Vulcan’s Cave. The latter tune was a favourite of Thomas Hardy for this dance, and the air and counter are from the Hardy family MSS, with a bass part we added.

Lonsdale tune is attributed to Corelli, being derived from a tune in a trio sonata. It is widely known. The words are Isaac Watts’ paraphrase of Psalm 133, supplemented by some by John Fawcett (1740-1821) from the Scottish Hymnal.

Anthem taken out of the 126th Psalm for 29th May is attributed to Abraham Adams who flourished around 1800. This psalm is proper for the special service appointed to celebrate the Restoration of the Royal Family, added to the Book of Common Prayer in 1662, and eventually removed along with those for Gunpowder Treason and King Charles the Martyr in 1859. The Accession celebration remained.

Anthem from Psalm 65 by William Cole (1737-1824): Verses 9-13 are often set in village collections because of the harvest references. Cole’s setting of the prose Psalm, published in 1768, shows some nice word-painting. We have added an instrumental bass part to two of the duets. Competent country musicians might be expected to improvise such a part.

We thank our friend Dr. Francis Roads of the West Gallery Music Association for permission to use and alter his editions of the above two anthems.


The Delights of the Packet or Shadrach the Orangeman is a cheerful dance tune from the Pyle MS, to which we have added a bass line.

The Standing Toast Words and music by Charles Dibdin, 1745-1814. He studied as a boy chorister and organist at Winchester Cathedral, and became famous as a composer and performer in the London theatres and at Vauxhall Gardens. Also called The lass that loves a sailor, this is supposed to be the last song he wrote. Join in the chorus if you wish.

    But the standing toast that pleased the most

    Was the wind that blows, the ship that goes,

    And the lass that loves a sailor.

A canon of 4 in 1 is from the Farmer MS, used in Bramley, Hampshire. The words are the first verse of Psalm 128 although not a familiar paraphrase. It may have been used as a wedding processional. The music was recently identified by Ros Clements, a member of the Madding Crowd, as by William Tans’ur (ca.1706-1783).

Blest is the man who fears the Lord,
And walks in all his pious ways;
Plenty his labours shall reward,
Honour and peace shall crown his days.

Anthem taken from the 46th Psalm is from a MS used in Catsfield, Sussex. Several MSS from Catsfield are in the care of the Sussex Archaeological Trust.

Angels from the realms of glory Music by Thomas Merritt (1862-1908). Words by James Montgomery (1771-1854). Thomas Merritt was organist in Truro Cathedral, and published a set of 12 carols which show the country carol style in its last and most refined form. Still sung annually in Truro Cathedral.

Forgive, Blest Shade was originally a poem by Anne Steele (1716-78), daughter of a Baptist Pastor, in honour of Revd. James Hervey (1714-58), who, while "steady in his attachment to the established church", was a good friend to "upright evangelical Dissenters". The text, altered by Revd. John Gill of Newchurch, was set to music by Dr. John Wall Calcott about 1795.

How Great is the Pleasure is a catch written by Harrington for Glee Clubs.

Solo and Chorus from the 19th Psalm is one of 50 Psalm settings by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739), set in italian in 1724, but published by Charles Avison in English as The First Fifty Psalms (London, 1757). It was republished for use in churches near the British Museum from 1791 to 1812. Marcello was a young contemporary of Vivaldi, and this piece is characteristically Italian in style.

Wiltshire is not the gentle flowing tune by G.T.Smart commonly used for Through all the changing scenes of life in today’s hymn books, but a vigorous tune by Joseph Stephenson (ca.1723-1810). Thomas Hardy calls it "Old Wiltshire" in The Mayor of Casterbridge, where it is for the vehement curse of Psalm 109 NV. Joseph Stephenson was responsible for many tunes which spread over the south of England, and he may have spent some time as a peripatetic psalmody teacher. In 1766 he succeeded his father as clerk of the Unitarian Church in Poole, Dorset, a post he held for 45 years.

The Rogues’ March is given in Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Time, and we have put it into its usual folk-dance form. The tune was played in a sneering manner when a soldier was cashiered, but is also known as the tune for Charles Didbin’s patriotic patter-song, The Island.

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