Singing Together
A series of broadcasts originally provided by the BBC for the School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom
Singing Together
By the 1960s, 'Singing Together' was a well established programme for schools. Here we take a look at some of the booklets, the illustrators and the broadcasters.

Booklet: Singing Together - BBC Sound Broadcast to Schools, Spring Term 1964.
| EXIT | Singing Together | William Appleby | David Gentleman | Music Workshop |

Singing lessons in junior and infant schools were always a very enjoyable event. Many of the (very catchy) songs have remained with the children, who are now 'grown up'! Songs were often learnt by the class when the teacher had only a single copy of the book. The 'Singing Together' booklets were produced in enough numbers for most of the classes to retain a copy, but the songs were sung so often that they were usually committed to memory without any effort! They formed part of the 'BBC Radio for Schools' broadcasts. ' Today, these songs evoke happy memories in those who took part.

Singing Together
Singing Together  
In this edition: Donkey riding, The bailiff's daughter, Sweet nightingale, Rule Britannia, Nature carol, The garden where the praties grow, Suo - gan, Charlie is m' darling, My Tommy's gone away.

Singing Together: BBC Sound Broadcasts to Schools Summer Term 1963
Singing Together
In this edition: The minstrel boy, Cotton - eyed Joe, Bill Bones' hornpipe, The mermaid, The animals went in two by two, Swansea town, Waltzing Matilda, Cradle song, O, will ye buy my syboes?, The three huntsmen.

Singing Together: BBC Sound Broadcasts to Schools Spring Term 1964
Singing Together
In this edition: The jolly carter, Lilliburlero, Lisla Lan, The keys of Canterbury, King Arthur's servants, Old Farmer Buck, Queen Mary, Twankydillo, Ho-la-hi, Jim-along-Josie.

Home Service Mondays 11:00 - 11:20 a.m. 9 January - 13 March. Half Term repeat 13 February.

The series broadcast by William Appleby. Produced by George Dixon.

The drawings by David Gentleman.

{The Home Service later became BBC Radio Four}

Singing Together: BBC Radio for Schools Spring 1967

Of the 'Singing Together' songs, Deborah Donner writes...

"There was a funny one from, the sea shanties booklet, which I remember particularly well . It used to cause hysterics in the classroom and we always wanted to sing it."

Oh those flying fish are nuzzink, mit mein yaw, yaw, yaw.
Oh those flying fish are nuzzink, mit mein yaw, yaw, yaw.
Dere’s no need for you to snigger, I have seen dem ten times bigger
Mit mein yaw, yaw, yaw.

On ein beautiful tropical island, mit mein yaw, yaw, yaw.
On ein beautiful tropical island, mit mein yaw, yaw, yaw.
Dere are plants just like azaleas, vat vill eat unvary sailors
Mit mein yaw, yaw, yaw.

"You can see why a group of seven year olds would love this! – And why I still remember it!"

"And another one was ‘Heave away’, which went like this:-"

I’m a man you’ll learn to fear.
Heave, heave away.
On board this ship there’s little cheer.
Heave away my hearties.

Man the halliards, quick you men.
Heave heave away.
You’ll never see your wives again.
Heave away my hearties.

Deborah recalls some more...[Dec 2011]

"In the same booklet which had ‘Heave heave away’ and ‘Shenandoah’ in it, there was a traditional shanty – ‘Hangin’ Johnny’, which I know has been re-done by folk groups – but the lyrics I remember were as follows:-" 

Oh they calls me Hangin’ Johnny
Away boys away
They say I hangs for money
So hang boys hang

A rope, a beam, a ladder
Away boys away
I’d hang yiz all tergether
So hang boys hang

"And there was another verse where I can only remember the third and fourth lines."

I’d hang fer better weather
So hang boys hang.

William Appleby

"In 1946, the Local Education Authority appointed William Appleby, a young teacher from the then Doncaster Grammar School, as its first music organiser. A highly successful trainer of choirs, he subsequently became nationally known through his work as presenter of the BBC's Singing Together programme." [quote from Doncaster Music Service]

William Appleby died in 1973.

David Gentleman

A prolific illustrator of the 1960s and beyond, David Gentleman designed the cover of the 'Singing Together' booklet for Spring 1967 (above). His unique style is evident in comparison with the plainer covers of earlier years.

David Gentleman - DESIGN by Brian Webb and Peyton Skipwith
"David Gentleman's work includes book illustrations, postage stamps, symbols, coins, posters and designs for textiles and ceramics."

Book: David Gentleman DESIGN by Brian Webb and Peyton Skipwith (2009)

Music Workshop

Another very popular BBC Schools broadcast was Music Workshop, which as well as singing, also involved the children in playing percussion instruments and learning more about the musical compositions.

Design, images and text compiled by © Light-Straw. Page last updated Aug 2019 review.Checked May 2021.
 With thanks to Deborah Donner.

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