Chorus of approval as youth choir wins £10,000 arts award

IN FULL VOICE The Urban Vocal Group take part in the Portsmouth Schools Glee Competition at the Guildhall.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves. (114203-11)
IN FULL VOICE The Urban Vocal Group take part in the Portsmouth Schools Glee Competition at the Guildhall. Picture: Ian Hargreaves. (114203-11)

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MEMBERS of a young people’s choir are singing for joy after they won a £10,000 arts award.

National body the Arts Council has given the cash to the Urban Vocal Group (UVG), based in Bedhampton.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT Soloist Justine Taylor.  (114203-10)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT Soloist Justine Taylor. (114203-10)

The group is made up of 11 to 19-year-olds from across Havant who love to sing.

Since UVG was founded by Charlie Fletcher in 2008 the youngsters have sung at 30 events, performed a sell-out show at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms and even released a charity single.

The choir is free to join and singers even get one- to-one voice coaching with professionals.

The grant award by the Arts Council means that UVG’s future is secured and coaching sessions with industry professionals, recording studio time and concerts can be bigger and better.

Charlie, who by day is a community artist, said: ‘It all began when I was working with Park Community School. I was with my samba band at Music Madness which was a big concert featuring performances from schools across Havant. Most of the performances were by choirs from different schools and I thought “wouldn’t it be great to put them all together in one big choir?”

‘The first week we had four members but now there’s over 40. I’ve managed to raise £55,000 over the past five years to keep it going so the grant from the Arts Council is greatly appreciated. It will enable us to provide new opportunities for young vocalists to access industry standard music tuition and recording opportunities.

‘And we will be working on developing more original material rather than singing other people’s songs.’

Charlie added: ‘At a time when young people are experiencing the brunt of the economic downturn we believe that now more than ever it is important to invest in them by encouraging citizenship, entrepreneurship and a willingness to aspire – outcomes that are at the heart of The UVG.’

Olivia Haggarty, 12, a pupil at Havant Academy, said: ‘This extra funding from the Arts Council will make a huge difference in building our future. The UVG has given me the confidence to be the person I am becoming and I am looking forward to the future.’

The group meets every Monday at Bedhampton Social Club. One-to-one coaching starts at 5.15pm until 6.15pm and group singing is 5.45pm to 7.15pm.

To find out more about the group contact info@theuvg.co.uk or visit theuvg.co.uk