The Urban Vocal Group (UVG) was founded in 2008 by musician and teacher Charlie Fletcher whose aim was to create a community of young singers; offering a rare opportunity to bring young people from different areas and backgrounds together. With the aid of local singer songwriter Amba Tremain they worked hard to create a unique group with a unique sound. They were joined soon after by vocal coach Sally Salmon who ensured that all singers were trained in the correct technique and to be ‘Sing Safe’. The UVG became a registered charity in 2013 and in 2014 were awarded funding by the National Foundation for Youth Music which enabled them to create new groups and also offer new activities including recording, instrument tuition, song writing and artist development. In 2017 in recognition of their sustainability they received the Cultural Partnership award at the Shaping Portsmouth conference. They are now recognised as one of the major providers of informal music education for young people in the Portsmouth area providing outcomes around confidence, well-being, skills development education and employment.
In 2013 an Adult UVG was formed in Havant; not only to provide a route of progression for UVG singers who reach the age of 19 but also to give others the opportunity to experience the joy of group vocals for themselves. The Adult group is fee paying and all profits are put back into the UVG charity ; providing more opportunities for young people to aspire and achieve through participation in music
Our groups meet weekly in safe, friendly environments for 2 hours of singing, socialising and learning where singers rehearse and perform contemporary arrangements and also receive one to one vocal tuition. We also provide song-writing and recording and members can choose to accredit their involvement via the Arts Award scheme.
The UVG has:
- Provided over 15000 creative opportunities to young people
- Performed 100 times at venues across the South Coast
- Recorded a charity single, two 3 track EP's and released 15 original compositions
- Had success in local and national music competitions
- Appeared on local BBC radio
- Staged 5 sell-out concerts at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth
- Staged 1 sell-out concert at the Pyramids Centre in Southsea
Several of our members have gone on to study music at college, join local bands or have embarked on careers as professional musicians. We currently employ an apprentice having previously employed 2 apprentices, and provided 3 music leader roles to group members in addition to work experience and shadowing opportunities. All of our participants have used their UVG experience to develop new skills and have confidence in their abilities musical or otherwise. We believe that participation in music increases the life chances of young people and are proud to be known as the largest, free to access vocal group for young people in the South Coast