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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Singing Songs with UVG

Friday night was a good evening of music, complete with a singing raffle. Which annoyingly I didn't get a video of, mainly because I was like what the fuck, this is so funny!

This was my first event to attend on behalf of Pompey Bloggers and it was great to go along and see the amazing vocals of not just local performers, but many who are very young and still learning their trade (AKA. I got to see them before they are famous). There was a lovely family atmosphere with a mixture of generations in attendance and lots of singing along from tables and at the bar.

The last time I was at the venue (The Rifle Club, Fratton) was for my nieces christening reception. Actually, is that what its called? Is it a reception? Or just drinks (and sweets!) after? Anyway, the venue is one I have been to before, though not many times. Its a nice size, I would guess fits around 150 people and it was close to that for most of the night.

The evening focused on the talents of current UVG performers with special guest performers later in the evening. Heres a bit about the group from their website.

"The Urban Vocal Group (UVG) are a free to access charity who use music making to enhance the life chances of young people living in marginalised or disadvantaged areas. We specialise in group vocals, composition, performing, instrument tuition and recording. We deliver free workshops, weekly sessions and training opportunities for young people aged 11 – 18 in South Hampshire regardless of experience, ability or personal circumstance."

"The UVG work in some of the most deprived areas in Hampshire and our young people come from a range of social and economic backgrounds. We are also very successful in attracting participants from outside of these areas and this encourages integration and social cohesion. Some of our participants also have additional physical, emotional, social or learning support needs and we are very proud of our accessibility."

"As well as developing excellent music making skills we also provide a platform where young people have the opportunity to gain transferable and valuable life skills. There are few youth music projects in the country where you will find such a diverse group of young people working together to achieve something which is truly greater than the sum of its parts. It is this integration and culture of acceptance which makes what we do unique. The UVG stands as a benchmark model for participation in youth arts, providing a safe, friendly, non judgmental environment which builds bridges, enhances life chances, reduces exclusion and brings people together."

You see, these are not just lovely singers / performers. There are some amazing Youth Workers, Mentors and Role Models supporting and leading this group. So I am more than happy to 'sing' their praises.

I fully enjoyed my evening and did have a little singalong at the bar to one or two of the classics. Two of my favourites from the night were Devin and Marley. I would recommend you visit their Facebook pages for more from them.

Big thank you to Tony Palmer who kindly allowed me to use his photos. They are slightly (A LOT) better than the ones I took.

Finally, if this all looks kind of interesting either to watch or to get involved, go along to and find out more about the Havant / Portsmouth based group.

Its not just for the 11 - 18s! If your over 18 you can join in too! Over 18s do pay £7 per session, but that all goes back into the group. So its win win.

Watch a little bit from the evening below.

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