Devonly Voices Community Choir - Harmony Singing Group in Totnes, Devon

About Vicky

I have been singing all my life though have never had any kind of formal training or musical education. At 16 I taught myself to play guitar and started doing the folk clubs and was soon invited to join a skiffle band. Over the next 6 years I performed with a variety of groups which played in night clubs and working mens clubs. The north east clubs in the 60s were quite daunting. Out of school and beyond, my life was driving the van, hauling the gear in and out twice a night, and dwelling in the unlikely environment of beer, bingo and smelly dressing rooms. We were on the bill with various well-known bands and personalities until I felt completely burnt out and began to view singing purely as work.

I went to College as a mature student and did a teacher training course in drama and geography followed by a BA (hons) in Performing Arts majoring in drama and dance. I stayed on as a lecturer in dance for a year before leaving to join a community arts programme in Stoke on Trent. Most of my singing was incorporated with my dance and drama work throughout these years.

After a break of 15 years to bring up my kids, travel and run a chain of shops, I moved to South Devon and started to enjoy singing with other people again. I became involved in various music and poetry projects and organised numerous events (many for charity). I taught drama and singing at Sands School, worked for 5yrs with The Dangerous Cardigans and sang with Global Harmony. I co-ran The First Thursday Club for singer/songwriters and founded The Whoppers doowap group, Three Blondes & A Brunette and Pretty Noisy.

I got back to writing my own material and enjoyed putting a couple of CDs together. The first was working with various local musicians and the second with my acappella Damsel Jam group.

I had begun to run singing workshops with small groups of adults and with individuals, working privately and with The Devon Adult Education programme over several years. My Harbour House Singers group began with 8-10 of us in Kingsbridge at this time and ended with a choir of around 30 members. In 2005 I formed the Devonly Voices Community Choir followed by Linking Voices in Exeter and in 2008 The Singers Upstairs in Ashburton. I was lucky enough to have my son Tao join me as co-director for a number of years.

Along with the lovely Cornwall residential weekends, Pretty Noisy Saturday workshops and various other trips, teachings and concerts throughout the year, I think I can say that singing absolutely took over my life - how lucky for me! In recent years my dear friend and wonderful teacher Joanna Benson has inherited Linking Voices, co-directs the choirs and helps me run our fantastic residential Cornwall weekends.

Throughout the difficult covid months the choirs kept going both with weekly newsletters and songs, on Zoom and singing outdoors. The wonderful Devonly Voices and Singers Upstairs families are back together once again and stronger than ever with lots of new members. We continue to have lots of fun singing together as well as raising thousands of pounds for local charities with our concerts.

Why sing? Singing is so good for us - body, mind and spirit.
I feel that the most important part of my teaching is encouraging people to sing together and join their voices in fabulous harmony. There are no auditions, no solos and we don't read music.
It is the most wonderful thing to watch someone grow in confidence with their singing, connect with others, and have fun at the same time.