Steve McGarvie Music
Welcome to the site! This is the place to find details of all of Steve's projects, including community choirs, private instrumental teaching and musical arrangements for a range of ensembles.
Who are we?
Vocal Soul Community Choir are based in Darlington and formed in Septmber 2012. The choir is actively looking for new members and currently has around 40 singers on its books. The choir has performed several public concerts, including the Darlington Community Carnival in 2013 and 2014, as well as being part of a large scale music festival on the South Park band stand in July 2013, performing alongside youth big bands, brass bands and the Jazz Tones quintet. Vocal Soul have also performed alongside its sister choir Sound Waves Community Choir on several occasions, as well as sell-out performances at the King's Centre in Darlington, including a standalone concert in December 2015, raising around £500 for charity and also singing at their Christmas Carol Service, again in December 2015, in front of a congregation of 700.
What else have we been up to?
On the evening of Friday, May 6th, 2016 Vocal Soul Community Choir performed to a sell-out crowd in the Darlington Civic Theatre alongside 'The People's Tenor' Russell Watson as part of his 'Songs of the Heart' tour. We were be on stage alongside Russell and his fabulous musicians, performing six well-known pieces to over 800 people.
On May 31st we were back at the Civic to perform two songs as part of the 'Live at the Hippodrome' show which closed the theatre for its major refurbishment. Also on the bill were Christopher Biggins, Mari Wilson and a host of regional groups, from youth theatre to dance troups and Darlington Operatic Society (DOS).
On July 6th we performed alongside our sister choir Sound Waves Community Choir, again at the King's Centre, raising £550 for charity, whilst being broadcast by Auckland Hospital Radio.
Having got back to relative normality after Covid restrictions, we recently performed at the Majestic Theatre in Darlington, once again alongside our sister choir Sound Waves for our first public performance in three years. The next performance will be less of a wait however, as we are performing yet again with Sound Waves at Bishop Auckland Methodist Church on Saturday 10th December 2022, before joining the massed choir and 50 piece orchestra at the Christmas Cracker Concert in the Dolphin Centre in Darlington on Friday December 23rd to raise funds for St. Teresa's Hospice.
What do we do? Where are we based?
We rehearse each Wednesday evening from 7.30-9.30 in the Studio, in the Stanhope building at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Vane Terrace, Darlington DL3 7AU. When you get to the College go down the right hand side of the main building and we are in the separate building that is right in front of you. As well as rehearsing our current programme there is an opportunity to promote local gigs and events involving our members and a chance to socialise with friends old and new. The sessions are always fun and light-hearted and members leave with a broad smile and a feeling of self-worth.
What does it cost? Do I need to audition?
We are an all-inclusive choir and we do not audition members.
The choir has a wide range of ages, abilities and singing experience
but all levels are catered for.
The cost is £7 cash per session, or £7.25 via a contactless card or smartphone app, with no up-front membership fee; you just turn up, pay and sing. As the music used is all written especially for the choir there is no charge for expensive sheet music either.
What do we sound and look like?
Here's a video of our performance of 'The Twelve Days Of Africa' from the Christmas Cracker concert, 22nd December 2018 at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington, performed in front of over 500 people:
What do current members say about the choir?
Here are some comments made by current members of their experiences
of Vocal Soul Community Choir:
"I have been a member of Vocal Soul Choir for about 18 months having recently retired. After seeing them perform, I was inspired to join in. Music had been a big part of my career in education and engaging in music with other has helped fill a ‘big hole’. Being a member of the choir has boosted my confidence in trying new things and has been a great way to get out and meet new people, with similar interests.
The sometimes complex nature of the pieces offers great stimulation and challenge in a friendly and unthreatening way. Everybody’s contributions are highly valued, whatever their ability, in a fun and light-hearted atmosphere."
"It was a Wednesday night a few years ago that I discovered the musical talents of Steve McGarvie. I have recently joined Vocal Soul to continue my enjoyment of singing. He encourages a relaxed atmosphere which enables you to learn a variety of music which come from different genres. Steve also arranges music for the group in four part harmony. His enthusiasm and perfect pitch for music, plus his witty humour and bad jokes allows us to learn and grow. We all have different capabilities within reading music but Steve never makes you feel uneasy. He drives high standards through us without us feeling under pressure. If you are a new or experienced singer don't miss out on the opportunity to belong to this friendly and social group. Remember - Vocal Soul every Wednesday at the Dolphin Centre, 7.30.
See you there!"
"Going along to Vocal Soul a definite highlight of my week. The variety of music we sing is astounding and it's good to do a range of styles that are all something different to the traditional music associated with choirs. Steve really challenges us and every week I go away having learned something new about music or vocal technique that I get to apply to my other singing group. It's a great pick-me-up after a stressful day at work; there are weeks that I've left with aching sides after laughing so hard I've cried! There's a great sense of community within both Vocal Soul and with our sister group, Sound Waves and aside from the weekly sessions there's often someone planning a social or trips to gigs between the two groups. Vocal Soul is more than just a choir - it's a group of people from all walks of life brought together through a love of music and a tolerance for Steve's cheesey jokes!"
"I’ve been going to Vocal Soul for 18 months now. I love it because:
It’s something in my life that I do just for me;
I love the challenge of it, the complexity of the music and how all the parts fit together, how great it sounds when it works, and how you’re a part of making that lovely sound;
It’s very inclusive – you don’t have to be a great singer;
Everyone’s very nice and kind and no one ever criticizes.
Steve’s very positive, funny, energetic, always encouraging and moves things along at a good pace so it’s never boring. He introduces us to different kinds of music to keep things interesting and teaches us little snippets about music in a fun and interesting way.
It’s a lovely, relaxed group – there’s a lot of laughter. The choice of music is great, and suggestions are welcomed."
"Since joining Vocal Soul, my confidence has improved enormously! I so look forward to Wednesday evening! Full of the feel good factor, by the end of the evening I am so high! Steve is such a good teacher, so passionate in what he does. He brings out the best in all of us. All ages, a very mixed bunch of people, with plenty of laughs too. Always introducing new ideas. Happy! Happy! Happy!"
"I Joined Vocal Soul Community Choir 8 months ago and now I just can’t believe or understand why I didn’t do it sooner! It gives me a feeling of well-being and confidence (especially when I sing the correct notes!!). All this while enjoying the company of a jolly humorous crowd conducted by an enthusiastic Steve McGarvie."
So how do I join?
Fill in the contact form on the main Choir page and we'll give you all the details. Rehearsals are every Wednesday evening but please check, especially during main holiday periods.