Hector, Sue and Steve have known each other for a long time through the folk scene, but only started performing together in 2004. Sue needed someone to play the accompaniment to some of the songs, including some jazz standards, that she'd been singing in previous collaborations and discovered at the Tanners Festival in 2004 that Steve could play them! Meanwhile, Hector and Sue had found time after all these years to work on harmonies for songs they both knew and loved.
The concept of Soiree is indeed that - a get together of friends with music. They don't all necessarily play and sing at the same time, giving a flexibility and variety in performance with different combinations, ranging from (mainly) trio to duo and solo. Together, Hector and Sue sing traditional and contemporary songs with exquisite harmonies, sometimes a cappella. Steve sings a bit and provides the flowing guitar arrangements and twiddly bits in a range of styles, with harmonica and guitars from Hector and Sue. This collaboration has opened up an enormous range of possibilities for new songs with Soiree.
Sue has sung around the folk clubs for as long as she can remember. Her clear, expressive voice means that she has been snapped up as a singer by many a collaboration, most notably the trio Voiceover. Often referred to as the 'Surrey Nightingale', Sue has the knack of choosing songs that just 'click' with the audience, accompanying herself most tastefully with fingerstyle guitar. Talking of tasteful, Sue has one weakness - chocolate! Her home is a well stocked shrine to the brown gold and she reckons it is the key to happiness and health (along with music of course!). Sue is also on the committee of Twickenham Folk Club at the Cabbage Patch pub.
Hector is one of Scotland's finest singers, equally at home with a traditional ballad, contemporary songs (with his own guitar accompaniment) or jazz crooners. In his younger days he turned down the offer of a career with a Big Band for the glamour of the dairy industry! Soon after he discovered the glamour of the Folk Scene in Crewe and has been involved with it ever since.
Hector has a huge pool of songs to draw from, many in the vernacular, and his ability to evoke the essence of the Scottish tradition means that he is much in demand for Burns Nights and other ceremonial occasions. He has recorded solo CDs on the Wildgoose label and also sings in Scottish duo Selkie, recording CDs and appearing regularly at clubs, festivals and radio shows over many years.
Steve can turn his hands to almost any style of accompaniment, from fingerstyle folk to rock, pop, jazz and 'melodrama'. During his days with four-piece multi-directional acoustic band Noddy's Lot, he performed extensively in pubs, clubs and at parties, festivals (often the beer type) and barn dances. Then came Soiree...
These days he enjoys performing jazz standards and pop classics to discerning audiences at community events and private parties. He has performed at birthdays ranging from 18 to 100!
Steve is a familiar face at local community groups in Surrey and Middlesex including day respite care, rehabilitation, charitable and social clubs and care homes. He has an ability to tailor his music to the audience, communicate with them, empathise and involve them in the music, whether it is singing along, dancing or talking about their own favourite music (quite a few people he meets are former professional musicians).
He also plays at charity fundraising events for the sailing charity Jubilee Sailing Trust, as well as performing on their ships when he goes to sea. 14,000 feet of water below is his record and he still didn't feel out of his depth!
Steve is also very involved in the Folk scene and on Fridays he is often to be seen performing at the Ram Club in Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK, which he helps to run.