A potted history of Surrey Music
The ‘mighty oak’ that is Surrey Community Music Society started with the formation of Elmbridge Choir in 2005. Now comprising three thriving choirs boasting almost 300 volunteer members, the society has in addition founded a highly successful community big band, supported and developed a group of young musicians, set up a music group for new parents and babies, organised weekly music sessions for adults with learning disabilities, provided more than £14,000 in grants for music activities and raised more than £200,000 for charitable purposes.
How it all began….planting the seed
Elmbridge Choir was founded by Cobham resident Cliff van Tonder, who wanted to start a local choir in his community. Having placed an advert in the local papers inviting members of the public to come along to the choir’s first ever rehearsal, he was delighted to find that the hall was packed with more than 100 eager prospective choir members!
With such a positive response and so much enthusiasm from everyone who turned up on that first night, it was evident that this was just the beginning of an exciting and successful venture. Many of those who attended that first rehearsal are still members today!
The choir was borne from Cliff's desire to enable people from all walks of life, regardless of musical ability, to enjoy and experience the joy of choral singing. New members were therefore not required to go through an audition process, nor did they need any singing experience. Membership was open to any adult with the desire and passion for singing and the willingness and commitment to uphold and respect the values and principles of the choir - an ethos which firmly remains the foundation of the society today.