Colourful new choir in town

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The dismal weather in Guildford last Tuesday evening did nothing to dampen the spirits of the new members of Surrey’s first ever LGBTQ+ choir, who turned up in droves for their inaugural rehearsal at the Trinity Centre. With sounds of happy laughter, excited chattering and quite lovely singing, the highly anticipated launch of Surrey Rainbow Choir provided a vibrant splash of colour to the otherwise grey evening.

After an enthusiastic welcome and a riotous warm up, the new choir got down to business, quickly mastering the first two songs of their repertoire, their confidence increasing as the evening progressed.

Formed by Cliff van Tonder, CEO and Founder of Surrey Music, Surrey Rainbow Choir is the latest addition to the Surrey Music family. The well-established community music society, which has raised in excess of £210,000 for charitable purposes, is no stranger to forming successful choirs; it already comprises the 130-strong mixed voice Elmbridge Choir, and the 90-voice Elmbridge Ladies Choir.  

“Starting an LGBTQ+ choir in Surrey has been a long-time dream of mine, and I am over the moon with how well our first rehearsal went,” says Cliff. “We had a great turnout of more than 50 new members, with more expected next week. There was such a lovely, friendly atmosphere and we had a lot of fun – which is what we are all about really!”

Surrey Rainbow Choir’s Musical Director is Christopher Wray, who brings with him a wealth of musical experience and expertise, as well as a great sense of warmth and humour!

“I’m absolutely delighted to be asked to lead Surrey’s first ever LGBTQ+ choir,” says Chris. “I’ve always wanted to be more involved in LGBTQ+ music and I’ve worked with a few groups before in the past. To be able to lead a group from the very beginning is such a privilege. Working with Cliff and everyone at Surrey Music has already been inspiring and I know the choir has a very bright and colourful future.”

The new choir will rehearse weekly on Tuesdays and is open to anyone over 18 who identifies as LGBTQ+ or who is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Singing a wide variety of songs, everything from iconic rock and pop anthems, 50s and 60s kitsch, 80s pops to contemporary hits and songs from the shows, the emphasis will be on having fun with like-minded people in a happy and supportive environment. For more information on joining the choir visit 

Surrey Rainbow Choir’s first public performance will be on Saturday 30th November, when the choir will perform alongside its sister choirs, Elmbridge Choir and Elmbridge Ladies Choir, at their “Colours of Winter” Christmas concert at Addlestone Community Centre. Tickets priced £12 (adults) £5 (under 18) available from


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