Surrey Music announced the launch of the county's first ever LGBTQ+ choir on Wednesday (August 7).

The long-running community music society was founded in 2005 and already includes several choirs in its ranks, including the the 130-strong mixed voice Elmbridge Choir, and the 90-voice Elmbridge Ladies Choir.

Founder and CEO of Surrey Music Cliff van Tonder said he had long dreamt of forming a LGBTQ+ choir in the county.

With the first ever Surrey Pride taking place this weekend (August 10) the timing could scarcely have been better.

"For several years I have wanted to form an LGBTQ+ choir here in Surrey.

"With the recent groundswell of support for the LGBTQ+ community as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, coupled with the first ever Pride in Surrey event taking place in August, I felt that there was never going to be a better time!" Mr van Tonder said.

He added praise for the wider community's "positive response" to the formation of the group, which will perform under the name Rainbow Choir.

Anyone aged 18+ who identifies as LGBTQ+ or actively supports the community and has a passion for music would be welcome to join, he added.

The announcement was greeted with elation by Stephen Ireland, Founder of Surrey Pride.

"Having the support of Surrey Music means the world to me and the Pride in Surrey team.

"Hearing that a Rainbow Choir is on the cards demonstrates that Cliff understands the importance of celebrating diversity and inclusion, and also provides a safe space where someone can sing their heart out and be whoever they want to be," Mr Ireland said.

To show the group's support for the LGBT+ community, the Rainbow Choir will have their very own stall at Surrey Pride in Woking, and hope to sign up new members on the day.

"Anyone interested in joining this brand new, friendly, non-audition and non-judgemental choir, either as a singer or a leader, can register their interest by visiting or visit the Surrey Rainbow Choir stall at Pride in Surrey in Woking Park to find out more," a spokesperson said.