Fringe Box



Surrey Rainbow Choir – ‘One Of The Best Things I’ve Ever Done’

Published on: 5 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 10 Nov, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

The LGBTQ Surrey Rainbow Choir is back singing together after only meeting on Zoom during lockdown and the members are delighted. “We are a choir again” said one enthused singer.

Choir member Nicola Campbell, who is disabled and attends the choir in a wheelchair, echoed that keenness, saying: “I’m not gay but I’m an ally with a gay sister and a non-binary teenage daughter. Joining the choir is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Nicola said she felt more welcomed at the Rainbow Choir than in “disability groups I’ve been part of. I was nervous at first but you are just welcomed. No one questions your story. We are all just here and there’s no expectations.”

The Surrey Rainbow Choir singing in The Holy Trinity Church in Guildford High Street.

I had been invited to attend a rehearsal by Paul Syson-Harvey, the membership secretary. They have around 35 members from all over Surrey and meet weekly at the Holy Trinity Church in Guildford High Street on Tuesday evenings for two hours.

It was both heartening and inspiring to be there and chat to some of the choir members.

Paul said: “The church has been incredibly supportive and it’s a fabulous building to sing in, great acoustics.

“We want more to join in to bring our community together, have fun and be with other LGBTQ+ people and their families.

Musical director Christopher Wray has lead the choir since October 2019. A professional conductor and singer, Christopher, impressively, was able to sing all of the choir parts himself, from a falsetto soprano to one of the deepest, rumbling notes I’ve ever heard. He had the choir laughing as he encouraged them with a chuckle: “Go loud or go home”.

The Surrey Rainbow Choir rehearsing at The Holy Trinity Church in Guildford with Christopher Wray conducting.

Choir member Tim Cannon was bopping as they sung the ever popular Down Town. He said: “I always wanted to sing better and I wanted the social thing as well. I love singing here.”

Over a cup of coffee in a rehearsal interval, another choir member Claire Worthington told me: “I wanted to meet people in my community, to understand myself a bit better. I found people here who were going through the same journey and I didn’t have to explain.”

Paul Syson-Harvey said they were preparing for their next concert. It will be held at Hatchlands Park on December 11 followed by singing some festive favourites at The Vera Fletcher Hall on December 19.

“We sing classics such as All I Want for Christmas by Mariah Carey, Last Christmas by Wham! and songs from musicals. I’m not really musical but it is great fun to be singing here,” said Paul.

“We are a small choir hoping to grow and spread the word of diversity and inclusion. If you love singing or just want to see what we are about, please visit our website and drop us a line at”

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