Basil Richmond, one of the original members of the choir recalled those early days in 1997 ...

"The choir was still deciding what to call itself - I think "Gay and Lesbian Sing Out Rainbow Choir" came somewhere on the list! [As you can see from the poster our 'Previous Events' pages, it looks as though the name was not far off that]. As far as I know, Carl started things off in September 1997 and I came along in December - as a result of my meeting up with Graham Harvey; we had just started working together on setting up the gay and lesbian dance club which opened its doors on January 13th the following year and later became Cheek2Cheek. My first memory is of a very small band of people singing a few rather tongue-in-cheek carols (deck your balls with boughs of holly - that sort of thing) around a few gay pubs over Christmas.  I started attending regularly from January 1998 and we met at the gay and lesbian offices/premises at community base on Queen's Road. There were only a handful of us at the time, as I recall, and everything we did was a cappella. One of the first songs I remember was "Keep it Gay" followed closely by "Hand in Hand" - which we once sang in a stair-well to improve the acoustic - and "California Dreaming". I also remember "Doh, a deer" from the Sound of Music because I was practically drummed out of the choir for not knowing the words! (Clearly my gay credentials were not good enough!) Then, of course, there was "Siahamba". That summer we sang with the Sydney choir when they came over and we were only 7 strong to their 80+! We did "Rhythm of Life" with them and, I think, "Happy Together".

Here's Carl leading us when we 'busked' in the Streets of Brighton during the Brighton Festival in May 2002

In 1998 we had our first 'proper' public appearance with a resoundingly successful 'outing' at Brighton Pride, followed by a joint concert with the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir at the Gardner Arts Centre at Sussex University in Brighton in July and topping it off with a "A Requiem for Those Who Die Young" in December. Not bad for the first year! From that small beginning in 1997, the choir has grown to a current membership of 35 and a "reputation that has spread throughout Britain" (Pride Magazine).

Rainbow Chorus was one of the founding members of Sea, Sound, Sing - the Brighton Festival's a Capella choral event which is sadly no longer running, but was great fun while it lasted though! We are also one of the founding members of the Association of Lesbian and Gay Choirs in the UK and Ireland.

You can follow our performances over the years

What are we like?
Rainbow Chorus is a mixed bunch indeed and we welcome LGBT people of all ages and abilities. There are plenty of people who do not read music and learn by ear or from our recorded parts. The main thing is that we all get along well and the whole evening is great fun. People join the choir for reasons other than just singing of course - some want to be an active part of the LGBT community, some want to get out for a drink in the evening, some want to make new friends, and some have even met a future partner!

Of course, one of the things that marks us out from our other two friendly gay choirs here in Brighton & Hove is that we have women! We’re biased of course, but we think it makes for a more varied musical texture and allows us to tackle challenging choral pieces which were originally written by some of the world’s greatest composers for SATB - have a look through our
history pages to see what we mean. It also gives a different dynamic to the social aspect of the choir which seems to suit us very well.

Here's are three ex-members of the choir - chairperson Simon Hincks, our Musical Director
Matt Pollard and our accompanist Glen Capra.

What sort of things do we get up to?
The main focus of Rainbow Chorus is to give two scheduled concerts per year in Brighton & Hove and other performances as events unfold through the year. We believe that they are varied and enjoyable concerts and that we have become a familiar and colourful part of the LGBT community in the city. You can read about past events and concerts here. Repertoire has ranged through ABBA to African chants, orchestral choral pieces by Vivaldi, Poulenc and Fauré, backing for other performers and sixties and more recent pop (such as Coldplay and Blur) to Victorian parlour songs. We try to balance the familiar and the unusual to keep both us and our audience entertained and delighted with unknown or seldom heard music. Some pieces are occasionally written specifically for us as well.

We look for ways to contribute to the Brighton and Hove community by raising money for local charities and participating in community events.

There is an active committee which runs the choir's day to day business but everyone has a chance to add their voice at these meetings. Different members of the choir sing, conduct, arrange pieces, play the piano, help with staging and presentation, lead rehearsals and very importantly make the tea - so we are a fairly democratic lot, and Rainbow Chorus really belongs to all of us.

Sign Interpretation
We aim to provide British Sign Language interpretation at our two main performances - the Brighton Festival Fringe and our Winter concerts - and more if possible. We have been pleased and proud to have Marco Nardi signing for us for many years now which not only allows members of the deaf community to enjoy our concerts but adds an extra dimension of meaning and interpretation for hearing audience members too which has ranged from the touching to the hilarious!

If you are deaf and would like to attend one of our signed concerts then please let us know in advance and we can ensure that you have a seat with a clear view of Marco. Also, we appreciate your feedback and if, as a member of the deaf community, you feel that we could improve things on the web site or at our performances for you then please
contact our chair or webmeister with your suggestions. Thank you.