In 2017 we were inspired to set up this charity because of our connections with Stoke Newington arts organisation DissentersN16 which delights in promoting artistic excellence and world-class music in N16.
It has been wonderful to watch how Dissenters’ youth choir Chorus of Dissent has become a magnet in our community, attracting singers, musicians, film and sound technicians from all backgrounds eager to be involved in its energy and creativity.
So many people’s lives from young to old have been enhanced by their involvement with the choir – either as performers, supporters or audience.
Generously supported by local financial advisers Ruth Whitehead Associates, the performances of Chorus of Dissent have become fundraising opportunities in themselves, and made possible projects such as art exhibitions and a youth choir.
Our charity will now build on this inspiration and goodwill, and focus on drawing funds and sponsorship from wider sources to develop new projects in which to engage our local community – in music, arts, and performance.
Our purpose is to encourage individuals and sections of the community to take part in activities they would not normally consider to be for them, alongside groups with whom they would not normally interact. Our particular focus is inspiring children in today’s current climate where schools have increasingly limited resources for artistic pursuits.
Nicolas Johnson (Chair)
Nicolas enjoys all things musical and has sung bass in Chorus of Dissent since it was founded as well as being an adult learner on the piano. He works in the City lending to emerging markets and has lived in Stoke Newington for more than 15 years. He is married to an artist and has a daughter at university. Nicolas says “I believe passionately that engaging in music and the arts changes lives and that the opportunity to do so should be accessible to everyone. Please support our new charity so that we can continue and expand vibrant projects in our local community”.
Rosanna has lived in Stoke Newington for over 20 years and is a founder member of the Chorus of Dissent. She has worked in the voluntary sector most of her working life and has led a number of organisations including the Musicians Benevolent Fund and the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine. She has always been passionate about promoting involvement and engagement and looks forward to developing exciting opportunities for creativity in Stoke Newington.
Katy’s connection with arts in the community began early when she helped backstage and then acted in her parents’ amateur drama group as a teenager. More recently, she has worked in Human Resources in the not-for-profit sector including as HR Director of Arts Council England and the Southbank Centre – two organisations committed to making the arts as accessible, important and enjoyable for everyone. Katy is currently a trustee for Anti-Slavery International. She makes up for her own lack of talent in musical or visual arts by being a highly engaged and enthusiastic audience member, enjoying Chorus of Dissent concerts and many other arts events in our vibrant capital city and beyond.
Ruth has organised, presented and directed her own concerts since she was a teenager. Each and every one has had at its heart her desire to present wonderful music in an approachable and informal way without an ounce of dumbing down. Drawing on Stoke Newington’s dissenting tradition, she established local arts organisation Dissenters N16, and set up community choir Chorus of Dissent in 2012, both generously supported by her ethical investment advice company, Ruth Whitehead Associates. In order to further share arts and culture, and offer opportunities for people from all local communities to get involved, Ruth had the idea for a charity.
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