What people say

Dissenters do it differently…

What people say

Saturday 3 June, 5.30pm, St Matthias Church – as part of Stokey Litfest

“Best £5 I’ve spent this weekend. A whole concert of glorious music for a fiver!”

Music Without Borders, Stokey Town Hall, October 15 2016

“Thank you so very much for the fundraising events for Hackney Migrant Centre and Akwaaba. £8,000 is an enormous amount of money to raise from two events and we’re delighted to be receiving £4,000. This will go a very long way in supporting the work we do with vulnerable migrants. Please pass on our profound thanks to everyone involved in the concert.” Daf Viney, Hackney Migrant Centre


“What a fabulous evening of music and dance that was on Saturday – a programme centered on ‘Music without Borders’ to raise money for the Hackney Migrant Centre and Akwaaba all dreamed up by Chorus of Dissent’s tireless and passionate conductor, Ruth Whitehead. A programme full of contrasts, vibrancy and fun – we all just loved it. The Chorus gave a beautifully paced and shaped ‘Ave Maris Stella’, most touchingly sung, and the Elastic Band accompanied, with great aplomb, the dazzling tango violinist, David Juritz, and the richly-voiced Maurice Wren (CEO of the Refugee Council and Chorus of Dissent’s own). Roy y Negro brought elegance and grace to the evening with their sublime tango dancing. A carefully crafted programme by Ruth; and all this under the Stoke Newington Town Hall’s glitter ball!” Ave Maris Stella composer Cecilia McDowall

“They say that London has lost all sense of community but tonight has proved them completely wrong.” Anon.

“Thank you Ruth and all Dissenters for the incredible choral and orchestral performances Saturday night! We are super grateful to you for inviting us to participate in such an important and meaningful event.” Rojo y Negro

“What a great fab concert and huge congratulations to you and all the choir! I think it was the best I have seen so far! My favourite piece was the ‘Tango of Time.’ I loved it and the accompanying dance routine was such a vision – I have no idea how you conceive everything. Anyway, I loved the whole performance. And what a staggering sum you have all raised too.” Father David Lambert, St Matthias Church

“That was such an amazing evening.  An inspiring message was sent out.  An inspiring programme of music.  Inspiring people to spend time with.  Thank you so much.” Janet.

Musicfest at the Litfest, St Matthias June 4 2016

“Like everyone in the audience, I really really enjoyed the concert on Saturday. Such brilliant music!  Thank you for giving us all such enormous amounts of pure pleasure” Cecilia Darker

“I really enjoyed singing in the concert.  I never imagined I would ever sing Philip Glass and, despite its challenges,  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do so.  The Vaughan Williams was, of course, wonderful too.  What a great juxtaposition of pieces.  Thank you so much.” Mary Stacey.

“That was a triumph! Absolutely wonderful. I loved every second of it. It was so lovely to be on the other side and bask in the full monty of the sound.” Emma Parsons

“What a wonderful concert it was – bravo, again, to you and your stirling efforts!” Ann Miller

Shakespeare and  St George at St Matthias, April 23 2016

“It was a fabulous uplifting concert. I loved it. Thanks Ruth!” Clissold Ward Cllr Sophie Cameron

Hum About Mine Ears at the Barbican, March 6 2016

 Dissenters is the perfect combination of professional and amateur, old and new, with participants from Stokey and from further afield – all ages and all types! JF, Stoke Newingtonquote-right

Recording A Hum About Mine Ears at British Grove Studios, July 2015

“Thanks for a remarkable day. It was wonderful to be a part of it. I can’t wait to hear the final version.” Caroline Millar

Chorus of Dissent celebrate St Matthias Church history  Diocese of London magazine

Cabaret with dinner, June 2015

“Really enjoyed yesterday evening’s cabaret – liked the variety of programming, and the usual combination of verve, enjoyment and high standards.  A nice format and a good cause.” Andrew Hudson, Highbury

The French Connection, April 2015

“Just stunning.  Absurdly wonderful! I think you’re a genius Ruth. And thanks too to Jan for patience and generosity.” Farquhar McKay

“Congratulations on a great evening and thank you for introducing me to St Matthias church, which as you say has as great acoustic and is very elegant. I particularly enjoyed Harvey Brough’s piece with the confident and uninhibited children singing so well. A great beginning in your new home. I look forward to more of your concerts.”  Judy Slater

“I was completely bowled over by the Young Dissenters and the whole performance on Saturday. You are so good at putting across your enthusiasm and clearly have many strings to your bow.” Debbie Ashton, local resident/teacher

“Dear Ruth, The concert on April 18 was absolutely wonderful! I loved every second of it. It was such a high standard and so joyous. It was also great to see some of our William Patten pupils in the Young Dissenters. I will have another promotion drive at school. Congratulations on a splendid performance.” Emma Parsons

“Thanks so much for the concert. I had a wonderful time.” Clare Armitstead

Review June 21 2014

A Hum About Mine Ears

The concert was one of those magical occasions where everything seemed perfectly aligned – the right time, the right place, the right sound, the right cast, the right weather – all on the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.
Read the full review by Mark Ellen, writer and broadcaster [PDF]

 Our concerts aren’t what you would expect. Their mixed and unusual repertoire delights audiences and challenges us by taking choir members out of their comfort zones.
Ruth’s dedication and enthusiasm has created a real community. I moved to Stokey two years ago knowing no one, and there couldn’t have been a better way to feel part of the heart of the area.

KS, Chorus of Dissentquote-right


 What a great concert! We thoroughly enjoyed it, as did everyone in that lively audience.
I loved the choice of music and your conductor was an inspiration. It was lovely to see you all in coloured tops. It made the occasion sparkle. I brought my grand daughter, who said she had been a bit apprehensive to start with, but came out buzzing. What fun! I bet you all enjoyed doing it.
MS, Stoke Newingtonquote-right


Press release April 11 2014

Female composer and conductor create world-premiere

Stoke Newington has always been a place at odds with the establishment, populated for centuries with nonconformists, and a forthcoming choir and orchestral concert is similarly flying in the face of convention by featuring both a female composer/soloist and conductor.
Internationally-acclaimed songwriter and soloist Clara Sanabras and local businesswoman and conductor Ruth Whitehead are collaborating on the world-premiere of a brand new piece entitled A Hum About Mine Ears.
Read the full press release Female composer and conductor create world-premiere [PDF]

 Since I discovered Dissenters, I have been intrigued at an art exhibition on exploitation, heard an esteemed art historian on the invisibility of contemporary paintings depicting slavery in the history of art (in the church where three anti-slave trade campaigners are buried), and witnessed the most spell-binding world-premiere choir and orchestral performance of songs based on Shakespeare’s Tempest. And that’s in just six weeks. I can’t wait to see what else that quirky group of individuals has in store next for Stoke Newington.
JA, Stoke Newingtonquote-right


 What a range, from Don McLean to haunting songs and music inspired by The Tempest. It was an eye-opener to new types of music. A real combination of genres. And it hasn’t put me off what I consider to be a classical concert! ZM (12 years old), Stoke Newingtonquote-right


Review April 27 2013

A Birthday Celebration Concert for Mary Wollstonecraft

Haydn, Handel and Ravel soared to the vaulted ceiling of St Mary’s New Church in Stoke Newington in celebration of the 254th birthday of the author of The Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft.
Read the full review by Caroline Spry, film producer and feminist [PDF]

 I moved away from Stokey and have to travel sometimes an extra hour after work for rehearsals but Chorus of Dissent is SO worth it. I wouldn’t – I couldn’t – give it up. This choir is simply about the love of singing, nothing more, nothing less. MR, Chorus of Dissentquote-right


Review June 23 2012

A new choir is born

Last Saturday a new choir was born, believed to be the first community choir open to all that Stoke Newington has seen in modern times.
At St Mary’s Old Church, at the unusual time of 5:30 pm, I joined with close to 40 singers – mainly locally based – to give spirited performances of two very contrasting pieces to a packed and enthusiastic audience.
Read the full review by John Sloboda, musician and activist [PDF]

 Marvellous evening. Perfect balance of education, delicious food and wine and fun! Thank you again for all your hard work in organising and running this event. Look forward to the next one, although if wine is on offer I must drink less… J, Stoke Newingtonquote-right

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