Under the leadership of John Keys, the Choir of St Mary’s Church is recognised as one of the finest Anglican church choirs in the country. Renowned for its versatility and wide repertoire it performs music from plainsong through to world premieres. As well as performing music for liturgical use, the choir regularly undertakes large scale works from Monteverdi’s Vespers to Verdi’s Requiem.
The choir sings three times a week: at Wednesday Evensong (6.15pm), Sunday Eucharist (10.45am) and Sunday Evensong (6.30pm).
In 2002 a choral scholarship scheme was launched and has succeeded in attracting a wealth of promising young singers from the region’s universities, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in music. Each scholarship is worth at least £1,250 per annum.
Regular concert performances include annual Good Friday renditions of Bach’s Passions in a liturgical setting and two or three large-scale concerts a year accompanied by St Mary’s resident orchestra, The Orchestra of the Restoration. Recent concert and large-scale works include a semi-staged double-bill of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas and Handel’s Acis & Galatea (2017), Tallis’ epic 40-part motet Spem in Alium (2017), Bach’s Johannes Passion with 18th Century Sinfonia (2016 and 2017), Monteverdi’s Vespers with the choir of St Barnabas’ Catholic Cathedral and the English Sackbutt & Cornett Ensemble (2017) and in previous years Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis, Mozart’s Requiem and Great Mass in C Minor, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and Brahms’ Requiem. Upcoming concerts in 2018 include Handel’s The Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem.
The choir has released two recent recordings: Mater Christi, a disc of Marian motets produced by Regent Records (2015) and A St Mary’s Christmas, a disc of sacred and secular music for Christmas (2017). Broadcasts include Sunday Half-Hour and In Praise of God for BBC World Service, Radio 4’s The Daily Service and Sunday Worship, BBC Radio Nottingham’s Annual Carol Service and BBC 1’s Songs of Praise.
Overseas the choir has performed in France, Belgium, Germany and Italy and enjoys a strong relationship with the excellent choir of St Egidien, Nuremberg. The choir has also taken the services in Westminster Abbey and St Paul Cathedral, where in 2013 it had the honour of being asked to perform a full week’s services.