The Choir and Music Staff

The Choir of St Mary the Virgin, Nottingham is acclaimed as one of the finest Anglican church choirs in the country. Typically, the choir sings three services a week (Wednesday Evensong (6:15pm), Sunday Eucharist (10:45am) and Sunday Evensong (6:30pm) as well as regular concerts throughout the year, upholding a tradition of outstanding choral music in Nottingham. Services are now regularly broadcast from the website homepage, and you can listen to recent services again here.

The choir has made a number of recordings over recent years including 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). Beyond Nottingham, the choir has sung in Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral and toured across Europe, most recently to France, Italy and Germany.


Director of Music

John Keys, Director of Music and the Arts, was appointed in May 1984, shortly before gaining 1st prize in the 4th Manchester International Organ Competition.  Organ scholar at New College, Oxford, he subsequently studied with Lionel Rogg at the Geneva Conservatoire.  During his 36 years in post, he has created a choir renowned for its versatility, whether leading services or performing to the highest standard with St.Mary’s own Orchestra of the Restoration.  Nottingham City Organist since 2016, John gives recitals in many different countries and is also in demand as a teacher and accompanist. 

Assistant Director of Music

Francis Shepherd was appointed in February 2020, having previously worked at Truro Cathedral for several years as a Tenor Lay Vicar. Francis read Music at University College, Oxford, during which time he was Organ Scholar at St Barnabas, Jericho, and a Choral Exhibitioner in the Choir of Merton College, Oxford. Outside of his work at St Mary’s, Francis is a freelance recording engineer and producer, cello tutor and is the Advertising Manager for Organists’ Review magazine.

Organ Scholar

Edward Byrne received his early musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, singing the daily services as well as at concerts and many prestigious events. After leaving the Abbey in 2016 he was awarded a Music Scholarship to Loughborough Grammar School where he soon enters the Upper Sixth. Ed studies with Christian Wilson in London and receives additional tuition from John Keys and David Brookshaw. He has also participated in masterclasses with some of the world’s best-known organists including Dame Gillian Weir, Jeremy Filsell, David Goode and Ann Elise Smoot. Since he started playing the organ, Ed has performed in cathedrals and churches across the UK. His plans for the future include a cathedral gap year organ scholarship followed by a music degree at either Oxford or Cambridge University with an Organ scholarship.