Norwegian schoolboy becomes the first foreigner to be admitted to the Salisbury Cathedral boys’ choir directly after the initial round of singing trials.
An endearing little summer story it is; fourteen-year-old Benjamin Isachsen from Oslo sang his way straight into the choir he had dreamed of spending the summer with. Salisbury Cathedral boys’ choir is one of the foremost in the world and the criteria for admittance to their summer program are very high indeed. Few foreigners even come into consideration at this citadel of age-old tradition. Therefore Benjamin’s direct admittance is not only a sweet little story of a dream come true, it is in fact historic.
Salisbury’s head of music conceded that Benjamin’s performance was unexpected and exceptional; he was able to sing the repertoire of Salisbury’s soloist soprano without difficulty. Upon recognizing his exceptional talent, Head of Music, Mr. Hall, asked Benjamin to extend his stay from the planned four weeks –the program duration he had hoped for- to six weeks in order to take part in the choir’s recording sessions and the Southern Cathedrals Festival; the biggest church music festival in the world.
Worries regarding financing the prolonged stay –normally the fee for attendance is very substantial- were eliminated when it became clear that Benjamin’s exceptional singing was all the payment asked for.
Benjamin is currently attending part of Salisbury’s boarding school education and he sings with the choir every day in preparation of the big events to come. Back in Norway the fourteen-year-old has been with the boys’ choir at Oslo Cathedral since the age of five, and he has been described as one of the country’s most promising voices. Still his exploits in England are no less than remarkable and his crystalline young voice has truly reached the context of its utmost recognition in Salisbury.