9th December 2020 — A Bedford School pupil has won BBC Young Chorister of the Year after wowing the judges with his stunning singing voice. Alexander Olleson appeared on BBC One on Sunday, impressing the judges having battled his way to the final a week before.
The talented 14-year-old, who joined Bedford School in September on a music scholarship, has been singing for years, joining his local parish church choir at the age of seven. He later moved to be a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, where he sang with the world-renowned choir for five years. He now sings in the Chapel Choir at Bedford School.
Alexander said his years of singing experience gave him the confidence to put in a good performance. He said: “It was quite nerve-wracking at the final but I wasn’t as nervous as I might have been. Having been a chorister I am used to performing live in front of lots of people. It is hard to describe how it felt when I was announced as the winner. You get this feeling of being completely relaxed, even if you felt relaxed beforehand you still feel it. It’s a really good feeling.”
Alexander said although he loves soloing in the choir, it is the team spirit and camaraderie of singing together that he really enjoys. “Singing as a soloist is something I have done for years as a chorister but when you are in a choir you feel as if you are singing as one body,” he said. “You also have that team spirit, if one of you has a howler and hits a wrong note, the rest of the team can correct it. I think that’s what really makes the music so special, because you are all acting as one.”
Alexander said although he felt blessed to have a good voice to start with, it is the years of practice that really matter to reach the top. “I have always had a good voice but have tried to develop it over the years I have sung in choirs,” he said. “My singing voice is something I have always had but have had to work hard to improve.”
Jonathan Sanders, Bedford School’s Director of Music, who leads the Chapel Choir where Alexander sings as one of 35 boys from eight different year groups, said: “I was delighted to hear that Alexander had won the competition. Alexander is at a transitional moment in his education, having enjoyed the amazing opportunity of having been a cathedral chorister, and is now embarking on his senior schooling. Winning the competition will give him some amazing opportunities to work with professional musicians, both singers and instrumentalists, which will provide him good insights into the world of professional music-making, even in these unprecedented COVID times.”