Saturday, December 28, 2013

(Last Updated August 2, 2014)

Those who are new to Libera and to this Timeline might also want to check out its other sections:

For Part One (introduction to Libera, extensive overview and 1981-2007), please go to: 

For Part Two (2008-2009):

For Part Three (2010):

For Part Four (2011):

For Part Five (2012):

For Part Six (January-May 2013)

For Part 6A (May-December 2013)


For Part 7A (August-December 2014)

Please note: new additions are made to the END of each section, rather than the beginning.


(Year-In-Review, Loose Moose, Odds & Ends)
(Libera Footnote: Visibility quotient)
(Galleries, Re-Releases and Rumors)
(US Tour Scheduled)
(Arundel Concert Announced for May)
(Church of the Incarnation, New York City, 4/15/14)
( Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ, 4/16/14)
(Arundel Cathedral Concert, 5/10/14)
(Video Filming in France)
(Performing for Kennedy Center Honors Patrons in London)
(Announcement, Fund-raising,& Promotions for New DVD 
Concert Filming)

Greetings, and welcome to Part 7 of the Libera Historical Timeline. We begin this section with some bits of late-December news that were just too much for Part 6A to handle:

Christmas wishes from a small scattering of Liberans in the annex of St. Philip's Church, Norbury, South London: (L to R): Unidentified Mini-boy (later revealed as Timothy Lee), Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Sam Wiggin, Matthew Madine (top), Camden Stewart, Lucas Wood, Matthew Jansen (top), Mini-boy (later revealed as Shay Balsekar), Marc Alvares, Anthony Blake, Alex Montoro. (Libera 2013 Christmas greetings) 

LIBERA FOOTNOTE: For the uninitiated: "Mini-boys" is Libera-speak for youngsters who are preparing to join the performing group that goes on tour, but have not made it into general public view, thus their names are not necessarily known outside of the group. They rehearse with Libera (some also sing in the St. Philip's Choir), and may join the main group for at-home concerts, where they are known as "juniors." The jump from mini-boy to full-fledged Liberan may happen suddenly and at any time during this apprenticeship.


Wow - today (Dec. 25th) we passed 50,000 likes on Facebook and we also passed 7 MILLION plays on Youtube. What a great Christmas present!! Thank you so much to all our supporters for helping us hit these amazing landmarks. Happy Christmas again and thank you for all your support throughout 2013.


The amazing Yuki-from-Japan, host of the Dear Libera site at,  attended all Libera concerts again this year (with the exception of the TV appearances in the US)  and once again compiled a video review. (Note for newcomers: video recording is forbidden at all Libera concerts, but some leniency is practiced at the end of concerts, while the group is taking bows.) Video and still photography is also allowed at Meet-and-Greets (staged autograph-signing sessions), which at this time were held only on foreign tours. As usual,Yuki, by now a familiar face to the boys, produced some stunning still portraits. 

Yuki poses with former Libera soloist Ben Philipp in Guildford, England

A portrait of Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey from Cebu M&G

The boys frolic on the steps of the National Concert Hall in Taiwan (2013 Libera concert appearances/ by Yuki)


…with another hilarious Monty Python-esque double video feature, featuring the Loose Moose Gang (former/senior Liberans Josh Madine, Sam and Alex Leggett, Liam Connery, Jonathan Barrington, and an over-the-top Ben Philipp) at their most daft, playing dual roles in a two-part mystery special, and affecting a number of sometimes incomprehensible accents.

Liam Connery, Josh Madine, Jonathan Barrington, Alex Leggett, and Sam Leggett finding their way to "Moose Manor."  (2014 Loose Moose New Year’s Special: Murder at Moose Manor Part 1)  (2014 Loose Moose New Year’s Special: Murder at Moose Manor Part 2)  (2014 Loose Moose New Year’s Special: Outtakes)


Performing in Plenary Hall in the Philippines

On January 3rd, OfficialLibera posted two excellent collections of photos from the fall Philippines tour... (, 

...and the USA holiday promotional tour. ( )

Michael Menezes, Tom Delgado-Little, Ben Fairman and Isaac London play tourist in Hollywood.


On January 6th, it was announced that the Christmas in Ireland CD had topped the USA Billboard Traditional classical charts for the third straight week.


This has traditionally been one of the slowest times of year, Libera-wise. The boys rest up from their busy holiday season and buckle down to schoolwork and exams (and of course, there are always rehearsals of old and new material, and on occasion, recording sessions). Robert Prizeman works on new music and plots programs. The Libera administration tries to create a touring and appearance schedule for the coming year that is both exciting and realistic.  As seen in the holiday season just past, with Warner Classics as their new label, Libera should be able to look forward to an exciting year.

Update from the AngelVoices site: 

The gentleman who tweets for WarnerUSA told me that Libera has big things planned for 2014. Libera has said they are working on a new album. I believe the albums announced last week (in Japan; see below) are in preparation for another Asian tour at Spring Break. Plus we still have to see what comes of the USA tour mentioned by Libera for this year. The Christmas TV appearances WarnerUSA engineered (per their Twitter spokesman) were surely in preparation for that USA tour. I suspect this is the "calm before the storm" of activity.
Patiently waiting (sort of) —Robert


When Libera first evolved out of the “Angel Voices” group in 1999, they had no problem with identifying individual boys for their then-small and personal fan base, even issuing “trading card” photos of each member, complete with first and last names. Trips abroad featured numerous interviews in which the boys introduced themselves by name, with personal profiles, and occasionally biographical details, of each appearing in the printed programs.

Their first concert DVD (Angel Voices, Libera in Concert), filmed in Leiden, Holland in 2007, featured fairly extensive video interviews (entitled "Libera: In Their Own Words") with the boys—by first name only, at this point—in which they revealed opinions, dreams for the future, and fascinating personalities. With the increased notice that accompanied the DVD, and the gradual growth of a fan base with members who truly embodied the term ”fanatic,” a slow withdrawal of this openness began.

Benedict Philipp interviewed on 2007 DVD

In England, as late as 2008, one could still attend meet-and-greet sessions, or encounter and pose for photos with the boys as they wandered out of a performing venue with their parents. “Introducing Libera” DVDs still identified the boys by first names as they spoke.
This all begin to change when a few over-eager fans began crossing the line of safety and propriety, behaving like paparazzi, stalking the boys after performances or at St. Philip’s church services, making inappropriate overtures, attempting to video through the church doors, dressing-room windows, etc. As early as 2010, Libera General Manager Stephen Philipp spoke about the situation:

 “We are very, very appreciative of our audience, and are well aware that none of this would be possible without the many fans around the world that support us. However, people must understand that any relationship [with the boys] must be at arm's length. There are people that have let their fanship become an obsession. Quite honestly, we don't know how to deal with that. There have been incidents at our church….You must understand that nothing we do in Libera goes ahead of the health and safety of the boys. That is of prime importance no matter what." 

The British laws protecting performing children were severely invoked. Information on the schools that the boys were attending and of their outside activities became primarily only available from outside sources.There were no more English meet-and-greets; programs with the boys’ names and faces were not issued except on foreign tours, where their protection has been assured by their hosts, who hire crowd-control experts and bodyguards. (One recent exception to this was the 2012 mini-tour of the Channel Islands, where the group was virtually unknown, and the white-robed boys were sent out into the streets to pass out fliers.)

The 2013 Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland DVD reflected this air of caution. Only seven boys were named during the performance (by first name only; the four who made between-the songs announcements introduced themselves, the two youngest members, and one soloist). While there were numerous photos, the names of Libera members did not appear in the post-video credits, and only in barely-readable print in CD and DVD booklets.
On the two DVD features “Behind the Scenes” and “Libera on Christmas.” only four boys already identified in the concert video revealed their names, though all the group members still came across as normal lively kids, and, with those few names, the illusion of “knowing” the group was, to some extent, maintained. Along with the new visibility that will inevitably accompany their recent success in the US will no doubt come a higher level of protection; it’s a sign of our times, and the price of growing fame.



Longtime Libera follower Snelling06 compiled an excellent video of soloists from 1987 through 2014, providing a stellar opportunity to match names with faces. Available early photos missing from the video at this point were of Robert Chee-a-Tow, Matthew Arthey, and Glen Tilen. 

Matthew Arthey (1987)

Robert Chee-A-Tow (1987)

Glen Tilen (1992) Snelling06/Soloists of Angel Voices/Libera 1987 through 2013)


 The cover of Free Japan edition, released in 2005

 In late January, Warner Music Japan announced the release of a new compilation album, I Am The Day – The Best of Libera, and a re-release of the 2004 CD Free, both slated for the 26th of March. 
A brand-new album was also hinted at in the printed program that was issued for Libera’s London concert at St. George’s Cathedral in 2013:

There are also some songs being performed this evening which will be included on a brand new Libera album due for release in 2014.”

It was suspected that “Voca Me,” which was filmed/recorded in Armagh in August of 2013 but did not appear on the Christmas DVD that year, might appear as a bonus feature on a new CD.  “I’m Dreaming of Home,” which was performed in the London concert, was also named as another possible inclusion.

Free, by the way, is probably one of the better choices for re-issuing. Recorded in 2004, it includes as soloists two Libera greats, Ben Crawley, who solos on “I Am the Day,” “Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep,” “I vow To Thee My Country,” “Twilight is Stealing,” and the little-noticed but exquisite “Song of Enchantment”), and Joe Platt, who performs as lead voice on “Stay With Me” and "When A Knight Won His Spurs,” and whose descant vocals throughout are brilliant. 

Joe Platt

Other soloists are Anthony Chadney and Chris Robson in the original “Voca Me,” with Robson doing other fine second vocals and Chadney taking a strong-voiced lead in “A New Heaven.” (Raoul Neuman joins Robson for “Adoramus.) The CD also contains the plainsong gem "Lament," and one of the loveliest versions of “Be Still My Soul” ever recorded.


Former Libera singer Flynn Marks (2008-2011)  recorded a cover of "Say Something" on SoundCloud, showing that his more mature voice is quite beautiful, and that he certainly knows how to put over a song. This page also has links to songs composed by senior Liberans Daniel Fontannaz and Sam Leggett.
Flynn Marks, post-Libera


Recently, the headmaster of Trinity School (located in Croydon, South London)  which is known for its excellent music program, announced the results of a piano competion in the school. Libera soloist Ben Fairman took first prize in his category. 

Ben Fairman

On February 18th, this report, by Libera fan John45, appeared in the Libera Dreams Discussion Forum under the heading "Members." Tom Delgado-Little apparently did Libera proud.

"Thomas Delgado-Little recently sang in a performance of Michael Tippet’s Opera, King Priam, with the English Touring Opera at the Linbury Theatre of the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden). According to David (my nephew), who is a serious opera buff, he gave an outstanding performance.

Tom Delgado-Little takes a curtain call as Young Paris.

Here are extracts from some of the professional critics.

“Paris’s childhood incarnation was impeccably well taken by treble Thomas Delgado-Little”

“the fine stage presence and wonderfully musical singing of Thomas Delgado-Little in the treble role of the young Paris.”

“Thomas Delgado-Little was nothing short of brilliant as Young Paris, appearing at ease on stage and singing with calm purity and clarity.”

“The young Paris was played by a treble, Thomas Delgado-Little, who projected the not uncomplicated lines with security and accuracy.”

“Thomas Delgado-Little did a truly excellent job as Paris’s younger self: one of the most self-assured and dramatically convincing performances I have seen from a boy treble.”

“There is a performance of extraordinary self-possession from young Thomas Delgado-Little, who plays Paris as a boy.”

Well done Tom. Hope to you see you in the role on the 27th May in Cambridge.

The ETO will be touring the UK with this opera until May. I just hope it doesn't mean Tom will not be part of the Spring US tour lineup."—John45


On March 5th, a new profile photo appeared on Libera's Facebook site. Boys pictured are (clockwise from bottom left): Gabriel Collins, Isaac London, Jude Collins, Sam Wiggin, Cassius O' Connell-White, Ben Fairman, and Alexander Gula. 


Former standout Libera soloist Tom Cully apparently decided to get as far away from his association with the group as possible, even changing his name to "Jamie Isaac." His music (and the video below) from his EP Blue Break, redefined the term "enigmatic," while demonstrating that Tom/Jamie had developed a fine grown-up singing voice. (She Dried /Jamie Isaac/Tom Cully/from Blue Break/2014)

A subsequent online interview carefully skirts any mention of Libera, while providing interesting biographical insights.


 Following a flurry of rumors (based on a wishful-thinking entry on a Japanese promotional website) that Libera's spring tour would head to Japan, solid evidence of the US tour appeared in a concert schedule for the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey (seating 1500) on  April 16, 2014. Not counting the brief December 2013 promotional visit, this would be the first US tour in three years.

A second concert in the series was announced for April 14th in the lovely Count Basie Theatre (seating 1300) in Monmouth, New Jersey.

Interior of Count Basie Theatre

A third concert was slated for the Keswick theater in Philadelphia (seating 1300) on April 17th.

Keswick Theater exterior

On March 15th, the Official Libera site announced the tour as complete at three concerts, running between April 12th and 19th, a single week instead of the usual two-week Spring outing. The following day a brief Spring Tour promotional video appeared, starring some of the usual suspects. (Spring Tour promo 2014, with Ben Fairman, Cassius O’ Connell White, and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey)


On March 22nd, the official posters for the Spring Tour of 2014 appeared, surprisingly resurrecting the somewhat deceptive early-2000s Evening Standard quote: "They come from the mean streets of South London, but sing like little angels."

Boys at the top: Marc Alvares, Ben Fairman, Sam Wiggin, Kavana Crossley, Anthony Blake

On March 28th, Libera fans, especially those who had planned on attending the Red Bank, NJ, concert on April 14th and/or the Philadelphia concert on April 17th, were surprised by the following official announcement:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the concerts in Red Bank and Philadelphia will not now take place.  Refunds are available via the theatres. However, the concert at the Mayo Performing Arts Centre in Morristown remains as planned on Wednesday 16th April. We hope that anyone who was due to attend Red Bank or Philadelphia may be able to consider joining us at the Mayo instead.
We do regret the considerable inconvenience this will cause for those who have bought tickets and made travel plans. However there will now be an additional concert in New York City during Holy Week. We will release further details within the next few days.
We do hope that as many as possible may be able to join us for these concerts.

(The last time "circumstances beyond our control" was invoked was in August of 2013, when the venue for the making of the Christmas DVD was changed from Boston, Massachusetts to Armagh in Northern Ireland in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.) 
On April 1st, however, the following announcement showed up on the Libera site:

Please join us for a Concert by Candlelight in the Church of the Incarnation on Madison Avenue, in New York City.  We will be performing on Tuesday 15th April at 7.30.  Please do join us if you can - and let your friends and families in New York know too.
Church of the Incarnation
209 Madison Ave. New York, New York

The following exchange, on the Libera Dreams site, expresses the situation kindly and clearly:

I think the problem for Libera is that they don't have any full- time event manager or professional help. It really is just a small group of people who do this in their own time whilst holding down regular jobs and balancing a family life—Yorkie.

Thanks, Yorkie, for reminding me of the humble origins and nature of Libera. It is a big part of what I love about them--ordinary kids and regular people who, through devotion to something they love, achieve a superlative level of achievement. Their performances place them at the very top of their profession (to my mind), and I cannot seem to stop myself from expecting a vast, multimillion-dollar (-pound) machine. I know better, of course, but just listen to them sing and tell me this is some mom-and-pop organization. Impossible.—Phineas


On April 5th, Libera announced their every-other-year spring concert at the lovely Arundel Cathedral, to be performed on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 7:30 pm.

The following video, once you get past the scenic views, is of a 2010 post-concert photo session at Arundel, featuring a rare group panorama and introduction of the then-mini-boys, three of whom are adorably recognizable as (L to R) current soloists Tom Delgado-Little, Ben Fairman, and Dylan Duffy. (Libera photo session at Arundel Cathedral/2010)


Concert #1: The Church of the Incarnation, New York City, April 15th: 

The 24 boys performing were:

Mark Alvares,
Shay Balsekar (new)
Henry Barrington
Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
Gabriel Collins
Timothy Lee (new)
Thomas Delgado-Little
Dylan Duffy
Ben Fairman
Alex Gula
Matthew Jansen,
Isaac London
Matthew Madine
Eoghan McCarthy,
Alessandro-Mackinnon Botti
Michael Menezes
Alex Montoro
Jakub Niedermaier-Reed
Cassius O'Connell-White
Matthew Rangel-Alvares,
Bertie Smart
Camden Stewart (new)
Sam Wiggin,
Lucas Wood

The singers marked in red above are only new as far as touring is concerned; all sang as mini-boys at the St. George’s Cathedral concert in London in December. Missing from the previous tour lineup were Anthony Blake, Jude Collins, Kavana Crossley, and Carlos Rodriguez. Bertie Smart, absent from the past tour and the Christmas DVD, was back, this time as a soloist.

The returning Bertie Smart

New Liberans: Camden Stewart (above),
 Shay Balsekar  and Timothy Lee. 

Musical Director - Robert Prizeman
Assistant Musical Directors - Sam Coates, Steven Geraghty
Keyboards - Steven Geraghty, Josh Madine
Clarinet - Steven Geraghty
Strings, Flute, Horn, & Percussion - members of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra
Lighting - Luke Avery
Sound Mixing & Production - Sam Coates
Stage Management - Jonathan Barrington
Tour Coordination, Chaperones - Barbara Geraghty, Eleanor Lewis
Production Coordinator - Andy Winter
Concert Management - Mattie Fox, Steven Philipp

In the speech introducing the choir, the youngest mentioned was Alex Gula (eight years old; below, left) and the oldest as Henry Barrington (14 years old; below, right). Cassius O’ Connell-White, who was the speaker, introduced himself as being “very old,” (provoking laughter in the church), as he joined Libera five years ago at the age of seven. He presented Isaac as "middle-aged" (laughter), at the grand old age of 11.

At the top of page 15 of the NYC concert program is the note, “Libera is planning to tour in North America as often as our schedule will permit in 2014/15."

Here's a great review by Lauren of the Mini-Angels site. (Other performers' versions of the new or nearly-new songs are included, for those unfamiliar with the pieces.) 

This concert was unique because it was by candlelight. There were candles across the front of the church as well as on tall stands down the center aisle. And there were still the colored lights that Libera is known for that lit up the half dome at the front of the church. It was so beautiful!

I've heard [the boys] have been having great fun so far. And the weather has been spectacular in New York City and New Jersey. The day of the concert it started to rain. Maybe that was to remind them of home in rainy London. Or maybe it encouraged more people to enter the warm, welcoming church to see Libera. We all got to see an amazing concert that seemed perfectly geared toward an American audience. Plus there were five new songs and lots of new solos!

 1. Joyful, Joyful - NEW SONGWhat a happy way to start a concert! Robert Prizeman wrote a new arrangement of this very familiar hymn. It's very upbeat and pretty. There was a lovely flute part, especially at the beginning. Tom Delgado-Little sang some stunning high notes in the middle and at the end. ???#123E2E9 (Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee/Mormon Tabernacle Choir) 

The masterful and ubiquitous Tom Delgado-Little

2. Sanctus This favorite wowed the crowd! Dylan Duffy sang the "ah's" in the middle. Lucas Wood and Tom Delgado-Little sang the high notes. The last "Sanctus" was sung by Bertie Smart and Dylan Duffy. Bertie has such a nice voice! 

Speech - Ben Fairman and Cassius O' Connell-White

They told us that Alex Gula is the youngest boy on tour at age eight. Henry Barrington is the oldest at 14 (wow, is he tall!). Cassius started singing in Libera at age 7 and has been singing for 5 years. And Isaac London is a "middle-ager" at 11 years old. Ahaha!

3. Song of LifeFabulous solo by Isaac London. That kid can sing! Lucas Wood is still making those high notes look effortless, and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey sang the "ah's."

4. Voca Me One of my favorite songs! The acoustics in the church made you feel like you were inside the song with 24-part harmony swirling all around you. You hold your breath as the song gradually crescendos and finally peaks at Tom Delgado-Little's clear high note. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey  and Matthew Jansen sing the last "Voca me" and then you can exhale. Stunning!

The very busy Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

5. Amazing Grace - NEW SONG  And it was amazing! This is probably the most well-known hymn in America. It was written by Englishman John Newton about his own life and God saving him from his sin. Robert Prizeman used the American version with the last verse from Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The boys sang the first lines in unison:

        "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
          That saved a wretch like me." 

At "I once was lost but now am found" they broke into harmony. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey sang the next to last verse as a solo while the dome was covered in a blue light. Then the dome lit up a bright yellow for the last, triumphant verse:

         "When we've been there ten thousand years,
          Bright shining as the sun,
          We've no less days to sing God's praise
          Than when we first begun."

Very effective. Quite emotional! (Amazing Grace/Angel Voices/1993/ solos by Oliver Putman and Daren Geraghty)

Speech - Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Cassius O' Connell-White. Hoods!

6. Ave MariaBeautiful solo by Tom Delgado-Little on the first verse, then backed up by 12 singers on the second verse. (Schubert’s Ave Maria/unidentified Vienna Choirboy)

7. Salva MeWhat a nice surprise! The high "salva" was sung by Alex Montoro! He has a beautiful voice! 
New soloist Alex Montoro

8. How Can I Keep From Singing?Tom Delgado-Little sang the high notes. Just lovely.

Speech - Gabriel Collins and Alex Gula 
Oh my word! The cutest part of the night! They told us how they joined Libera in January 2013 and have already toured in Ireland, the Philippines, and in December came to the US to appear on 2 television shows - the Today show and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. They then described how much they have to memorize ~ all the words and all the notes ~ and remember ~ where to stand. It was so unbelievably cute how they said it. At one point Alex paused, trying to remember his next line. It was just a tiny pause, but everyone chuckled as they thought, "And all the lines you have to remember for your speech, too!" We've all been there. Good job, boys! :)

9. Hymn to Mary -  Isaac London soloed this. It was so mesmerizing that I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I couldn't blink. So perfect! So stunningly good! https-// (Hymn to Mary)

10. How Shall I Sing That Majesty?Also one of my favorites. The solos sung by Lucas Wood and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti were fantastic! So happy to hear Alessandro's voice for the first time. He's always so cheerful and friendly at Meet & Greets. Now we know how truly great his voice is! He and Lucas were perfectly matched on this song.

(Lto R): Gabriel Collins, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Camden Stewart, Shay Balsekar, Timothy Lee
 (photo by Yuki)

11. Dies Irae - Solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey. Fantastic job. The dome was lit up red. This song flowed right into...

12. Gloria In Excelsis - The high notes were sung by Tom Delgado-Little, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Sam Wiggin, Lucas Wood, and Isaac London.

Speech - Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti 

Cute and funny speech about how they love to travel and all the places they've been but sadly, they still have to go to school. lol Then they introduced their mascot, Moose. "He is the most well-traveled moose in the world. He has even been to some of the places in our next song." 

13. Orinoco Flow - I love this song. On this cold, wet night it took us to a warm, tropical place. Tom Delgado-Little did little high trills on the word "sail." I sat on the right side and could hear many voices quite distinctly including little Alex Gula. He has a great voice!

14. Dreaming of Home - They started out with 10 boys singing. Their voices are so clear. For the second verse they broke into beautiful harmonies. Tom Delgado-Little sang the high notes. And they all held that last note out! Wow! Great breath control! (I’m Dreaming of Home)

15. How Great Thou Art - NEW SONG  Solo by Sam Wiggin. This is another hymn that is hugely popular in the US. The words are just beautiful. And we can make this my new song that makes me cry. The last verse is especially awe-inspiring. There was a purple light in the dome. Tom Delgado-Little and Sam sang the high notes at the end. Beautiful job, Libera! ???#123E2C7 (How Great Thou Art/London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus)

Sam Wiggin

Speech - Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey 

He has the best speaking voice! He told about the vocal "silly exercises" they do to warm up their voices. They demonstrated 3 of them, and the audience loved it, clapping for each one.

16. Stay With Me - I've been to so many concerts and can still see Daniel Fontannaz singing this, but I REALLY liked this version! Tom Delgado-Little started us off with the high notes. The solo part was nicely divided between Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Lucas Wood, and Cassius O' Connell-White. The last "Stay with me" was sung by Cassius.

17. Wayfaring Stranger - NEW SONG  For me it was the most stunning song of the night at this point! I know this song as an American Negro spiritual. The line "I'm just a-goin over Jordan" is a clue to that. Sam Wiggin's s solo was soooo beautiful! Robert Prizeman's arrangement is lovely and flowing with really interesting harmony parts. Multiple colors shone on the dome, green to blue. Just fantastic! ???#123E2A5 (Wayfaring Stranger/Suzy Boggus)

18. Glory to TheeTom Delgado-Little did a beautiful job on the solo part at the beginning. There were 5 groups of boys who then sang their parts in a round. Great!

Speech - Ben Fairman

Gabriel Collins, Shay Balsekar, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Timothy Lee, Ben Fairman (photo by Yuki)

He thanked everyone for coming to their concert and then, in his cute voice, said, "Bye!" and waved.

19. Exultate - We end as we began with a happy, upbeat song! Great job by Tom Delgado-Little on the solo!

There was a standing ovation from the audience that would not end. They just kept clapping. 

Encore: What a Wonderful World - NEW SONG And we end with a real stunner! This song was first sung by American Louis Armstrong. My favorite version is by American Hawaiian singer and ukulele player Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. And now Libera has put their fantastic twist on it! Isaac London sang this solo with the choir backing him up on the chorus. His voice was clear and strong. It's hard to believe that he's only 11. ???#123E2B4 (What a Wonderful World/Louis Armstrong)

Isaac London

Another standing ovation! Thank you, Libera! What a wonderful concert!

There was no Meet & Greet due to the time it took for the boys to get back to their accommodations and that they still had another concert the next night (tonight). The church really didn't have a space for it anyway. Many people came up to me asking if there was going to be an M&G with Robert Prizeman, though. He's quite popular. 

I first saw Alex Gula at the Christmas DVD recording in Armagh, Northern Ireland. I assumed that he was all smiley because his mom was in the audience. But he was soooo smiley all during the NYC concert! He must just be a happy little guy.

Alex Gula

With all these great, new songs, we need another CD from Libera. In the mean time, if you can, GO TO THE ARUNDEL, UK CONCERT on May 10! You will not be sorry!

It was great to meet so many fans from all over the US, Canada, Ireland, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, and Indonesia. And several told me that they had seen Libera perform at the Riverside Church in New York City back in 2008!

And let's not forget the musicians and crew! — Lauren

Here are some more comments and notes from long-time faithful French Libera enthusiast Fan de LOK:

The audience was small, 200 maximum [others estimated closer to 300]. Its composition was varied: people of the parish, locals, U.S. fans come from afar, and some foreigners, including a group of Indonesians, at least four Europeans, Canadians, and at least four Japanese.

The lights were quite different from previous concerts. It was advertised as a concert "By Candlelight." Many candles were placed around behind the boys and many chandeliers were lit; it gave a nice warm feeling.

As far as I remember, the boys were lit exclusively with white lights, but with varying intensities, depending on the songs or stanzas sung. Behind them there were shades of colors projected onto the alcove and the arch framing the altar, but with intensities much more sober and tenuous than usual.

The boys sang from the floor in front of the first pews; the raised stage of the altar could not be used, , because it would have been too crowded and was occupied in part by the keyboard of the organ. The first rows had a good view of the choir but the view was obstructed for people behind.

On the left a were a cello, three violins, and a percussionist with many instruments; on the right were a flute, a horn, one that I could not see, then Josh Madine and Steven Geraghty with keyboards.

(L to R): Lucas Wood, Isaac London, Michael Menezes, Marc Alvarez,  Ben Fairman 
(photo by Yuki)

Joyful Joyful started with an intro unknown to me, but with the first words I realized, OK, it is the “Ode to Joy.” No particular soloist as far as I remember, it was sung in chorus with some harmonies and high notes. They were arranged in two rows in a circular arc.

The first song was not linked to the second as usual, so it was followed by applause.

Sanctus- A very classic Libera song. Dylan Duffy is always special for the harmony that accompanies the "Benedictus" verses and Tom Delgado-Little for the high notes as the chorus grows. I noted that the final "Saaaanctuuuuss" was sung by the returning Bertie Smart instead of Matthew Jansen. Bertie had not appeared on stage for a year following the Taiwan-Korea 2013 tour.

Speech- Ben Fairman and Cassius O’Connell-White introduced the choir, including the youngest, and the oldest. They finished with Isaac (age 11) who stood behind them, and came forward for the next song.

Song of Life- Solo by Isaac London, who stood in the center front of the stage.

Voca Me- Since it was a candlelight concert, there were not the usual special lighting and spectacular visual effects,Tom Delgado-Little was set back behind the others on the steps of the stage of the altar and sang all the high descants.

Amazing Grace- For me, this was my first great moment of emotion. They were again arranged in two arcs, hands behind their backs. The song was divided into four parts. The first was sung by the whole choir in perfect unison, with an intensity that makes emotion take you by the throat.

A second verse was even sweeter, with some singers on the words and others who are behind long oouuuuoouu harmonies, with different instrumental parts, especially violins, joining the piano to give emphasis. For the third part Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey took one or two steps forward and sang a few lines as a soloist with piano accompaniment, and finally an energetic finale with all the choir and instruments.

Speech- By Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Cassius O’ Connell-White.
This was partly the speech on white robes as worn by monks and the hoods, but the joke hood was folded up to the chin.

Ave Maria- (Schubert) Solo by Tom Delgado-Little.
Tom sang the first part alone, in the center, facing the audience, accompanied by instruments. For the second part he was the soloist, accompanied by harmonies from the others. Tom’s sweet and powerful voice works wonders on this song
Everyone sang along on the Amen finale.

Salva Me- The descants were sung by one of the newer boys— I'm not sure of myself; I think it was Alex Montoro. He was located on the steps behind the others, like Tom Delgado-Little on “Voca Me.” On this song I remember being shocked by how pervasive the percussion was. The percussionist played drums, including a powerful bass drum and cymbals and all. To my taste it was disproportionate and harmful to the song. I hope he will be quieter tomorrow.

How can I keep From Singing- Sung by the choir, no solo on this song, it seems.

Speech- by the two smallest of the group, Alex Gula and Gabriel Collins, who took their place before the two small microphones in the center. They spoke about having to learn a lot, lyrics, travel, etc. They concluded by introducing Isaac London Isaac for the next song.

Hymn to Mary-Solo by Isaac London
Isaac came to stand in front of the two small microphones, far ahead of theothers (We suspected a little, as we had noticed a mark on the ground before the start of the concert.) Isaac sang alone, accompanied by instruments, but without the participation of others. I did not know the song and I had difficulty understanding, I admit. I'll have to hear again.

(Visible L to R) Tom Delgado-Little, Dylan Duffy, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed, Isaac London, Bertie Smart, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

How Shall I Sing That Majesty- Two boys came to stand in front of the center, turned three-quarters to the audience. The boy to the left I do not know (Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti perhaps), to the right Lucas Wood. The others stood in an arc..
This was an energetic song to mark the end of the first part.
Each of the two sang a solo verse and choruses were sung by the whole choir..

The intermission was short. CDs and DVDs were available for sale, as well as programs, small posters ...

Dies Irae- Solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
The boys came from both sides of the stage and stood in double chevrons, with Ciaran in the center He sang the first verse alone. I remember that he was supported by Matthew Jansen for part of it (the only solo by Matthew at the concert, by the way).On the second verse there were four or five others singing with Ciaran.

On the chorus of “Dies Irae,” there is usually an intense red light that pops on to mark the day of wrath, the Dies Irae, but here, because of the Candlelight atmosphere, the red was quite faint and didn’t have the same impact..

Gloria- followed immediately after “Dies Irae,” with no interval
Tom Delgado-Little (I think) sang the high sustained notes.

Speech- Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Cassius O’ Connell-White presented the Moose mascot.

Orinoco Flow- The formation was as usual: they were divided into five groups and stood in two rows. One group in the center, two on each side. The movement of the rows always makes me think of moving vessels sandstone waves (lyrics),

Dreaming of home- Sung by the whole choir, with high notes at the end by Tom Delgado-Little.

How Great Thou Art- Solo by Sam Wiggin on the first verse.

Speech- Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey presented the sketch of vocal exercises and scales sung to warm up the voice, always with a good response by the public, who applauded at each stage.

Photo by Lauren
Stay with Me- As always sung in two rows facing the audience, with slow hand movements that cross and uncross in front and back. Tom Delgado-Little stood behind and sang the high notes.I noted that the lyrics formerly sung solo by Cassius lately have been sung by others as well. If I remember correctly, there was Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti on the far left, and Lucas Wood a little to the right. Cassius  was always at the center of the first row and sang the last "Stay with me" as a solo.

Wayfaring Stranger- Solo by Sam Wiggin.
It was explained to me that this is a song very well known in the USA, a negro spiritual. Sam was in front, with the others forming a large arc behind him. He sang the first verse alone, almost a cappella, with just sustained notes behind him. On the second verse, part of the choir sang with Sam while others sang harmonies. On the third verse everyone sang powerfully, then Sam finished the last line alone. His deep voice is great on this song; I hope it will not be restricted to the USA and they sing in Arundel. Here’s a  YouTube video for those like me who did not know the song:

Glory to Thee- Solo by Tom Delgado-Little
Tom has taken over the solo formerly sung by Eoghan McCarthy.
As always, they were divided into five groups onstage, hands clasped in prayer. On the final verse there is always the last eight.

Speech- Ben Fairman thanked the audience and announced the last song.

Ben Fairman and friends

Exultate- Solo by Tom Delgado-Little. Robert always makes the flutterings and big smiles on his chair so that his singers give the bouncing energy to the song.

Sustained applause and standing ovation

What a Wonderful World- Solo by Isaac London.
The first verse was sung alone, with instrumental accompaniments, then gradually the choir joined in. It was not just a recitation of words, there were many modulations of early phrases sung by the choir, as well as bridges vocals and harmonies, and it ended with the superb Isaac singing alone as he had begun.

A new lot of applause

This was a very successful concert . There was no Meet & Greet, as the church was not appropriate for it and they needed to go to bed because tomorrow is a new day together!

By the way, we learned from the program and discussing with other fans the Morristown concert was also canceled like the other two for a few hours, then the intervention of a sponsor solved the problem and the concert could go on.—Fan de LOK

And an addendum by Mark, of the Angelvoices site:

While at the concert last night, I sat behind 3 Japanese women. During intermission, one of the quartet performers came over to thank them for their generosity or something to that effect. It is through donations of significant value that the Libera can travel. I read the program, and it said it takes £5,000 a year per chorister to travel. They also have some corporate sponsors, as was evident by reading the program as well.— Mark, Angelvoices


Photo by Lauren

Libera's second concert held on April 17th, was reviewed wonderfully by Lauren of Mini-Angels, who also supplied excellent photos.
It was another great night! Libera's 2nd USA concert was at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey. It was cold but sunny during the day. I met many more fans before the concert. We were all waiting in the lobby for the doors to open, but I decided to go outside and take a picture of the Mayo marquee with Libera's name on it. As I was waiting for the sign to change to "Libera," I noticed out of the corner of my eye some flashes of white cloth. I looked up and was surrounded by six darling boys in flowing white robes saying, "Hello, Lauren!" They were coming out to have their picture taken by Andy Winter! They were so happy and smiley, as you can see.

(L to R): Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Timothy Lee, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed, Alex Gula, Shay Balsekar (Photo by Lauren)
 There was a good crowd at the theater. I met fans from New Jersey and New York, of course, but also Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Texas, Wisconsin, Utah, Turkey via NYC, and a girl whose mom let her skip school and brought her all the way from Kansas City, Missouri just to see Libera for her 15th birthday! She wanted to get a picture of Josh Madine, and he came over and took one with her. He's the nicest guy! And that was her happiest birthday yet.

The concert itself was really great! It wasquite different from the night before at Church of the Incarnation in NYC. The stage was so much larger so the boys could spread out. They even had room for the front row of boys to kneel down during some of the songs. The sound was quite different also. There was no church echo, but the sound was much louder to fill up such a huge room. So shout-out to the crew for being so flexible and skilled that they can set up for any situation and make it look and sound great!
Photo by Lauren
The Libera boys were definitely "on" vocally this night. They sounded amazing! During "Voca Me" the entire wall behind the stage lit up with twinkle lights that looked like stars. The stars were used during several songs to great effect. Tom was perfect on "Ave Maria." And I love how whenever he's introduced for a solo, he gives a sort of salute with his hand to the audience!

Again Gabriel Collins' and Alex Gula's speech was so cute! And perfectly done.You can tell they're so earnest and work hard to do their very best. How many eight-year-olds can you say that about?

I should clarify that Isaac sang the entire "Hymn to Mary" as a solo. There was no choir backup. And it was again stunningly good!

I noticed tonight how much I like the violin part on "Orinoco Flow." I know we constantly say it, but Robert Prizeman's arrangements are just so good!
During "Stay With Me," Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Lucas Wood sang with Cassius on some of his parts. I think Cassius O' Connell-White may have a bit of a cold. But he still sang the last "Stay with me" by himself. Way to go!
 And again, "Wayfaring Stranger" blew me away. You HAVE to hear Libera's version of this! There's a musical bridge in the middle of the song that is so beautiful! It's spectacular! Did I say that last night also? 

When Ben Fairman gave his final speech thanking everyone for coming, the audience was so enthusiastic that they interrupted him and started clapping! I think they couldn't wait to show their appreciation for what they had just heard. But wait! There's more! Ben got his last wave and "bye" in, and the audience laughed. 

After "Exultate" there was a great standing ovation. And then the extra treat - "What a Wonderful World." And another standing ovation! What a brilliant concert!
If I missed who sang some parts, please forgive me. There's 24 boys singing all over the place and sometimes it's hard to see who is singing what. I write about who sang the solos because a lot of fans want to know who has inherited them. Fans get excited when they get to hear an individual voice (high or low) for the first time.

I do want to acknowledge each Libera boy who sings a part. Your fans know what an important role you all play in the total Libera sound. As a church choir member, I know how hard it is to sing a harmony part. It sounds nothing like the melody. And the boys are standing next to other boys who are singing completely different parts. The ability to do this at such a young age is a testament to their hard work and the excellent training they receive. The lowest parts are now being sung by Henry Barrington, Eoghan McCarthy, and Matthew Rangel-Alvarez (who are also now the tallest). Imagine how many different parts they've had to learn throughout their Libera careers! Thanks to all 24 of the boys for a fantastic concert!
There was no Meet & Greet because the theater doesn't have the space for 24 boys to do a signing. But there WERE pre-signed programs for sale.

Libera is now off to have more American fun before heading back to the UK and, as Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti described, sadly to school. Hope you can come back soon, Libera!

Re: Official USA 2014 Tour

Postby john45 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:32 pm

The concert had a distinctly American flavour. "Amazing Grace" has never been a favourite of mine but Libera's interpretation has changed all that - especially the penultimate verse sung with such intense emotion by Ciarin Bradbury-Hickey.

It was wonderful to hear more of Sam Wiggin's rich and expressive voice. Like Ralph Skan before him he has great range. Both "How Great thou Art" and "Wayfaring Stranger" emphasized the mellow tones off his lower range - but as he demonstrated a week earlier at the St. Philip's Passiontide service (and also at the latter part of "How Great…" ) his high register is equally impressive.

What can one say about Isaac London? Always full of surprises. Just as he blew us all away with "Danny Boy" in Seoul and "Hymn to Mary" in Manila, he knocks us for six with "What a Wonderful world" in New York City. How can a perfect voice get better? I can assure you it does. 

Then there were the voices heard solo (at a concert) for the first time. Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti imparts his delightful personality into his very pleasing voice in "Stay With Me". Alex Montaro joins the illustrious list of "Salva Me" soloists (including Liam Connolly, Matthew Rangel-Alvarez, and Michael Ustynovych-Repa). We also hear for the first time from Bertie Smart (nice to see him back) accompanying Dylan Duffy for the final Sanctus. 

Lauren mentions reflecting on Daniel Fontannaz when hearing "Stay with Me". For me, in many ways it will always be Daniel's song, but such is the genius of RP that a slight adaptation can make it different but equally enjoyable. Well done Cassius O' connell-White, Lucas Wood and Alessandro 

I think I could detect a hint of wistfulness in Eoghan McCarthy's smile as Thomas Delgado-Little opened "Glory to Thee". Who could forget the crystal quality of Eoghan's treble voice in its prime - but who could wish for a more able successor than Thomas D-L ?

Thomas once again excelled. He contributed to almost every song with his descant skills. His solo of the very difficult Schubert's "Ave Maria" was outstanding. His control in the solo part of "I'm Dreaming…" never ceases to amaze.

As usual, the speeches were all delivered perfectly and with great confidence. They are a very important way of connecting with the audience - and the audiences clearly connected, applauding enthusiastically. Special mention goes to the eight year olds, Alex Gula and Gabe Collins. Can you imagine yourself at eight years old standing in a spotlight before an audience of over six hundred total strangers and delivering from memory a speech of several lines word perfectly?

This has been a cherry-picking reflection, and though not every boy has been mentioned it should be remembered that every concert is very much a team effort and all are worthy of congratulations.

Thanks to all.—John45

Craig from the Angevoices site also had a fascinating look at another Libera phenomenon—the fans:

I am not one of those who must be on the front row. In fact, I prefer to sit a row or two back. I come early anyhow to spend time with some great fans who have also become great friends. Standing in line in a cold rain for hours in a noisy NYC street is not something I would normally choose to do but if it means spending time with some friends I haven’t seen in three years (the last Libera show I was at), then it is more than worth it and makes the show all the more enjoyable. We have in some small way, become a community of fans.

These are some dedicated fans, many of whom own blogs and forums you know of and likely are members of. Some are fortunate enough to be prominent donors, although they claim no privilege.
I am one of the rookies. I have only seen Libera perform five times prior to this tour although I have been listening to them since 2001. Fan de LoK is one of the veterans. He lost track at 50 times. Yuki has seen them over 60 times. I remember one man telling me his first Libera concert was in 2001. He recalled for me how amazing Steven Geraghty and Ben Crawley’s voices were and how happy it makes him that they are still involved.

One woman traveled from Texas even though she was sick. Another traveled from Spain and knew little English. One man from Canada spent enough of his money coming to the NYC show he couldn’t afford to attend the Morristown show, so another helped him and it was great to see him there at Morristown!

The number of geographic locations represented is mind-boggling. Of the 15 or so folks I can remember from the line, the following US states were represented; Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, New York, Connecticut (me), and California. The following countries were represented; United States, Ontario and New Brunswick Canada, France, Spain, Japan, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Germany. I’m not talking about where people grew up long ago, this is where they traveled from and are going to return to after the shows!

I think it was Ben Fairman who said in his goodbye something like, “We want to thank all of you for coming, some who came from very far away to support us!” He memorized words on a page. He probably has no idea how right he is. It is likely none of the boys do.

It surprises me sometimes the dedication some folks have to this group. I then see a concert or put in one of their CDs or DVDs and it surprises me how few are. Libera is made up, as best we can tell, of some really wonderful volunteers who teach and help some really great kids become the instruments of a musical genius. The product is a blessing to the world.

As for us, who are blessed enough to be able to appreciate their efforts, we become part of a community of admirers. I am proud to be part of it!—Craig

 For yet another look at the concerts, from the standpoint of a music teacher, go to:

Re: Official USA 2014 Tour

Unread postby mbbrose » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:34 

AN ONLINE MESSAGE FROM THOSE CRAZY LOOSE MOOSES (aka Libera alumni Josh Madine, Liam Connery, Sam and Alex Leggett, Jonathan Barrington and Benedict Philipp) (Loose Moose Message video/4/21/14)


As usual, the Libera boys had a good time offstage as well as on-, as evidenced by the photos released here:


Photo of Arundel interior by Patrick

A quick wrap up from the Mini-Angels site:
There were 25 boys singing tonight:

1.   Marc Alvares
2.   Shay Balsekar
3.   Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
4.   Gabriel Collins
5.   Timothy Lee
6.   Thomas Delgado-Little
7.   Ben Fairman
8.   Alex Gula
9.   Matthew Jansen
10. Isaac London
11. Matthew Madine
12. Eoghan McCarthy
13. Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti
14. James Menezes (new)
15. Michael Menezes
16. Alex Montoro
17. Jakub Niedermaier-Reed
18. Rocco Tesei (new)
19. Cassius O'Connell-White
20. Matthew Rangel-Alvares
21. Bertramo Smart
22. Camden Stewart
23. Mark Ustynovych-Repa (new)
24. Sam Wiggin
25. Lucas Wood

Pre-concert photo, including some new faces (photo by Patrick)

Missing from those on the US Tour were Henry Barrington and Dylan Duffy, but added were James Menezes, Rocco Tesei, and Mark Ustynovych-Repa who all performed at the Guildford concert a year ago. 

Photo by Patrick from a 2013 concert (L to R) newbie Shay Balsekar, unidentified mini-boy, newbie Rocco Tesei

Rocco Tesei 

Mark Ustynovych-Repa

 James Menezes (Photo by Patrick)

Sitting in the front row were four mini-mini newbies not listed on the program! They did not sing on stage but just watched the concert. One of them is Lucas Wood's seven-year-old brother. Another one is an eight-year-old Japanese boy who speaks English and Japanese. He was a big hit with the Japanese fans! The other two mini-mini boys are seven years old also. While the choir demonstrated their silly warm-up songs, the four sat on the front row and silently mouthed along with the words. Soooo cute!

Newest mini-mini-boys, pre-concert

The staff list was a little different. Look at the exciting changes! 
(Former Libera singers)
Musical Director - Robert Prizeman
Asst. Musical Directors - Sam Coates, Steven Geraghty
Keyboards - Joshua Madine (by himself this time!)
Strings - The Silken String Quintet
Clarinet - Jessie Grimes
Flute/Recorder - Candice Hamel
French Horn - Raoul Neumann 
Percussion - Olly Blackman
Lighting - Luke Avery
Sound Mixing & Production - Sam Coates
Stage Management - Jonathan Barrington, Kavana Crossley
Event Co-ordination and Chaperones - Barbara Geraghty,
 Eleanor Lewis     
Concert Management - Steven Philipp, David Stephens
Production Co-ordinator - Andrew Winter

Rehearsal shot: are we bored?

The song list was the same as the US Tour. All incredible songs! The audience was blown away! And they got to hear "What a Wonderful World" as the encore also!
1.   Joyful, Joyful
2.   Sanctus - last "Sanctus" by Bertie Smart
3.   Song of Life - solo by Isaac London
4.   Voca Me - last "Voca Me" by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey &
 Matthew Jansen.
5.   Amazing Grace - solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
6.   Ave Maria - solo by Tom Delgado-Little
7.   Salva Me - high "Salva's" by Alex Montoro.
8.   How Can I Keep From Singing
9.   Hymn to Mary - solo by Isaac London
10. How Shall I Sing That Majesty - solos by Lucas Wood &
 Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti

- Interval -

11. Dies Irae - solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
12. Gloria in Excelsis
13. Orinoco Flow
14. Dreaming of Home
15. How Great Thou Art - solo by Sam Wiggin
16. Stay With Me - solos by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Lucas
 Wood, Cassius O’ Connell-White
17. Wayfaring Stranger - solo by Sam Wiggin
18. Glory to Thee - solo by Tom Delgado-Little
19. Exultate - solo by Tom Delgado-Little
Encore: What a Wonderful World - solo by Isaac London

A more technical and descriptive review came from Johan from The Netherlands; the song titles are highlighted for easier reading.

  Concert Arundel 2014 by Johan

Arundel (Photo by Patrick)

There were three newbies who did only a part of the program: Rocco Tesei, James Menezes and Mark Ustynovych-Repa; Rocco did more songs than the other two. Present in the audience were also Jude Collins (voice change; thanks Jude, you gave it your all) and Callum Payne.

The program had 19 songs listed:

 Joyful Joyful, really an arrangement of Beethoven’s 9th: “Alle Menschen werden Brüder.” The instrumental music started and then the boys came in from behind the choir space. It was a beautiful start of the evening and one of the nicest songs of the first half. The high notes were by Thomas Delgado-Little and Ben Fairman. Great performance of a beautiful work.

Photo by Patrick

Sanctus, based on Pachelbel’s canon, well known to us all. The boys were in a half circle. The high notes were by Thomas Delgado-Little and Bertie Smart; the latter also did the final “Sanctus.”

SPEECH: Ben Fairman and Cassius O’ Connell-White welcomed us with a wave, something they must have picked up in America because it was used a lot tonight. They then introduced Isaac London, who also waved.

Song of Life, Isaac did a good job of it but for me it remains Ralph Skan’s song.

Voca Me. For this song Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Matthew Jansen stood in front, but the high notes were done from far behind by Thomas Delgado-Little. Matthew did a solo and the final “voca me” was Matthew and Ciaran together.

Amazing Grace, a well-known song, but with their own arrangement; they strood in two half circles. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey did one part  as a solo.

SPEECH: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Cassius O’ Connell-White did the speech with the hood. They introduced Thomas Delgado-Little, who also waved.

   Ave Maria, All kneeling except for Thomas Delgado-Little who did the song mostly solo.

  Salva Me. Also a well-known song; the high “salvas” were this time from Alex Montoro from far behind in special red light.

How Can I Keep From Singing, a song that will always remind me of Liam O’Kane. It sounded also exactly as in his time: beautiful.

 SPEECH: Alex Gula and Gabe Collins explained what all they have to learn and then announced Isaac London for the next song; he waved and knelt down.

 Hymn to Mary. This song was first done a capella at St. George's last November but this time it was done with more contributions by the instruments and the rest of the choir, all kneeling. Very beautiful.

 How Shall I Sing That Majesty, all 25 boys on stage for this  song with Lucas Wood and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti in front for the solos, Thomas Delgado-Little did the (very) high notes again.


Photo by Patrick

 Dies Irae, again the boys come in from way behind. The three little ones immediately disappeared to sit with Stage Manager Jonathan Barrington to the side. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey did the solo. There is entirely new choreography with a type of open V arrangement with Ciaran in front but the wings of the V not immediately behind him. It continues without stopping into...

Gloria in Excelsis, for which the three new little ones joined the group on stage but stayed behind the main group.

SPEECH: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey explained about their travels and school.

 Orinoco Flow, did not flow yet as we used to know it, but did have a complete new choreography with several groups moving in and out, also more percussion than we were used to.

 I'm Dreaming of Home, for me a new song with two concentric half circles. Thomas Delgado-Little did the solo excellently. Also excellent was the lighting, with a purple illumination of the ceiling and a white light on the boys. It made excellent use of the construction peculiarities of the cathedral.

 How Great Thou Art, also new to me and very beautiful. Sam started it with a solo very nicely. This is one of the songs little Rocco Tesei (so tiny next to the towering Eoghan McCarthy, Matthew Rangel-Alvarez, and Jakub Niedermaier-Reed) joined without the other two little ones.

SPEECH: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey (again!) and Sam Wiggin talked about Latin and the exercises they have to do and these were demonstrated by the whole group. Thomas Delgado-Little  went to the back for the high notes of the next song.

 Stay with Me, for which all three little ones were present. Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Lucas Wood and Cassius O’ Connell-White did the solos,

 Wayfaring Stranger, the third new song for me. Sam Wiggin did this mainly in solo and with a great voice. Very nice indeed.

 Glory to Thee started with a solo by Thomas Delgado-Little, excellent. The boys were arranged in five groups that later joined.

SPEECH: Ben Fairman announced the end of the concert and said thanks for coming.

 Exultate with a solo again by Thomas Delgado-Little and discants for the melody. All 25 boys participated.

The encore was A Wonderful World, mainly known through Louis Armstrong. In a very nice arrangement here, with solo by Isaac london

Finally worth mentioning are Josh Madine on the keyboard and Kavana Crossley and Jon Barrington as stage management.—Johan


As usual, the Libera boys blogged entertainingly about their "mini-vacation" in New York and New Jersey.

"Really, we're just normal children. Really!"

Filming in France
On May 28th, Sharp-eyed fans in the US, England, and the Netherlands caught a collection of tweets-with-photos showing the boys on a trip to France to shoot a video.
Camden Stewart, Michael Menezes, Matthew Madine (top), Marc Alvarez (partially hidden),Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Alex Gula, Ben Fairman and Tom Delgado-Little brave the English Channel.
  I see they are at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. My guess is a music video for "I'm Dreaming of Home", since that's from the WWI movie Joyeux Noel. Of course it's possible they might do another video while they're there. Been a while, I believe, since they worked on a single song video.—hiskeys

Latest entry ‪ ... 80/photo/1 shows the very competent Thomas Delgado-Little maybe performing a solo part. Hopefully it will be two videos.—Jimmy Riddle

Since this year it is 100 years since the beginning of WWI this recording is probably for a documentary or some commemorative TV program. In Britain WWI is still a big thing and remembered in November I think. So probably we will have to wait till then to see the results.—Johan

In a reflective mood

For more photos and much more detailed descriptions of 
various backgrounds, go to: 

For video links to most of the commemorative songs arranged by Robert Prizeman for 
Libera, go to "Songs in a Memorial Key" in PART III: THE PRIZEMAN EFFECT, in the first section of the timeline at:


Rehearsal in the Foreign Office courtyard. (Photo by Kitty@sharpfiddle)

Nearly seven years ago, in December of 2007, Libera was invited to perform at the prestigeous Kennedy Center Honors, held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC (see Part One of this Timeline), where they sang "Love and Mercy" in front of a distinguished audience to honor the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. (Love and Mercy by Brian Wilson/footage from 2009 Songs of Praise special and Kennedy Center Honors/solo and second part by by Josh Madine and Tom Cully)

Original songsters at the Kennedy Center: Liam Connery, Zachary Lockett, Sam Leggett, Josh Madine, Tom Cully, Benedict Philipp, Joe Snelling, Ed Day,
Michael Vereycken

On June 18th, 2014,  Libera performed in London for the visiting Patrons of the  Kennedy Center as part of a program called “Arts from Sea to Shining Sea." 23 boys sang for the Patrons at the The British Foreign Office building, located near St. James's Park and #10 Downing Street. The impressive building was completed in 1868 and renovated between 1984 and 1997.

Performing for the Kennedy Center Patrons

 From photos, these appeared to be the singers participating:

 1. Marc Alvares
 2. Shay Balsekar
 3. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
 4. Gabriel Collins
 5. Timothy Lee
 6. Thomas Delgado-Little
 7. Ben Fairman
 8. Alex Gula
 9.  Matthew Jansen
 10. Isaac London
 11. Matthew Madine
 12. Eoghan McCarthy
 13. Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti
 14. Michael Menezes
 15. Alex Montoro
 16. Jakub Niedermaier-Reed
 17. Rocco Tesei 
 18. Cassius O'Connell-White
 19. Matthew Rangel-Alvares
 20. Bertramo Smart
 21. Camden Stewart
 22.Sam Wiggin
 23. Lucas Wood

Kavana Crossley, who had just barely aged out of the Libera touring group earlier in the spring, appeared online about this time with a Kickstarter appeal for funds to record and produce his own CD. The page included several SoundCloud performances that revealed him to be a solid musician/song-writer, with an appealing voice (Think of a young James Taylor).


In late June, it was revealed that the recent Libera filming in France was for an appearance on the BBC's Songs of Praise The program, commemorating the start of WWI, was set to air on August 3 on BBC-2. Viewers' notes for the program revealed some interesting information about Libera's part in it.
"In addition, classical chart toppers Libera sing against the backdrop of the battlefields and discover some of their own family history in connection with the war. Ciaran Bradbury goes in search of the grave of his great, great Uncle Stanley Bradbury who was a Corporal in the Royal Flying Corps while Sam Wiggin wants to find the name of his great, great Uncle George Michie which he has been told is on the Monument to the Missing in Thiepval."

2012 photo includes Sam Wiggin (L) and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey (R)


On July 1st, the Official Libera website posted the following announcement:

"Libera is honoured to have been invited to film a new live concert for broadcast on the PBS network in the United States.We will be filming on the evening of Thursday 7th August 2014 at the magnificent Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.

The eighth largest church building in the world

This concert will be a free event, open to the general public. There will also be reserved seating available for supporters of our new affiliated charity in the United States  Ticketing details and how to reserve your seat will be available on both websites from Saturday 5th July.Please also look out for other Libera performances in the US this summer. Watch this space for further developments...If you'd like to receive an emailed notice of these and other pending Libera events, please sign up to our mailing list, using the button on our homepage." 

Interior of Basilica
The new Libera of the United States website mentioned above (www.libera.uswas launched on  May 28th of this year. It's the first “Friends” group to be officially recognized by Libera, and it exists to help provide funding to bring the boys to the United States as often as possible, and to provide practical support to the group when they tour in the US. The site also mentions that, since sending the boys to the US for even a short tour is very expensive, they need to get some financial assistance directly, via charitable donations.  US taxpayers may make donations via the website's contributions page.

For the Curious: The largest church building in the world is  the Roman Catholic minor Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro,  the administrative capital of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). This structure, completed in 1989, is modeled on the Basilica of St. Peter's in Rome, which was previously the largest church building.


On July 7th, another in Libera's string of charmingly homemade promotional videos appeared, featuring (left to right) Ben Fairman, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti.

 (Promo for 2014 Washington DC DVD filming)


Matthew Madine, Bertie Smart, Shay Baleskar, Alex Montoro, Ben 
Fairman, Marc Alvares, Lucas Wood and 
Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti appear on the Libera of the US fundraising 

On July 9th the trustees of Libera of the US, a new charity formed to help raise money for and raise awareness about the group, announced a worldwide Libera fundraiser.  (More about it here.)

As usual, the Mini-Angels site was there with the complete details at


L to R: Matthew Madine, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed 
(top),Gabriel Collins, Cassius O' Connell-White and Matthew Jansen

In mid-June, an informational  website, ,  appeared in association with the recently formed Libera-USA group. Among the new and interesting information given were the facts that 30 boys would be making the trip (which meant the probable inclusion of alumni, as with the 2013 Christmas in Ireland DVD concert), and that there would be a meet-and-greet autograph signing following the concert. Items listed as available for sale included a 13-Month full-sized Libera calendar, Libera wristbandsand a 36-page color program.


On July 20th, another little video appeared, introducing the Libera Mascot "Moose," as well as his American cousins who have volunteered to be prizes for donors to the USA Friends of Libera concert fund. The spokesboys are Alex Gula, Sam Wiggin, and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, stylish in black high-top sneakers worn with white robes.  (Libera boys display Moose and mooses/prizes for donors to LiberaUSA)  

News of the upcoming concert also appeared on the Facebook page of the Basilica, and it was fairly evident at this point that seats were going fast, insuring a full house on August 7th.

RE: FILMING IN FRANCE by JimmyRiddle » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:09 pm

Just under two weeks now until the special edition of Songs of Praise commemorating the outbreak of WW1...I came across a blog http://www.stgeorgesmemorialchurchypres ... 4585409929 from the Chaplain at St George's Memorial Church which provided a insight into the BBC filming on the day... no specific mention of libera but if you read between the lines...According to this ... lijnen.pdf the 'Christmas Truce' edition is due to be broadcast on Sunday 14 December 2014 - but that could be subject to change at this early stage.


On July 22nd Libera opened its semi-closed film set in Washington DC on August 6th to 
Official Supporters. Existing donors of $500 and above became eligible for four seats, and existing donors of $50-$499 for 2 seats. It was announced that new donors who wanted to take part in this extra concert could contribute via The signup email was .


Filming in Sanctuary Wood in Belgium

On July 25th, the following message appeared on the Official Libera and Libera Facebook sites:

WWI Filming
July 25th, 2014, by Libera

As part of the BBC commemoration of the centenary of World War 1, Libera travelled to France and Belgium in May to film a special 'Songs of Praise' programme for transmission on Sunday 3rd August at 4 25pm on BBC2.
The programme makers researched the history of some of the boys' families, and discovered that many of them had ancestors who had fought in the conflict.
The boys located the memorials to their relatives who died in the war - some had marked graves, others had no known grave but had their names carved into the Thiepval monument which contains over 72,000 inscriptions.
They also visited Ypres and Sanctuary Wood to film performances of Libera songs.To see pictures of the filming visit our photo gallery

The boys in front of the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium is the Facebook site.

A Songs of Praise video clip also featured Libera briefly at:

Ciaran Bradbury-Hickeylooks for the name of his Bradbury ancestor who fought in WWI.

According to a BBC fact sheet released on August 2nd, the three songs Libera will be singing for the WW1 remembrance broadcast are "Rest In Peace'," "You Are There," and "We Are the Lost." 

End of Part 7; for Part 7A (August-December 2014)
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