Monday, May 27, 2013

LIBERA HISTORICAL TIMELINE PART 6A (JUNE-DECEMBER 2013)




Part 6A (June-December 2013)
Last updated/revised: 1/13/14

As 2013 is proving to be a large and unwieldy year, and Part 6 is having tantrums about adding more material, we now begin the summer season with part 6A.

(Odds and Ends)
(Funny Business/Useful sites)
XXV: ARMAGH CONCERT AND HOLIDAY DVD RECORDING
(Editorial Footnote)
(Loose Moose Revisited)
(Projected DVD Release)
(Promotional Videos—Philippines Tour and Christmas DVD)
(Libera InstaGram Site)
(Manila Concert/ M&Gs)
(Cebu Concert/M&G)
(DVD Video Vote-off
PREVIEW/REVIEW: Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland
ST George's Cathedral Concert Reviews
XXVI: LIBERA IN THE USA: 
(TV Appearances and Other Adventures)
(The Tonight Show with Jay Leno)
(The Big Sing on the BBC)
(The Today Show)

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

For Part One (introduction, 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)

FUNNY BUSINESS and SOME USEFUL SITES

As of May 2013, it seemed that Libera's record company, EMI, had for some time been a pawn in a flurry of financial deals involving CitiBank and numerous other companies. For information and commentary, go to the "Chat" page of the Libera Dreams Forum, and click on "EMI Goes Into the Hands of the Bank (CitiGroup). http://www.libera-dreams.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2  This information stream is kept current for all those who want to keep up with the business behind the music. For those not familiar with the lively Libera Dreams site, it provides a constant stream of information, updates, discussion and commentary on Libera and related issues. 
Kavana Crossley and Carlos Rodriguez Villegas pre-sign programs before a concert

Another extremely useful site is Libera's World at  http://liberasworld.blogspot.com/  . It provides the most complete database of Libera videos, recordings, concert appearances, filmography, etc., going all the way back to 1981 and updated fairly regularly. The big project in winter/spring (still in the works as of mid-July) was a complete-as-possible member listing with photographs, going back to the St. Philip's Choir days of the 1980s and including even mini-boys and members who only appeared for a brief time, citing each concert, tour, and CD appearance for each. 

Another interesting database exists at: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Angelvoices/?v=1&t=directory&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=dir&slk=1

Angelvoices is a discussion site that seems to attract older Libera fans. Its database (with CD, Video, Photo, and general sections) has a search facility that allows readers to plug in the name of a singer, song, or video, and be rewarded with statistics on the recordings (i.e. name of CD, soloist, composer, director, location recorded or filmed, etc.) This excellent database only goes through the 2010 Peace CD. It's necessary to join this Yahoo site to access information or participate in discussion.

For all lyrics to Libera songs, including translations of those puzzling Latin verses, go to: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Angelvoices/files/%21Lyrics/

New Libera singer Anthony Kerr-Munley; collage by Yuni Maria

For those with difficulties keeping track of new members at this time, Yuni Maria at http://madinelover.blogspot.com/  made a continuing series of compilation photos with attached information about the newest Liberans in her May 25th-29th posts.

And, in mid-July, the popular Mini-Angels site based in Chicago, USA (at http://mini-angels.blogspot.com/ ) announced that they had surpassed half a million hits since the founding of the site in 2010.

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TIMELINE NOTE
As of June 1st, numerous fans from 79 countries (and counting) had registered as consulting this timeline since it first appeared. The top ten countries logging in were (beginning from the top): the United States, Great Britain, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, Canada, France, Japan, the Netherlands, and Slovakia, where there seems to be a particularly lively fan base.

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MORE DOLDRUMS
For the benefit of new readers: June tends to be a quiet month in the world of Libera. The boys are finishing up the school year, studying for exams, and possibly rehearsing for a yet-to-be-announced summer tour.

MEANWHILE, BEN SEE
Former stellar Libera soloist and staff member Ben Crawley (aka Ben See, 1997-2006 and current staff member) has posted a new composition, "Scribble Book," on SoundCloud. m.soundcloud.com/bensee/#D53C53. You will have to join the site to hear this and the compositions of numerous Libera alumni.

Ben Crawley

In mid-July, Crawley posted a delightful YouTube video of his composition "Moment/Sound/Blur," performed a capella with a group of friends including Libera sound technician Sam Coates (in beard and gray shirt).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6KNoa8jIBQ  (Ben See and friends/Moment/Sound/Blur)

Another remarkable Ben Crawley composition, "Touch the Sky,"  appeared on Libera's 2010 Peace CD. The soloist was James Mordaunt, with Jacob Wood and Ben Philipp singing secondary parts.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzyvNgFB3jw (Touch the Sky/solo by James Mordaunt/second parts by Jakob Wood and Ben Philipp/Peace CD/2010)

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TOM CULLY NEWS
And speaking of Libera alumni, around this time brilliant former soloist Tom Cully (2002-2009) adopted a new music persona, calling himself Jamie Isaac, with a sound about as far from Libera as one could envision. This review in England's Guardian newspaper online site contains some interesting commentary on Tom/Jamie's music, and a photo that leaves no doubt that the two are one and the same. Songs for download were made available in early July at Amazon.com.

Jamie Isaac, aka Tom Cully: a new sound
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jun/05/jamie-isaac-new-band
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ED DAY SIGHTING
A keen-eyed member of the Libera Dreams Forum spotted former Libera soloist Ed Day (2004-2010) singing as part of a flashmob presentation of "Do You hear the People Sing" from Les Misérables. The event took place at King's Cross/St. Pancras International train station, and the video was posted on May 13th. Day had taken the part of M. Thenardier in a recent revival of the musical.


Ed Day at right, in white sweatshirt
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TOUR, VIDEO AND RECORD COMPANY SPECULATION

By mid-July, as there had been complete silence from the Official Libera site on the subject of a summer tour, and as the window of opportunity for same was the boys’ school vacation in July, Libera followers on forums were reluctantly forced to acknowledge that no summer tour was in the works, not even a short jaunt (as last year to the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland) to places on or around the British Isles.

There were many theories about this: that the group was busy in the recording studio; that the boys needed a vacation after a busy spring that contained the Taiwan/Korea tour, the Mozart Requiem benefit at St. Philip’s, and the concert at Guildford Cathedral in May; or that there was just no money available for a tour.

One popular theory on the financial situation involved Libera’s record company, EMI, which (See FUNNY BUSINESS, above) had been drifting around in a cloud of takeovers and mergers for at least a year. It was proposed that the Libera administrators were waiting for a solid outcome, and moreover, with its unclear future, it was deemed probable that there was no longer any money coming in from EMI to help defray the costs of touring, and no commitment for the production of CDs.


A contributor to the Angelvoices discussion forum had this to say about Libera's financial base:
"Libera is funded by a UK charity which wouldn't even be in existence were it not

for two no-interest loans that anonymous benefactors put into the organization.
As a public charity, their finances are public records and readily available.

While they (Libera) are not under pressure to repay those loans immediately, the fact
that they must rely on the loans for their funding demonstrates that they are
not financially self-sufficient. Comparing them to organizations that charge
tuition, have foundation staff or endowments or are full-time professional
musicians is not comparing apples to apples. Libera is a hobby for most
involved."

The following collage and statement appeared in some fans’ email on July 14th, indicating that EMI had found a new home, at least for the moment:

(The above is a screenshot; to access the Universal Music site, go to the link below:

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Speculation has continued that if a new CD was in the offing (hinted at by recent photos of boys in the recording studio), it would be held back so that its release might be coordinated with a fall tour. 

As for videos, none seemed forthcoming at this time. (“The Moon Represents My Heart” video was apparently still tied up with copyright concerns). It seemed odd to fans that Libera’s long association with the BBC-TV show Songs of Praise, in which the the group played such a prominent part for many years, and which was a major source of video productions, may have ended, or at least a hiatus declared; their last official SOP appearance was in December of 2011.

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FALL TOUR ANNOUNCED
Plenary Hall in Manila, announced site of Libera's October 29th, 2013 performance


Around July 23rd the OfficialLibera website emerged from its summer hiatus by posting advance notice of an October tour to the Philippines, tentatively scheduled from October 28th to November 2nd. The first concert scheduled at that point was in Manila on October 29th, with notice of others pending

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OFFICIAL PHOTOS OF GUILDFORD CONCERT



LiberaOfficial has released a marvelous series of photographs from the Guildford Cathedral concert in May. A comment on the Mini-Angels site suggests that these were taken by staff member Andy Winter, though Ben Crawley (Ben See) was also seen roaming with camera in hand.




Mark Ustynovych-Repa and Isaac London chill pre-concert
Camden Stewart in rehearsal

A glimpse of newbie James Menezes

A clutch of newbies before the concert (Few positive IDs as of posting, but Gabriel Collins is third from R.)

To see the entire set of 21 photos, go to: http://www.libera.org.uk/gallery/guildford_concert 

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TELEVISED HOLIDAY CONCERT (IN AUGUST?) ANNOUNCED

On the heels of the Philippines tour announcement and the Guildford photos came the following newsflash:
Armagh Concert

July 26th, 2013 by Libera
We will be performing a concert at St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Armagh in Northern Ireland on Friday 9th August at 19:30.  Admission is free and the concert will be a Seasonal Performance, to be filmed for Christmas.  All our supporters are cordially invited to attend, though we appreciate the short notice will make it impossible for many - sadly this has been caused by factors outside our control.
The beautiful interior of St. Patrick's, Armagh

This was a promising note for the upcoming Libera video scene and the holiday season. It also went some way in explaining the lack of a summer tour—time needed for carol rehearsals and staging.

On August 7th, the Libera organization  announced informally that a full dress rehearsal of this event, to be held on the night before the 8/9 concert would also be open to the public. 

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XXV: ARMAGH CONCERT AND HOLIDAY DVD/CD RECORDING
A full report on both the dress rehearsal and concert at Armagh came from Lexi of the Mini-Angels site (in pink type). Her comments are interspersed with further observations on soloists, movements, etc. (in blue) by Johan from the Netherlands, and by earlier videos of these songs by Libera, plus a Celtic Women version of "The Wexford Carol" by those unfamiliar with it.

First things first: This wasn't an entirely normal concert, because it was done specifically for the filming of a DVD! A Christmas DVD to be specific. My mom and I were joking that we should be handing out scarves and hats at the door for those people who actually dressed for August. That's one of those things you forget about when they're doing a DVD...it has to be filmed months in advance so that it can come out in time! But, it was definitely Christmas in that cathedral! Trees, holly and candles and all! Lovely!


It was a very different kind of concert, because instead of the fluid sort of song-to-song that they usually do, they would stop in between each song to reset the lights and microphones again and to adjust hair and all that. They even did the first part of one song again because there had been a sound problem. I thought it was fascinating, and I think everyone really enjoyed it! It was very interactive, and really cool to watch how the DVD was being made! There was even a director's assistant to tell us when to clap!

The boys were real angels tonight, it started after they came on stage: with a delay of 15 minutes for technical problems. They stood there and waited and waited. This delay was good for me because I really at first did not recognise some of the boys, they had grown, or supported a different hairdo which I had to get used to. A special feature was that this time they each had a microphone hidden in their hair!

One other thing that I'm sure everyone will be very excited about is that many of the songs from the concert tonight were different from the songs on the Christmas CD that came out in 2011. And honestly, I don't know how, but Robert Prizeman managed to make the songs even better. Honestly. There was also an Irish flavor to some of the songs. The violin, flute and drums were played in an especially Irish way. And shout out to the acoustic guitar! Has there ever been a guitar in a Libera video?

From the concert program

The 31 choir members - 

1.   Marc Alvares
2.   Henry Barrington
3.   Anthony Blake
4.   Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
5.   Gabriel Collins (new)
6.   Jude Collins
7.   Kavana Crossley
8.   Tiarnán Branson (alumnus)
9.   Thomas Delgado-Little
10. Dylan Duffy
11. Benjamin Fairman
12. Daniel Fontannaz (alumnus)
13. Alexander Gula (new)
14. Matthew Jansen
15. Alex Leggett (alumnus)
16. Sam Leggett (alumnus)
17. Isaac London
18. Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
19. Joshua Madine (alumnus)
20. Matthew Madine
21. Eoghan McCarthy
22. Michael Menezes
23. Alexander Montoro (new)
24. Kuba Niedermaier-Reed
25. Cassius O'Connell-White
26. Matthew Rangel-Alvares
27. Carlos Rodriguez
28. Ralph Skan (alumnus)
29. Michael Ustynovych-Repa
30. Sam Wiggin
31. Lucas Wood

Sam Wiggin, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Jude Collins, and Isaac London play in the light.


https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.561598747235357.1073741861.452220271506539&type=1 (This is a link to a collection of 35 photos taken at rehearsal by a member of Armagh Parish. If this link doesn't work on your computer, copy and paste to view)

(Editor's note: missing from the group that went toTaiwan/Korea in April were Luke Collins, Oscar McFall, Bertie Smart, and Anthony Kerr-Munley. Alex Montoro had apparently gone from probationary status to becoming a full member of the group, as had former mini-boys Gabriel Collins and Alexander Gula)

Musical Director - Robert Prizeman
Keyboards - Steven Geraghty
Percussion - Simon Roth, Tony Quinn
Strings - Zoe Conway, Sylvia Roberts, Nicole Hudson, Ailbhe McDonagh, Dan Bodwell
Woodwinds - Jessie Grimes, Paddy McErlean, Brian Dunning
Guitar - John McIntyre
Sound mixing & production - Sam Coates
Stage management - Ben Crawley, Simon Lewis, Jonathan Barrington

Song List from program
The concert started with the traditional welcome by Steven Philip, followed by a welcome by the local cardinal.  

1. Angels From On High - 31 boys sang. In the US we call this song "Angels We have Heard on High." Tom Delgado-Little and Lucas Wood did the high part on this song, and it sounded amazing! (Or "brilliant" as I'm learning to say while over here.) Again, I thought it was quite interesting to see how everything worked in this concert, because there was a tech problem at the beginning of the song, and so we got to hear the first verse again at the end.

2. What Child Is This - 29 boys sang. The solo was by Isaac London with Jude Collins singing the harmony with him. These two blend so well! I can hardly tell where one stops and the other starts. I'm quite impressed with them both being able to come in on top of the other and still be perfectly on pitch!
-What Child is This - Also new; it started with a guitar solo after which the choir started to sing very softly. Isaac London did a solo, later joined by Jude Collins What a beautiful combination; they sounded so well together. But what a voice Isaac has, what a talent this boy has! Such a small posture and such a big voice. Not just strong when necessary, but so mature and beautiful. For me Isaac is the biggest talent Libera has had for years, that is since Tom Cully and Josh Madine.
















Speech by Ben Fairman and Cassius O' Connell-White - They gave us the speech about "Libera" meaning "free;" they're from South London (although apparently about half have an Irish ancestry); and mentioning that the youngest are Gabriel Collins (Luke and Jude's brother) and Alexander Gula. Both are only eight years old. In fact, Alexander just turned eight in July! Then, they announced that they were going to sing the most Irish of all Christmas songs, a song called "The Wexford Carol".

3. The Wexford Carol - 22 boys sang. It started off with Isaac London singing off-stage behind the orchestra. I always love this effect, because when you can't tell where the voice is coming from, it just kind of gives this mystery to it. And Isaac sang in Gaelic which was just awesome!  Add that to the list of languages they've sung in!
-The Wexford Carol - Isaac London started the song with a solo from beside the podium to the right, out of sight for most people because of the pillars. Sam Wiggin stood in front; the big boys were gone for this song.

http://youtu.be/7YClcMAn_wg (Celtic Women/The Wexford Carol)

Interior of St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, decked for Christmas (Photo by Lauren or Lexi)

A side note from Lexi: A lot of the time, in between shots, the hair and makeup ladies would come out to fix the boys' hair. We soon found out that this wasn't because their hair was messy, but because the microphones that they were using weren't along the side of their jaw but actually came straight up from the back of their neck to the top of their forehead and could sometimes be seen in the close-ups, so their hair had to be adjusted so that the microphones would not be seen!


Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti puts up with getting his hair fixed

4. In Dulci Jubilo - 31 boys sang. The high parts were done by Lucas Wood, Tom Delgado-Little, and Michael Ustynovych-Repa. My mom was saying that it's so hard to tell when Lucas is singing the high parts! You really have to watch him because he makes it look so effortless! This was also the song where little newbie Alexander Gula realized that his mum was in the crowd. She had come and surprised him at his first tour, and he beamed all the way through the rest of the concert! I hope you can see him on the DVD. He is absolutely adorable!

5. Away in a Manger - 22 boys sang. Ben Fairman sang the solo, and he did a fantastic job! He has very nice diction and a phenomenal singing voice! 


Soloists Ben Fairman, Michael Ustynovych-Repa and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

6. Joy to the World - 31 boys sang. This is always one of my favorites. I just love the lighting that goes with this! It's such a happy song! Michael Ustynovych-Repa,Tom Delgado-Little, and Cassius O' Connell-White sang the high parts together. Again, here's another group that blends superbly! Henry Barrington, Eoghan McCarthy, and Matthew Rangel-Alvares all stood together singing some of the lower parts. They're all so tall now!

7. Once in Royal David's City - 29 boys sang. Tom Delgado-Little soloed at the beginning, and then was joined by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Jude Collins. This was really beautiful!

http://youtu.be/r6g3ejxz7gk (Once in Royal David’s City/Aled’s Christmas Carol/ 2008)

8. Sanctus - 31 boys sang. No Libera concert would be complete without it! It is the favorite song of so many people, and I'm really glad that they did it. It sounded excellent! Dylan Duffy sang the special middle part with the camera right on him. (Editor's note: the final shot used was of all of the boys singing the high bridge part., and of Ben Fairman in close-up.) He is so cool under pressure! Matthew Jansen did the last "Sanctus" perfectly!

Speech by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Michael Ustynovych-Repa, introducing the next song. They said it isn't a Christmas song, but they couldn't go to Ireland without doing it. And that next song is...

9. Danny Boy - Seven boys sang. This song was so beautiful. The first verse was performed solo by Isaac London, and then he was joined on the 2nd and 3rd verses by six other young boys. The amazing thing about this song was that it was all a cappella and all in unison. It gave it this incredible quiet sadness that it wouldn't have had otherwise, I think. (Mom cried).
-Danny Boy -  Isaac London was joined by Matthew Jansen, Sam Wiggin, Lucas Wood, and Thomas Delgado-Little and later by the whole choir. 



10. Gaudete - 31 boys sang. I love this song. It's just so exciting and lively. And it gets the bigger boys really involved which I LOVE! :) Tom Delgado-Little sang the high part so clearly and loudly above everyone! And shout out to the low parts!
-Gaudete - Matthew Jansen started this with a solo from behind everybody, proving that he still has the high notes. For the second half of the song they moved to form a V formation with Michael Ustynovych-Repa in front and the big boys to the rear.

http://youtu.be/447ZTXdDODQ (Gaudete/solo by Liam Connery/Aled’s Christmas Carol/2008)

11. Carol of the Bells - 31 boys sang. The choreography for this song was great. There were five groups on stage to start out with. Four groups were turned around with their backs to us, while the center group faced toward us. Then, as the song opened, the first group slowly started to turn toward us. Once they were turned around (with the rhythm of course) the second group began to turn, then the third, then the fourth - when the whole choir sang together. After that, all the movements were very sharp and excited. Tom Delgado-Little, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, and Lucas Wood sang the high part on this one [like Ralph Skan and Stefan Leadbeater used to], and Cassius O' Connell-White did the last "Ding dong, ding dong. That is their song." It was such a good way to go to intermission!


http://youtu.be/FXH8LCJC7dg (Carol of the Bells/ The Christmas Album/2011)


Opening of "Carol of the Bells" 

12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - 29 boys sang. This is another one of the songs that got re-arranged. I LOVED the arrangement! It was so peppy and up-beat! More great high notes too! (See Below under "Silent Night.")

13. O Holy Night - 29 boys sang. I think this is the one where they stood in 3 or 4 rows. This and many of the other stage positions will definitely make for cool overhead shots!
The “big boys” were in the centre this time.
http://youtu.be/BTQKU6uUBjU (O Holy Night/ duet by Ralph Skan and Stephan Leadbeater/The Christmas album/ 2011)

14. Still Still Still - 29 boys sang. There were 12 boys kneeling in front with the rest standing behind them. This was so beautiful that it made John from Canada cry! :) Wait until you see it! 
http://youtu.be/XVDBeTlpDxk (Still, Still,Still/Songs of Praise/2011)

"Still Still Still" pic taken by lighting engineer

15. Exultate - 31 boys sang. Tom Delgado-Little sang the solo and it was fabulous! He has a very clear voice. I was a little worried about the rearrangement on this song, just because I love the original so much, but I love what Robert Prizeman did with it. Little Alexander Gula and Gabriel Collins were so cute and smiley during this song! I hope you can see them in the DVD! http://youtu.be/RqwjAhF0i0o (Exsultate/solo/Benedict Philipp/Peace CD/ 2010)


Speech by Ben Fairman  - He thanked everyone for coming to the Christmas concert. There was a boy in front of me who was maybe 9 years old. He turned to his mom, obviously confused, and whispered quite loudly, "It's not Christmas!" lol.

16. Silent Night - 31 boys sang. Tom Delgado-Little sang the solo in the center. It was really great! Lots of beautiful "ooh's" also,  with in the second part some innovative variations in the melody and harmonies.

http://youtu.be/8HcZd5BJiH4 (God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen/Silent Night/solo by Tom Cully/Christmas Cooks, 2007)

Michael Menezes, Lucas Wood, Matthew Madine, Sam Wiggin, Alexander Gula, Cassius O' Connell-White (Armagh Parish)

17. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - 21 boys sang. The solo was sung by Michael Ustynovych-Repa and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey. They sound so good together too! All the big boys left the stage, and only the littler boys sang. [Of the lower voices, only Ralph Skan and Matthew Rangel-Alvares had remained.] This was perfect for this song, since it's a cute song made cuter by the treble voices. Michael sang the final "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Now" and smiled sooo big!
http://youtu.be/9FEoJ_p64z4 (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas/ITV/ solo by James Mordaunt/2010)

Bonus Track - Voca Me - 31 boys sang. This song is a wow! I don't know if it'll be on the Christmas DVD, because they removed the Christmas trees for this one, but I must have this version! It's one of those songs where everybody sings, and it builds and builds in power right until the very end. Tom Delgado-Little stood in the back and sang the crazy high part. The jibby-jib is the really high camera that they used. It will give a great view of Tom on the DVD.
Tom Delgado-Little

What a great concert! Thank you, Libera! I had such a good time meeting new people! I got to meet a lot of fans whom I have never met before, and even some for whom this was their first concert! I also got to meet the family (shout-out to the sisters in particular) ;) of one of the boys who is in, but has not yet publicly performed with Libera! Can't wait to see him up there on the stage! One of the most exciting things for me was getting to meet a few of the boys' parents. Just wanted to give them a BIG thank you for everything they do! I know it can't be easy lugging them to and from practice three times a week and giving up family holidays so that they can go on tour, but all of the fans out here really appreciate it! Thanks! 

The church had about 250 people for the concert, and many were from Ireland. Some drove from quite far away to see it. But the winner is my friend, Momo from Japan. It took her 33 hours to get from her home in southern Japan to Armagh via Tokyo and Bangkok! Wow! Now THAT'S a fan! :D

It was great to have so many of the older boys back for this concert - Tiarnán Branson, Daniel Fontannaz, Alex and Sam Leggett, Josh Madine, Ralph Skan  and Carlos Rodriguez Villegas made an awesome back row. Josh has the record for the oldest soloist ever in Libera, but today Sam Leggett set a new record for the oldest chorister to ever sing in the white robes. He is 18 years and 10 months old! Congratulations, Sam!
(L. to R.) Jonathan Barrington, Josh Madine, Sam Leggett, unknown director (Photo by Yuki)

My other observations are that Ralph Skan is so tall now! He's almost as tall as Josh,! And Alex Leggett is now taller than Josh! What?! The younger cousin outgrew the older! Let's see what Jakob de Menezes-Wood and Matthew Madine can do. 

Well, there you have it, fans! We're finally getting the new DVD that we wished for! I met the director, Medwyn Hughes, who also directed the Aled Jones Christmas DVD that Libera was featured in and a lot of the BBC Songs of Praise programs, so you know it's going to be great! [Some of those filming had also worked on the 2007 Leiden Special] The big surprise is that they want to make this a 2-disc DVD! There would be a special bonus "Behind the Scenes" feature. I love those! And the plan is to release it before Christmas. It may also be seen on TV! I can't wait to get this DVD! Merry Christmas in August everybody!—LEXI  (NOTE: the final DVD was a single disc with bonus features, and a CD was recorded at the same time for separate release.)

Some of the participating musicians; guitar and bassoon are new additions (Photo courtesy Armagh Parish)
Another report came in on the Libera Dreams forum from regular concertgoer "Yorkie," with some further (and more technical) observations:


by Yorkie » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:27 am
The filming seems to have been done across both nights - close up work on Thursday & broad shots + audience Friday. For vocals they could use either night because they were singing as well as I have heard them. Obviously much practice & hard work went in to this DVD.
  One story from Thursday: they did “Voca Me” twice, the second time so they could reposition the crane cam to get a close up of Thomas who was behind & back from the other boys. As Tom Delgado-Little hit that soaring top D, his ultra high frequency notes disturbed the slumbering denizens of the cathedral. Down came a family of bats to swoop over the boys & audience! Not a note was missed but the look on Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey's face was priceless.
Sweeping off stage, robes billowing (Armagh Parish)
I think we counted 8 cameras that were placed differently on each night. This should ensure a lot of different camera angles for the DVD. I asked if it would be BluRay (HD) but nobody was sure - perhaps if we start a campaign to drum up demand we might get the chance of seeing the concert in glorious hi-def.....

The lighting was very impressive, making good use of colour, more so than Leiden I think but I'd have to watch that again to be certain. The main stained-glass window behind the boys was illuminated by an external spotlight for the first half of the concert which added hugely to the atmosphere & will look great on the DVD. No guesses for the colour of lighting used for "Danny Boy!"

They used a smoke machine to give a light haze which enhanced the mood and produced nice lighting affects. Not many speeches this time (maybe three) and all from memory, no reading from a piece of paper like Leiden.—YORKIE

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EDITORIAL COMMENTARY



Leiden 2007
Many fans first discovered Libera in 2007, through an exquisite concert DVD called Angel Voices: Libera in Concert, recorded in  the Leiden St. Pieterskirke in the Netherlands for the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The 18 boys who sang in that concert became instant icons of a sort (an accompanying feature called “Libera: In their Own Words” introduced them as individuals), and were considered by many to be the core embodiment of Libera.

This was especially true of the eight boys who continued with Libera after their voices changed, creating a rich and stable vocal and emotional background, and acting as mentors for the up-and-coming trebles who followed them. They were: Josh Madine, brothers Sam and Alex Leggett, Liam Connery, Jonathan Barrington, Tiarnán Branson, and to a slightly lesser extent, Benedict Philipp and Jakob de Menezes-Wood.

Many of these eight talented singers stayed within the compass of the Libera family into 2012-2013, singing in the adult section of the St. Philip’s Choir, and occasionally donning white robes again to join the Libera performing group in special at-home concerts. (Jonathan Barrington went on to become a valued stage manager for the group, and Josh Madine a keyboard accompanist.)

Jonathan Barrington backstage at Armagh rehearsal

Wisely, for the recent concert DVD recorded in Armagh, Northern Ireland, Director Robert Prizeman called on four of the fabled “class of 2007” (Josh Madine, the Leggett brothers, and Tiarnán Branson), along with later Libera favorites Ralph Skan and Daniel Fontannaz, to bridge the two concert DVDs and several "generations" of singers, using their experienced lower voices to great effect and showing both the adaptability of the group and Prizeman’s arranging (and re-arranging) skills.

Aged eleven and twelve at the time of the Leiden concert, these young men were in their late teens  at the time of the Armagh recording (with Sam Leggett the oldest at 18 years and ten months). In some ways they’re still seen as the embodiment of the Libera ideal.


(L to R) Tiarnán Branson, Sam Leggett, Josh Madine, Jonathan Barrington, and Liam Connery in 2011

It’s easy to imagine that the young singers on the latest DVD will generate a similar public following, and perhaps emerge as a new set of icons, their faces instantly recognizable to fans for years to come, creating a perceived stability within a group that is, by its very nature, constantly changing.

At any rate, the 2013 DVD gives the majority of Libera fans who were unable to attend concerts (and had been deprived of new videos of complete performances since the end of 2011) a chance to finally see and hear the group again and get to know, by face and voice, the singers and soloists receiving online raves in the past year.

*************************************
MORE LOOSE MOOSE
And, creating an entirely different image from their white-robed Libera personae, the "Loose Moose" gang of off-the-wall comedy video-makers (Josh Madine, Sam Leggett, Alex Leggett, Jonathan Barrington, and Liam Connery) released a trailer in mid-August for their new video (their third in a series), featuring all things absurd, followed shortly by Part 1 of the episode. When one sees these boys as solemn elder Liberans in white robes, it's easy to forget that they're also goofy kids. (Earlier Loose Moose episodes can be seen at the beginning of Part 5 of this Timeline.) Benedict Philipp appears as an uninhibited "surprise guest" in Part Two.


Anonymous loose moose, er.....horse

http://youtu.be/P7yz9Orz5eE The Loose Moose Show, Episode 3 trailer) 

http://youtu.be/nbOmMqdtuBM  The Loose Moose Show/Episode 3, Part 1)

http://youtu.be/jSfN2x42HAU (Loose Moose/Episode 3; Part 2)

**************************************
FUNNY BUSINESS CONTINUED
A correspondent on the AngelVoices website posted the following in mid-August:


Libera could have a new label.
Following their acquisition of EMI Classics and Virgin Classics, Warner Music
Group (WMG) has announced the first step in their plans to bring the artists and
catalogues from these two highly respected labels into the Warner Music family,
highlighting the central and global role that classics will play in WMG's
future. All artists and catalogues that were signed to Virgin Classics are now
part of the newly revived and highly respected label, Erato. All artists and
catalogues that were previously part of the EMI Classics family will be released
under the Warner Classics banner. This move marks the next exciting chapter and
new momentum for these renowned artists and legendary catalogues within WMG,
where there is – and will continue to be - a deep focus on classical repertoire.
More plans will be announced soon.—AJ


*****************************
ARMAGH BACKSTAGE

On August 26th Mini-Angels correspondent Lexi posted several more of her backstage photos from the Armagh DVD session.

Percussion, strings, and cameras, Armagh (these three photos by Lexi)

Woodwinds, guitar and keyboards, Armagh

Stage Manager for the making of the DVD; she explained to the audience what was happening, and gave instructions as to when to applaud.

********************************************
PHILIPPINES POSTER and SONGS OF PRAISE SPECIALS

During the first week of September, a poster appeared for the Plenary Hall concert in Manila during Libera's October 29th-November 2nd tour. Other concerts were scheduled for Cebu.


On September 8th, the Mini-Angels site posted the following announcement: 


Exciting news! Libera participated in the filming of 2 Songs of Praise specials at Royal Albert Hall tonight! The hosts were Bill Turnbull and Aled Jones. Some of the star performers were Susan Boyle, Hayley Westenra, Andrea Begley, Michael Ball, Russell Watson, Jonathan & Charlotte, and Friar Allessandro plus The Big Sing orchestra and an audience of 5,000 singing along!

One SOP special for the UK's Top Ten Hymns will air on Sunday, October 27. It includes the songs "Abide With Me" and "How Great Thou Art."

The other special for the UK's Top Ten Carols will air on Sunday, December 22. It includes the songs "O Little Town of Bethlehem" sung by Hayley Westenra, and "O Holy Night." —Lexi


12 members of Libera rehearse with Susan Boyle for the "Big Sing" on Songs of Praise.

********************************
CEBU LOCATION ANNOUNCED

On August 19th Libera announced that their second Philippines concert would be held in Cebu on October 31st, at at the lovely Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod, which was built in 2012 and seats approximately 800.


Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod

***************************************
DVD RELEASE

On September 25th, it was announced that Libera’s new DVD Angels Sing – Christmas in Ireland (videoed  at St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Armagh, in Northern Ireland on August 9th) would be released 
 on the Warner Classics label on November 4th. It was listed as a single disc, rather than a two-disc set, as had been rumored. There was also no mention of the long-awaited "Voca Me" video, which was not included in the track list.

On September 27th, the CD and DVD became available for pre-order on Amazon.com (actual US release date November 5th, November 4th in the UK, and October 29th in the Philippines), with the following description:

"This Christmas, boy choir super-group Libera bring their angelic voices and inspiring music to the holiday season with a new CD and DVD: Angels Sing - Christmas in Ireland. The program features beloved carols old and new, sacred and secular, joyful and tender - all recorded live in the radiant ambiance of St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Ireland. This inspiring concert features favorites such as 'Carol of the Bells,' 'Joy to the World,' 'Silent Night,' 'Danny Boy' and more, and the DVD also contains behind-the-scenes documentary extras. Six of the tracks are previously unreleased, and the remaining songs all feature brand-new arrangements made especially for this recording." 

NOTE: This is actually Libera's third album on the Warner Classics label. Libera (1999) and Luminosa (2001), preceded by a 1995 single of the song "Libera," and an experimental early CD (also called Libera and containing a number of variations on the same song) were all released by Warner, after which the group moved to EMI Records. 



**********************************
PBS TO BROADCAST CHRISTMAS DVD



On September 29th, he Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA public television station, MPTV, announced plans to air Libera's DVD Angels Sing: Christmas In Ireland on Thanksgiving weekend, November 30, 2013, from 5:00 - 6:30 pm, probably as part of a pledge drive or fund-raiser for the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) station. (Libera's 2007 Leiden video was also used by US PBS stations for fund-raising purposes.) Videos are usually played in sections, with charitable donations to the station solicited during breaks. MPTV has over 900,000 viewers each week, with 2.1 million potential viewers.

******************************************
PHILIPPINE CHARITIES TO BENEFIT FROM LIBERA CONCERTS
A standing ovation for Libera's 2009 performance of the beloved Filipino song "Bayan Ko" 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vCTcEN-tBA&feature=player_embedded#t=0 (Bayan Ko/Philippines 2009/Solo by Ben Philipp) 


Around this time, several articles were published in online magazines in the Philippines. They revealed that a percentage of the proceeds of the Manila concert will go to 3 causes:

1. Children's Hour - (Libera also made donations to them in 2011)
2. The BAA Foundation for Disadvantaged Children
3. Victims of Typhoon Maring

The British Embassy in Manila announced they would include Libera in its five-month-long "This Is Great Britain" festival.

Libera's Cebu concert is part of the first-year anniversary celebration of the canonization of the Visayan martyr St. Pedro Calungsod.
*************************************
2013 CHRISTMAS CONCERT IN LONDON


Libera and Robert Prizeman at 2011 St. George's Cathedral concert

On October 1st, the Official Libera page announced a Christmas Concert to be held at St. George's Cathedral in London, on Thursday, November 28th, at 7:30 PM. 

*************************************
IRELAND BLOG & GALLERY

In the first week of October, two of the usual delightful tour blogs, appeared, this time on the subject of rehearsing for and filming the 2013 Christmas in Ireland DVD at St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland. The blogs offered numerous amusing insights into the filming process.



The narratives were  accompanied by a new gallery of photos taken during rehearsals, providing images for a (tentative) identification of three new faces..


Alex Montoro

Gabriel Collins

Alexander Gula

************************************************
On October 9th, a short commercial for the Philippines appearances was made available. Philippine release of the DVD was scheduled for October 29th.

Experience Christmas wi#112A099 (2013 Philippines TV promo)




************************************
CHRISTMAS DVD PROMOTIONAL VIDEO



On October 11th, an extended (4:51) video for the Christmas DVD appeared, complete with narration,  lots of "larking about" and previews, mostly of traditional full-chorus carols.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nov_QoIqnOU (Preview video, Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland, 2013)


*************************************
JOSH MADINE ON TV IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK, USA (An Update from Lexi at Mini-Angels)


 Josh Madine was on the PBS station in Buffalo, NY tonight! In person!

WNED-Buffalo was the first to air Libera's new Christmas DVD as part of their pledge drive. And Josh Madine was flown in to Buffalo to talk to the hosts during the breaks. People in the Buffalo area and parts of Canada got to see it.

John from Canada, who was at the Armagh concert also, watched the PBS show. He said, "Josh was his usual confident, charming, articulate and handsome self and no doubt significantly boosted pledges. Among other things, we learned that his favourite carol is 'Carol of the Bells' and that his favourite tour destination is the Philippines 'where the people are so lovely'."—Lexi

http://youtu.be/icOEJeK4Ba8 (Josh Madine on PBS station WNED in Buffalo/October 2013)

*************************************************
LIBERA ON GAME SOUNDTRACK?




Destiny - Music of the Spheres

Postby JimmyRiddle » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:37 pm
If this is what I think it is, Libera could be involved in the choral soundtrack behind one of next year's big video game releases;
Destiny - the creators of Halo®

 DESTINY: MUSIC OF THE SPHERES 
Mark Mckenzie is honored to have orchestrated and recorded a yet to be released 50 minute, Eight movement symphonic and choral suite entitled "Destiny: Music of the Spheres" for composers Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori and Sir Paul McCartney. The music was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios using a 106 piece orchestra, large choir and the famed London boys choir LIBERA with Sir Paul McCartney attending.—Jimmy Riddle
 

*******************************
LIBERA NOW ON INSTAGRAM (Thanks to Lexi from the Mini-Angels site for 
sharing these links)
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 12:19 PM PDT



Libera now has an Instagram account for posting photos and videos. You can follow them at http://instagram.com/officiallibera

Their first posting is a video greeting to the Philippines by Cassius, Eoghan and 
Ciaran! Check it out now!—Lexi

Don't forget to follow Libera on these other sites also (links below):

Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

***********************************
CHRISTMAS DVD VOTE-OFF


Beginning in mid-October, as an extremely inventive advertising measure,
 the Libera Official Facebook site staged a "vote-off" between the DVD versions of 
eight songs, beginning with "Joy to the World" and "Away in a Manger," featuring "Nano-Ben" Fairman's first solo.

Ben Fairman


Welcome to the Libera Christmas in Ireland Video Vote-Off! We'll be posting 8 
exclusive videos from their upcoming DVD, so vote on your favorite and see which 
ones go on to the next round! Note that you only get one vote, so take your time before
 you make your choice! 
(Vote-off between two full songs from the Christmas in Ireland DVD)
Two clips from the DVD were released each week (all seen below in the Review/Preview), the winner announced on December 3rd, being, to no one's surprise, "Carol of the Bells."

************************
About this same time, a Philippines-flavored video ad, featuring the beloved song 
"Bayan Ko," appeared.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=527405207351449  (Philippines video ad for 
2013 tour)

LIBERA FOOTNOTE

"In Dulci Jubilo" has a somewhat remarkable origin tale.The song is "Macaronic," which refers to text using more than one language. The original alternation of medieval German and Latin is thought to have been  written by a German mystic Named Heinrich Seuse, circa 1328. According to folklore, Seuse heard angels sing these words and joined them in a dance of worship. Here is a translation from the original German/Latin combination to English.

**********************************************************************
XXVI: PHILIPPINES TOUR 2013
***********************************

LIBERA ARRIVES IN THE PHILIPPINES
On October 26th, 24 Libera boys jetted to the Philippines
for concerts in Manila and Cebu.
1.   Marc Alvares
2.   Henry Barrington
3.   Anthony Blake
4.   Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
5.   Gabriel Collins
6.   Jude Collins
7.   Kavana Crossley
8.   Thomas Delgado-Little
9.   Dylan Duffy
10. Ben Fairman
11. Alexander Gula
12. Matthew Jansen
13. Isaac London
14. Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
15. Matthew Madine
16. Eoghan McCarthy
17. Michael Menezes
18. Alexander Montoro
19. Kuba Niedermaier-Reed
20. Cassius O'Connell-White
21. Matthew Rangel-Alvares
22. Carlos Rodriguez
23. Sam Wiggin
24. Lucas Wood 

The Libera 360 site thoughtfully supplied photos with the names of all boys at:

NOTE: Since former Liberans Luke Collins, Oscar McFall, and Bertie Smart were not 
included in this tour, it could be concluded that they had left the group. When asked about
the absence of Michael Ustynovych-Repa, the boys replied that he had "gotten a 
scholarship" that took him away from the group.


***************************************
VARIOUS APPEARANCES AND OTHER NEWS FROM THE PHILIPPINES 


Post-landing activities (Photo courtesy of Concertus Manila)

On October 27th, the boys appeared on the popular ASAP Rocks 
program, singing "Joy to the world" with smiles and gusto.

Isaac London, Kavana Crossley, Anthony Blake, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti

http://youtu.be/htoKTgFw8Ak (Joy to the World/Libera on ASAP Rocks/
Philippines tour 2013)

The boys also showed up at the Manilla Glorietta shopping map for a meet-and-greet and signing of posters and newly available CDs. The M&G was preceded by a ribbon-cutting for the CD release, with former Minister of Finance (and Libera fan) Dr. Roberto de Ocampo O.B.E. ("Mr. D." to the boys) doing
the honors.



The new CD contained a booklet of new and delightful photos displayed below by inveterate concert-attendee Yuki:
(Photo by Yuki)

Booklet photo of Gabriel Collins, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Isaac London (top) and 
Sam Wiggin

Yuki, as usual, managed to obtain a unique video viewpoint, this time in the backstage area. In this brief clip, we see (1) Chaperone Andy Winter holding up the line of boys as they exit, and confiscating an orange tossed by Isaac London; (2) Staff member Steven Geraghty climbing onto a counter or shelf to 
photograph the boys; (3) boys with books or video games they've brought along to while away waiting periods (4) Josh Madine in a moose-logo polo shirt; and(5 & 6) brief appearances by chaperones Barbara Geraghty and Eleanor Lewis.


http://youtu.be/FoYoqnEm9Ks (Short video clip by Yuki)

******************************************
PLENARY HALL SIGNING, MEET-AND-GREET AND CONCERT LIST


All 24 boys signing at the M&G (Photos by Bea)

Some of the items available for signing: program, Cd and DVD with booklets, posters (Photo by Nikki)

MANILA CONCERT AND M&GS

The song list for the October 29th PICC concert held some pleasant surprises,with enough variation and non-Christmas material to provide a refreshing mix: (asterisks indicate songs not on the Christmas CD/DVD; blue indicates a newsoloist for a certain song. Two of the replaced solos were those formerly sung by Michael Ustynovych-Repa.)


1.   Dies Irae* - solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
2.   Gloria*
3.   Angels from on High
4.   Wexford Carol - solos by Isaac London, Sam Wiggin
5.   Sanctus - descant/counterpoint by Dylan Duffy and Tom Delgado-Little
6.   I'm Dreaming of Home*- solo by Tom Delgado-Little
7.   Voca Me*- solo by Tom Delgado-Little
8.   Away in a Manger - solo by Ben Fairman
9.   Hymn to Mary (new song - solo by Isaac London*
10. In Dulci Jubilo

Interval

Boys resting backstage

11. God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
12. Orinoco Flow*
13. Joy to the World
14. What Child is This - Solo/duet by Isaac London, Jude Collins
15. Carol of the Bells - brief solos by Lucas Wood, Tom Delgado-Little, Cassius O' Connell-White
16. The Moon Represents My Heart - solo by Isaac London*
17. Gaudete -solo by Matthew Jansen
18. Silent Night - Solo by Tom Delgado-Little
19. Exultate - Solo by Tom Delgado-Little

Encore: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - solo by Ciaran Bradbury-
Hickey
Encore: Bayan Ko* 


Audience at the PICC (Photo by Milet)

John-from-Canada, also a frequent concert attendee, wrote a lively spur-of-the-
moment review:

Unread postby john45 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:57 am
Old men forget, so here are a few scribbles before the neurons die. 
Just back from a hectic meet-and-greet and a wonderful Libera concert at the PICC. Not a full house but not very far off it. Very enthusiastic audience. 

Opening remarks by Roberto de Ocampo, O.B.E, emphasising the value of friendship between Britain and the Philippines and thanking Libera in particular for their concert which is in aid of underprivileged children especially victims of the recent earthquake. 



Roberto DeOcampo, O.B.E.
Usual start, with "Dies Irae" seguéing into "Gloria." Usual high standard. High notes in Gloria from Tom Delgado-Little

"Hello" from "Nano-Ben" Fairman and Cassius O' Connell-White with Ben saying a few words in Tagalog much to the audience’s delight. “The next song is about angels – like us” (Cassius introducing “Angels From on High") Much the same as on the CD. 

Next, the "Wexford Carol." Beautiful solo verse in Gaelic from Isaac London standing to the side bathed in green light. Second verse solo by Sam Wiggin in English. Beautifully done. A very pleasing voice.


Sam Wiggin

Next was "Sanctus,"with Dylan Duffy and Tom Delgado-Little doing their signature descant/counterpoint and final "Sanctus" from Matthew Jansen. I would love to hear a full solo from Dylan. His voice has such a pleasant tone. 


Dylan Duffy

Matthew Jansen

Next song was “I’m Dreaming of Home”. Glad to see this one back with Tom Delgado-Little's ’s amazing solo contribution. Followed by "Voca Me" – and another virtuoso performance from Tom. Next was “Away in a Manger” featuring Nano-Ben’s gentle, heartwarming solo. 


Ben Fairman

Speeches followed from the two eight-year-olds, Alex Gula and Gabriel Collins. Unbelievably confident and flawless speeches from ones so young. They talked 
about British kindergarten kids learning “Away in a Manger” for the school Nativity play.They joked about snow in England and the Philippines and about hunting for Christmas trees in August when they were in Ireland.


Then came a surprise addition to the program: “Hymn to Mary” sung solo in its entirety by Isaac London with a very nice piano accompaniment (Josh Madine perhaps? – I couldn’t see) and soft strings. Beautifully sung by Isaac but I am not at all familiar with this hymn and will have to hear it a few more times to fully appreciate it. First half then finished with a lively performance of “In Dulci Jubilo” – same as CD. 


Isaac London

Second half opened with a spirited performance of “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen," followed by the crowd favourite “Orinoco Flow”. 
Next was “Joy to the World”, nicely done, followed by a delightful rendition of “What Child is This” with beautiful harmonies from Jude Collins and Isaac London. “Carol 
of the Bells” seemed a little rushed, compared to the Armagh version. 
No introduction and hardly a pause before Cassius’s “That is our song” line. A welcome return of “The Moon Represents my Heart,” which was instantly recognised and cheered by the audience. 
Cassius O' Connell-White

“Gaudete” followed with exquisite solo parts by Matthew Jansen. “Silent Night” again featuring superstar Tom Delgado-Little. Nano-Ben Fairman then introduced the “final” song of the night “Exultate” (solo yet again from the very versatile Tom). Ben spoke in Tagalog again. I have no idea what he said but the audience loved it. He is such a charmer and proving to be quite the linguist. 
Tom Delgado-Little
Of course, “Exultate” was not the final song and in response to rapturous applause there were encores of “HYAMLC” featuring a lovely solo from Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and then “Bayan Ko” (no soloist this time) which, as expected, brought the house down. I cannot remember exactly where they occurred in the program but there were also speeches from Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Alessandro Mack0innon-Botti explaining about their robes, their moose mascot, and their practice routines. All brilliantly performed and confidently delivered.
0
1255 AM here. 
Time for bed.
Next stop Cebu.—John

Another fan, Rachel, a resident of the Philippines, contributed a morning-after analysis with further personal details:

Unread postby Rach » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:04 am

Woke up with a splitting headache, probably from too much excitement and high emotions from last night's concert. It was truly an amazing, fantastic and wonderful one. It was my 4th Libera concert and I think this is the one I enjoyed the most. It was an enthusiastic crowd (probably always is, in the 'Pines ) last night at the PICC and I felt the high energies in the air (both coming from the crowd and the boys).

Here are my other thoughts/experiences on last night's concert:

• Not really sure, but "Gloria" sounded different to me last night as compared to when I heard it sung in Singapore and Taiwan. I caught my friend, Milet, who was seated right next to me smiling and giving a thumbs-up sign to Isaac London here. He smiled back at her. 

• I've forgotten the Tagalog words spoken by Nano Ben (Fairman) after they sung "Gloria," but I know I liked it and was delighted with what he said. I probably had a funny looking reaction to that coz I saw Matthew Rangel-Alvares chuckling and looking at me (we were seated on the third row from the stage where the boys have a clear view of us).
Eoghan McCarthy and Matthew Rangel-Alvares
• At the start of "Wexford Carol," Isaac London was standing to the right side of the stage, illuminated by a green light. He looked ethereal to me here, both on the stage and on the widescreen.

• "Sanctus" - Beautiful violin accompaniment. First time to hear Dylan Duffy''s voice stand out. Loved it.

• I'm Dreaming of Home - a new song to me but felt it so much that it brought tears to my eyes. I can't share my reason why but it truly hit my heart. Tom Delgado-Little's solo all the more moved me. Love you, Tom.

• The two little ones, Gabriel Collins and Alex Gula: Alex moves a lot when he sings. So cute. Über-cute Gabe. I don't know if he doesn't memorize all the lyrics of all the songs 

they sing, but sometimes I would catch him singing or mouthing some words different 
from the rest of the choir. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong on this or my eyes are just
 playing tricks on me.

Gabriel Collins




Alex Gula


• Isaac London was yawning a lot last night during the first set. Not sure if he was sleepy or just bored.  They were already about to sing " Away in a Manger" and he was still yawning and had his hands to his mouth. Saw Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, who was right next to him, look at him and he looked as if he was telling Isaac, "What are you doing?"  Isaac probably was just psyching and prepping himself for their next song. Actually, HIS next song.

• "Hymn to Mary" - A beautiful full solo by Isaac London. It's a new song and debuted in the Philippines.  All the boys were kneeling here. I had to ask Isaac at the autograph signing what the title of this song was. The piano accompaniment was by Steven Geraghty.

•"In Dulci Jubilo" - Love, love the background Celtic sound in this song. My sister and I were actually swaying on our seats.  Anthony Blake saw us here and was all smiles. Probably happy to see us enjoying it. 

Anthony Blake

• Intro music to "Orinoco Flow" was instantly recognized by the audience and was applauded. Obviously one of the favourites. Sang with them on this line " From Peru to Cebu"

• What Child Is This - First time to distinctly hear Jude Collins' voice. I like the sound of it. 
Jude Collins

 "The Moon Represents My Heart" - Good song choice by Libera to include in their repertoire. Was much appreciated by the Filipino-Chinese in the audience. So nice to hear it again after hearing it first in Taiwan in April.

• Nano Ben said goodbye on behalf of the choir. Cannot remember his exact words but I think this is what he said " Maraming salamat po. Mahal na mahal namin ang Pilipinas" translated to " Thank you. We love the Philippines so much", in English. His tongue got twisted on this but that endeared him more to the crowd. Thank you, Libera, for trying to learn and speak our language. We feel like you truly belong

• "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Felt a pinch to my heart when this was sung. It was Michael Ustynovych-Repa's solo in the CD and I was really missing him, but sweet Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey did a great job here.
Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

• Bayan Ko - I've heard this numerous times on YouTube and in the New Dawn CD, but it still gave me goosebumps. It's really quite an experience hearing it live. Of course I had to scream my appreciation afterwards.  Didn't even care that we were at the PICC. 

• Lighting & background effects were nice but not as dramatic as in the DVD.



Saying goodbye in Cebu
• When a soloing boy is illuminated and projected on screen, he always looked ethereal. One exception for me is Isaac in Wexford. He looked ethereal both on stage and on screen. 

• Not sure but "Moose" (mascot) looked much smaller than their previous tours. Probably the "old" one has retired.

• Meet and greet afterwards was fun. The boys were all smiles and looked to be really enjoying themselves. They didn't look tired at all. Even Lucas Wood who seemed to have had jet lag last Sunday was already smiling and looking a lot better.

• There was no limit as to the number of fans that were allowed for autographs. Those who bought DVDs and CDs were prioritized. Both DVDs and CDs were sold out. 

• The M&Gs here are more relaxed than in SG and Taiwan. Fans were allowed to have pictures with the boys. Of course the boys still had to be seated and there was a table between the fan and the boys.

• Caught Carlos Rodriguez making a funny face for a fan's photo.

• Cassius O' Connell-White was jumping as they made their way out after the M&G.

What a great night it was!—Rachel

***************************************

CEBU M&G AND PERFORMANCE

On October 31st, the boys gave their final Philippines concert at the Chapel of
 San Pedro Calungsod in Cebu. This was preceded by a meet-and-greet at a business center called SM City, and was made more interesting by the fact that each of
the boys was briefly interviewed before the signing.


Dylan Duffy, Matthew Madine, Michael Menezes and Isaac London wait to be interviewed (Photo by Winx).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVmgTGdO_Xs (First set of interviews at Cebu SM City M&G, 2013)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVxBgW6SJbQ    (Second set of interviews at Cebu SM City M&G, 2013)

The song list and soloists for this concert were the same as for the Manila event, with no great surprises, except that "Voca Me" was not performed.

**************************************
BLOG TIME

Libera on ASAP

This first of what promised to be more blogs held a very distinctive and occasionally cheeky
voice.
http://www.libera.org.uk/blog/phancy_philippines_manila (Phancy Philippines 2013 tour blog)

MORE VOTE-OFF


"Angels We Have Heard On High" proved more popular than "Still, Still, Still" in the third round of the Video Vote-Off. Round Four, begun on November fifth, put "Carol of the Bells" up against "O Holy Night, for a round ending on November 11th."

ST. GEORGE'S CATHEDRAL CONCERT POSTER



LIBERA A PBS HIT

As of November 9th, 22 American Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations elected to air Libera's Christmas in Ireland DVD in December. Lexi at http://mini-angels.blogspot.com provided the following graphic (11/9 posting) with a list of participating stations, with updates to be posted as they were received. As of 11/13, more than 65 PBS stations had picked up the program.

A SURPRISING TIDBIT

From Martin, a Canadian member of the AngelVoices site:

While Googling for broadcasts of the DVD on PBS, I came across the following piece of information I wasn't aware of:

Libera were scheduled to record a Christmas concert in Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston [in Massachusetts, USA], under the patronage of Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
"Sadly, when the tragic events of the Boston Marathon occurred, it became untenable to proceed. But believing that audiences around the world would appreciate an Irish-based Christmas program in one of the most glorious cathedral churches — indeed the “Mother Church” of Ireland — the concert was re-scheduled and recorded."


That explains why it appeared to be hastily organized [in terms of inviting fans].

It's interesting historically that Northern Ireland was seen as a safer place than Boston.

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PREVIEW/REVIEW: Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland



OK, for those who still hadn't figured out who's who by now: Front row: Isaac London, Gabriel Collins, Alexander Gula, Ben Fairman, Tom Delgado-Little, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Marc Alvares, Alex Montoro.
Second row: Sam Wiggin, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Michael Menezes, Lucas Wood, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed, Jude Collins, Matthew Jansen, Matthew Madine.
Third row (a very short one): Dylan Duffy (between Alessandro and Michael M.), Cassius O' Connell-White.
Back Row: Anthony Blake, Matthew Rangel-Alvares, Eoghan McCarthy, Henry Barrington

Any Libera fan worthy of the name who has been hesitating to purchase the group’s new Christmas DVD can be reassured that this one is a winner, a veritable holiday jewel-box of sounds and images.

The song list is a mixture of songs and carols both familiar and obscure, all but one (the poignant “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” in the original 1943 version) arranged by director Robert Prizeman with just enough of an Irish flair and instrumentation to render each fresh and interesting without tumbling into parody.

In this 14-song concert, Prizeman was faced with the considerable task of making a number of we’ve-all-heard-this-one-way-too-many-times pieces worth listening to anew. For the most part he succeeds, even with “Joy To The World,” “Silent Night,” and “O Holy Night,” which, though beautifully sung and a cut above most versions, face tough competition here in terms of originality and excitement.


http://youtu.be/5IH8A86FLs0 (Joy to the World/ Christmas in Ireland DVD/2013

http://youtu.be/MMrlVZmG97I (O Holy Night/Christmas in Ireland DVD/2013


Kuba Neidemaier Reed, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Dylan Duffy

There’s the breathtaking “Angels We Have Heard on High;” the crisp, toe-tapping, Irish-flavored “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen;” the precise gentle sweetness of “Away in a Manger” and “Still, Still, Still;” the beautifully rollicking “In Dulci Jubilo;” and the always-magnificent “Carol of the Bells."



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjke_DVaa_c&feature=share&list=SPF_pjbI-JsWc5jXXS1P5iDA0ezQPV0gK5&index=6  (Away in a Manger/solo by Ben Fairman/Christmas in Ireland DVD/2013)
http://youtu.be/X7MTjm6UYYA (Angels From on High/Christmas in Ireland/2013)

http://youtu.be/yXb3zjMJUXI (Still, Still, Still/ Christmas in Ireland/2013)

http://youtu.be/F3uflMbmQ2A (In Dulci JubiloChristmas in Ireland/2013)

http://youtu.be/I6x-pjVL67A  (Carol of the Bells/Christmas in Ireland DVD/2013/brief solos by Tom Delgado-Little, Lucas Wood, Cassius O’ Connell-White)


Two other well-known carols were quite rightly relegated to the Extra Features section: an oddly slow and leaden “Once in Royal David’s City,” and a version of “What Child is This" that somehow just doesn’t jell, in spite of an exquisite solo/duet by Isaac London and Jude Collins. “Exsultate” is also in the extras, probably only because it doesn’t blend into the holiday theme as well as the lovely and impressive “Sanctus” that made the cut.

Of the remaining songs, the “Wexford Carol,” with its simple tune and introductory solo sung in Gaelic, is starkly beautiful, the revival of “Gaudete” simply wonderous, and “Danny Boy,” sung a capella and in amazing unison by Isaac London and six of the group’s most exquisite trebles, is just heartbreakingly lovely. The final DVD number, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," is beautifully soloed by Michael Ustynovych-Repa, and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, with an occasional assist from Dylan Duffy and Anthony Blake.

http://youtu.be/unD_GQIDywc (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas/solo/duet by Michael Ustynovych Repa and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

It’s been a while since Libera could boast the depth of soloing ability manifested on this DVD, ranging from 13-year old Matthew Jansen (and non-concert-going fans may find themselves slightly furious at having missed the majority of Jansen’s career due to the total lack of Libera music videos in 2012) down to ethereal 10-year-old Isaac London and deadpan nine-year-old Lucas Wood, who sings beautifully while somehow looking like he’s wandered into the wrong room.

Lucas Wood, Matthew Jansen, Henry Barrington, Michael Menezes

In between is an impressive clutch of 11-year-olds: Thomas Delgado-Little, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Ben Fairman, and Jude Collins. (Sadly, the sunny, pure-voiced Michael U-R has since left the group after moving to a new school.)


Mention should also be made of the brilliant singers who so far seldom solo but are indispensible in small-group performance, notably veterans Dylan Duffy, Eoghan McCarthy, and Cassius O’ Connell-White, and relative newcomers Sam Wiggin, Anthony Blake, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed, and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti.

The lower voices of the six Libera “elders” who participated as guests in the DVD concert, and of the older “regulars” in the group, are used to marvelous effect, never overwhelming the treble voices, while providing a rich background for the higher notes.

"Alumni" Ralph Skan, Sam Leggett and Josh Madine back up Jude Collins, Cassius O' Connell-White and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

Speeches are kept to a minimum three, with a poised Ben Fairman, Cassius O’ Connell-White and Michael Ustynovych-Repa doing the honors.

Of course, essential to the magic of this DVD Concert is/are the exquisite Armagh Cathedral setting, set off by rich jewel-like lighting effects, and the musical ensemble of over a dozen Irish instrumentalists and homegrown Libera regulars that beautifully interprets Robert Prizeman’s arrangements. The camera work is excellent in general.






The “Behind the Scenes” and “Libera on Christmas” features are well done for the most part, and we get to hear the speaking voices of both the newest Liberans and of some of the veterans who are usually otherwise shy and silent in videos.

In contrast to the 2007 DVD Angel Voices: Libera in Concert, where each member of the group was interviewed, only a very few boys are identified here by (first) name. 

Conspicuously missing from all photos and videos is Libera’s self-effacing presiding genius, Robert Prizeman, who is seen only (in long camera views) from the back and in silhouette while conducting the group from audience level.

All in all, this appears to be a DVD that will be brought out in years to come as a beloved Christmas tradition.


A TELLING ARTICLE

A fascinating (and lengthy) New York Times article on voice change appeared earlier this month:

Members of the St. Thomas Boys' Choir in Leipzig, Prussia

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YUKI'S MANILA/CEBU REVIEW ON LIBERA'S WORLD 

On November 14th devoted Libera fan Yuki from Japan posted a long and delightful review of the recent Philippines concerts (her 55th and 56th Libera performances) on her website Libera's World, It contains descriptions, links and new photographs, including the one below of Yuki with sound designer and former Libera singer Sam Coates and in right background, Kavana Crossley's dad.
http://dearlibera.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/libera-autumn-tour-2013-manila-cebu/  (Yuki’s review of Fall 2013 Manila and Cebu concerts)

BLOG ON

At about the same time a charming Part Two to the 2013 Philippines blog appeared:

Singing! Dancing! Food! Libera! What's not to love?

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PBS UPDATE

As of November 16th, at least 90 PBS stations in the US had picked up Christmas in Ireland for holiday broadcasts, often multiple showings, and sometimes state-wide.

Magazine of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network 

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BAYAN KO VIDEO

On November 18th, the latest version of the beloved Philippine song "Bayan Ko" was posted on the Official Libera website.

Published on Nov 18, 2013
This song was recorded at the Philippines International Convention Centre (PICC) in October 2013. It is dedicated here out of deepest respect to those who suffered unimaginable loss in Typhoon Haiyan.




http://youtu.be/u77PCzp2p94 (Bayan Ko/Philippines International Convention Centre/October 2013)

BACKSTAGE IN MANILA

Gabriel Collins admonishes Alexander Gula as some of the boys pose with Santa's chair and tree after their meet-&-greet in Manila

http://youtu.be/Ce7oq0xGYKE (Behind the scenes video by Warner Music Philippines/2013 tour)

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MORE HOLIDAY DVD EXPOSURE (Courtesy of Lexi at the Mini-Angels site)



According to an article by TV Latina, [in Spanish] Libera's DVD "Angels Sing - Christmas In Ireland" will be marketed in Latin America (Central and South America) by PE Media Services. You can see the DVD pictured on their web site here.


This is so exciting! More people in the world will get to hear Libera's music! Thank you to Patrick for the link.—Lexi

The marvelously well-connected Lexi, also reported on her site that, as of 11/16, 137 PBS stations in the US had so far picked up the DVD for holiday viewing, with further updates to follow.

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PHILIPPINES REVISITED/BOYS IDENTIFIED

 For all those who at this point were still complaining that they didn't know the names of the newest Libera boys, another well-connected fan, the indefatigable Yuki, graciously posted a series of excellent photos taken at the Manila Glorietta meet-&-greet, with all boys identified by first names and, when appropriate, surname initial.

Manila Glorietta – 27th#116EEE0 (Meet & Greet videos and photos with IDs for all boys/Manila 2013)

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XXVI: ST. GEORGE'S CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS 

CONCERT

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A number of descriptions and reviews of the November 28th Christmas concert surfaced almost immediately afterwards. The first came from Lexi of the Mini-Angels site with the basic facts and a bit more. (More photos as they become available)

Photo by Jimmy Riddle

Happy Thanksgiving [November 28th] from the US! Libera's London concert was tonight. It sounds like it was amazing! But when are they ever NOT amazing?! There were some special surprises in store for the audience, though. More about that in a bit...

It was very cold in London, but the fans lined up early. There were at least 3 fans going to their very first Libera concert - Annette from Australia, Meme from Argentina, and Danny from Bulgaria! 

Re: Christmas Concert in St George, London, Thursday 28/11/2

Unread postby danny-bulgaria » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:51 pm
To be honest... I didn't expect to be such a great concert.
The truth is... My eyes were filled with tears of joy most of the time. It was fantastic, I've never felt that way before. It was unforgettable first concert for me and I just cant wait to go to another.

I think you can be called a "Super Fan" when you travel all that way!  Fans reported that Michael Ustynovych-Repa and Freddie Ingles were in the audience with their families.

The same 24 boys who went on the Philippines tour were singing tonight, but 7 junior boys also sang with them on some of the songs.

Choristers - 

1.   Marc Alvares
2.   Henry Barrington
3.   Anthony Blake
4.   Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
5.   Gabriel Collins
6.   Jude Collins
7.   Kavana Crossley
8.   Thomas Delgado-Little
9.   Dylan Duffy
10. Ben Fairman
11. Alex Gula
12. Matthew Jansen
13. Isaac London
14. Matthew Madine
15. Eoghan McCarthy
16. Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
17. Michael Menezes
18. Alex Montoro
19. Kuba Niedermaier-Reed
20. Cassius O'Connell-White
21. Matthew Rangel-Alvares
22. Carlos Rodriguez
23. Sam Wiggin
24. Lucas Wood

Junior Choristers - 

1.  Shay Balsekar
2.  Timothy Lee
3.  James Menezes
4.  Camden Stewart
5.  Rocco Tesei
6.  Jamie Trinder
7.  Mark Ustynovych-Repa

There were extra instrumentalists just like in Armagh for the DVD recording. 

Keyboards - Steven Geraghty, Josh Madine
Strings - The Silken String Quintet
Clarinet - Steven Geraghty
Flute - Candice Hamel
Bassoon - Vicky Crowell
Guitar - Alex Roth
Percussion - Simon Roth

The song list was the same as in the Philippines including Isaac singing "Hymn to Mary" by himself. The only difference was that "The Moon Represents My Heart" was replaced with "Corpus Christi Carol" which was soloed completely by Tom Delgado-Little! Double solos!! Double wow!! 

The encore was still "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and then Ben gave a speech dedicating the second encore "Bayan Ko" to their friends in the Philippines. Sooo nice!  There were even representatives from the Philippines Embassy and Filipino community at the concert. They held raffles and sold gifts, food, and drinks with all the money going towards Philippines disaster recovery.

(Photo by Patrick)

Song List -

1.   Dies Irae - solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
2.   Gloria
3.   Angels From On High
4.   Wexford Carol - Solos by Isaac London and Sam Wiggin
5.   Sanctus - Solo by Matthew Jansen
6.   I'm Dreaming of Home
7.   Voca Me - solos by Tom Delgado-Little, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Matthew Jansen
8.   Away in a Manger - Solo by Ben Fairman
9.   Hymn to Mary - full solo by Isaac London
10. In Dulci Jubilo

Interval

11. God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
12. Orinoco Flow
13. Joy to the World
14. What Child is This - Solos by Isaac London and Jude Collins
15. Carol of the Bells - Solos by Tom Delgado-Little, Lucas Wood, and Cassius o' Connell-White
16. Corpus Christi Carol - full solo by Tom Delgado-Little
17. Gaudete - Solo by Matthew Jansen
18. Silent Night - Solo by Tom Delgado-Little
19. Exultate - Solo by Tom Delgado-Little

Encore: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas -- Solo by Tom Delgado-Little
Encore: Bayan Ko

Congratulations to Libera on a great Christmas concert! Thank you to Patrick, Jimmy, Yorkie, Peer, & Yuki for the pictures.

A concert with two faces

Photo by Yuki

 Libera enthusiast Johan from the Netherlands attended the concert and wrote a song-by-song review with his usual close attention to musical and technical detail. He seems to have been seated in an unfortunate location, sound-wise. Another faithful fan, Jimmy Riddle, also commented, and his comments (in plain type) appear here, interspersed with Johan's (in blue). (More photos as they become available) Jimmy's full review can be read at: Re: Christmas Concert in St George, London, Thursday 28/11/2 Unread postby JimmyRiddle » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:14 am

Before talking about the concert itself it must be said that this was a concert with more about it than ever. More equipment, more musicians, more camaras, two large projection screens in front of the aisles and two large TV monitors halfway through the nave. I think everybody had a good view, even those in front of the screens, at least as good as watching the DVD.

This was a huge step forward in the presentation for audience attending UK concerts. As your probably aware they installed two massive rear projection screens for those seated in the side aisles and who would have their usual view blocked by the cathedral columns. I'm sure this was the reason, why there was more people seated in those areas than previous years. Also they hooked up two very large flat screen TVs for those towards the back of the church in the centre aisles...(and as I joined a queue that was already snaking round the outside railings, this was very much appreciated). The live in-concert filming was very impressive and professional. The camera focused on the relevant soloists and allowed you to appreciate the songs even more.

(Photo by Patrick)

The musicians were situated besides the podium, as in Armagh, and included a grand piano, keyboards, strings, a bassoon etc., and of course there was Sam Coates with his elaborate sound systems and the lighting boys. Renting all that surely made it expensive for Libera and it was rumoured that this was the last concert in this venue.

For me the concert had two faces, in two ways. First, the intolerable sound with some of the songs, while others were good; second because of the special contributions of two boys: Isaac London and Thomas Delgado-Little.

For “Dies Irae,” the instruments started while the boys walked down the centre of the nave. Unfortunately when they arrived on the podium and started singing, the instumental music was so loud I could hardly hear the boys sing. The solo was done by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and the song ended with a V formation.Then a new transition into “Gloria,” for which they formed a half circle. (The choir was joined by the juniors for this part.) This song had very little subtlety in execution; it was just loud.

I noticed a pickup in the amplification levels after a few songs of each half. It's a very tricky venue to service with limited speakers. So whilst some of the audience seated from halfway to the back would have greatly welcomed the extra volume (I know I did), maybe those sat at the front and nearest to the speakers could have found it a little loud at times. The sound-mixing guys probably have the toughest job, full credit to them.


(Photo by Patrick)

Ben Fairman and Cassius O’ Connell-White welcomed us and mentioned that Kavana at 14 was the oldest of the Libera boys present, and Gabe Collins and Alex Gula were the youngest at eight years of age.

“Angels From On High” also started too loud on the instrumentation but later tempered a bit. Still, Thomas Delgado-Little had problems making his high notes heard above the rest.

“The Wexford Carol” was started by Isaac London in Irish, a moving performance. Sam Wiggin did his solo in English very adequately. This was the first song in which for me the real Libera started to come through.

“Sanctus” was very well executed as usual. It seemed to me that Thomas Delgado-Little and Cassius O’ Connell-White shared the high notes, but I cannot be sure. Cassius and Ciaran Bradbury Hickey then explained about “Sanctus” and the white robes as related to monks.

“I’m Dreaming of Home:” finally Libera started to shine a bit in their usual way. With the piano by Josh it was a breath of fresh air. Thomas Delgado-Little did the high notes, and how!! Like in the past only Tom Cully could.

"I'm Dreaming of Home"
This is such a wonderful addition to the libera repertoire and I hope it makes it to CD. Libera's arrangement is stunning and there's a solo passage by Tom that is quite breathtaking and would have given his famous namesake of previous years a run for his money with the very impressive top notes. His control was exceptional. The filmJoyeux Noël as obviously given it a sincere connection with troops going off to war with the high probability of never returning home, but you could easily associate it with being away from home in any circumstances. A favourite for sure.

“Voca Me:” The solo from behind was Thomas Delgado-Little again, I could not see him, but only he could do it like that. The end “Voca me” was by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Matthew Jansen.

"Voca Me"
Always ranks high on my list of favourite Libera songs. We all know how the song goes, and how the build up of momentum progresses to an ear-splitting climax, but again, nothing can match being lucky enough to be there in person. No bats this time [a reference to the Armagh DVD filming], but I'm sure anything alive up in the rafters would have been awoken from slumber. Probably would have created a talking point for those members of the passing public outside too.

“Away in a Manger” was very well done, with Ben Fairman as soloist. After that, the two youngest, Alex Gula and Gabriel Collins, explained about Christmas, the DVD etc. They introduced Isaac London.

“Hymn to Mary:” this was a surprise, as it was not on the program. The whole choir knelt around Isaac, who did the whole song solo (also kneeling) with piano alone. All other boys were silent. Very moving and impressive. I found out that Isaac is going to the London Oratory School, the same one that [former Libera soloist] Liam Connery goes to. It seems he is serious about his singing; we can expect a lot more from him.
Isaac London

"Hymn To Mary"
This was not listed in the program as we discovered on their Philippine tour - it was an impromptu solo by Isaac and sat between the last two songs of the first half. I was very happy to personally witness it live. I think Isaac London knelt down whilst singing it and some of the other boys knelt behind him. There was only a soft accompaniment from the piano. Isaac's singing voice is very rich and meaningful and he paints a picture with the lyrics. This was another part of the concert which put the audience in a deeply reflective mood. We didn't have "Danny Boy" this time, but this more than made up for it.

Lyrics:

Holy Mary draw through my heart
The sweetest arrow of thy grace
Lift my sorrow's deepening shadow
So that I may see your face
I know i will not be forsaken
Gently held in your embrace

Blessed spirit whispering softly
Cool the fires of my shame
Even as I run from your arms
My soul keeps calling out your name
You were always right here inside
Each tear of joy, every drop of rain

“In Dulci Jubilo:” here the juniors joined again, but did little singing as yet. Thomas Delgado-Little had the high notes again.

Interval.

The second half was like a concert by Thomas Delgado-Little with Libera.


Tom Delgado-Little

“God Rest you Merry Gentlemen” started in the dark; unfortunately the instuments were too loud again. Thomas Delgado-Little gave a special effect to the end of the song.

“Orinoco Flow,” with Cassius in the centre; this was an old-fashioned good performance. Cassius was joined by Thomas Delgado-Little, Lucas Wood, Jude Collins and Sam Wiggin.

Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey then axplained about their travels and school, and that they sometimes to depart for concerts still wearing their school uniforms. They explained about Moose, but I did not see Moose.

“Joy To the World” was uplifting as always. Thomas Delgado-Little had a little counter melody and high notes at some points. Very good

“What Child is This:” Isaac London started solo, later joined by Jude Collins. Very good. Jude seems much more confident than a year ago. He can do solos now and not be shy. Bravo, Jude!

“Carol of the Bells:” Again Thomas Delgado-Little sang the high- note accents of the melody. The two solos in the centre of the song were again Thomas and Lucas Wood. Cassius O’ Connell-White was a bit hasty at the end, even to the extent that the public waited for the final “That is their song” when it was already done.

Then Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey explained about the languages in which they sing and that they did not speak Latin to each other, and the exercises that they do. They also did the demonstrations with Thomas Delgado-Little in front for the extra-high notes.

“Corpus Christi Carol:” Thomas did this song solo; in the past (the previous Christmas CD) it was done by Ralph Skan and James Mordaunt together. Very impressive, although he still has some growing to do and experience to gain. His voice was not as clear as James Mordaunt’s, but that was understandable after his having to do so much already during the concert.

"Corpus Christi Carol"
TDL (Thomas Delgado Little) contributed in many fine solo passages throughout; his highlight (and probably mine, amongst many) of the whole concert was his complete solo in 'Corpus Christi Carol' . There's something very special when a lone treble sings into the near silence of a hushed concert venue. His floating upper register was very captivating and I noticed fellow audience members also bewitched by it. The soft low-level lighting helped set the mood. 



http://youtu.be/J5bPVv2Pxi8 (Corpus Christi Carol/solos by James Mordaunt and Ralph Skan/Peace CD/2010)

“Gaudete:” the juniors joined for this song. Matthew Jansen did the solo to begin. Later the song developed again in a V formation with Alessandro Mackinnon Botti and Michael Menezes in front.

“Silent Night:” Although over-popular, it remains a beautiful song, especially as Libera sings it. The harmonies were beautiful and Thomas Delgado-Little made them even better.



After this Ben said his goodbye on behalf of the choir and announced the last song “Exsultate” (with the juniors taking part) Thomas Delgado-Little started the song solo in front of the choir; Later Thomas moved to the side but still did the high discants.

The first encore was “Have Yourself a Merry little Christmas.” The solo was by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and the high notes were by Thomas Delgado-Little.

After the well-earned standing ovation Ben Fairman went to the centre of the stage. He explained, speaking partially in Tagalog (it was a whole paragraph in that language; he is a real language talent), about the special relationship between Libera and the Philippines, about the recent disasters this country has suffered, and that they had sung in places not far from the disaster zones. As an homage to the Philippines and the victims of the disasters Libera then sang “Bayan Ko,” with Josh Madine on the piano. Very moving.

The other Christmas songs were performed much like the Ireland DVD, and I very rarely detected any mistakes or slight imperfections. It was quite a flawless performance, one of the best I've been too. There was a little coughing towards the very end, but it was most likely due to being tired (remember they were at school that day). Libera have got some very competent young singers in their pack now, if they can commit to the cause, I'm sure they will become even better in years to come.

The programme was appropriately festive in appearance, and continued the high quality glossy layout and photographs we've evolved from since the A4 photocopied printouts of 2007. — Jimmy Riddle

A program note: "There are also some songs being performed this evening which will be included on a brand new Libera Album due for release in 2014"

Final remarks: Saturday after the concert was the yearly Christmas Fayre at St. Philip's in Norbury. Being the only Libera fan there I was able to talk a little with Robert Prizeman. He confirmed I was unlucky with the sound and the place I had in the third row. But also admitted it was a mistake and excused Sam [Coates] by saying they had only the one day to put everything in place and that was not enough to fine-tune it all. As I was afraid the boys might also have had troubles, I asked Matthew Madine, who was there, and he said he had had no problems with the sound.—Johan
A
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PBS RUNAWAY HIT

As of December 5thaccording to the Mini-Angels site, over 225 PBS stations in the US (44 states and the District of Columbia) had selected the Christmas in Ireland DVD for (usually multiple) holiday airings. The end result was over a thousand PBS showings of the DVD.


Four Libera boys, Marc Alvares, Ben Fairman, Jude Collins and Cassius O' Connell-White also showed up on the cover of the MPTV Milwaukee Public Television monthly magazine. The accompanying article was a refreshing change from the usual re-hash of LiberaOfficial handouts, with additional information about the musicians and venue. It can be read here. (Thanks to Patrick and Lexi for the link.) Use the "zoom" to read the somewhat fine print.

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"ON THE ROAD" WITH CHRISTMAS RADIO INTERVIEWS
On December 8th, three of Libera's liveliest spokesboys made the rounds of British radio stations (by telephone) to talk about the new DVD/CD and their experience with Libera. It's somewhat obvious that their hosts had been given a prepared script and question list, but all came out slightly differently. Thanks to Jimmy Riddle and Andy. 

Radio boys: Kavana Crossley, Cassius O' Connell-White and Jude Collins


http://www.chirbit.com/JimmyRiddle ("On the road" with Christmas radio interviews: Kavana Crossley, Jude Collins, Cassius O’ Connell-White on BBC-Radio Newcastle,  Leicester, Kent, Guernsey, Derby, Cornwall, Merseyside, Oxford, Solent, York, Sheffield, and West Midlands/December 2013) For transcribed highlights of the interviews, see the Mini-Angels site ( http://mini-angels.blogspot.com)
 for December 8th.
From Lauren on the Libera Dreams site:  "Warner Music Taiwan is now marketing their own edition of the CD. They even took Libera's promo video for the DVD and added Chinese subtitles!"

The CD is now #16 and climbing on the Amazon Best-Selling Classical Music list!





Fans in the UK reported that Amazon.com.uk had completely run out of the new Libera CDs and DVDs. In the Netherlands, the wait for the DVD was reported as one to two months. Sites in most other countries in Europe and in Canada, still listed the items as available, but the US Amazon site had run out of copies of the CD. (The deficiency was remedied the next day)

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ST. GEORGE'S SLIDES AND A SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT
On December 10th, Libera fan James Phillip posted a slideshow of (mostly) end-of-performance photos from the November 28th St. George's Cathedral concert in London. As can be seen, for such at-home events, the usually strict no-photography rules are slightly relaxed, due to the large number of friends and relatives that attend.

Isaac London and Alessandro McKinnon-Botti at different stages of bowing (Photo by James Phillip)

http://youtu.be/2KhcNpMRwOo (St. George’s Cathedral concert/11/28/13/YouTube slideshow with photos by James Phillip)

On December 11th, the indefatigable Lexi of the Mini-Angels site came up with the following major scoop:

I'm freaking out here!!! This is so amazing!!! Libera is going to be on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Thursday, December 19th! What a great opportunity for them! The show airs at 11:35 pm Eastern/ 10:35 pm Central. You can see the NBC schedule with Libera listed here. [This link was not working at time of posting.]Thanks to Jimmy Riddle for the link.

Jay Leno is a comedian, so he always starts his show with a monologue. Then he'll have a comedy bit of some sort. Libera will be the musical guest at the end after Jay interviews Sylvester Stallone and Judd Apatow. Hope they can get pictures backstage with them! 

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno is filmed in Burbank, California, and has an audience of nearly 4 million people! If you are in California and want to get tickets to the show, you can request them here. They give out 1-4 tickets, and you have to be at least 16 years old. The taping is usually from 4:00-5:00, but you have to get there several hours early to get a good seat.

Even if you can't get tickets, they let people line up for tickets on the day of the show. The Tonight Show web site says,

A limited number of tickets and stand-by passes are available each tape day at the NBC Ticket Box in Burbank. You must come on the day you wish to attend. All tickets are complementary and distributed on a first come, first serve basis starting at 10:00am. Guests often line up early, you must use your own judgment as to the best arrival time. Tickets will be distributed two (2) per person and you must be at least 16 years old. The NBC Ticket Box is located at 3000 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91523
on the California Street or west side of the studio facilities.  

Hope the boys have a safe trip and a great time in California! We know you'll do great on the show! Make sure to smile! —Lexi
UPDATE: While in the US, Libera plans to make some other TV appearances, yet to be confirmed! 
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ODD SIGHTINGS

As of December 13th, the Christmas in Ireland DVD had reached #2 on the US Billboard Traditional Classical Albums chart.

An edited version of "Carol of the Bells" (probably from the 2011 Christmas Album) showed up in a most unusual context, in a trailer for the long-running BBC-One series Eastenders. The pure voices of Libera were juxtaposed with gritty scenes of shouting and violence, to great effect.


 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXaf9q5sbXY#t=24  (Carol of the Bells on Eastenders trailer/December, 2013)

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ANOTHER SCOOP FROM THE MINI-ANGELS SITE


Aaaaand the news just keeps getting better! Libera is scheduled to appear on The Today Show on Wednesday, December 25!! The Today Show is a popular, 4-hour-long morning show with news and entertainment. Libera will appear during the 9:00 - 10:00 am time slot along with Christmas Day animals and Christmas Day cooking segments. You can see the NBC schedule here. Thanks to Jimmy for the link.

There's no [studio] audience for The Today Show, but you can join the show when they go outside at Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The cameras usually show people outside with signs, and the person doing the weather usually goes out and talks to people. Some singing groups go outside to perform, but that's usually when the weather is nicer.

Hope lots of people are watching on Christmas Day! Have a great time, Libera! 


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LIBERA FLIES TO USA

December 17th: Ben Fairman and Cassius O' Connell-White get set to travel

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TWEETING THE CHARTS

Re: Libera - Christmas in Ireland
by JimmyRiddle » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:39 pm
Libera tweeted that their album Christmas in Ireland has made No. 1 in the Billboard charts - It was No. 2 last week as per the link above, so when it's updated on the18th Dec it should be confirmed as Christmas No. 1. This even before the Leno & Today performances. Great news.




Strangely the ‪Christmas Album from 2011 is ranking higher than their ‪Ireland Album on Amazon.uk - It's been a little low-key in the UK in regards to their new album but obviously this is down to their busy schedule in the USA this week.... and we've still got Songs of Praise to come.

THE BIG SING PREVIEW

http://youtu.be/m5XzTnLyftI (Video preview for the Songs of Praise “Big Sing, ”featuring the year’s top ten Christmas Carols, special guest artists, a "stage choir" and Libera 12/22/13). See http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latest ... p-ten.html  for a song list, description of the event, and who will be singing what. For Libera it was "Silent Night," and possibly backing up Susan Boyle for "In the Bleak Midwinter."


THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO

Jay Leno, Judd Apatow and Libera

Lexi and Lauren of the Mini-Angels site ( http://mini-angels.blogspot.comwere first to post a video of the boys' performance. 22 boys sang "Carol of the Bells," in great style, to the enthusiasm of host Jay Leno, guest (noted writer, producer and director) Judd Apatow, and the studio audience, which, oddly, had not been warned not to clap before the second part of Cassius O' Connell-White's two-line solo.

http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/libera-carol-of-the-bells/n44539 (Carol of the Bells/The Tonight Show with Jay Leno/12-19-13/solos by Tom Delgado-Little, Lucas Wood and Cassius O' Connell-White)

It could be noted here that a number of the younger singers had vastly improved their stage and vocal presence since the Armagh DVD recording.

Liberans pose backstage with Mark McKenzie, whose 2010 animated feature
The Great Miracle, featured Libera voices on the soundtrack.


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THE BIG SING ITSELF

The "Top Ten Christmas Carols" edition of The Big Sing was broadcast by the BBC on December 22nd. The boys sang "Silent Night" on their own, and sang backup to Susan Boyle for "In the Bleak Midwinter." (Note: Aled Jones has not yet learned how to pronounce "Libera.") Robert Prizeman could be seen directing in these two numbers.


http://youtu.be/8PNzMy3lzAA ( Libera/Silent Night/ BBC Songs of Praise Big Sing /2013)


Susan Boyle sings 

http://youtu.be/MM-2Qz4hcwI (Susan Boyle with Libera - In the Bleak Midwinter - BBC Songs of Praise Big Sing /2013)

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BITS & PIECES

Libera superfan Jimmy Riddle kept us informed with a late-breaking radio interview and a roundup of where Libera stood on various "Top 100" lists worldwide on Christmas Eve. 

http://chirb.it/JpdJG4 (Interview on BBC-Radio Sheffield with Kavana Crossley, Jude Collins and Cassius O’ Connell-White/12-13)

forum.libera-dreams.com/.webloc (scroll to the end of the page).



Robert Prizeman leads the orchestra for Susan Boyle and Libera.


Libera's pre-recorded Christmas-morning performance on The Today Show in New York was not one of their best (all seemed a bit tired, and no wonder), but creditable under the circumstances.

http://www.today.com/video/today/53914976#53914976  (Joy to the World/Libera on The Today Show/ New York City/12-25-13
END OF PART 6A; PLEASE GO TO PART 7: END OF PART 6A; PLEASE GO TO PART 7: http://libera-historicaltimelinepart7.blogspot.com 


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