Monday, January 9, 2012


Libera Unbuttoned, by Jimmy Riddle 

Last updated July 7th, 2017 
More changes/photos/videos/links/updates to all parts may appear at any time. As sites are continually being updated/revised, please excuse any temporary small errors 
Apologies for the margin and typeface irregularities in the middle part of this section. The Blogger software began acting strangely for a bit, and I have not found anyone who knows how to correct it. It is legible but not up to my usual standards.

(Creating that Libera Sound On Tour)
(Recording Trivia)
(Angel Voices 2012 CD)
(Pre-Singapore-Japan Tour Activities)
(A few Holiday Activities)
(Libera 2012: A Work in Progress)


As usual, the beginning of 2012 brought a well-deserved respite for the Libera organization after the intense schedule of holiday appearances. In the second week of January, however, five of the group's oldest members, obviously the best of friends offstage as well as on, released what were apparently the first of a series of ambitious videos on their own YouTube channel. 

The "Loose Moose" guys: Jonathan Barrington, Alex Leggett, Sam Leggett, Liam Connery, Josh Madine

As can be seen below, these linked-sequence homemade videos were conscientiously crafted and humorous in the Monty Python vein, with a respectable amount of visual sophistication. The humor was occasionally sophomoric (these were, after all, 16-17-year-olds), and the timing not always wise, but the boys displayed unexpected acting skills, vivid personalities, and a real talent for parody, as well as for verbal and physical comedy, auguring well for any future episodes of the series. The ongoing series and related videos can be accessed at:
(Loose Moose Channel)


Around the same time, Lexi, of the Chicago-based Mini-Angels site, posted the following relevant announcement:

If you go through Libera's Amazon link, Libera gets a commission on anything you buy (not just their CDs), but we only had links for UK and USA. Now Libera has updated their web site shop page to include links to the Canada, France, Germany and Japan Amazon sites! Just go to the page, click on the country's flag and then the "Shop Amazon" button. This will take you to your selected country's Amazon page.You can buy electronics, toys, clothes, jewelry, beauty products, food, office supplies, even your magazine subscriptions, and Libera will get a commission on ALL OF IT! 
Libera Footnote: Creating that Libera Sound on Tour
On the UK-based Angelvoices discussion site, Keith, Roberto and Johan, three AV members in three different countries, weighed in with eyewitness observations on the dynamics of Libera's sound-and-stagecraft techniques on tour. Here are their (slightly edited) remarks, two of which are followed by a participant's view of the actual mechanics by Ellensi from Indonesia, who played in the local string quartet that accompanied the group in Singapore:

Tom Cully and Sam Coates at the mixing box

 • I've seen Libera live on three occasions. I think that it's only this year (2011) that they started using "our own string quartet" and percussion. Before that, it was mostly Fiona Pears playing the violin. I think that a lot of the orchestral sounds are pre-recorded by an orchestra in Europe (there is a credit on one of their CDs).

Steven Geraghty and Robert Prizeman record the flute and/or electronics, then the boys record the vocal in studio listening to a mix of the two previous recordings. Some of the later tracks use the "string quartet" instead of the orchestra. In this way, with the correct mix selected, they can sing accurately at concerts with Steven, R.P. and the boys all live.

I spent a number of years involved in theatre sound and I know that this was the way Libera did their presentation in Buffalo, 2008.

I had a chat with Sam Coates, who was running the sound. They had a large multi-channel mixer which belonged to the concert hall and Sam had "the box" which they had brought with them from the U.K, feeding into it. The top of his "box" was a mixer which was controlling the boys' radio microphones and the feeds from Steven and Robert Prizemanwith the soloists' names above each slider. Any special orchestral and or other effects are all in the "box" so they can make a concert sound just like on their CDs anywhere they go in the world. 

The soloists get the orchestral backing fed to them through earpieces (which many singers use now instead of feedback speakers on the floor at the front of the stage). Sam Coates usually has a credit on their CDs for "mixing" (see The Christmas Album). I believe that for the Canadian tour in 2011, the "string quartet" were local Canadian musicians rather than "our own string quartet," it would be less expensive that way (flights, hotels, etc.) –Keith WLakefield, Ontario, Canada

In their latest concerts (Canada and US, 2011) Libera had a string quartet; then Robert Prizeman playing piano and electronic keyboards; they also had an excellent percussionist... and Steven Geraghty playing a separate keyboard... AND recorder... AND clarinet.

Robert Prizeman conducts from keyboards
Maestro Prizeman directs the boys from his place at the keyboards. He does NOT stand in the middle, with his back to you during the concert. As a matter of fact, if you do not know him you will miss him completely. 

Libera Ensemble, minus Robert Prizeman, at Arundel Cathedral, 2012
The electronic keyboards give the "extra" rhythm and reverb necessary. In all the concerts I've seen there were no "pre-recorded" tracks. This is good, because you can tell this is new and live. The boys most certainly are NOT lip-synching, and every missed note or tempo is there for you to see (hear?).—Roberto, from Maryland, USA

[In Singapore] there were some pre-recorded tracks being played on the concert. It wasn't a "minus-one" track being played—just several instrumental tracks (including percussion, e.g. "Stay With Me"). Steven Geraghty, Simon and Robert Prizeman played their instruments over those tracks. The boys were definitely not lip-synching. Observation in response by string-quartet member Ellensi from Indonesia

The boys are very much conducted by Robert Prizeman. He always stands or sits at the side of the choir, and as they move, they do not always see him, but usually out of the corner of an eye they see him. I think with the earpieces they can also get additional instructions from Sam Coates.—Johan, from the Netherlands

During the [Singapore] concert, from earpieces we all listened to the pre-recorded tracks (as mentioned above), plus "clicks" (tempo guidance). That's why they could keep their tempo exactly the same as their tempo on CD recordings. And that's why they could start singing a song on-pitch (e.g. "Glory To Thee"), start a song altogether (e.g. "Dies Irae"), and finish a long-note ending altogether with the accompaniments (e.g. "How Shall I Sing"). No verbal instructions came from the earpieces during the concert. Utilizing the earpieces, we could play/sing properly without seeing Robert at all.—Observation by string-quartet member Ellensi from Indonesia

With the new year, enthusiastic supersite Libera360º announced its aims to provide regional bases for fans on all seven continents, and issued an invitation to bloggers and webmasters to contribute links and feeds for syndication on a corresponding regional site.) NOTE: This overambitious site was suspended around 2012.

Ben Crawley (aka Ben See) in 2012 recording session (photo from Ben See MySpace site)
In early January, the ever-remarkable Ben Crawley (See Part One and throughout), former Libera soloist and current staff member/music maven, released a fascinating YouTube video in which he literally created and performed a musical arrangement on camera. For this enterprise, he adopted the nom de video of Ben See.

Ben Crawley at age 12 in 1997 (Ben Crawley music video, performing as Ben See//Moment.Sound.Blur )

Around the same time, three holiday-seasoned Libera spokesboys announced the group's choice for the 2012 Classic FM Hall of Fame (last year's choice, the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, the maestoso portion of which they sang as "Gloria," was #14 on the list of 300). (Libera’s vote for the 2012 Classic FM Hall of Fame/Barney Lindsell, Cassius O’ Connell-White/Kavana Crossley)

And if you wondered, after viewing the above, how Pachelbel's Canon could be termed "really bouncy!", take a look at this 2002 version of "Sanctus II,"  shot December 8, 2002 during Songs Of Praise: Advent 2: Journey into Christmas. (To view other versions videoed from 1999 through 2009, see "SANCTUS: A Diversion" in Part One of this Timeline) (Sanctus II/2002)

On January 12th, a new poster appeared for the upcoming concerts in Japan.

Back view

On January 14th, it was announced that a new Libera CD would be released by EMI Japan on March 14 of this year, although no photos or song lists were available. At that point referred to on Japanese websites as "Japan Commemorative Edition" or "Tour Album 2012," the new CD was probably scheduled for release in the far east only, to serve as accompaniment to the upcoming Libera spring tour to Japan/Singapore. 

(Optional) Libera Footnote: More Observations on Recording:

During a recent AngelVoices website forum discussion, webmaster and Libera scholar Craig M. responded to a topic on possible future choices of songs for the group by trotting out some interesting statistics from the past:

Every year they pull out another song from the first album; they have [that] album over half re-done. I would expect them to [do the same this year], possibly with "Beata Lux" or "Lux Aeterna." For those who don't have the first album from 1999, I highly recommend it. The re-emergence of "Jubilate" in 2011 and again in the Christmas Album was a stroke of brilliance by Robert Prizeman; a great song and an excellent opening to the 2011 shows!
If you're keeping score: [tracks] #1, "Salva Me," #2, "Sanctus," and #4, "Libera," [from 1999] are fixtures at all shows now.  2009 brought back track #5, "Mysterium," which has also been used ever since. 2010 brought back #3, "Agnus Dei," and 2011 brought back #6, "Jubilate," and #9, "Te Lucis." The show I saw in Chicago [during the 2011 summer US tour] featured six of these songs (all but Agnus Dei), and Ralph Skan sang a modified version of "When a Knight Won His Spurs," not yet re-recorded. (Editor's Note: "Dies Irae," from 1998, and "Grateful Heart [1999] were the revived songs for the 2012 spring concert tour)

On January 23rd, the OfficialLibera website announced that the group's upcoming Singapore concerts had been accepted onto the Singapore National Arts Council's Arts Education Program, meaning that the Council would be funding attendance at Libera concerts by school groups. The Council's informational site: <>

At the end of January, two promotional videos, centered on Singapore and featuring some new footage, appeared for Libera's 2012 Spring Tour. (Singapore 2012 promo video/long version)
The Esplanade, Libera's 2012 Tour Venue in Singapore
Around the same time, two somewhat disturbing events occurred. A video called “No Light, No Light” by the popular group Florence and the Machine surfaced, containing  luridly graphic erotic voodoo imagery intercut with the innocent faces of the Trinity Boys' Choir (including Libera members Stefan Leadbeater and Orlando Woscholski), dressed in priestly cassocks and singing backup inside a church. One wondered just what the directors of the Trinitychoir were thinking when they agreed to this.
Another small unpleasantness concerned a so-called "Libera enthusiast" who joined one or more prominent websites and immediately began attempting to scam their members by offering for sale (non-existent) DVDs purporting to have been made as souvenirs for the boys and their families, and "not intended to be seen by fans." This scam, indicative of the group's increased visibility and vulnerability, was quickly uncovered (no such DVD exists), and its proponent(s)' emails banned from Libera sites.

In early February, it was revealed that the tirelessly versatile Stefan Leadbeater would take part in a skit on a new TV sketch comedy show called "VIP," on England's Channel Four.
Stefan Leadbeater photographed in uniform at Trinity School, where he is a star music pupil.

In mid-February, EMI Japan posted a song list (see below) and cover photo for the Japan commemorative-edition CD, Angel Voices 2012, to be released on March 14, 2012 as a tie-in to Libera's concerts in Japan in April. Except for two cuts from the 2004 Free CD, it was not known whether these recordings would be new or taken from earlier albums. There were five "revived" songs (not included in 2011 tours), but no new songs listed. (See below for CD selections and soloists)

Several days later, a brief and charmingly offbeat video Valentine greeting to Japan appeared on YouTube. It was obviously shot during a pre- or post-concert flurry, and was especially notable for the absence of some of the older boys, and glimpses of four small "newbies," without, however, putting names to faces.
Henry Barrington breaks off from a pre-concert piano noodle to send droll Valentine's Day wishes to Japan.
ttp:// (Libera Valentine’s Day Greeting to Japan, 2/14/2011)

A Few Timeline Notes

As of the end of April, thousands of readers, from 71 countries, protectorates, republics, and dominions, had logged on to this Timeline. The consistent daily top four were (in no particular order): the US, Russia, UK, and the Philippines, but the list also included such unexpected places as Qatar, Iceland, Macau, Guam, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates. 

The tracking software on the blogsite also allowed a glimpse of the keywords people entered that led them to the Timeline. Many were simply boys' names and obviously intentional. Others displayed previous knowledge (references to "backwards jackets" are frequent), but one can only imagine the perplexity of the surfers who entered "Mouse Timeline," "Blue Shirts,"" Japanese/Korean History Chronology," "Stray Boy Jackets,""History of Binyan Folk Dance," "Choir Robe Company in LA" and "Korean Informal Shirts for Women." Perhaps some of them became Libera fans.

(L to R): Kavana Crossley, Jude Collins, Sammy Moriarty, and Ben Philipp wearing "backwards jackets" to keep from spilling pre-concert snacks or drinks on white robes.
On 2/22,  The British Council of Singapore sent out a large e-blast and review, heralding Libera's upcoming concerts, and describing the group as "a charitable organization, enabling young boys from all social backgrounds to experience the joy of music."

On March 5th, the following photo and article appeared on the Singapore Showbiz online site, advance notice for the April 5th and 6th concerts.

New Libera poster features Eoghan McCarthy, Jacob De Menezes-Wood, Jude Collins, Dylan Duffy and Kavana Crossley superimposed on an earlier concert photo. Boys in background are Henry Barrington, Jude Collins, James Mordaunt, Alex Leggett, Tiarnán Branson, Jonathan Barrington, Ralph Skan, Daniel Fontannaz, Liam Connery, Ben Philipp, Barney Lindsell, Matthew Jansen, and Carlos Rodrigues. (Poster by OriginalMedia)\

The new  Japan concert commemorative CDAngel Voices 2012appeared in that country in mid-March, featuring songs that have been Japanese favorites at concerts over the years. All of them are taken from seven years' worth of previous CDs, going back as far as Free, originally released in 2004, and all of these versions are available for viewing/listening elsewhere on this Timeline.

1. Jubilate Deo - solo  by Jakob de Menezes-Wood (The Christmas Album, 2011)

2. Libera - solo by Liam Connery (Angel Voices: Libera in Concert, 2007)

3. Song of Life - solo by Ralph Skan (Miracle of Life [Japanese release] 2010)

4. Sanctissima - solo by Ben Philipp (Peace, 2010)

5. Sanctus - solos by Tom Cully, Ed Day, and Sam Leggett (Angel Voices: Libera in Concert, 2007) 

6. I Vow to Thee My Country -  solos by Ed Day and Josh Madine (Angel 
Voices: Libera in Concert, 2007)

7. Eternal Light - solo by Stefan Leadbeater, second voiceby Ralph Skan (Peace Deluxe, 2010)

8. Salva Me - solo  by Joe Snelling (Angel Voices: Libera in Concert, 2007)

9. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep - solo by Tom Cully (Angel Voices: Libera in Concert, 2007)

10. Exultate - solo by Ben Philipp (Peace, 2010)

11. Orinoco Flow - (New Dawn, 2008)

12. Gloria - (New Dawn, 2008)

13. The Fountain - solo by Ralph Skan (Peace, 2010)

14. Stay with Me - solo by Ed Day (Angel Voices: Libera in Concert, 2007)

15. Ave Verum - (Free, 2004)
This marvelous piece, not seen elsewhere in the Timeline, was written by Robert Prizeman and Ian Tilley, and has been a concert staple on and off for years. One of its highlights in recent times has been the dramatic finale, with the boys lining up in V-shape from tallest to smallest, literally providing a living growth chart as they gain inches and years and move up the line.  (Ave Verum/music by Robert Prizeman/words by Robert Prizeman and Ian Tilley/from South Korean TV program Classic Oddysey/2005/includes interview section at end)

16. Far Away - solo by Tom Cully (Angel Voices, Libera in Concert,2007)

17. How Shall I Sing That Majesty - solo by Stefan Leadbeater (Peace, 2010)

The CD also contained a message from Robert Prizeman to the people of Japan, as well as charming handwritten messages from eighteen boys and three staff members (Steven Geraghty, Sam Coates, and Ben Crawley, all veterans of numerous Japan tours). These were posted on the Japanese "Dear Libera" site. (Messages from Libera boys to Japan, pre-tour/March, 2012)

Around the same time, a post-tour concert was announced, to take place in the venerable Arundel Cathedral on May 5th, 2012, Libera's first concert appearance there in two years.

Odd Bits

On March 22nd, the Angel Voices 2012 CD entered the Japanese charts at 5th place.

Several days later, Adrian Jeens, of the libera-fans-uk site, announced his self-publication of a book on Libera called The Journey: From Choir Boys to Little Stars through a company called Authorhouse. It was announced that the book would not be made available on any official Libera site, nor was the name "Libera" allowed to be used on the front cover.

Various sources posted that Orlando Wolchovsky had left Libera, probably due to the many commitments of his  formal music studies. The continued non-appearance of soloist James Mordaunt indicated that he had left the group without any formal announcement. It was later learned that he had left because of conflicts with schooling.

James Mordaunt

Fan Flora Yeo posted an informative pre-tour email interview with Kavana Crossley and Barney Lindsell...  (email interview/pre-Japan-Singapore tour, 2012/ Kavana Crossley and Barney Lindsell interviewed by Flora Yeo)

On April 1st, Libera was featured on a Songs of Praise Palm Sunday program, with Stefan Leadbeater and Eoghan McCarthy as soloists.

L to R: Isaac London, soloist Stefan Leadbeater, Jonathan Barrington, soloist Eoghan McCarthy in Songs of Praise presentation of "How Shall I Sing That Majesty." (How Shall I Sing that Majesty/ Solo/second part by Stefan Leadbeater and Eoghan McCarthy/Songs of Praise, 4/1/12) 

APRIL, 2012

On April 4th, 24 boys, including four newbies (starred) arrived in Singapore with their
 entourage. Boys on this tour were:

Stefan Leadbeater
Ralph Skan
Kavana Crossley
Carlos Rodriguez Villegas
Luke Collins
Henry Barrington
Matthew Rangel-Alvarez
Matthew Jansen
Cassius O’Connell-White
Barney Lindsell
Dylan Duffy
Jude Collins
Eoghan McCarthy
Matthew Madine
Thomas Delgado-Little
Ben Fairman
Michael Ustynovych-Repa
Isaac London
Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
Jakub Neidermaier-Reed
*Oscar McFall
*Michael Menezes
*Lucas Wood
*Adrian Sheard

(All photos of new boys below are by Lauren from the Mini-Angels site)

Lucas Wood

Adrian Sheard (photo removed by request)
Michael Menezes
Oscar McFall

Lineup with Isaac London, newbie Michael Menezes, Dylan Duffy, newbie Lucas Wood, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed,
 Barney Lindsell and others.

Adrian Sheard was a total newcomer to fans (Oscar McFall, Michael Menezes, and Lucas
 Wood had appeared in a recent concert at St. George’s Cathedral, London). During this tour, it was confirmed that young Michael M. is in fact a sixth member of the tuneful 
Madine-Leggett-De Menezes-Wood clan of cousins that has so enlivened Libera since 2004.
 Lucas Wood, however, is unrelated.

It was especially noted by fans that all singers on this tour were 14 years old or younger, a 
radical departure from recent group composition and tour appearances. In a lively TV 
interview the day after their arrival, interviewees explained that the older boys “were busy
 with school exams” at this time.      (Libera on amLive–TV in Singapore/Kavana Crossley/Cassius O’ Connell-White/Ralph Skan/Isaac London/12/5/12)

This was, however,  possibly a purposeful attempt to allow some of the (still wildly popular) 
15-17-year-old boys, many first discovered by fans in the 2007 Leiden PBS-concert DVD, to depart gracefully, heralding a return to the age-14-and-under tradition of previous eras. A
 radio interview on the same day provided other insights into the group dynamic.

The spring 2012 lineup, with Ralph Skan the tallest at age 13 (Libera interview on 92.4FM Singapore/4/5/12/ Kavana Crossley/Barney Lindsell/Jude Collins)

The Singapore concerts, held in the impressive Singapore Esplanade, were a mixture of old 
and new favorites (* recent and new additions to the program are starred *) This rundown of
selections and solos includes interspersed comments (in parentheses) by Lauren, of the 
Chicago-based “Mini-Angels” site, who flew to Singapore for the occasion.

Singapore Concert 4/6/2012
Full House at the Singapore Esplanade for Libera Concer
The program began with the voice of Cassius ' O’ Connell-White, requesting people to turn off all cell phones and stating that that there would be no filming or photography allowed during the concert.

1. Jubilate – solos by Cassius O’ Connell-White and Barney Lindsell; introductory backing group: Eoghan McCarthy, Ralph Skan, Kavana Crossley, Matthew Jansen, Matthew Rangel-Alvarez and Dylan Duffy. Segué into:

2. Libera – Solos by Eoghan McCarthy and Luke Collins. 

Luke Collins
 (I [Lauren] realized when they lined up how small everyone looks. The big boys are kind of medium-sized now, and the little ones are really little. It's much more like a treble boys' choir again.)

Speech by Cassius O’ Connell-White & Barney Lindsell, welcoming the audience and introducing Libera.

3. Song of Life —Trio parts by Ralph Skan, Dylan Duffy, and Matthew Jansen,

Dylan Duffy
4. O Sanctissima — Solo by Ralph Skan.

5.  Sanctus – Final “Sanctus” solo by Luke Collins.

Speech by Cassius O’ Connell-White & Michael Ustynovych-Repa introducing Moose, their mascot. Moose attends all rehearsals and has been in the choir longer than anyone else onstage.

6.  *I Vow To Thee My Country — Solo by Matthew Jansen, backup by Dylan Duffy and
 Tom Delgado-Little.
New soloist Matthew Jansen

7.  Eternal Light —Solo by Stefan Leadbeater with Ralph Skan.

8.  Salva —Solo descant by Matthew Rangel-Alvarez.

(There was a large screen behind the boys and during this song it showed the video of boys in robes walking around.)

Speech by Jude Collins introducing the instrumentalists: Simon Roth on percussion;

 Steven Geraghty on recorder, clarinet and keyboard; the string quartet from the
 NTU String Orchestra; and Robert Prizeman on piano and keyboard.

 Luke Collins, Adrian Sheard, Kavana Crossley, Eoghan McCarthy and Carlos Rodriguez Villegas in Singapore,
 with the string quartet composed of members of the NTU (Nanyang Technical University) String Orchestra.
 L to R: Peh Xiang Hong (cello), Silvia Vong (viola), Ellensi Rey Chandra (2nd violin), Sun Ke (1st violin)

9. *Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep — Solo/second part by Ralph Skan with Stefan 

10. Exultate — Solo by Luke Collins


11. *Orinoco Flow

(The choreography was so cool! The boys would turn to face opposite sides like soldiers in
 a parade, quick and sharp. Then at other parts they'd flow and glide to the center and the 
back row would come forward much like on the "When Will I Be Famous" [actually "Last 
Choir Standing"—Ed.] version.)

12. Gloria – High harmony by Matthew Rangel-Alvarez

Speech by Cassius O’ Connell-White and Barney Lindsell about their white robes, the 
difficulties of keeping them clean, and dealing with their large hoods. Much comic byplay.

13. The Fountain - Solo by Ralph Skan

New soloist Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
14. *Dies Irae – Solo by Ciaran (pronounced “KEE-a-run” Bradbury-Hickey, with backing by Matthew Rangel-Alvarez 

(“Dies Irae”was originally sung 13 years ago by Steven Geraghty on the Libera album. (Dies Irae/1999 from Libera CD/adapted from traditional
 plainsong by Ian Tilley/soloist: Steven Geraghty)

A grown-up Steven Geraghty (At left) leads a dress rehearsal.

15.*Grateful Heart — Solo by Stefan Leadbeater. 

(Editor's Note: This version of "Grateful Heart" song  appeared in 1998, sung as a solo by 
Liam O' Kane.

(Grateful Heart/solo by Liam O’ Kane/Vision TV/1998) 

16. Stay With Me — Solo by Cassius O’ Connell White with Dylan Duffy & Barney Lindsell

Speech by Ben Fairman (photo below) explaining his “Nano Ben” nickname and explaining
how the big boys help the little boys learn.

17. Ave Verum — Group part by Matthew Jansen, Henry Barrington, Barney Lindsell,
 Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey with Matthew Rangel-Alvarez on the high notes.

(Shout out to Kavana [Crossley], Carlos [Rodriguez Villegas] and whoever else is singing the
 low notes! This sounded REALLY good! Nice and strong! They did the "V" formation at the 
end, and Ralph [Skan] is the tallest! Stefan [Leadbeater] and Carlos were on either side of 
him. It's not as impressive (almost intimidating) as [6’4” Josh Madine] towering over you in 
the middle there, but it still looked good because the little ones are SO little.)

Little fair-haired Liberans at Singapore Meet-and-Greet: L to R: Isaac London, newbie Adrian Sheard, 
Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Ben Fairman, Tom Delgado-Little

18. *Far Away – Solo/second part by Isaac London and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

(Isaac gave us a stunning performance! This kid doesn't even need a mic. You can hear his
voice shining out in other songs, too. He has great stage presence, charisma really. And he's
only 9. Now who does that remind you of? Hope we get to hear more from him. He has a great future in front of him!)  (Editor's note: The reference here was probably to Michael Horncastle, who "owned" this song for years and displayed extraordinary charisma from the beginning of his Libera career in 2002 at age seven.)

19. Glory To Thee — Solo/second part by Eoghan McCarthy with Stefan Leadbeater

A rehearsal moment

(There used to be 7 sections of boys to sing the round part. Now there are 5, so they go
around about 1 and 1/2 times.)

Speech by Michael Ustynovych-Repa thanking everyone for coming

Michael U-R: Photo by Lauren

20. How Shall I Sing That Majesty? - Solos by Eoghan McCarthy  and Stefan Leadbeater.

Encore - Exultate Reprise

According to observers, all the boys seemed relaxed and smiled frequently. There were some false moves in the choreography by the newest boys, but the performances went smoothly. (Recent chorister) Jonathan Barrington was observed working on stage crew with early-2000s alumnus Simon Lewis.

Jonathan Barrington in background taking photos, Singapore, 2012; Cassius O'Connell-White is in the foreground.
The concert received a standing ovation. Another fan felt, however, that this was not the 
strongest Libera group to embark on a major tour. He cited the soloists as not quite being up to Libera standard, and the general sound as a bit thin,  between the evident approaching voice-change of Stefan Leadbeater and Ralph Skan and the relative inexperience of the younger soloists. (Exceptions mentioned were Eoghan McCarthy and Luke Collins.) 

The absence of the older low-voiced contingent, this fan felt, also contributed to the tentativeness of the performances, as did the presence of a number of youngsters who had never been on tour, and may have been overwhelmed by the vast Singapore Esplanade concert hall and unsure of how to pitch their voices.

Standing ovation in Singapore

Several fans posted videos taken at meet-and-greets (Optional): (Meet and Greet video by Lauren of Mini-Angels site/
 Singapore, 2012) (Singapore 2012 Meet-and Greet/video by Inna of DearMadine/ 

On April 10th, Libera's choice (see above) of Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D, on which their song
"Sanctus" is based, came in at number 15 on the Classical FM Hall of Fame's Top 300.

On Easter Sunday, Libera helped to celebrate a mass at St. Ignatius Church, Singapore,

joining its choir for several selections and singing "Gloria." A video of this "Gloria" appeared briefly on YouTube, but was quickly withdrawn.

Panorama of Bunkamura Hall in Tokyo by Patrick

The boys and entourage flew to Japan on April 11th for two concerts
 in Tokyo, and blogged enthusiastically about their experiences.
Boys meet koi in a Tokyo Park

Libera on Sukkiri

On April 12th, ten of the boys appeared on a NTV morning show called Sukkiri, where they sang an all-treble version of "Song of Life" (the rendition usually includes 13 more boys and tenor voices), composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu, with lyrics by Robert Prizeman This was the featured theme song of a 2011 TV show called Madonna Verde, a program concentrating on the theme of surrogate motherhood.

 The  Sukkiri show video is long and, except for the boys' contributions, almost entirely in 
Japanese, but gives a wonderful through-the-years- intro. Soloist Ralph Skan's voice was 
still sweetly treble at this point. The ice-skating footage is of Japan’s world figure-skating 
champion, Mao Asada. (Libera on Sukkiri Morning show/Song of Life/2012 )

Asada selected a hybrid version of Ben Crawley’s 2006 rendition of the classic “I Vow to 
Thee My Country” to skate to during the 2011-2012 competition season, following the 
devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011 in Japan. Libera has recorded several versions 
of this poignant and powerful song; the violin intro here is by Fiona Pears, from the 2007
 Leiden PBS concert recording.

 Mao Asado skates in 2011 to hybrid version of "I Vow to 
Thee My Country"/solo by Ben Crawley/violin intro by Fiona Pears/melody by Gustave Holst/words by Cecil Spring-Rice/arr. Robert Prizeman/from Free and Welcome to Libera’s World [Japan] CDs 2006)

(Optional) (I Vow to Thee My Country/Josh Madine Tribute/
solo by Michael Horncastle
(Optional)  (I vow to Thee My Country/Leiden PBS 

The boys' appearance on the Sukkiri Morning Show created a sensation and probably 
accounted for both the sold-out tickets and the subsequent jump onto the top of Japanese 
sales charts.

The two sold-out concerts in Tokyo were held in Bunkamura Hall. The program order was basically the same as in the Singapore appearances, but there were several changes on the second night, probably due to the fatigue of touring and its toll on young voices.

Stefan Leadbeater appeared at times to be struggling slightly with his solos, though not to
 the overall detriment of his performance. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey did not sing "Dies Irae" 
as a solo, as in earlier concerts, but was accompanied by five other boys. Leadbeater assisted Ralph Skan with the solo on "Exultate," and Eoghan McCarthy took most of the former’s solo work on "How Shall I Sing That Majesty."

Eoghan McCarthy
The Meet & Greets in Japan followed a different and more formal pattern from those in other 
countries. No photographs or videos were allowed while fans went through the line. The 24 
boys were divided up in groups of six at a table, and each fan were allowed to visit only two 
of the tables.

Six in a row, post-concert: Matthew Rangel-Alvarez, Henry Barrington, Matthew Jansen,
 Kuba Niedermaier-Reed, Isaac London, Stefan Leadbeater (Photo by Patrick)

On April 14th, it was announced that Libera CDs were then occupying the top four places 
on the Amazon/Japan sales charts: 1) Angel Voices 2012 (Japan commemorative edition); 
Eternal, The Best of Libera; a Japanese edition listed as Because You -  Prayer; and 
Miracle of Life, a 2010 Japanese release on PolyEast.

During the months of April and May, four about-to-be-alumni, Sam Leggett, Liam Connery,
Daniel Fontannaz, and Jakob de Menezes-Wood released collections of original 
performances and composition on Soundcloud. All show talent, and the orchestral 
compositions of Jakob Wood are remarkable for their maturity and beauty. Former Liberan 
James Threadgill (2008-2011) also recorded a "Techno tryout." Copy and paste to hear these.



During the summer and early fall, the group went on two mini-tours that presumably involved minimal travel and expense and gave the many new members a chance to adapt without the rigors of a tour in Asia or the far reaches of Europe. (This section still under reconstruction following a mysterious disappearance; the material is from the Libera's World Archives, a marvelous resource that mysteriously ended in 2013.)

August 1, 2012

Channel Islands Tour 2012 Archive

Poster boys on bottom strip: Cassius O' Connell-White, James Mordaunt, Matthew Jansen, Kavana Crossley, Henry Barrington, Matthew Rangel-Alvares.

: August 1-2, 2012 / Location: Jersey Opera House, Jersey, Jersey, UK
Date: August 7-8, 2012 / Location: 
St. James Hall, Guernsey, UK
Time: 7:30PM
Ticket Prices: £10 - £35

Member List:
Henry Barrington
Anthony Blake
Tiarnan Branson
Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
Jude Collins
Luke Collins
Kavana Crossley
Jakob de Menezes-Wood
Thomas Delgado-Little
Dylan Duffy
Benjamin Fairman
Daniel Fontannaz
Matthew Jansen
Isaac London
Joshua Madine
Matthew Madine
Eoghan McCarthy
Michael Menezes
Kuba Niedermaier-Reed
Cassius O'Connell-White
Matthew Rangel-Alvares
Adrian Sheard
Bertie Smart
Michael Ustynovych-Repa
Sam Wiggin
Lucas Wood

Song List:
- Nano-Ben and Cassius speech
Song of Life (solo: Isaac London)
Sanctissima (solo: Eoghan McCarthy)
Sanctus (Last Sanctus by Matthew Jansen)
- Cassius O' Connell-White and Michael Ustynovych-Repa speech
I Vow To Thee My Country (solo: Matthew Jansen)
Eternal Light (solo: Jude Collins and Thomas Delgado-Little)
Salva Me
- Jude Collins speech
Faithful Heart (solo: Josh Madine and Matthew Jansen)

Exultate (solo: Thomas Delgado-Little)

Attende Domine (A Gregorian chant. a cappella by Eoghan McCarthy)
Orinoco Flow
- Michael Ustynovych-Repa and CassiusO' Connell-White speech
The Fountain (solo: Matthew Jansen and Thomas Delgado-Little)
Dies Irae (solo: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey)
Grateful Heart (solo: Thomas Delgado-Little and Michael Ustynovych-Repa)
Stay With Me (solo:  Cassius O'Connell-White. Matthew RA on high notes)
- Josh Madine speech
Ave Verum
Far Away (solo: Isaac London)
Glory To Thee (solo: Eoghan McCarthy)
- Nano-Ben Fairman speech
How Shall I Sing That Majesty (solo: Eoghan McCarthy)
Encore: Exultate (short version)

Musical Director: Robert Prizeman
Keyboards: Robert Prizeman, Steven Geraghty, Joshua Madine, Ian Tilley
Clarinet & Recorder: Steven Geraghty
Percussion: Simon Roth
Lighting: Luke Avery
Concert Producer: Ben Crawley
Sound Mixing & Production: Sam Coates
Stage Management: Jonathan Barrington
Chaperons: Barbara Geraghty, Eleanor Lewis, Sandra Barrington
Management: Steven Philipp, Andrew Winter

 The boys also posted two lively blogs describing their activities (go to these sites for more photos).

Liblog: Jersey and Guernsey pt 1

“Far away”…well not really
We said our goodbyes, and boarded our plane to the island of Jersey. The flight was only short (unusually), and so we were checked in to our hotel in no time.
Despite being so close to home, not many of us had ever been to Jersey. We didn’t really know what to expect, although it was really welcoming. And it didn’t even require a currency change: hooray!
We had a few free days before we had to perform. After some rehearsals to make sure our voices were in check, we took a walk to the nearby beach, and got the general idea of what was around our area. We did a lot of walking, being the carbon-friendly people we are. The next day we watched Disney’s “The Lorax”, and spent most of it relaxing.

Boys (from R) are Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Lucas Wood, Isaac London Dylan Duffy, Ben Fairman, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed,  Matthew Jansen, Matthew Madine, Adrian Sheard, Luke Collins.

As well as relaxing though, we were mainly preparing for our first appearance in Jersey: to sing in the beautiful St. Thomas’s church.It was a very nice acoustic, echoing our sounds, and also making it fun to listen to our own voices. We sang the mass on Sunday morning and after the service we managed to snack on some refreshments laid out kindly by the church-folk. C’est supercool! (oh, and we’ve been practicing some nearby language). 
As well as that, we even did something totally unimaginable. We got our robes dirty handing out leaflets in a nearby shopping centre. It was very interesting really, having a little competition on who could give out the most leaflets. After we’d been run dry of all our leaflets, we headed back.

Cassius O' Connell-White (in glasses) and Matthew Madine charm passers-by.

A few swims later, as well as some free time, it was time to perform. We woke up, the lovely weather blinding us through the window, and made our way to the main venue in Jersey – the Opera House. Today was a concert day. We bypassed the sea and entered in the bright blue “stage door” - after spending some time looking for it – before rushing in to get ready.
The first night went well, with lots of boys doing new solos and harmony parts – so we were all raring to go for the next one the day after which also ran smoothly,

We decided the next day to take a trip to Jersey’s best aMaizin Adventure park!  We had fun with the mini golf, the various bikes and tractors we could ride on, even the huge “Big Drop” and “Jumping Pillow”. We then had a go at the amazing aMaizin Maze!
After that we tucked into lunch, then had a go at the “Water Warriors”. That was fun too, drenching people with hosed guns whilst you ducked for cover. A quick trip to the gift shop, and then it was time to go back home. Well, “back to our hotel anyway”.
We were now ending our first part of the tour. As well as being a tour though, it was still our holiday too: and so we began packing for our next hotel, which wasn’t a hotel, but actually a hostel packed with all kinds of fun.
A short drive (and I mean short) across Jersey passed, and we arrived. The sea in the distance, bedrooms of 8, the clear skies: we were sure this was going to be a great part of the tour. We hauled our suitcases up the stairs, unlocked the doors and lobbed our suitcases inside.. The food was nice too, and there was plenty of room in the nearby field for games.

On the first day, we began our free time in the games room. We played board games, cards, table tennis and whatnot. Then we went for a walk, again seeing around our area. It was very nice, being high on a hill, and interesting castle to our left and the lovely sea to our right. We were out of breath as we came back for dinner, and ended our first day with a movie night in, watching Disney’s Coraline.
The next day began with a wonderful continental breakfast, complete with boiled eggs and cereal. Then came a catch up on the Olympics afterwards, as we gathered round the TV in the games room. Various cheers for various countries, all sorts. Afterwards though, was the best aspect of the day by far: a trip to the Jersey-famous Durrell zoo.

We arrived there, and were privileged to listen to Lee Durrell, wife of Gerald Durrel (who of course founded the whole place) talk about the park and its main aim: ‘saving species from extinction’. We saw all sorts of animals, from Bears to Bats, Lemurs to Lizards, Chameleons to Chimpanzees, some animals we’d never even heard of! All in all it was an amazing day out. Then came the gift shop afterwards. Some of us even adopted some animals, giving money to a good cause, whilst others bought the most adorable looking cuddly toys, like bright purple snakes and orange frogs. We came back, and ended the day with another film: The Adventures of Tintin.
We decided to spend the last day with a long day at the beach. We went on another walk, hauling all sorts of beach toys and equipments down the road. The sand was crisp and soft, the tide was going out, and more importantly the Speedboat rides were open. That was great fun.

The rest of the day was spent mainly building sandcastles: or in our case, sand villages, complete with a church that had mass at 11:30 and a farm. Others began digging water systems with the water left at low tide. More importantly though, we dug holes and buried many people with just their heads above the sand. Ah, we didn’t want to leave the beach.
But unfortunately all good things come to an end, including our visit to Jersey. One movie night later (watching Madagascar 2) and we woke up packing. It was finally time to leave.
We left to the port and boarded our ferry to the next chapter of our journey: Guernsey. It’s time to go now though, so more on that next time.

Liblog: Jersey and Guernsey pt 2

Continued from Part 1…….
We packed up from the Jersey youth hostel, and being in dorms of 8 meant it took a bit longer than usual to pack because certain people spread their belongings all over the room. However, we were soon on our way to the port, via coach. It was lovely weather –sunny as usual – but a bit too hot.
The ferry ride was fairly short, and eating on very bumpy waves made it very interesting indeed. Seasickness aside however, we had made it to our final destination: Guernsey.
I must say, on first sight the hotel looked spiffing. I say ‘spiffing’ as it looked quite posh, with lovely trimmed hedges and gardens surrounding it. However we ignored the scenery and checked in to our hotel.

After checking in, we explored the field, playing a huge game of hide and seek and 40-40 home. Some of us hid so well we weren’t even found when we were told to come in! We had to spend the night outside, just to make sure we won the game. Not really.
We had our first dinner in the hotel, and ate some pretty amazing food. We were definitely looking forward to our stay here, especially since we were allowed to use three lounges and even a large chess set. The day ended with us watching some ‘Horrible histories’.

Matthew Madine and the wrecking ball.

The next day began with another lovely meal, this time at breakfast. We were all pretty excited as well, as today was going to be our first concert in Guernsey. Not many of us had been to Guernsey either, so we all found it pretty welcoming.
Before we had to leave for the concert, we had some free time. In the rooms we set up some gaming devices, and also some croquet outside. And yes, we do know how to play croquet properly!
We had a quick lunch, and then prepared for our show at St James – which is a concert hall converted from a church.  On the way, we handed out some leaflets. Another sound-check, as usual, and we were raring to go. St. James had a very nice acoustic - it was very nice to sing in, and I sounded fantastic, if I say so myself. A quick snack, and then we went on stage.

The show went well, and we slept tight.
The next day began with another nice breakfast, and then something we hadn’t done in a while: we were going bowling! I have to say, even though the island is fairly small, it was quite a trek to the bowling centre. However when we were there, it was fun. Various shouts were heard when strikes and spares we played. We asked for the barriers, so no gutter balls. It was all going well, until someone bowled to hard and knocked the barrier over…woops.
After bowling it was time to go back to St. James for our second concert. The usual routine occurred, with a sound-check before a quick snack and then our last concert this tour.


Our next day was all a big surprise. We hopped on our coach and took a short drive to our ‘mystery destination’. We definitely knew it was going to be fun when we arrived: we saw bouncy castles – three of them – each with different gladiator-style stuff. One had a wrecking ball in the middle, with the aim to knock off another person off the 4 different podiums. Another was a one-on-one battle with two ‘battling rams’. The final one, well, we were unsure of exactly what to do, but it involved a long beam with a sword and a shield. It was very hot weather, so we ran out of energy pretty quickly. 

We split into two groups. Whilst one group was enjoying the inflatable gladiator things, the other group was sent inside to do some archery! 
We ran through a quick safety demonstration, and then let all arrows break loose. It was surprisingly difficult. We even pinned down balloons, and try to pop them. It was great.
After the first activities, we entered the main hall: to begin a Libera 7-a-side football tournament! It was indoors, and we didn’t really bother with all the official rules.  Kavana’s team won, if you were interested.

After the football came lunch: a selection of sandwiches, fruit and crisps. Then we changed into our swimmers, because to end the day we were going to play all sorts of water-based activities. I’m not even going to mention the excitement.
It started with a game of disease: one person is a zombie and has to spread the disease throughout everyone. Its very difficult, especially as hiding in a bush for a long time gives you cramps. Cassius however managed to stay hidden, right until everyone began playing ‘splat’: a shooting style game around the circle, except this time with water guns and sponges. You need quick reactions for that, or you’re soaked. Then came water-hose limbo; dodge the water, or you’ll get drenched. It was all fun. But then of course came the all out water fight. 1 minute to choose your weapons, then sponges begin chucking, water guns begin shooting, and hoses, well, they spray everyone. It was a great way to end the day.

However, it was also a great way to end the tour. We got back for dinner, watched two episodes of the Simpsons and went quickly to bed. We woke up the next day, had some more free time, and then packed. We said our final goodbyes as we boarded our coach to port, went through the usual stages of boat boarding, and boarded our ferry home.
Well that’s it. Our Channel Islands tour is finally over. Thank you all for reading, and we hope to see you soon!

Northern Ireland Concerts Archive


Date: November 1, 2012 / Location: St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral, Armagh, Northern Ireland
Date: November 2, 2012 / Location: St. Peter's Cathedral, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Time: 7:30PM
Tickets: £15 (Concessions £10, Premium £25)

Henry Barrington
Anthony Blake
Tiarnan Branson
Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
Jude Collins
Luke Collins
Kavana Crossley
Thomas Delgado-Little
Dylan Duffy
Benjamin Fairman
Daniel Fontannaz
Matthew Jansen
Anthony Kerr-Munley*** 
Stefan Leadbeater
Isaac London
Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti***
Joshua Madine 
Matthew Madine
Eoghan McCarthy
Oscar McFall
Michael Menezes
Sammy Moriarty
Kuba Niedermaier-Reed
Cassius O'Connell-White
Matthew Rangel-Alvares
Carlos Rodriguez
Ralph Skan
Bertie Smart
Michael Ustynovych-Repa
Sam Wiggin
Lucas Wood

Song List:
Dies Irae (Solos: Matthew Rangel-Alvares and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey)
Gloria (High notes: Matthew Rangel-Alvares) - Ben Fairman and Cassius O'Connell-White speech
Eternal Light (Solos: Jude Collins and Thomas Delgado-Little)
Voca Me (Solo: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey / High notes: Thomas Delgado-Little)
Sanctus (Matthew Jansen on the last Sanctus) - Cassius O'Connell-White and Michael Ustynovych-Repa speech
I Vow To Thee My Country (Solos: Dylan Duffy, Matthew Jansen and Thomas Delgado-Little)
Salva Me (High notes: Matthew Rangel-Alvares) Be Still My Soul (Solos: Matthew Jansen and Thomas Delgado-Little)
- Jude Collins speech
How Shall I Sing (Solo: Eoghan McCarthy)

- Interval-

Mysterium (Solo: Jude Collins) Orinoco Flow - Cassius O'Connell-White and Michael Ustynovych-Repa speech
Far Away (Solo: Isaac London) The Fountain (Solos: Matthew Jansen and Thomas Delgado-Little)
Grateful Heart (Solos: Thomas Delgado-Little and Michael Ustynovych-Repa)
Ave Verum (Solos: Dylan Duffy, Matthew Jansen, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Henry Barrington / High notes: Matthew Rangel-Alvares) - Piano by Josh Madine
- Daniel Fontannaz speech
Sanctissima (Solo: Eoghan McCarthy / High notes: Thomas Delgado-Little
Stay With Me (Solo: Cassius O'Connell-White)
Glory to Thee (Solo: Eoghan McCarthy) - Ben Fairman speech
Exultate (Solo: Thomas Delgado-Little)
Encore: Libera (Solo: Eoghan McCarthy / High notes: Thomas Delgado-Little)

Musical Director - Robert Prizeman
Keyboards - Robert Prizeman, Steven Geraghty, Joshua Madine, Ian Tilley
Clarinet & Recorder - Steven Geraghty
Strings - Ireland String Quartet
Percussion - Simon Roth
Lighting - Luke Avery
Concert Producer - Ben Crawley
Sound Mixing & Production - Sam Coates
Stage Management - Jonathan Barrington
Chaperons - Barara Geraghty and Eleanor Lewis
Management - Steven Philipp and Andrew Winter (Libera blog about 2012 Northern Ireland tour)
Posing in Northern Ireland are (L to R) Eoghan McCarthy, Jude Collins, Matthew Jansen, Kuba Niedermaer-Reed, Lucas Wood,Sam Wiggin, Tom Delgado-Little and Ben Fairma.
On May 5th, Libera performed a concert at the lovely Arundel Cathedral. This is
becoming an annual event, and was attended by fans who traveled from Europe and Asia 
for this single performance. The following summary is based on reviews and correspondence
 from concert attendees (with thanks to Lucy, Maartendas, Johan, Yorkie, Christopher, Peter, Martin, and others).


Line around the corner for Arundel Concert


The musical listing was the same as that of the Japan and Singapore concerts, but with 
slightly different personnel. Three new mini-boys, Anthony Blake, Bertie Smart, and Sam 
Wiggin, joined the group for this performance, and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey was missing. 
Seven new non-performing mini-boys occupied front seats and were introduced en masse 
in the course of the program.

Newbie photos courtesy of Yuki, Yorkie, and Inna


This concert seemed (although, as it turned out, not entirely; see the Channel Islands 
Mini-tour) below) to set the seal on the departure of the 15-and-olders as onstage singers. 
Tiarnán Branson and Jonathan Barrington joined fellow alumni Steven Geraghty, Ben Crawley, Sam Coates, Simon Lewis, and Andy Winter on the staff, while Tom Cully was not present.


Ben Philipp and Daniel Fontannaz were there as audience members, as was Alfie Smart 
(2008-2010), who confided that newbie Bertie Smart was, as many had suspected, his 
younger brother. Daniel Fontannaz reportedly mentioned to a fan that he had not left the 
group, but was taking time out to study for his GSCEs (General Certificate of Secondary 
Education), thus opening the question as to whether some of the other older boys in this 
situation might reappear at some point, or whether an older group might be called in for 
pieces requiring lower voices. Unaccounted for were Josh Madine, Sam and Alex Leggett, 
Sammy Moriarty, Liam Connery, and Jakob Wood.

Daniel Fontannaz

It seemed apparent to onlookers that  both Stefan Leadbeater and Ralph Skan were balancing on the edge of voice change. Leadbeater was observed clearing his throat or coughing occasionally, though maintaining his singing well, and Skan, while still  holding his treble range and in good voice, had to drop an octave during a high phrase in “The Fountain.”  It was noted by several onlookers that Skan’s voice had taken on a new and charming maturity.
Ralph Skan

Stefan Leadbeater


The following performances made an especially good impression on concert attendees, indicating that the younger contingent of singers are up to carrying on the Liberatradition:

• Matthew Jansen’s (joined 2009) sweet-voiced solos in “Ave Verum” and “I Vow to Thee
 My Country.”

Matthew Jansen
• Luke Collins’ (2009) strong showing in the “Libera” solo line, and in the final line of “Sanctus.” 
• Shy descant specialist Matthew Rangel-Alvarez’ s (2009) first ever stand-alone solo in “Dies Irae.” This was occasioned by the absence of Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, and Rangel-Alvarez rose beautifully to the occasion.

Matthew Rangel-Alvarez
• Cassius O’ Connell-White (2009), Dylan Duffy (2010), and Barney Lindsell’s (2010) three-voice rendition of “Stay With Me” (sung first as a solo in 2004 by Joe Platt, in 2007 by Ed Day, and most recently by Daniel Fontannaz).
Dylan Duffy
NOTE: Although they all have the appearance of budding soloists, these boys, along with 
Eoghan McCarthy (2010) and Tom Delgado-Little (2011), are responsible for maintaining the 
depth of voice quality in small-group singing as well as choral work that has come to be 
expected of Libera.

• Eoghan McCarthy’s seeming ability to sing almost anything, and his strong solo work 
throughout. McCarthy opened the second half of the concert with a solo version of 
“Attende Domine”  from “Ave Verum,” with a segue into the group performance of “Orinoco 

• And a stellar performance by rookie-of-his-year (2011), nine-year-old Isaac London, who, 
supported by Eoghan McCarthy, Cassius O’ Connell-White, and Tom Delgado-Little, sang 
the demanding solo line of “Far Away,” first recorded by Libera legend Michael Horncastle 
in 2006 and subsequently sung by the equally legendary Tom Cully. In spite of a possible line stumble, London’s confident and clear-voiced presentation drew raves from all reviewers.


•The singers were accompanied by Robert Prizeman on piano and synthesizer, as well as 
“our own string quartet,”  percussionist Simon Roth, and Steven Geraghty on woodwinds.

• There was little information about between-songs speeches, although that of Ben Fairman 
was singled out for charm and humor.

• Programs were available at two prices; programs personally autographed by the boys as a 
fund-raiser cost twice as much, but were sold out.

• Unusually for an event in England, a few photographers and video-makers crowded the 
boys to the extent of discomfort.

• There was no meet-and-greet following the concert.


Lighting rehearsal at St. George's Cathedral (photo by Patrick)

On November 16th Libera presented a concert at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark to an overflowing and appreciative audience. Fans without reserved seats began lining up early in the morning to obtain good places in the audience.

(Photo of song list by Yorkie)

The song list was the same as for the Northern Ireland concerts. There were 34 boys singing onstage, as Robert Prizeman availed himself of the opportunity to give some of the littlest mini-boys some stage experience. In the list below, the three brand-newbies are listed in Boldface, and the names of the two boys who joined the group only on its last tour to Ireland are followed by asterisks. (It was not known at this time whether newbie Marc Alvares is related to veteran singer Matthew Rangel-Alvares, but was later revealed that they're cousins.) The three newest boys did not participate in every number. Relative newcomer Adrian Sheard, who participated in the Singapore/Japan and Channel Islands concerts, was absent for  both the Northern Ireland and the St George's appearances.

(Photo by George)

Marc Alvares, Henry Barrington, Anthony Blake, Tiarnan Branson, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Jude Collins, Luke Collins, Kavana Crossley, Thomas Delgado-Little, Dylan Duffy, Benjamin Fairman, Daniel Fontannaz, Matthew Jansen, Anthony Kerr-Munley*, Stefan Leadbeater , Isaac London, Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti*, Joshua Madine, Matthew Madine, Eoghan McCarthy, Oscar McFall, Michael Menezes, Alex Montoro, Sammy Moriarty, Kuba Niedermaier-Reed, Cassius O'Connell-White, Matthew Rangel-Alvarez, Carlos Rodriguez, Ralph Skan, Bertie Smart, Camden Stewart, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Sam Wiggin, Lucas Wood.

The current staff and musicians were identified on the program, with the exception of the string quartet, whose members seem to vary. The surprise for many was the appearance of former soloist Tom Cully as a keyboard accompanist, taking the place of Ian Tilley.
Musical Director - Robert Prizeman
Keyboards - Tom Cully, Steven Geraghty, Joshua 
Clarinet & Recorder - Steven Geraghty
Percussion - Simon Roth
Lighting - Luke Avery
Sound Mixing & Production - Sam Coates
Stage Management - Jonathan Barrington
Chaperones - Barbara Geraghty & Eleanor Lewis
Management - Steven Philipp & Andrew Winter Winter

Although the concert was in general considered a great success, various complaints found their way into reviews:

1. The division of the best seating into premium and VIP sections, leaving less affluent fans with inferior seats and sightlines. VIP ticketholders were also given a  room to wait in out of the biting cold, while ordinary concertgoers shivered outside, although those that arrived earliest were also allowed into the room.

2. The somewhat abrupt transition from the serious “Mysterium” into the bouncy “Orinoco Flow.” (Others found this interesting.)

Jude Collins, Michael Menezes and others waiting in back pews to process to the front for "Mysterium" 

3. The decision to have the solo in “Eternal Light,” (originally sung by the note-perfect Stefan Leadbeater, now singing tenor) taken by Jude Collins, who was apparently hampered by a cold, and, in several opinions, not up to the task. One reviewer mentioned that his amplified coughing was a disturbance at times throughout the concert, and questioned the wisdom of not letting him sit this one out. Others were touched by his bravery, and that he sang the song as well as he did

4. A Finnish fan  apparently had reservations about “Be Still My Soul,” set to a melody by Jean Sibelius that is revered by the Finns in its original form, with the original words in Finnish.

5. The projection screens placed at strategic parts of the cathedral were apparently beset with technical difficulties at times, and one fan mentioned that the sound seemed “dampened” in the area where he was sitting, to the rear of the soundboard.

6. There were very few Libera items for sale, only the new Song of Life compilation CD, last year's Christmas Album, and Libera car stickers. The CDs were being sold as "the last ones in stock," raising questions about EMI's failing to supply them.

7. There was no "meet-and-greet" at the end of the concert

Apart from these items, the sold-out concert was apparently a great success, and the hometown crowd received it with standing ovations and enthusiasm.  Constant fan Jimmy Riddle delivered this summation:

Standouts for me last night, by Jimmy Riddle:

1) Be Still My Soul - stunning a capella, flawless execution. High notes by Thomas Delgado-Little almost as perfect as Joe Platt from the CD version.

2) Voca Me - never expected it to sound as good as this live. A selection of boys singing the solo lines and Thomas [Delgado-Little] on high descant. A testing challenge on the vocals which they all carried off in trademark 'Libera' style. 

3) Far Away – Isaac [London] is getting really confident with this. He has such a nice singing voice. Very crisp and clear. Hopefully he will get more solos further down the Libera road. It's sometimes unfair to compare but as far as 'live' performances of 'Far Away'; he's equal to anything that's gone before.

4) Anything Eoghan [McCarthy] soloed in - class act

There were a few imperfections but this is to be expected when such youngsters are performing live and before large audiences. The vast majority of moments when they get it right far outweigh the one or two minor off pitch/mis-timed/out-of-sync passages. Also a few songs didn't quite leave the same impression which previous concerts have, but lets face it Libera are having to rebuild again following recent voice changes by prominent frontline members. It was only last year when Stefan [Leadbeater] and Ralph [Skan] were soloing the majority of the concerts

Tom Cully at the keyboard (at L)
It was also encouraging to see Tom [Cully] still actively involved with Libera concerts, playing keyboard although only visible when they took their positions a few minutes before the concert began. [Editor's note: Tom Cully was taking the place of Ian Tilley.]  Still it didn't stop some members of the 'fangirl' fraternity shouting out for him to wave, which he rather sheepishly acknowledged.

By the way, the no-recording rule appears to have contracted itself an exception amongst some fans, between the standing ovation and encore, with many media devices held aloft eagerly capturing what they can. In some ways you can understand why, after the no-return photo shoot was enforced at UK concerts, time is limited for fans to grab what they can. They must be careful not to share any live video, even if it's an encore.

 [Editor's note: The same persistant video-paparazzo who intruded into proceedings at the Arundel concert in May was back. Foiled by curtains on the dressing-room windows, he attempted to gain entry into the cathedral before being recognized and ejected. There seemed to be a rising level of fan frustration at the Libera organization's no-photos-anytime-anywhere-during-a-concert policy, their failure to identify newest members to the online fanbase, and the general lack of new "official" video and photo materials in 2012.]

(Photo by Bullehynka)

Taking a bow with Robert Prizeman. Note the little ones at the ends peeking to get the timing right. (Photo by George)

A source of pleasure for fans was Josh Madine's introductory playing of the Chopin prelude upon which "The Fountain" was based. Fans also noted that there was a high percentage of Libera parents in the audience, and were pleased to see alumnus Ben Philipp there (apparently holding court with a group of female admirers).

On November 20th, it was announced that Libera has been nominated for the Billboard Japan Music Awards 2012 in the Classic Artist of the Year section. The awards will be broadcast on December 15 at 16:00 on Terebihokkaido, TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, TV Osaka, Terebisetouchi and Kyushu Broadcasting TVQ.

Also at about this time, Trinity School announced that the seemingly indefatigable Stefan Leadbeater had successfully auditioned for a place as a tenor in the London Youth Vocal Ensemble. The Ensemble, which is directed by the Head ofVocals at English National Opera, Nicholas Chalmers, is for 14-25 year olds and Stefan will havethe opportunity to perform in concerts and functions in major venues throughout the UK. During the summer, Stefan also performed in the Garsington Opera Company's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, as one of the "Drei Knaben," a trio of spirit boys who periodically appear to guide and advise the opera's main characters.

Sam Leggett appears on the right of the screen above the concert stage singing backup to the Rolling Stones. He is in the choral group below right.
On December 1st, an unexpected video treat revealed recent Libera alumnus Sam Leggett (2004-2012) as part of the choral backup for an encore performance by the Rolling Stones of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in a Stones' 50th anniversary concert on November 29th at London's O2 Arena. Sam, a member of the Voce Chamber Choir, and the other young singers (the group on the left in the above photo came from the London Youth Choir) received T-shirts with the concert logo on the front and the legend on the back: "You can't always get to sing with the Stones—but I did!")

Sam Leggett is on the far right in the back row. (Sam Leggett singing in the Voce Chamber Choir as backup to the Rolling Stones/You Can’t Always Get What You Want/50th Anniversary Concert encore in London O2 Arena/11/29/12/ Solo by Michael Jagger)
On December 2nd, Libera officially announced  four concerts in Taiwan and at least one concert in Korea in April of 2013. The Taiwan concerts were scheduled for venues in the cities of Taipei (April 2nd and 3rd) , Yuanlin (Tentatively April 6th), Taichung (April 9th),and at least one more to be scheduled. (Itinerary was still under construction at this point.) Also on this tour, the group was to revisit South Korea for a concert in Seoul on April 13th, with more dates possibly to be announced.
Yuanlin Concert Hall in Taiwan

On December 4th, it was announced that the Song of Life compilation CD, formerly sold only in Japan, was available on A week later, two more Spring Tour concert dates were posted: Kaohsiung Dodung Arts Center in Taiwan (April 7th, 2013), and Sejong Arts Centre in Seoul, Korea (April 13th). 

As a very lovely start to the Libera holiday season,  a French Fan, Dj Koyotte, put together this charming video montage: (A Libera Merry Christmas Video Montage by Dj Koyotte/2012/ Song: Carol of the Bells)

On December 15, LiberaOfficial posted a lively blog (see above, under "Northern Ireland mini-tour." It concluded with a few notes on other activities.

On December 21stKavana Crossley, Michael Ustynovych-Repa, Cassius O’ Connell-White and  Jude Collins appeared in a boisterous half-hour radio interview. (Premier Christian Radio interview with Kavana Crossley, Michael Ustinovych-Repa, Cassius O’ Connell-White and  Jude Collins/(Click on “Valider et télécharger le fichier” box to hear)

On the 22nd of December, Libera posted its Taiwan promotional video, providing several new im images.
The long and the short of Libera: 6' 4" Josh Madine and Ralph Skan duet, with the smallest boys in the background (Taiwan Tour 2013 Promotional Video/ 12/22/12)
The next day, the boys' annual Christmas-greeting video appeared, a mixture of ad hoc and formal, with a new face or two. (LiberaChristmas Greeting/2012)

On Christmas Day the official Libera website posted the following:

"Exciting news - 'Carol of the Bells' from our Christmas Album is the official number one Classical Single in the UK iTunes Singles Chart."
(Optional) LIBERA 2012: A Work in Progress (A Very Long Editorial Digression)

2012 seems to have been a challenging year for Libera, and was certainly a somewhat frustrating one for online fans who could not attend concerts. There were no new music videos, few promotional or greeting videos, few TV or radio performances or interviews (mostly surrounding the Singapore/Japan tour), no new songs or CDs (two compilation CDs of earlier recordings were issued), and meet-&-greets only in Singapore and Japan. A number of  blogs by the boys constituted most of the actual contact from the group.

Most of the video material that appeared was peripheral, and ferreted out by fans from other online sources, as was much of the information about Libera and alumni activities. The music videos, except for the Director’s Cut of last year’s “Eternal Light” video, were primarily turned out by fans in the form of “mash-ups," videomontages, and tributes using older footage.

Photography, once allowed, and even encouraged, during final bows, became entirely forbidden (even to the singers’ parents) at concerts, and formal portrait photos with names beneath appeared in concert programs only in Singapore and Japan. As meet-&-greets were also curtailed, informal photos also became scarcer after the spring tour (see below).

There are probably several reasons behind all of these developments:

1. Changes in the group. During the first half of the year (or late in 2011), a number of former strong trebles (among them Carlos Rodrigues, Jakob Wood, and Kavana Crossley) apparently underwent voice changes, crowding the already-full tenor/baritone section. There was a weeding-out process with the Singapore-Japan, tour, as all the over-fourteens stayed behind, ostensibly to study for exams, re-creating Libera as a mostly treble group, with four new mini-boys added.

This was apparently not as successful a move as was envisioned; the lower voices and mini-boys were all fairly new to their parts, as were a number of the soloists (up-and-coming young soloists James Mordaunt and Freddie Ingles had both left the group earlier in the year for personal reasons). Strong treble Barney Lindsell had also left by this time, as had newbie Adrian Sheard, who appeared in the Singapore/Japan and Channel Islands tours. The remaining strong singers were Eoghan McCarthy (who sang relatively few solos), and occasional solo performances by Luke Collins, Stefan Leadbeater, and Ralph Skan, all clearly on the edge of voice-change. Solos that were taken over by duets or trios of singers seemed a bit watered-down to some fans, who mentioned that the entire production, with the exception of a number of high spots, was well sung and up to Libera standard, but in general more tentative than usual.

With the subsequent voice-change of Collins, Leadbeater and Skan, Libera was wisely kept to mini-tours and local concerts, adding five more new boys in the process, thus lowering the averages of age and concert experience considerably; several of the older boys, particularly Josh Madine, Daniel Fontannaz, and Tiarnán Branson (and occasionally Jakob Wood and Sammy Moriarty) re-appeared to steady the group.

Several of the other lower voices, including Sam and Alex Leggett, Liam Connery, Ben Philipp, and Jonathan Barrington (who joined the Libera staff), moved on to other pursuits. A few more mini-boys appeared in tryout mode during the group’s final concert of the year at St, George’s Cathedral concert in London, for a total of nine active newbies (and three more who sang parts of the program in London) in 2012.

2. Other changes were not so clear-cut, and may have been due to a number of factors not available to most Libera-watchers, such as lack of money, lack of record-company support (or the uncertain future of the ownership of EMI), no new CDs to promote, insufficient personnel, Robert Prizeman coming down with writers' block (not likely), etc.

The holiday season, for instance, which  in both 2010 and 2011 was a rich source of videos, radio and TV appearances/interviews, and new music (the Peace and Peace Deluxe CDs and accompanying DVDs in 2010, and The Christmas Album in 2011) was this year a relative desert, consisting of a single radio interview with four boys and the annual Christmas greeting video.

Admittedly, this was not the year to try out new songs, or to issue a CD of all-new performances, and there was no new material to promote on radio or TV. The period of adjustment, however, should have positioned Libera for an excellent 2013, with young soloists, new low voices, and new mini-boys gaining experience and poise as a result of the past year’s changes.

3. In 2012, the photography issue had become in itself problematic. with anecdotes and online evidence of photographers and videographers stalking the boys (primarily in England), following them too closely, attempting to film through dressing-room windows before and after concerts, sneaking into the back of concert venues and even shooting clandestinely through slightly opened doors at the back of St. Philip’s church during services.

As early as 2010, Libera General Manager Steve Philipp spoke about the situation:

 “We are very, very appreciative of our audience, and are well aware that none of this would be possible without the many fans around the world that support us.

However, people 
must understand that any relationship [with the boys] must be at arm's length. There are people that have let their fanship become an obsession. Quite honestly, we don't know how to deal with that. There have been incidents at our church….You must understand that nothing we do in Libera goes ahead of the health and safety of the boys. That is of prime importance no matter what.”

 This year it apparently became more than ever necessary to protect the boys’ privacy, especially in offstage situations.

Onstage photography was another matter.  While it made sense to request that no photos be taken during concerts, it was hard to see what harm would be done by allowing photography during final bows onstage, as was done for many years. It was noted, however, that even after the caveat was officially in place, many audience members continued to openly take photographs of final bows, and no one in the Libera organization attempted to admonish or prevent them.

Also slightly mystifying was a seeming reluctance to provide program photos for domestic concerts. As an example, two new boys joined the group for the Northern Ireland concerts. Although their names were known (mentioned in programs and in the boys’ blog), and there were several photos taken by audience members that included both, online fans were, weeks later, still trying to find out which was which.

As Henry, a Libera fan from Rhode Island, wrote in December, 2012:
A great part of Libera’s popularity, and the devotion of its wide base of online (and CD-buying) fans, depends on the fact that the boys are individuals to them, and not just nameless members of a group. We watch them grow, applaud their successes and failures, and feel proud when others appreciate them. Hiding their names, eliminating meet and greets, and forbidding onstage post-concert photography just serves to distance fans from their happy appreciation of Libera as a group made up of fascinating individuals.
If someone (God forbid) has unwholesome or meretricious intentions toward a group member or members, it’s hard to believe that being vague about the boys’ names and restricting onstage or meet and greet photo opportunities is going to deter him. The greatest majority of Libera fans are content just to know the boys by their names and public personae. Some like to know birthdays, in order to post greetings, or harmless information, such as when a boy joined or left the group.
Hopefully Libera will find a balance between keeping the boys safe and allowing us to know and appreciate them as individuals.—Henry

For Part Six (January-May 2013) please go to: