Sunday, March 29, 2015

LIBERA HISTORICAL TIMELINE: Part 8-A (April to Present, 2015)

Rehearsal: Assistant Musical Director Steven Geraghty is on the left;  Robert Prizeman conducts.
Last  Revised/Updated Thursday July 30th, 2015

If you are new to Libera and to this Timeline, you might want to check out these other sections:

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

For Part Two (2008-2009):

For Part Three (2010):

For Part Four (2011):

For Part Five (2012):
For Part Six (January-May 2013)
For Part 6A (May-December 2013)

 For Part Seven (January-July 2014)

For Part 7A (August-November 2014)

For Part 7B (December 2014)

For Part 8 (January-March 2015)
For Part 8B (August-Present, 2015)

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

(Rehearsals and Prep)
(Concerts: Boston, San Antonio, Chicago, Atlanta)
(Concert Reviews and Comments)
(Upcoming Tours)
(Video Shoot in Ireland)
XXVIII: Guildford Cathedral Concert
("America the Beautiful" Video)
(Korean Concerts Announced)
(Korean Concerts Postponed)
(Various Notes and Appearances)
(Summer UK Concerts Announced)
(Japan Showcase Premiere Announced)
XXIX: Exeter and Christchurch Concerts
 (Concert Reviews)

Well, dear readers, Part Eight of the Timeline was beginning to show signs of instability, so here we are. This blogflutter was caused by an unusual amount of public Libera activity in the first few months of the year (in former years this has been rather an empty zone). I also made the decision not to stint on photos to save space, realizing that, with the boys tweeting them left and right, they were going to play an even greater role in future coverage.

I also apologize for any strangeness in spacing, typeface sizes, etc. I am a writer, not a techie, and importing text creates some aberrations; I do my best to keep things uniform, but am not always successful. It's all readable.

The instability factor arose on March 27th, so coverage here will begin as of that date, when the boys tweeted this charming rehearsal photo and message: 


On March 28th, the group flew to Boston for rehearsals and de-jet-lagging for their April 1st concert appearance.The boys arrived safely, and sent a photo from the airport as they waited for luggage. There were too many yet-to-be-identified "newbies" present for individual IDs. 

Between rehearsals, members of the group went sightseeing, stretched their legs on a playground, and commented that "there was more snow in Boston than in Moscow."

The boys tickle a Founding Father.
On March 30th, Libera Co-Manager John Rexroad announced a one-time-only fund-raising party to be held in San Antonio, Texas during the boys' visit there for their April 4th concert.

In another stroke of fundraising creativity, Libera of the US is auctioning a one of a kind Libera Guitar! It is signed by all the boys that performed at the Washington DC concert last august that was captured in the latest DVD.—Craig 

 Isaac London, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Alex Gula discover the Libera in America CD for sale at The Barnes & Noble bookstore in Boston.

April 1st: Concert Time. Robes flying, the boys enter the Wilbur Theater for their performance. (Photo by Patrick)


Lauren, from the Chicago Mini-Angels site joined with Patrick Fandelok from the France-based Libera Passion site for a first look at the concert.

There are 25 boys on this tour, and 6 of them are newbies - Benedict, Adam, James, Taichi, Mark, and Joseph!!! Welcome to America, boys! 

Next to their names I wrote out what they say on the concert program underneath their pictures. Their comments are so cute and sweet and funny and really show each boy's personality. I see a theme of fun, food, warm weather, excitement at their first time away from family, and missing pets. The 26th member pictured has been in the choir the longest! (Program photos and notes by Patrick; * = newbies)

1.   Marc Alvares - Really looking forward to the roller coasters that I hope we'll go on!
2.   Shay Balsekar - I'm happy to see the American sunshine
3.   Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey - Looking forward to the tasty pretzels
4.   Merlin Brouwer - I'm going to enjoy singing in the wonderful places
5.   Benedict Bywater* - Excited for my first trip away
6.   Gabriel Collins - Thinking of my cat Crackers
7.   Thomas Delgado-Little - I'm really going to enjoy the singing and the free time with my friends

 8.   Alex Gula - I'm going to enjoy performing again in America
9.   Adam Izghouti* - I'm interested in the experience of two weeks away from home
10. Matthew Jansen - I will like doing new harmony parts since my voice is lower
11. Timothy Lee - I am happy to be in America again
12. Isaac London - I can't wait to perform in front of the friendly audiences
13. Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti - I love doing the concerts and activities with my friends
14. Matthew Madine - Thinking of my family when I perform
15. James Menezes* - I'm excited to see what America is like for my first tour
16. Michael Menezes - I'm looking forward to playing some basketball with some Americans!


17. Alex Montoro - I can't wait to see all the different places
18. Cassius O'Connell-White - There's nothing like a good American BUFFET!
19. Taichi Shinokubo* - I'm so excited to go to America away from my family, who I'll miss
20. Camden Stewart - Can't wait to play in the playgrounds that are better than at home
21. Rocco Tesei - America will be very much fun!
22. Mark Ustynovych-Repa* - Thinking of my dog Pickles when I perform
23. Joseph Walshe* - Really going to miss my cat and dog but happy to try my first time away
24. Sam Wiggin - I wish my family could be here with us
25. Lucas Wood - I'm getting ready for the water parks - I hope!
26. Moose - I'll be watching


 Musical Director - Robert Prizeman
Assistant Musical Directors - Sam Coates & Steven Geraghty
Flute/Whistle - Candice Hamel
Percussion - Jonathan Ormston
Keyboard - Joshua Madine & Steven Geraghty
Sound Mixing & Production - Sam Coates
Lighting - Luke Avery
Stage Management - Jonathan Barrington & Simon Lewis 
Stage Direction - Steven Geraghty
Tour Coordination & Chaperone - Barbara Geraghty & Eleanor Lewis
Tour Coordination Assistant - Vanda Winakor
Tour Manager - John Rexroad
Libera Management - John Rexroad & Steven Philipp
Production Coordinator - Andrew Winter
Web Developer - Nicholas Centanni
US Press, Promotion, & Marketing - Mason Munoz
Libera's Booking Agent - Patriot Artists Agency
Photography - Brenda Ladd, Andrew Winter, Luke Avery  

Song List
1.  Joyful, Joyful - All
2.  Sanctus - long harmonies by Tom Delgado-Little and Merlin Brouwer, final "Sanctus" by Merlin
Speech – Cassius O’ Connell-White & Taichi Shinokubo Cassius said that Benedict Bywater is the youngest at eight years old, Matthew Jansen is the oldest at 14 years old. Taichi introduced himself as a new kid and that this is the first concert tour abroad for him, Benedict, Adam Izghouti, Mark Ustynovych-Repa, and Joe Walshe. 

Taichi ShinoKubo

3.  Amazing Grace - solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
4.  Voca Me - high notes by Alex Montoro, standing at the center back, last "Voca Me" sung by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
5.   The Prayer - solo by Isaac London while kneeling at the front of the stage
Speech – Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey & Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti about London and their robes they wear
6.   How Can I Keep From Singing - Six boys (Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Merlin Brouwer, Matthew Madine, Alex Montoro, Isaac London) sang first verse, then the whole choir joined in, then the 6 sang the ending.
7.   Lullaby - (not listed on program) solo by Camden Stewart at center stage with Sam & Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti singing harmony on middle verse, entire song sung by just the 3. Alessandro patted Camden on the back when the song was done to say "good job." Congratulations to Camden on an excellent first solo!
8.   Salva Me - high notes by Alex Montoro
9.   Morning Has Broken - solo by Tom Delgado-Little alone in the center
Speech - Gabriel and Alex Gula about learning their music, parts, stage positions
10. Danny Boy - (not listed on program) What a great surprise for Boston! A cappella solo by Isaac London while kneeling at front of stage, joined then by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti & Sam Wiggin, then by Alex Montoro, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey & Camden Stewart. Long applause for this one! I heard there were some tears in the audience. :*)
11. Exultate - solo by Tom Delgado-Little

12. Always With You - solo by Gabriel Collins. Congratulations to Gabriel on a great solo also!
13. Orinoco Flow - I'm very excited that this song is in the program!
14. How Great Thou Art - solo by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti. Great job!
15. Going Home - solo by Isaac London, high notes by Tom Delgado-Little
16. O For the Wings of a Dove - (not listed on program) solo by Tom Delgado-Little alone!
Speech – Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey introducing boys whose families are from other parts of the world. Each spoke in that other language - Alex Gula. (Polish), Sam Wiggin (French), Isaac London (Gaelic), Alex Montoro (Italian), Taichi Shinokubo (Japanese).
17. Song of Life - solo by Isaac London, high notes by Tom Delgado-Little
18. Wayfaring Stranger - solo by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
19. Wonderful World - solo by Isaac London, another perfect and touching performance
Speech – Taichi Shinokubo thanked the audience for coming and made a joke. The audience laughed.
20. How Shall I Sing That Majesty - solo by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
Encore - America the Beautiful - Four soloists: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Isaac London, Tom Delgado-Little, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
The absent boys from the previous concert were Kuba Niedermaier-Reed, Bertie Smart, Eoghan McCarthy, and Matthew Rangel-Alvares. Lucas Wood, although included in the program (above), was absent from the tour because of illness.

The song list below contains four new/old/revived songs from earlier Libera repertoire that may be unfamiliar to newcomers. Earlier videos of each are provided in the following song-by-song review—two from the Angel Voices: Libera in Concert PBS DVD filmed in Leiden, Holland in 2007, one "mashup" of 1997 and 2007 videos, and an unusually obscure video created with footage of a 2010 concert as a school project.

The song list and soloists on this tour (including the"surprises") remained the same for all four concerts.

Cassius O' Connell-White and Taichi Shinokubo speak between songs


By Patrick Fandelok (For the original French Review, go to:)

There are many new boys, and  if we had their birth dates I wouldn’t be surprised that this is a new record for the average youth of the group. Before the concert began, I wondered if such a number of new boys would impact the quality of the singing, but I was wrong to worry, the concert was absolutely sublime

The configuration of the room was tables and chairs for the front rows. Drinks were served during the concert to those who ordered them, but fortunately it was very quiet and not disturbing.
Robert Prizeman sat in the middle of the front row, center, in a high chair. That's twice he’s occupied this central position since Moscow. Was it due to the layout of the stage? He was sitting almost in a row with the members of the audience.

Robert Prizeman, Isaac London, and Cassius O' Connell-White in an outtake from the CD/DVD cover.
The musicians were lined up along the back of the stage, which is perfect for us in the very front, because the instruments were not going to be too strong. I did not count them but I would say about eight musicians, including Steven Geraghty and Josh Madine.

Special feature: the programs were not sold but offered in advance. A program was placed on each chair.

The lighting was fairly simple. Most of the songs were lit with white lights, with some songs as reflections of colors, and for a few of the more intense songs, blue lights. Luke Avery was the lighting designer.

1) Joyful Joyful
They boys entered on both sides and moved into two concentric circular arcs. No specific soloist, but Tom Delgado-Little sang the highest notes.

2) Sanctus
The boys stood in a large arc, lit in white, with the smallest singers on the sides, the largest in the center. Again no specific soloist but the long harmony sections were sung, one by Tom Delgado-Little as usual, and the other by Merlin Brouwer  (first surprise of the evening) This part was sung by Bertie Smart (not present) at the last concerts and by Dylan Duffy before him. It was also Merlin who sang only the last Sanncctuuuuus, in one word, not two as in previous concerts.

The applause appeared to me quite short with each song, not that the public did not like it; quite the contrary, but every audience is different and expresses itself differently and here it was quite short applause. The audience laughed at many of the jokes during the speeches

3) Speech by Cassius O’ Connell-White and Taichi Shinokubo. Cassius introduced the group: the youngest is"Ben" (Benedict) Bywater, eight years old, and the oldest Matthew Jansen, 14.

In April, 2010, Cassius O' Connell-White was the littlest singer on his first tour.
In April of 2015, Cassius was a big brother to little Taichi Shinokubo on his
 first tour.

(Personal comment: it is, however, Cassius who has had the longest onstage presence; his first concert tour was in Asia in April 2010. The first concert of Matthew J was in July 2010 in Dallas.)

Taichi introduced himself as a new kid, and said that tonight was the first concert tour abroad, for himself and Ben Bywater, Adam Izghouti, Mark Ustynovych-Repa,  and Jo (Joseph) Walshe.

Taichi seems to be a born speaker, extremely comfortable and relaxed while addressing hundreds of people, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Not at all uptight, he gave life to his text. It was not recited, and he seemed particularly pleased to be here to present the speech to the public

4) Amazing Grace: Solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey.
The singers were placed in two arcs of concentric circles, with Ciaran in the center of the inner circle. The first couplets were sung by everyone. Ciaran then walked slowly to the front of the stage and sang a solo verse at the end. During his solo all the others bowed their heads down and remained in darkness, leaving Ciaran alone in the light . Everyone sang the final chorus.

5) Voca Me Solo (descant) by Alex Montoro. Final solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey.
The boys stood onstage on stage looking in different directions. The lighting was intense dark blue, creating a mysterious atmosphere. Alex Montoro stood at bottom center and sang all the high descant notes. He gave a very good performance and is a worthy successor to Tom Delgado-Little in this descant.The last "Voca Me" was sung alone by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey.

Alex Montoro
6) Prayer: Solo by Isaac London.
They all knelt, hands clasped in prayer position.
Isaac sang the first verse, then the chorus rising stood up and sang and Isaac finished alone.

7) Speech by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, about London and the robes they wear.

8) How Can I Keep From Singing
A wide arc in back; in front a smaller arc composed of six boys, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti , Merlin Brouwer, Matthew Madine, Alex Montoro and Isaac London.This group sang the first verse, and then the whole choir, and then the group of six to finish.

9) Lullabye: First Soloist Camden Stewart, with Sam Wiggin and Alessandro  Mackinnon-Botti on either side.One of the many surprises of the evening, not least with this song, which was not printed in the program, and a great solo role entrusted to a relatively new youngster. The three were placed in the center, in front of the stage. Camden center, Sam left and Alessandro right.Not easy to follow Josh Madine’s version but Camden but made a very good performance He sang only the first and last verses, with Sam and Alessandro on the Harmonies, Sam low and Alessandro high.

Camden Stewart
10) Salva Me Solo ("Salva" descant) by Alex Montoro.
Alex was positioned alone at upstage center. The others were divided into four groups, two left and two right. (Salva Me “mashup” by Cayleb101/1997 video with solos by Adam Harris and Liam O’Kane/2007 Leiden PBS Video/Solo by Joe Snelling)

11) Morning has broken: Solo by Tom Delgado-Little.
Tom stood alone, front and center if I remember correctly. For the end everyone was placed in two rows facing the audience. 
12) Speech: Gabriel Collins and Alex Gula about having to learn everything, words, music, stage positions, etc. At the end of the speech Alex announced the last song of the first part (“Exsultate”), but before that he mentioned Isaac London. This was very intriguing because Isaac is in a very unusual position for that song. What's going to happen?

13) Danny Boy Solo by Isaac London
One of the many surprises. We were expecting it, more or less, as Boston has always had a large Irish immigrant population, plus, we saw it in the rehearsal clip that was posted a few days ago. The scene unfolded in a very special way. During the previous speech Isaac London made his way to stage front, not in the center but toward the right side, in kneeling position but sitting on his heels. All the others formed a wide arc. Isaac signaled Robert to start,, and then began his song, alone, a cappella.

Isaac London
During the first verse, Sam Wiggin and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti slowly advanced, coming to place standing behind Isaac, singing high and low harmonies to the chorus. On the following couplet, sung by Isaac, Alex Montoro, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Camden Stewart, in turn came forward and lined up behind Sam and Alessandro, always on the right side of the stage, and delicately accompanied the chorus. The audience sat there in disbelief. Isaac finished alone. Much applause. Cheers. One of the most striking songs certainly, both for singing and for staging.

Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
14) Exultate: Solo by Tom Delgado-Little.
The boys stayed in the wide arc of the previous song, with the six from the previous song back in line. Tom was in the center, at the front of the stage. White lights with green hues, as usual for this song. They didn’t move forward and backward as before, but remained in an arc, with at the end a rotational movement to face the audience.

15) Always With You: Solo by Gabriel Collins (another of many surprises) for the main verse, and Alex Montoro for the high notes.  To take over a solo last sung by Freddie Ingles is a big challenge. Gabriel came alone on stage for the resumption of the second part of the concert, in complete darkness, and stood at the center front. He started singing alone. The others came on the scene slowly and framed Gabriel by lines like a U, with the corners more square, a straight line in the back, and a well-aligned line on each side. A lot of movement on this song; the lines then formed into two arcs, always framing Gabriel, and finally in two parallel lines facing the audience, integrating Gabriel. (Always With You/2007 Leiden PBS concert/Solo by Tom Cully)

Gabriel Collins
 16) Orinoco Flow
The boys formed four groups that moved on stage along with the couplets, like boats sailing on water. There was no appointed soloist and no fifth core group. Lighting in red tones
Final grouping as usual, with two lines that faced the audience. (Orinoco Flow/The Brit School BDC Department/2010 Concert)

17) Speech by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, about the different countries that they had visited. Alessandro said in passing that some had joined the  tour group only the day of the concert at midnight because of school obligations; Ciaran presented Moose.

18) How Great Thou Art: Solo by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
A new solo on this song, but not quite a surprise. It was assumed in recent weeks that as Sam Wiggin's voice had changed, there would be a new soloist. Due to Alessandro’s vocal range, he seemed the logical one to take over, and did so effectively. Very nice performance by Alessandro; the song does not suffer at all from the change, but retains all of its depth on the a cappella introduction sung amid low notes. A real success; it remains one of the highlights of the concert.

Gabriel Collins, Joseph Walshe, Tom Delgado-Little, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Merlin Brouwer

18) Going Home: Solo by Isaac London; Tom Delgado-Little on the high notes.
Here too was an iconic song we had not seen performed for some time. The boys werein two arcs, with Isaac alone in. He sang in a very soft voice that went perfectly with the words, and was another very successful Isaac solo. The phrase "No more fear, no more pain" was not sung solo as done by Mini-Ben Philipp in the Leiden Video, but by a small group. (Going Home/2007 Leiden PBS concert/Solos by Josh Madine, Ben Philipp, Tom Cully)

19) O For the Wings of a Dove: Solo by Tom Delgado-Little
Another surprise, not listed in the program. Fantastic performance from Tom! Several of us in the room were lucky to have already been able to appreciate this song a few weeks ago in a non-Libera event. It was great that the song could be integrated into the concert. Tom sang the entire song on his own, without vocal support.

Tom Delgado-Little

20) Speech: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey spoke on the diverse backgrounds of the members of Libera: Alex Gula spoke in Polish, Sam Wiggin French, Isaac London Gaelic, Alex Montoro Italian, Taichi ShinoKubo Japanese. Funny detail: when Ciaran was indicating the boys’ country of origin, he hesitated on reaching Alex Montoro, and even had to try two or three times before indicating Italy, beginning even to say "Mex ... " Great laughter from the public on his hesitation It's true that it's was funny, almost as if it had been done on purpose.
The explanation is that Lucas Wood, whose mother is of Mexican origin, should have been in line. Lucas is present on the tour, but not onstage tonight. Hopefully he’ll soon return and will be at San Antonio in three days.

Second funny detail; in his speech in French, Sam said "small world" instead of "it's a wonderful world." He had made the same joke in Moscow.

21) Song Of Life: Solo by Isaac London; Tom Delgado-Little on the high notes.

22) Wayfaring Stranger: Solo by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
As with “How Great Thou Art,” Alessandro took over the solo from Sam Wiggin and again it was a total success. It was staged as on the Libera in America DVD, with Alessandro isolated at the back in the center, while the others formed two long straight lines. Alessandro then slowly advanced to the front after the first verse, and the near end of the two lines on both sides closed in and formed a large V with Alessandro at the center.

23) Wonderful World: Solo by Isaac London.
Again a very good performance by Isaac, who seems at the top of his form.
Adam Izghouti, Joseph Walshe, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Marc Alvares, Shay Balsekar, Isaac London, unknown, Alex Montoro 
25) Speech:  by Taichi Shinokubo, thanking the audience for coming to see them, and mentioning that it was also the end of his first concert! (Audience laughter)

24) How Shall I Sing That Majesty: Solo by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
Intense white lighting at the end, to support the words "Enlighten my heart with faith, inflame it with love’s fire," and tomark the conclusion of the concert.

Long applause and standing ovation, cheers erupting, iluminous smiles on the faces of the boys

Robert quickly launched the encore. Due to my position I could read on his score the title of the song before the first notes sounded

25) America the Beautiful:  Four soloists: Alessandro Mackinnon Botti, Tom Delgado-Little, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Isaac London.These four were placed on the front of the stage. Each sang a verse in turn, with Alessandro left, then Isaac right, and Tom and Ciaran in the center.

New standing Ovation. Robert quickly took the stage and acknowledged the boys and the musicians for applause.

The signing session came fairly quickly. The theater staff removed the chairs we occupied and replaced them with folding tables. Difficult to speak, to sign and take pictures at once and suddenly I hardly have any photos. I'll try to catch up in the next signing sessions

All together, an evening full of surprises! John Rexroad had indicated that changes will be made on the following concerts, and so each concert will be unique. No doubt this will happen with songs not listed in the program, which may vary from one concert to another. We'll know more on Saturday at the next concert, in San Antonio.

Anyway, we want more concerts like this! — Patrick



The program for the April 4th concert at Tobin Center in San Antonio, Texas, consisted of the same songs and surprises as the Boston concert (see above). A relatively new fan, who goes by "wpgoalie03" wrote a fine review dealing less with individual songs and more on the personal elements of the boys'  interactions, and the "high"of attending a Libera concert for the first time.

Re: USA spring tour 2015...
by wpgoalie03 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:24 am

Robert Prizeman at a final rehearsal (Photo by Luke Avery)
‪I attended my first Live Libera performance last night in San Antonio, and I cannot adequately express how great this experience was for me. It was absolutely phenomenal. Almost a year ago exactly, I heard Libera for the first time when searching for different versions of "Be Still My Soul", a message that I really needed to hear at an especially tumultuous time for me, as I had just graduated from college and was beginning my career. After the first time hearing Libera sing, I was hooked. I have grown in my fandom over this past year, watching all the YouTube videos I could find, purchasing albums, and keeping up with the choir and individual members on social media. All of this came to a head last night when I FINALLY got to see them live.

The sound setup and audience in the Tobin Center (Photo by Luke Avery)
‪None of the videos or recordings can do these talented young men justice. I found myself entranced by their voices, as each song drew me in deeper. One member that impressed me, especially, was Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti. I had not seen him do too many solos in the YouTube videos, but he performed several last night, and executed them perfectly. My favorite performance of the night was Danny Boy. It was an a cappella performance with Isaac London singing the solo, naturally. He came to the very edge of the stage DIRECTLY in front of me! I literally thought he was about to jump down off of the stage for a moment. Being so close to my favorite chorister, I was tempted to reach out and give him a fist bump, or a pat on the back, but I figured that would probably earn some unwanted attention by security guards.

Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Rocco Tesei, and Alex Montoro  at autograph session
(Photo by Patrick)

One of my favorite aspects of this whole performance was being able to see the boys' personalities come out on stage. There were several times that I caught the boys, Isaac London, Tom Delgado-little, and Sam Wiggin in particular, cracking up at one another as they attempted to withhold laughter at something, that I'm sure, was hilarious that took place backstage. At one point in Isaac's hilarious "lapse of professionalism" he looked at Robert and literally wiped the smile off of his face with a look of terror. The last song the boys performed was "America the Beautiful", and I found myself in a state of admiration and borderline hypnosis, as the show drew to an end. I was so disappointed when I was brought out of my trance, and realized it was over. It was like a drug  (I think. Never tried 'em), and I craved more.

Final bows (Photo by Patrick)

Luckily, the night was not completely over, as there was an autograph line. I actually felt a little nervous that I was about to meet some of my favorite musical artists. As the boys took their seats Tom Delgado-Little, who was at the back of the line, attempted to rush ahead of some of the other boys and take a seat by Cassius O’ Connell-White, but was wrangled in by one of the chaperones and redirected to his spot in the autograph line. He was briefly chastised by the chaperone, but he seemed to take it well as he gave a mischievous smirk after she walked away. The little incident was quite hilarious.

Cassius O' Connell-White,Taichi Shinokubo, Matthew Jansen at autograph session
(Photo by Patrick)
I felt so sorry for poor Joseph Walshe, as he must have forgotten to replace the lid on his permanent marker because had a large green mark on his face that he attempted to conceal as we passed by. I asked Mark Ustynovych-Repa how his brother Michael was and his response was, "He's good. He cares too much about his hair." Hilarious. I had the opportunity to talk to all of the boys, all of whom were polite, courteous, grateful, and engaging. It was obvious that they are truly grateful for their fans, and the awesome opportunity that they have.

Joseph Walshe (L), next to Adam Izghouti, hides his green spot.
 I left the Tobin last night in a state of euphoria, and I am still experiencing the residual effects of that feeling today. I had such a great time, and I cannot wait to see Libera again. My only hope is that the choir's popularity will grow, so that more people can witness how fantastic this group is. Tell all your friends and family about the "Angel Voices"! They are truly an inspiration.

Going back to April 3rd:

On the Texas Children's Choir FB page, Alex Rocca said "Amazing gesture from LIBERA by inviting the Texas Children's Choir to the "Libera Party - Texas Style" on Friday, the night before their concert at the Tobin Center.

As illustrated by the video, a grand time was had by all.

L to R: Marc Alvares, Rocco Tesei, Timothy Lee, back of Mark Ustynovych-Repa's head, James Menezes, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Ben Bywater, Matthew Madine, Isaac London, Alex Gula, Robert Prizeman. Prizeman's expression says: "Hmmmm. Those horns look oddly appropriate." (Video of Libera with Texas Childrens’ Choir in San Antonio at the “Libera Party, Texas-Style/April, 2015/1:23)


Re: USA spring tour 2015...
by henrylonghorn » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:40 pm

‪I've enjoyed reading the well-written accounts of the concerts, and I'm very happy to finally be able to post my own. Please forgive any mistakes that may follow.

‪The San Antonio concert was my very first Libera concert. Words cannot describe my excitement as the angels entered the stage. Slowly, twenty yards away stood those who have produced my daily soundtrack.

‪As they sang, I mouthed the words with them; they were all too familiar. I clapped as loudly as I could, though applause was never enough to convey my appreciation for such a breathtaking performance. Libera, please come back to Texas soon!

‪Overall impression:

‪Choristers: The fact that newbies made up a quarter of the choir made me nervous at first. My doubts cleared as I saw how confident and excited they were. The boys were well-rehearsed and ready to perform; nobody was lost between the songs. The younger choir composition made some songs (Sanctus, Song of Life, How Great Thou Art, Orinoco Flow, Exsultate, etc.) sound truly ethereal. However, many were suffering from a cold. My heart was bleeding seeing them trying to cover up coughs and runny noses.

‪Song selection: The songs were the same as the Boston concert. I appreciate the return of the very emotional “Going Home,” as well as the playful “Orinoco Flow” and “Exsultate.” I think Mr. Prizeman wanted to kill two birds with one stone: 1) promote older albums to new fans and 2) prove to old fans that today’s Libera is at least as good as the Libera that performed in front of many dignitaries around 2008.

‪Stage: The boys had to adapt to a much larger stage than the one they had in Boston. It was much easier to form full arcs. On the contrary, some boys still stood really close together when forming groups of six; they had difficulty moving their arms up and down without accidentally striking their friends. I really liked the setting for “Danny Boy.” Isaac London knelt on the right side facing Mr. Prizeman, and after the first verse, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Sam Wiggin slowly walked to Isaac’s side, accompanying him with high and low parts.

‪Lighting: The technician timed the lights very well. Unlike the D.C. concert, the lights were more often shone directly onto the boys than into mid-air. Dramatic moments were marked by strong white lights, which made the boys look very powerful and heavenly. I had not seen a better-executed lighting used in a musical setting.

‪Audience: People were generally very respectful though reserved (applause only) until the very end. I assumed many were new to Libera because much of the merchandise and CDs were sold at the end of the concert.

‪Impression by chorister:

Marc Alvares: He was very into the singing.

‪Shay Balsekar: He sang in a very composed manner.

‪Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey: I was more than impressed by his experience and expertise. He carried his solo parts pretty much perfectly. I love his soft and sweet voice and genuine yet confident delivery. At the signing he sat by Isaac London at the front of the line. They looked like brothers. I hope they would stay in Libera for a long time.

Merlin Brouwer: I was not very good at picking out and evaluating individual voices from the harmonies, but he particularly impressed me with his enthusiasm. From his confident smile throughout the concert, I would assume that he did his parts well. I can see him becoming a Libera soloist in a few years.

‪Ben Bywater: He performed well considering that he’s the youngest one. I was wrong to worry that he could have been confused by all the stage movements (the stage got very dark in between songs.) He was happy that I greeted him by name; he said that not many people know him yet. Well, keep up the good work, and you’ll be in the Libera Hall of Fame in no time!

‪Gabriel Collins: Unlike those who attended the Boston concert, I was expecting his solo in “Always with You.” He had great intonation. There are some room for improvement of course, but he will have plenty of time.

‪Tom Delgado-Little: His impeccable execution of “O for a Wings of a Dove” was a highlight of the concert. His clear and controlled voice captivated the entire hall; I was literally on the edge of my seat. I appreciate Mr. Prizeman for giving him a song all to himself. As we know, Tom is thirteen and might not be able to sing treble for much longer. The same compliments apply to his numerous solo parts and descants. Hearing him in person made me believe that he is one of the top Libera soloists of all time.

Alex Gula: Like many other young treble voices, I had a hard time pinpointing his own. Still, I love how spirited he was. In one of the songs, he smiled so wide that I thought God was right before him. I want to call him “The Smile of Libera” as he reminds me of how Josh Madine used to sing.

‪Adam Izghouti: He performed very confidently also.

‪Matt Jansen: I sat near the front so I could hardly see him for the most of the concert. The lower parts were respectfully done for songs like “America the Beautiful,” though of course not as pronounced as in the D.C. recording. He was really nice to talk to, and I hope he will stay for another few years.

‪Timothy Lee: He was very connected with the music. He’s been with the choir for some time, and I’d like to see him getting a more prominent role.

‪Isaac London: His performance this concert assured me that he deserves all of the recent publicity from Libera. His volume, intonation, articulation, and everything else amazed me, not to mention he did this all in kneeling position! The nervous hand movements from the D.C. recording were gone as well. He carried “Going Home” so well that I was moved to tears, unable to believe that this Libera classic can come back with full force. It was beautiful watching Isaac and Mr. Prizeman (figuratively) speak without words during “Danny Boy.” Isaac’s eyes were as if saying “I got this” as he precisely followed the baton to the last beat. Throughout all of his solos, I caught only one slightly-out-of-pitch note. Lastly, I must praise his down-to-earth-ness during the meet and greet!

‪Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti: He is a rising star. He’s got a smooth singing voice as well as the skills. He took over Sam's solos for “Wayfaring Stranger” and “How Great Thou Art” (perhaps not so long ago) and did them superbly. He harmonized quite well also. His coughing before a solo led me to think that he would have done even better without the cold.

‪Matthew Madine: His presence on stage seemed reassuring both to the young ones and to me. It was nice seeing the young ones cluster around him, one of the tallest guys there.

‪James Menezes: He was very well-prepared for this concert. What can go wrong when you already have so many relatives in Libera?

‪Michael Menezes: He played a great supporting role, but could probably take a solo or two in the near future.

‪Alex Montoro: I had overlooked him until now. He supplied many high notes in "Voca Me," and "Salva Me" (and maybe other songs) with satisfactory precision. It must have been a nerve-wracking task because these notes were unaccompanied and spontaneous. His handling showed great potential for future solo roles.

‪Cassius O’ Connell-White: Our good old extremely old Cassius was an impressive spokesperson of Libera. He was remembered for his well-phrased speeches that made the rather reserved audience laugh. I was of course delighted to meet him and have him sign on top of himself on the Christmas Album. He commented that he’s the only one remaining out of the five boys. Please, stay with Libera for as long as you can!

‪Taichi Shinokubo: He was confident and spirited, great qualities to look for in newbies. He seemed well-rehearsed also, for both the songs and the speeches.

‪Camden Stewart: He sang the solo to “Lullaby” well. The notes were right-on, and the execution was commendable. Still, I was surprised by how deep his part was compared to Josh’s. Did Mr. Prizeman move the melody down an octave?

‪Rocco Tesei: He was also afflicted by a cold, coughing multiple times in between songs. I was glad to see him overcome it as he sang.

‪Mark Ustynovych-Repa: He was obviously very happy to sing on stage. I hope he will someday be better than his brother Michael.

‪Joseph Walshe: He seemed to fit in Libera very well.

‪Sam Wiggin: I felt quite bad seeing this recently featured soloist placed in the back corner and stripped of his solos. As we have seen from the D.C. recording and the WWI videos, Sam is a very capable singer with a unique voice. I couldn’t tell if his voice broke when I met him. Maybe Mr. Prizeman just needed his expertise for the lower parts, as nobody over 14 years old was on this tour?

‪Lucas Wood: Where was he? I was looking forward to seeing him. He sang very well on the D.C. recording.

‪Josh Madine*: His calm composure made me believe that he was pleased with the younger generation’s performance of his solos, notably “Going Home” and “Lullabye.”

Study of Robert Prizeman in San Antonio (Photo by Justin Broussard)

After traveling to Chicago, the boys had some play time, which included the smashing of an Easter piñata.

Merlin Brouwer displays his haul of piñata candy

Program Cover
Sound check before concert

The boys, in their backwards jackets, check out the organist in front of the stage

During the concert

Fans line up for autographs

(Photo by Patrick)

Cassius O' Connell-White, Tom Delgado-Litte, Matthew Madine (Photo by Patrick)

Adam Izghouti, Alex Gula, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Taichi Shinokubo, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey; chaperone and vocal coach Eleanor Lewis is behind them.( Photo by Patrick)

Alex-Montoro, Timothy Lee, Michael Menezes, Cassius O' Connell-White (Photo by Patrick)

Taichi Shinokubo, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Ben Bywater, Isaac London (Photo by Patrick)

Marc Alvares, James Menezes, Merlin Brouwer (Photo by Patrick)

Gabriel Collins (Photo by Patrick)

Off to Atlanta: Mark Ustynovych-Repa and Cameron Stewart

On April 9th, this news item was posted on the Libera Dreams fan forum by Jimmy Riddle.  (Alessandro McKinnon-Botti’s solo on "Alice's Theme" by Danny Elfman at the Royal Albert Hall, Dec 12 2014) 

Just back from Atlanta concert….Song list and individual performances have and will be covered by those more knowledgeable than me I hope.

Stage setup was similar to what's been reported in previous cities except no one has mentioned that having Robert Prizeman on stage center is a bit of a sight-line problem for those sitting up front. Except for "Danny Boy," every time Isaac London stood for a solo all I saw from my particular seat was the back of Robert's head; every time! (Isaac is very good at hitting his mark.)

Speaking of Isaac, whatever happened between Chicago and Atlanta seemed to take all the joy out of him, in fact all the boys were kind of somber and tired; the standing ovation some of us gave Isaac after "Danny Boy" was the only time we were able to get a genuine smile on his face which was gratifying. At the signing table, he was last in line, and I was able to relate the singing Robert head story to him which made him laugh.

Speeches were well received; folks laughed at all the right spots, but again, just not much life to them - except of course for Taichi. Everything I and you have heard about this kid is true! (What was up with his robe?)

CD/DVD cover boys show their socks.
In my amateur assessment; there were no problems with anyone's singing performance. From start to finish it was THE REASON you make the effort to attend one of these concerts. While I personally am not pleased with performance-hall acoustics for LIBERA songs (I would prefer a stone and marble venue) the sound quality was very well managed, nothing harsh or overamplified from my 7th-row seat. Great job by the stage, technical crew and musicians.

I'm no good at matching boys and songs being too caught up in the overall atmosphere but I was impressed by Camden Stewart, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Isaac London. Yes there were others who did outstanding jobs but I just can't match every face on stage with a name. I will say that, unlike for many of you, "Voca Me" has never been one of my favorite LIBERA pieces - until that is, I experienced it live at this concert - WOW! Another number that brought a personal smile to me was "Orinoco flow" only because back in 2009 it was the very first LIBERA video I stumbled upon.

Unfortunately; my perception of an overall lack of fun being had by the boys on stage did detract from my overall enjoyment of the evening. I was not the only one who voiced this opinion.

On to the signing table: Not a long line at all. Way shorter than Atlanta 2010. Many left right after the concert. In a way this was a blessing, as there were two or three noticeable yawns on stage. My older brother and I were in line outside the roped area of the table where, as I mentioned, Isaac London ended up on the end. John Rexroad then placed a large money donation jar next to him with a few bills already in it. A lady next to us in line took a photo of Isaac and the jar and I asked her if she would like one that demonstrated how the jar should be used. 

She agreed and took a shot of me dropping a $20 dollar bill into the jar with Isaac smiling behind it. John saw us do this and half jokingly asked if she got a good photo, maybe we should do another one. After a quick glance between us, I pulled out another $20 and dropped it in for another photo - this time with a smiling Rexroad behind me. (And for the life of me I'll never know why I didn't look at the pics or get the lady's name. Maybe they will turn up somewhere.)

Most of the new, young, small boys were first in line and when I pointed out that they all looked taller on stage in their robes they all seemed very impressed. One replied it was a real achievement for him because he's "really little".

My brother asked Taichi what his favorite part of the trip had been and his honest, kid response was: "Getting to watch the Godzilla DVD in Texas."

The Concert
As I reached Isaac at the end of the table I could see his spirits were raised and couldn't resist asking one more time if he'd like to see how that donation jar worked. He obligingly answered "yes" and in went another twenty on top of many other donations. (When I got home, I looked in my wallet. There were plenty of ones, fives and tens yet every time I blindly pulled a bill out near that jar it was a twenty. Guess we know who really looks out for LIBERA'S welfare.)

Finally I met and thanked John Rexroad for all his efforts. He’s a very nice gentleman with a very positive attitude. While waiting in line I overheard talk of the proposed fall tour out West. All I can say is everyone who always begs LIBERA to perform near them needs to show up and bring friends.—Edward Hafner

Final bows

Speeches were well received; folks laughed at all the right spots, but again, just not much life to them - except of course for Taichi. Everything I and you have heard about this kid is true! (What was up with his robe?)

On to the signing table: Not a long line at all. Way shorter than Atlanta 2010. Many left right after the concert. In a way this was a blessing, as there were two or three noticeable yawns on stage. My older brother and I were in line outside the roped area of the table where, as I mentioned, Isaac London ended up on the end. John Rexroad then placed a large money donation jar next to him with a few bills already in it. A lady next to us in line took a photo of Isaac and the jar and I asked her if she would like one that demonstrated how the jar should be used.

She agreed and took a shot of me dropping a $20 dollar bill into the jar with Isaac smiling behind it. John saw us do this and half jokingly asked if she got a good photo, maybe we should do another one. After a quick glance between us, I pulled out another $20 and dropped it in for another photo - this time with a smiling Rexroad behind me. (And for the life of me I'll never know why I didn't look at the pics or get the lady's name. Maybe they will turn up somewhere.)
L to R: Matthew Madine, Michael Menezes, Alex Gula, Shay Balsekar, Camden Stewart, Sam Wiggin, Jo Walshe, Tom Delgado-Little (Photo by Patrick)

Most of the new, young, small boys were first in line and when I pointed out that they all looked taller on stage in their robes they all seemed very impressed. One replied it was a real achievement for him because he's "really little".

My brother asked Taichi what his favorite part of the trip had been and his honest, kid response was: "Getting to watch the Godzilla DVD in Texas."

As I reached Isaac at the end of the table I could see his spirits were raised and couldn't resist asking one more time if he'd like to see how that donation jar worked. He obligingly answered "yes" and in went another twenty on top of many other donations. (When I got home, I looked in my wallet. There were plenty of ones, fives and tens yet every time I blindly pulled a bill out near that jar it was a twenty. Guess we know who really looks out for LIBERA'S welfare.)

Finally I met and thanked John Rexroad for all his efforts. He’s a very nice gentleman with a very positive attitude. While waiting in line I overheard talk of the proposed fall tour out West. All I can say is everyone who always begs LIBERA to perform near them needs to show up and bring friends.—Edward Hafner
 I will be, for the first time, the producer of this concert.)


Robert Prizeman onstage with the boys during 2015 US tour
On April 27th, the ever-alert Jimmy Riddle posted this substantial podcast interview with Libera Director Robert Prizeman in Phoenix, Arizona, in which he reveals that the "America the Beautiful" video will be shot in Ireland, and that a "new song for Japan" is in the works.

"We're going making a video film for "America the Beautiful, "in fact! Look out for this, because we're going to Ireland to film a video version of "America the Beautiful." Because, of course, the boys are very mixed in their backgrounds, living in London, and amongst them are a lot of boys with Irish backgrounds--me included--and of course at the point when a lot of those families came to London, there were also millions of Irish people coming over here, to the States! So we sort of picked up on that story a bit, in this video version of America the Beautiful, so do look out for that."

in-depth interview with Robert Prizeman ‪#Libera ‪  RP interview starts at 36:40

Another interview, hosted by Atlanta, GA, radio personality Conn Jackson, is a little awkward and full of ham-handed questions, but elicits some new information about some of the boys' aspirations (may only be available for a limited time). (Libera interview in Atlanta, Georgia, April 2015/Host: Conn Jackson/Interviewees: Cassius O’ Connell-White; Isaac London; Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti; Tom Delgado-Little; Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey/17:16)


Boys rehearsing for Guildford concert: Timothy Lee,Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Camden Stewart, Matthew Madine, Cassius O' Connell-White, Shay Balsekar, and a temporarily one-handed Alex Montoro.

On May 2nd, 13 of the boys of Libera flew to Ireland to make their video of "America the beautiful."

Fliers nesting at the airport: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Camden Stewart, Alex Gula, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
Also on May 2nd, they tweeted a photo of three lads, once again costumed in ragged-urchin mode, on the docks in New Ross, Ireland.

Isaac London, newbie Tom Cooper, and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey (?)
Photos were made available at:

A scene from the new Libera video being shot at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Visitors' Centre in New Ross, Ireland

From John Rexroad at Libera of the US:

"The new DVD [sic] will be released Friday May 22nd, 6:00am U.S. Eastern time on both and

I know it is sort of like waiting for Santa to come to town. But no peeks. You’ll just have to wait. But let’s all get set to start the sharing. We are releasing Friday morning so all will have an opportunity to share it. Please send to 10 friends and ask them to send it to 10 more.

The boys are watching the counter and I told them my target is 100,000 views Memorial Day weekend. Now let’s not let them lads down."
(Link to post--see the comments)

Boys on the Boat: Gabriel Collins, Isaac London, Alex Gula, Ben Bywater, Marc Alvares, Sam Wiggin, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Tom Cooper (newbie), Camden Stewart, Lucas Wood, Adam Izghouti, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti.

A clutch of newbies: Oliver Mycka, Leo Barron (?) and Sam Collins in front, Tadgh Fitzgerald in the back, and Tom Cooper making rabbit ears in the middle.


From the Philippines news site,

LIBERA CONCERT, ALBUM – The world famous “boy choir” (as opposed to “boy band”) Libera is mounting a concert in the Philippines early next year. And that the boy choir’s new album, “Libera Sings America,” will be released here before the year ends.

Roberto De Ocampo (to right of flowers) with Libera lads in 2011

Since the article included mention of Philippine Veterans' Bank Chairman (and long-time supporter of Libera) Roberto F. De Ocampo, O.B.E., the news was considered to be genuine.  


(Photos and informational Tweets by Patrick)

Boys arriving for rehearsal
Cathedral interior

Thirty-one boys were listed in the program. New choristers included Leo Barron, Emanuele Borelli, Tadhg Fitzgerald, Oliver Mycka, and Finn Wood. According to Taichi Shinokobu in his speech, Tadhg, who had just turned eight, was the youngest onstage, but the youngest mini-boy was six years old. Cassius O' Connell-White pointed out that this youngest boy had just been born when he (Cassius) joined Libera. (For those wondering, "Tadgh" is the Gaelic equivalent of "Timothy," and is pronounced like the first part of "tiger,")

Taichi Shinokubo practices his speech in front of a fascinated collection of fellow singers.

Song List

In the first half of the concert, "Lullabye,"with Camden Stewart soloing, came as an extra before "Salva Me." "Danny Boy," with Isaac London, was inserted before "Exsultate." The six mini-boys were ranged on the sides of the stage to sing in five numbers: "Joyful, Joyful," "Sanctus," "Amazing Grace," "Exsultate," and "How Shall I Sing." The encore was "Wonderful World," and the soloists for all songs were the same as for the US tour. "Dreaming of Home" replaced "Going Home." According to Patrick, there was a "huge reaction" from the audience.

It was notable that two of the musicians, Joshua Madine and Raoul Neumann, were former Libera singers. Of the stage directors, technicians, managers and crew, nearly all were former Liberans, including (uncredited) recent alumnus Eoghan McCarthy and veteran Tiarnán Branson.

(Libera photo)

Boys onstage at Guildford
(Libera photo)
Smile! Alex Gula, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Cassius O' Connell-White, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Isaac London, Ben Bywater and Taichi Shinokubo (Libera photo)


Long-time Libera fan Johan contributed his observations on the Guildford Cathedral concert. As much of the program repeated the song order covered in reviews of the spring tour in the US, these remarks are primarily personal observations on changes and elements specific to Guildford, without individual mention of each song.

Libera Concert, Guildford 2015

• I did not really see the miniboys come onto the stage or leave, but from  time to time just noticed them on stage or off stage. "Miniboys" is maybe not the right description, as some were bigger than some of the regular Libera boys. When not participating in a song they sat to the side of the stage, which was high enough so everybody in the cathedral could see the singers well, but was not very deep, so that some of the movements had to be curtailed.

• There were several former Libera boys present, some visible (Josh Madine on the piano, Raoul Neumann with his horn and Sam Coates on the sound system), some less visible (Tiarnán Branson, Kavana Crossley, Simon Lewis, and Stephen Geraghty with various tasks).

• Before the concert began, there was the customary announcement requesting no photos and no telephones, this time in Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti's voice.

• Matthew Madine is clearly now the tallest of all.

 In this photo,Matthew Madine (second from left) is head and shoulders above Michael Menezes, Shay Balsekar, Lucas Wood, Tom Delgado-Little, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Adam Izghouti, Alex Gula and even Matthew Jansen. Simon Lewis is in black.

• For "Joyful, Joyful" all were on stage, including the miniboys. They started the song with the beautiful "Jubilate,  Adoramus."

• "Sanctus" was well done, but after having listened to CDs and DVD’s I had to get used again to the live sound, especially as I was sitting close to the front and could hear the boys both directly and via the speakers.  I could not see who did the "Sanctus at the end." As Bertie Smart was not there, it was probably Alex Montoro, as he did more parts from behind this evening. The miniboys joined in this song, as well as in "Amazing Grace," which followed.

• Cassius O'Connell-White, with his new adult voice, welcomed us, along with Taichi Shinokubo. They explained about the age differences, with Matthew Jansen being the oldest at 14 and Taichi at just nine not even being the youngest.

• The second speech in the concert was by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti, who explained about the robes, and that the group members were from South London. They mentioned the kind of things that they had to explain to foreign public on tours, but not here (although they just did).

• "Lullabye" was sung as the first "extra, with the solo parts done by Camden Stewart, Sam Wiggin and Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti. Camden did most of the song, as Josh Madine did on  the video, but as Camden has a very low voice,  it sounded quite different. Josh at the piano must still be bemused by the difference.

• For "Salva Me,"they stood in four groups, but because the stage was a bit narrow, the middle groups touched. The high "salvas" were sung as usual  by Alex Montoro from behind the group.

• The  third speech, this time by Alex Gula and Ben Bywater, was about what they had to learn, e.g. texts, harmonies and where to stand.

• Another song not on the program was "Danny Boy," which was sung a cappella. It was begun by Isaac London, who was then joined by Sam Wiggin and Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti—the three of them together sounded beautiful as a trio. Then they were joined by Alex Montoro, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Camden Stewart while the rest of the choir stood silent behind them.

• The miniboys joined the group for  "Exsultate," the last song before the interval. A well-known song and well done by Thomas Delgado-Little as usual.

• After the interval the concert continued with "Always With You."  Gabriel Collins did well with his solo backed by the choir, with Alex Montoro singing the high notes. There were, however, too many changes of place during the song which made it appear a bit chaotic. The same problem appeared with the next song, "Orinoco Flow." The choreography was obviously meant for a larger stage than was available here.

• Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey told about their many tours all over the world and that it sometimes is difficult to combine Libera activities with school holidays. Moose has no trouble with that.

• The miniboys were onstage again for "How Great Thou Art." Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti did a great job with the solo.

• "Dreaming of Home" is a song very well suited for Thomas Delgado-Little's voice, and he did the solo here, as well as the high notes. He then sang "For the Wings of a Dove" completely as a solo with the choir kneeling behind him.

Recent alumni Kavana Crossley and Eoghan McCarthy shepherd the boys during a break.

• Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey then explained that Libera boys come from many different backgrounds, and some even speak other languages. As on the DVD, several boys announced in their family language where they were from and that it was a beautiful or wonderful world: Alex Gula in Polish, Sam Wiggin in French (although I think he said in French that it was a small world), Isaac London in Irish Gaelic, Alex Montoro in Italian and Taichi Shinokubo in Japanese. The Spanish-speaking boys did not join in this time.

As the stage was so shallow, the  the V-formation in "Wayfaring Stranger" remained open for a while because Alessandro made it to the front very quickly.

Before "How Shall I sing That Majesty" (with all the miniboys again joining the choir), Taichi Shinokubo announced that this was the last song and thanked us for being there. Lucas Wood and Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti sang the solo parts together, which sounded very well.

• The standing ovation at the end was very well deserved.

•"Wonderful World," with Isaac London as the soloist, was the encore, so the world remains indeed wonderful. —Johan


Angels at lunch

Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti

On May 19th, LiberaOfficial published a marvelous gallery of tour photos, which included some excellent portrait work. Patrick, form the Libera Passion site, updated the roster of current performing members and provided a glimpse of miniboy Tadgh Fitzgerald. (Photos from US Spring tour, 2015) (Photos of and information on all current Libera members, past members, and miniboys)

  Tadgh Fitzgerald

As-yet-unidentified mini-boys (America the Beautiful/solos by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Isaac London,Tom Delgado-Little and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey/May 2015/3:55)


On May 24th, Libera of the US manager John Rexroad announced that the rather grandiose plan for a summer Libera stadium concert in San Diego had been modified. A fan commented:

Going from a 10,000 seat venue to a 1,200 seat venue and having it on their Fall tour is certainly a reasonable thing to do. That arena concert would have probably been a big problem to organize and a disappointment in lots of ways as many have stated already. Having a third venue on that October tour would be excellent for them as it would allow them to recoup more of the travel expenses that they can never fully cover through ticket sales.—surpinto (Blog by John Rexroad/May 24th/2015)

A new group photo for Facebook: clockwise from left front: Adam Izghouti, Shay Balsekar, Matthew Madine, Michael Menezes, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Joseph Walshe. Tom Delgado-Little is in the center.

On May 29th, two of Libera's Korean concerts were listed on the on Interpark Ticket site:

Gyeonggi Arts Center: ‪  
On May 31st, a new Libera "voice logged onto Twitter:

And for those who thought that there had been an unusually high turnover of Libera boys in the past two years, an observation from Patrick Fandelok of Libera Passion:

Last concerts in South Korea were in April 2013, not so long ago Here's a photo from 2013.

Among the 26 boys on that tour two years ago, only 11 were on stage at the recent concert in Guildford. The touring group has been renewed by more than half in only 2 years.—Patrick

On June 5th, The  following notification appeared on Libera's Facebook site:

This week sees the release of Love & Mercy – a new film all about the life of Brian Wilson. In 2007 we had the pleasure of singing our own version of "Love & Mercy" for Brian (and a few other familiar faces) at the Kennedy Center Honors.Since then he has been very appreciative of our music. He even sends us a Christmas card! Here is our version of "Love & Mercy" from a few years ago (there’s also a little bit of Brian himself):

Brian Wilson introduces his song "Love and Mercy" which is performed here by LIBERA. Like · Comment ·


Two fans, "maartendas" and "Yorkie," posting on the Libera Dreams Forum, made this fascinating video available, and compiled a list of its contents. Although many of these videos from the 1990s are presented in linear context in Part One of this timeline, it's fascinating to see this collection of songs, as well as the changes in clothing and in personnel throughout the decade. A number of the videos first appeared on the BBC program Songs of Praise, or on two special series, 1992's Titchmarch on Song, and Thora on the Straight and Narrow in 1993. The latter featured Dame Thora Hird (1911-2003), one of England's most beloved older actresses.

The screencap above is of Angel Voices soloist Oliver Putland, one of five boys who took most of the solo and main supporting parts in this era. Although the sound synchronization is off on some songs, this compilation provides a valuable record of early performances. Especially worthy of mention is Daren Geraghty, older brother of 2015 Assistant Musical Director Stephen Geraghty (who, along with fellow AMD Sam Coates, can be seen as a very small boy in "Salva Me"). (Compilation of St. Philip’s/Angel  Voices early appearance videos/56:59)

1. Amazing Grace (solos by Oliver Putland & Daren Geraghty)
2. Christopher Robin is Saying His Prayers (solo by Liam O’ 
Kane; trio by Oliver Putland, Glen Tilen, Anthony Maher)
3. Close Every Door to Me (solo by Daren Geraghty)
4. Dies Irae
5. We Beseech Thee
6. How Can I Keep From Singing (solo by Daren Geraghty)
7. Morning Has Broken
8. Pie Jesu (solo/trio by Oliver Putland, with Daren Geraghty &
 Anthony Maher) 
9. Dies Irae  (repeat)
10. De Profundis (Libera)
11. Love Lifts Us Up
12. Panis Angelicus (solo/duet by Oliver Putland and Anthony
13. Salva Me (Solo by Liam O’ Kane; descant by Adam Harris)
14. One Day (solo/trio by Daren Geraghty Oliver Putland and
 Anthony Maher
15. Be Still For the Presence of the Lord (solo/duet by Oliver 
Putland and Daren Geraghty)
16. Day by Day
17. Footprints
18. Gaudete (solo by Adam Harris)
19. God Rest You Merry Gentlemen

20. One Voice (solo/trio by Daren Geraghty, Oliver Putland,
and Anthony Maher)

On June 7th, the Libera version of  of "America the Beautiful" became available on iTunes.

On June 14th LiberaOfficial tweeted the following charmingly anachronistic photo of Isaac London taking an iPod breakduring the making of the "america the Beautiful" video.


On June 17th, fan Jimmy Riddle tweeted the following:

#Libera South Korea concerts in July postponed until next spring due to MERS [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome] outbreak.… 
 The link above was to the Korean Libera Facebook page, and the posting, in Korean, contained a phone number to obtain refunds.

On June 19th, the following post appeared on the Libera Dreams forum: With the postponement of the Korea tour, and this latest news, no doubt much scrambling was happening at this point to substitute for and/or complete summer scheduling gone awry.

Connecticut has been removed from the schedule at It's my understanding that this was the venue's issue, not Libera's. Hopefully the replacement show will work better for travel to Pittsburgh. Cleveland or Columbus would be fantastic choices geographically.—tom413 

On June 26th, the following post appeared on the Libera dreams forum:

Re: Late 2015 & Early 2016 US Tour

ostby Surpinto » Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:22 pm

Bad news. The US tour around Christmas has been cancelled in full. This was announced by John Rexroad at the US affiliate website with the concert being removed from the concert list. Fortunately, the October tour is still on and an extra concert has been added in Phoenix for those planning on attending, though the date and venue have not yet been announced. 

It seems that well-intentioned US Libera co-manager John Rexroad was learning some hard lessons in management at this time, his reach often exceeding his grasp, much to the dismay of fans who had booked tickets for concerts that subsequently disappeared.

In mid-June, two more songs from the Libera in America CD/DVD was released onto YouTube: the celebrated "Voca Me," with Tom Delgado-Little on the high descant; and the perpetual "Sanctus," with solo by Bertie Smart. These were followed shortly by the release of four more videos: "Amazing Grace," with solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey; "America the Beautiful;" "How Shall I Sing That Majesty," with solos by Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti and Lucas Wood; and "Ave Maria," with solo by Tom Delgado-little.

(L) Tom Delgado-Little; (R) Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Camden Stewart and Bertie Smart in "Voca Me." (Voca Me/Solos by Tom Delgado-Little and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey/from Libera in America DVD, 2015/4:40)  (Sanctus/solo by Bertie Smart/from Libera in America DVD, 2015/4:40) (Amazing Grace/ solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey/from Libera in America DVD, 2015) (America the Beautiful/ from Libera in America DVD, 2015/3:53)

 From "How Shall I Sing That Majesty" (How Shall I Sing That Majesty/solos by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Lucas Wood/ from Libera in America DVD, 2015/4:20) (Ave Maria/solo by TomDelgado-Little/ from Libera in America DVD, 2015/4:37) (Voca Me/Solos by Tom Delgado-Little and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey/from Libera in America DVD, 2015/4:40)
It was also noted that views of the group's 2011 video of "Carol of the Bells" had been viewed over three million times.

On June 26th, a number of charming photos taken during the video shoot in Ireland for “America the Beautiful” were posted on the group's official website.

Left to right: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Ben Bywater, Marc Alvares, Alex Gula (Photos of video shoot in Ireland for “America the Beautiful”)

On July 3rd, Libera showed up unexpectedly on the venerable US TV news program Inside Edition, as one of only three illustrations of the song "Amazing Grace," which was unexpectedly sung by US President Barack Obama at a memorial for victims of a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. The group was credited as "a children's choir."


On July 3rd, the Libera Official page announced two UK concerts, following the cancellation of the July Korea tour (due to the MERS epidemic in that country). Whereas in the past, foreign tours have been cobbled together at the last minute in such circumstances, this was a wise move, allowing for time to regroup and learn new material. The next known tour dates are in October in the US.

27 July
2015 Exeter, UK
Exeter Cathedral
Time: 7.30pm Price: £10 - £15
Tickets: Exeter Cathedral Box Office or call 01392 285983

Share: poster


28 July
2015 Christchurch, UK
Christchurch Priory
Time: 7.30 pm Price: £9 - £16
Tickets: The Regent Centre, Christchurch or call 01202 499199

Share: poster

On July 13, Libera Official released this exquisite alternate version of "Danny Boy," from the 2015 Guildford Cathedral concert, with a cappella five-part harmonies instead of the unison presented in the 2013 Christmas in Ireland CD/DVD.
 Harmony singers left to right behind soloist Isaac London:
Camden Stewart, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Sam Wiggin, Alex Montoro (Alternate version of Danny Boy/Guildford cathedral, 2015/solo by Isaac London/harmonies by Camden Stewart, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Sam Wiggin, Alex Montoro/2:59)


On July 15th, the following announcement was posted by LiberaOfficial:

Libera is honored to hold a special premiere concert at Universal Studios Japan. The concert will be on Wednesday the 5th August 2015, the studios are located in Osaka, Japan.  We look forward to sharing our music with our many supporters in Japan, and to making some new friends along the way.

On July 16th, the following announcement was posted by LiberaOfficial, indicating that overzealous fans had, once again, placed the easy interactions between Libera boys and their admirers in jeopardy: 

Public and Private

As Libera we are privileged to be able to take our music around the world, and we are so grateful for the interest and appreciation shown by our many supporters.

The boys devote a lot of their spare time to singing with Libera; they love what they do and take pride in it, so they are immensely rewarded by the warm response and attention they receive from our followers.

However, the performers of Libera also have very active lives outside of the group, which are entirely unrelated. They have their own families and friends, interests and schools. We are sure that everyone understands that as young children, their private lives need to remain separate from their Libera performances, and their personal worlds must not be confused with their public.

Most of our followers instinctively honour this, and do not attempt to make contact with the boys individually; or to post private information about the boys; or to assume that school or church/cathedral events can be regarded as opportunities to gain access to the boys. Details such as where the boys live, where they go to school and so forth, are understood by our supporters to be personal, and they know that any public discussion or posting of such information is not appropriate and could pose a risk to the safety of the boys.


We wish to be able to continue to travel, perform and record as Libera, but everyone will understand that if ever it seemed that there were a threat to the safety of our boys, real or perceived, it would be necessary to restrict and constrain the public activities and appearances of the group to the detriment of Libera’s future and the continued enjoyment of our many supporters.

Please continue to respect the boys’ privacy and encourage others to do so too.


On July 18th, Japanese fan Yuki posted the following on her Libera Dreams site:

Finally, Libera is coming back to Japan after 3 years!!

How much we Japanese fans have looked forward to hearing Libera sing live in Japan! The notice was just 2 days ago, and the concert will be just in 3 weeks, so it’s supposed to be a bit hard for fans to make it. AND, the tickets are only 400!Hey, the hardest Ticket War ever!! But that’s just a “special premiere” concert, isn’t it?! Who will be one of the 400 lucky people? 

The concert will be held at Universal Studios Japan (Osaka). Muramatsu-san will be playing together. His compositions, “Far Away” and “Song of Life”, were used as a theme song of their Christmas TV advertisement for the last 3 years and actually Libera fans have increased by the TV ad! So probably we can expect it this winter again?

And another exciting news for Japanese fans is that a brand-new Libera Japan official website was just opened! We are really looking forward to Libera’s more visits to Japan like before! And they’re saying, “There’s an important announcement at the concert”. Maybe a NEW song by Muramatsu-san as RP said that they were recording a new song for Japan on radio before. And MORE? We’ll see soon!

On July 21st, The following tweets appeared:

We are delighted to be the latest ambassadors for This is a wonderful charity which some of us at Libera support personally.

Compassion works through local churches in poor communities around the world to release children from poverty. 

On July 23rd, the following tweet appeared re an on-again-off-again concert scheduled in the US for December 20th:

The concert by @officiallibera still on in Pittsburgh! Woohooo! :)

On July 26th, four Libera boys were interviewed by host James Burford on BBC Radio Solent as a promotion for their July 27th appearance at Exeter Cathedral and on the 28th at Christchurch Priory. Nine-year-old Taichi Shinokubo, in his first interview appearance, proved to be both loquacious and a bit feisty.

 Taichi Shinokubo with fellow interviewee Cassius O'Connell-White

The interview was archived by faithful fan Jimmy Riddle on his Chirbit site, where a number of other recent Libera interviews may also be found. (Libera interview/BBC Radio Solent /26th July 2015 (Cassius O’ Connell-White, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Taichi Shinokubo/11:15)

XXIX: Exeter and Christchurch Concerts

Interior, Exeter Cathedral 

 Well-attended pre-concert rehearsal

Exeter Lineup: Newbies were Leo Barron and Oliver Mycka.
 During the Concert


"Wonderful World"was sung as the encore. Newly returned to the program were "Sacris Solemnis" and "Mysterium," and a new (to Libera) a cappella song "Nearer, My God, to Thee" making its debut. Staff member Kavana Crossley returned to sing with the lower voices, and Taichi Shinokubo was absent but expected to return for the Christchurch concert.

Long-time Libera fan Johan provided a well-observed and concise description of the program.

REVIEW: Concert in Exeter, July 27th, 2015

 (Photo by Yuki)

A beautiful concert in a beautiful old Cathedral. There were 29 boys in the choir, including a returning Kavana Crossley.

“Joyful Joyful” was the first song, the music beginning as the boys climbed onto the podium. Because the introductory music was so soft, some people in the audience didn’t hear it and began clapping for the boys. Otherwise it went well, with Matthew Madine, Matthew Jansen, Sam Wiggin, and Kavana Crossley singing the low parts.

For “Sanctus,” the choir stood in a semi-circle, with the final “Sanctus” by Merlin Brouwer.

For the first speech, Cassius O’ Connell-White and Tadgh (pronounced “Ty”) Fitzgerald spoke about the age range of the group. The fact that Tadgh is the youngest showed when he forgot his lines a few times. He was forgiven.

Tadgh Fitzgerald
Next was “Amazing Graze,” with Josh on the piano. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey came forward to do his solo.

Alex Montoro stood on a spot up near the organ for the high solos on “Voca Me.” Thomas Delgado-Little did the main solo part, and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey the last “Voca Me.” Josh played his keyboard part on the organ, and the boys were bathed in beautiful blue light.

“The Prayer,” with Isaac London as soloist, was amazing as always, although the flute solo was a bit too loud.

In the next speech, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey explained where they were from, and how they introduce themselves to foreign audiences.

I was glad to hear “Sacris Solemnis,” which has not been on the program for a long time. Like “Joyful Joyful," it’s based on music by Beethoven. Isaac London did a very impressive semi-solo.

Onstage at concert's end: Adam Izghouti, Isaac London, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Alex Gula, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, and either Leo Barron or Oliver Mycka.
(Photo by Yuki)

Although the next song listed was “Song of Life,” the group performed “Lullabye” instead. Camden Stewart had obviously been rehearsing the solo, because it was even better this time. The harmony parts were sung by Sam Wiggin and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, with the rest of the singers kneeling behind them.

“Song of Life” came after this, with the main solo by Isaac London, and the high notes by Thomas Delgado-Little and Lucas Wood.

For “Salva Me,” Alex Montoro was once again stationed near the organ for the high descant notes.

Alex Gula and Ben Bywater spoke next, explaining all that the boys have to learn and do to prepare for a concert.

Another “extra” was “Danny Boy,” entirely a cappella, with Isaac London soloing, joined first by Sam Wiggin and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, and then by Camden Stewart, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, and Alex Montoro.

“Exsultate” was the last song before the interval, with solo by Thomas Delgado-Little, excellent as always.

Onstage at concert's end: Tom Delgado-Little, Marc Alvares, Shay Balsekar, Gabriel Collins, Camden Stewart.
(Photo by Yuki)

After the interval came “Mysterium,” mysteriously illuminated in red and blue. Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti did the solo, supported by Lucas Wood. It continued without pause into “Orinoco Flow,” a very successful combination of songs.

Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti spoke of their travels and performances, and mentioned that they were on their way to Japan the following Thursday. Ciaran introduced Alessandro as the next soloist for “How Great Thou Art.”

“Dreaming of Home,” with Thomas Delgado-Little on the high notes, was beautiful as always. Thomas also did very well singing “O For the Wings of a Dove,” with the silent choir kneeling around him.

Next came the language demonstration, with Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey explaining that some of the boys don’t only speak English, with a demonstration by Alex Gula in Polish, Lucas Wood in Spanish, Sam Wiggin in French, Isaac London in Gaelic, and Alex Montoro in Italian.

Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti then soloed in “Wayfaring Stranger,” coming from behind and walking through the other boys standing in wing formation as on the DVD.

“Stay With Me” provided a big surprise (and very well done, too), as the solo was sung by Merlin Brouwer, with Lucas Wood on the high descant.

Onstage at concert's end: (Center): Lucas Wood; 
(Front): Joe Walshe, Merlin Brouwer, Timothy Lee, Alex Montoro, James Menezes, Rocco Tesei, Tadhg Fitzgerald, Ben Bywater 
(Back): Leo Barron or Oliver Mycka, Mark Ustynovych-Repa, Cassius O' Connell-White, Matthew Madine, Kavana Crossley, Sam Wiggin, Matthew Jansen, Michael Menezes (Photo by Yuki)

Another big surprise was also another “extra,” “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” The main solo/harmony singers were Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Isaac London, with Sam Wiggin, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, and Alex Montoro. This was all done a cappella, with the rest of the choir kneeling behind them.

Tadgh Fitzgerald then came forward to say thank you and goodbye before the last song, which was “How Shall I Sing That Majesty,” with solo by Lucas Wood.

After a well-deserved standing ovation, the encore was “Wonderful World," with solo by Isaac London. —Johan 

REVIEW: Concert in Christchurch Priory, July 28th, 2015

Johan attended the Christchurch concert as well, and contributed the following remarks.
As expected, the Christchurch program was the same as that of the previous evening in Exeter, but the execution of it was even better. (I found myself teary-eyed at times.)

Because of the awkward applause over the soft introduction to “Joyful Joyful” at Exeter, Robert Prizeman created a louder orchestration to discourage this, and the boys were able to enter quietly without incident. 

Rehearsing in Christchurch Priory

Isaac London, who was in great voice, especially impressed me with his performance of “Danny Boy.” Others seemed to feel that way, too, because there was a definite reverent pause after the song before enthusiastic applause broke out.

The second special moment for me was “Nearer, My God, To Thee,” begun by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, joined by Isaac London, Alex Montoro, Sam Wiggin and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey. The harmonies produced by these boys, especially by Isaac and Alessandro singing together, were just stunning.

It seems Libera is finally making a name for itself in England, because the churches were full for both performances. An unexpected positive factor was the rehearsal in Exeter, which visitors in the church were allowed to attend. Many of these visitors were surprised with what they heard and attended the concert, to be even more surprised.

The Christchurch Priory is quite narrow, which made it a bit difficult for the boys to do the wide half-circle formations. As there wasn’t a stage in the Priory, the audience had a bit more difficulty seeing.

All of the speeches went more smoothly. Tadgh Fitzgerald, who stumbled last night, did well this time. Cassius O’ Connell-White mentioned that the oldest singer was Matthew Jansen at 14, perhaps because 17-year-old staff member Kavana Crossley was singing in a temporary capacity. Taichi Shinokubo, who was absent from the Exeter concert, joined the demonstration of languages. 

It’s noticeable that members of the remarkable current generation of 12-13-year olds are at the peak of their performance, and will, unfortunately,  soon go the way of all boy trebles. Fortunately there are up-and-comers like Merlin Brouwer, Alex Montoro, Camden Stewart (and who knows who else?) waiting for their turn.—Johan

 Once again, a reminder to those complaining about "not knowing half the choir now:" a complete roster of current singers (with photos), mini-boys (with photos of those identified to date), and past singers (ditto) can be found at 

End of Part 8A: For Part 8B, please go to: