Friday, April 18, 2014

Morristown, NJ Concert Review by Lauren

It was another great night! Libera's 2nd USA concert was at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey. It was cold but sunny during the day. I met many more fans before the concert. We were all waiting in the lobby for the doors to open, but I decided to go outside and take a picture of the Mayo marquee with Libera's name on it. As I was waiting for the sign to change to "Libera," I noticed out of the corner of my eye some flashes of white cloth. I looked up and was surrounded by 6 darling boys in flowing white robes saying, "Hello, Lauren!" They were coming out to have their picture taken by Andy Winter! They were so happy and smiley, as you can see. :D





There was a good crowd at the theater. I met fans from New Jersey and New York, of course, but also Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Texas, Wisconsin, Utah, Turkey via NYC, and a girl whose mom let her skip school and brought her all the way from Kansas City, Missouri just to see Libera for her 15th birthday! She wanted to get a picture of Josh Madine, and he came over and took one with her. He's the nicest guy! And that was her happiest birthday yet. :)

Audience

Audience


The concert itself was really great! It was quite different from the night before at Church of the Incarnation in NYC. The stage was so much larger so the boys could spread out. They even had room for the front row of boys to kneel down during some of the songs. The sound was quite different also. There was no church echo, but the sound was much louder to fill up such a huge room. So shout-out to the crew for being so flexible and skilled that they can set up for any situation and make it look and sound great!

View of the stage from the sound booth when I first walked in


The Libera boys were definitely "on" vocally this night. They sounded amazing! During "Voca Me" the entire wall behind the stage lit up with twinkle lights that looked like stars. The stars were used during several songs to great effect. Tom was perfect on "Ave Maria." And I love how whenever he's introduced for a solo, he gives a sort of salute with his hand to the audience! lol

Again Gabe and Alex G's speech was so cute! And perfectly done. You can tell they're so earnest and work hard to do their very best. How many 8-year-olds can you say that about?

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

I noticed tonight how much I like the violin part on "Orinoco Flow." I know we constantly say it, but Robert Prizeman's arrangements are just so good!

During "Stay With Me," Alessandro and Lucas sang with Cassius on some of his parts. I think Cassius may have a bit of a cold. But he still sang the last "Stay with me" by himself. Way to go!

And again, "Wayfaring Stranger" blew me away. You HAVE to hear Libera's version of this! There's a musical bridge in the middle of the song that is so beautiful! It's spectacular! Did I say that last night also? :D

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

After "Exultate" there was a great standing ovation. And then the extra treat - "What a Wonderful World." And another standing ovation! What a brilliant concert!

If I missed who sang some parts, please forgive me. There's 24 boys singing all over the place and sometimes it's hard to see who is singing what. I write about who sang the solos because a lot of fans want to know who has inherited them. Fans get excited when they get to hear an individual voice (high or low) for the first time. 

I do want to acknowledge each Libera boy who sings a part. Your fans know what an important role you all play in the total Libera sound. As a church choir member, I know how hard it is to sing a harmony part. It sounds nothing like the melody. And the boys are standing next to other boys who are singing completely different parts. The ability to do this at such a young age is a testament to their hard work and the excellent training they receive. The lowest parts are now being sung by Henry, Eoghan, and Matthew R-A (who are also now the tallest). Imagine how many different parts they've had to learn throughout their Libera careers! Thanks to all 24 of the boys for a fantastic concert! :)

There was no Meet & Greet because the theater doesn't have the space for 24 boys to do a signing. But there WERE pre-signed programs for sale. Yay!

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

Signed program
















Program signed by Andy Winter! hehe Did you know he was
a chorister at St. Philip's as was his dad, brother, and son?! :D

Ticket stub

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New York City Concert Review by Lauren

Hello, Libera fans! This is Lexi's mom, Lauren. I'm here in Manhattan the day after Libera's 1st concert at Church of the Incarnation in New York City. Sadly, Lexi could not attend due to her university classes schedule. Boy, did she ever miss a great concert!


The line waiting to enter the church - photo by Patrick



Luke lighting the candles before the concert


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


Right after the doors opened

View of audience - there were 5-6 people per row on each side.

Musicians to the side of the stage


Musicians to the side of the stage


There are 24 boys on this USA tour. They are -

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

I've heard they've been having great fun so far. And the weather has been spectacular in New York City and New Jersey. The day of the concert it started to rain. Maybe that was to remind them of home in rainy London. Or maybe it encouraged more people to enter the warm, welcoming church to see Libera. :) We all got to see an amazing concert that seemed perfectly geared toward an American audience. Plus there were 5 new songs and lots of new solos!


1. Joyful, Joyful - NEW SONG
What a happy way to start a concert! Robert Prizeman wrote a new arrangement of this very familiar hymn. It's very upbeat and pretty. There was a lovely flute part, especially at the beginning. Tom sang some stunning high notes in the middle and at the end.

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

Speech - Ben and Cassius
They told us that Alex Gula is the youngest boy on tour at age 8. Henry is the oldest at 14 (wow, is he tall!). Cassius started singing in Libera at age 7 and has been singing for 5 years. And Isaac is a "middle-ager" at 11 years old. Ahaha!

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

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

5. Amazing Grace - NEW SONG
And it was amazing! This is probably the most well-known hymn in America. It was written by Englishman John Newton about his own life and God saving him from his sin. Robert Prizeman used the American version with the last verse from Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The boys sang the first lines in unison -
        "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
          That saved a wretch like me."
At "I once was lost but now am found" they broke into harmony. Ciaran sang the next to last verse as a solo while the dome was covered in a blue light. Then the dome lit up a bright yellow for the last, triumphant verse -
         "When we've been there ten thousand years,
          Bright shining as the sun,
          We've no less days to sing God's praise
          Than when we first begun."
Very effective. Quite emotional!

Speech - Ciaran and Cassius

6. Ave Maria -
Beautiful solo by Tom on the first verse, then backed up by 12 singers on the second verse.

7. Salva Me -
What a nice surprise! The high "salva" was sung by Alex Montoro! He has a beautiful voice! :D

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

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

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

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

- Interval -

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

12. Gloria In Excelsis -
The high notes were sung by Tom, Ciaran, Sam, Lucas, and Isaac.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Libera boys after the concert!

Libera boys after the concert!

Waving bye!


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

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

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

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

And let's not forget the musicians and crew!


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

Matthew R-A & Henry walking in the rain to the bus

I think that's Kuba?, Alex M & Isaac

?, Matthew M, Marc?, ?, & Lucas trying to keep their robes clean


There's another concert tonight at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey! See you there! :D

Concert ticket

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Arundel Concert Announced


UPDATED APRIL 5 & 13, 2014 - TICKETS ON SALE MONDAY, APRIL 14 AT 2:00pm LONDON TIME!



Are you ready, fans?! Libera just announced their first home game of the season! =D They will be having a concert at Arundel Cathedral on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 7:30 pm! They like to perform there every 2 years, so here's your chance to see them in the UK. 

Tickets - available April 14 at 2:00pm London time
               at Ticketsource.co.uk or 0844 8700 877
Prices - 30 general, 15 children

Exterior


One of the best pictures ever! Arundel 2010 by Bullehynka.


To celebrate, I'm re-posting an old video from Arundel 2010 done by some French fans. It's so good! And at the end you can see 3 little ones in the back left - Ben, Tom, and Dylan! They were so small! =D



This concert sells fast. Libera says ticket information is coming soon. 



Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

USA Spring 2014 Tour Posters

Libera has posted their USA Spring 2014 tour posters!! They are so pretty with the blue! They have the boys on stage and a close-up picture of the 5 boys. Please feel free to copy and share them. And if you live in New Jersey or the New York City area, you can print them out and ask to post them in stores and coffee shops. Just about 3 weeks until the first concert! It's going to be great!


New York City poster


Morristown concert poster




USA 2014 Tour Venue Details

UPDATED - Feb. 26 & March 15 & 28, April 3, 2014

Libera has made it official! They are coming to the USA from April 12-19!!! I hope a lot of people can go to their concerts. I have school, so I'll have to see. My mom and some other fans are going though. Let your friends know! :D 
















1. New York City, New York

      Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
      Church of the Incarnation, Episcopal
      209 Madison Avenue & 35th Street
      Phone: (212) 689-6350
      http://www.churchoftheincarnation.org
      Seating - 500

      Tickets - available April 2 at Ticketweb or by calling the 
                    box office at 1-866-777-8932
      Prices - $30 General Admission
                   $15 Children age 16 & under


Exterior

Interior



Map

Parking





2. Morristown, New Jersey  
      Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
      Mayo Performing Arts Center
      100 South Street
      Phone: (973) 539-8008
      http://www.mayoarts.org/
      Seating - 1,300

      Tickets - available February 21, 2014 online here
                    or by calling the box office at number above.
      Prices -  Section GC - $59
                   Premium     - $49
                   Section A    - $49
                   Section B    - $39
                   Section C    - $29 


Exterior

Interior


Parking

Seating chart