Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't been on here till now! I've had a lot going on in the past few days with a music and speech competition to go to on Thursday and Friday. Then I had to babysit this morning. But now life can begin again, and I'm ready to write about the Epsom concert. :)
Thank you to everyone who wrote reviews of the concert, especially Fan de LoK and Yorkie. They were sooo detailed I felt like I was there (except I didn't get to hear their lovely music). I'll try to condense it all. There were some nice surprises!
There were 23 choristers. No Josh Madine, Sam Leggett, Sere & Mine Akpobome. Apparently the older boys are studying for big exams coming up in May (that's NOT one of the nice surprises, lol). Two newbies - Jude Collins (already known but now integrated into the main group) and Eoghan McCarthy (pronounced "O-in"). No Matthew Madine yet.
Chorister List - Henry Barrington, Jonathan Barrington, Tiarnan Branson, Jude Collins, Luke Collins, Liam Connery, Kavana Crossley, Jakob de Menezes-Wood, Dylan Duffy, Daniel Fontannaz, Freddie Ingles, Matthew Jansen, Stefan Leadbeater, Alex Leggett, Barney Lindsell, Eoghan McCarthy, James Mordaunt, Sammy Moriarty, Cassius O'Connell-White, Ben Philipp, Matthew Rangel-Alvares, Carlos Rodriguez, and Ralph Skan.
Musicians - Mr. Prizeman on piano and keyboard, Steven Geraghty on clarinet, string quartet and a percussionist.
The Program -
1. Jubilate (from the 1999 album "Libera") - The concert started with an empty stage and five boys slowly walking in from the sides. Ralph started singing a cappella then Jakob, Stefan, Carlos and Alex joined in. Eventually the others joined them on stage singing. Mr. Prizeman accompanied them on piano. Cool that it's a new song!
2. Libera - They transitioned so fluidly into this song that some didn't realize it was 2 separate songs. Stefan did NOT solo on the "Are you the key" lines, but sang in duet with Luke! Some are worried that Stefan's voice has changed, but other songs later make you think it hasn't yet. Mr. Prizeman again on piano.
Speech by Freddie and Cassius - They took turns speaking about Libera, South London, some are older choristers and some are new, one has his first concert tonight, some live far away (Ben) and some live closer and one lives in Epsom. Freddie got a laugh saying the last song, Libera, was written before he was born. :)
3. Eternal Light - Beautiful blue lighting plus here they started using a projector screen to show images of a starry sky, moving white-hooded figures, etc. Stefan was no longer solo on this song but sang with Ralph and Daniel. The last verse was sung by Ralph alone. Mr. Prizeman on piano.
4. Sanctissima - There was a blue-violet light glowing as Ralph sang the solo. He did an amazing job. His voice is rich and full of emotion. Ben seemed to be singing a counter-melody along to it. Mr. Prizeman on keyboard.
5. Sanctus - There was a musical introduction by Mr. Prizeman on the keyboard, the string quartet and Steven on clarinet. The boys stood in an arc with the tallest in the center being Jonathan, Liam and Alex. They all sang it perfectly with Ralph singing the final "Sanctus" at the end. Again great use of the projector screen.
Speech by Kavana - It was not the "Conductor's Speech", but told how Libera sings in 8-part harmony!
6. Always With You (from the 2005 album "Visions") - This was the highlight of the concert for Fan de LoK! In the darkness they started out facing the audience in 2 triangles with Freddie in the center. They slowly turned toward Freddie with their heads bowed and their eyes closed. Freddie sang solo, "Do you know Me, who I am? I am always with you." His voice was clear and strong. Jakob was in the back center on a raised block with white lights on him. He sang crystal-clear "Aah's." It sounds like they were amazing on this one! They describe it as perfection, and it got the biggest applause! Can't wait to hear it in person! Mr. Prizeman on keyboard.
7. Song of Life - It's the premier of the new song! Ralph sang it beautifully. The boys have a nice bridge of "Aahs" in the middle. It's apparently so different from any other Libera song that it's hard to describe, but it is highly recommended that we all buy it when it comes out. Mr. Prizeman on piano.
8. Salve Me - They stood in groups of 4 with Matthew R-A in the center on a raised block singing the high "Salve" notes. I remember in Nashville being amazed at how clear and high his voice was. Glad it still is! :) Mr. Prizeman on keyboard.
Speech by Barney - He has beautiful diction, very clear and articulate. He told about the song "Salve" being plainsong with a Libera twist and introduced all the musicians - the strings, Steven, percussionist (he did a drum-roll, lol) and Robert Prizeman as the "Music Director."
9. Lamentione (the "Lament" song from 2004 album "Free) - The song is taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, so maybe that's why the song name was changed. Mr. Prizeman was in the right front corner on the keyboard. The boys were in 3 semi-circles facing him. The first was Freddie, mini James and Barney. The second was Matthew R-A, Stefan, Ralph, Alex, Jakob and Daniel. The third had the 14 others. They looked very monk-like with most of them having their hoods up, and they stood with their hands held together inside their sleeves. The rhythm of the song is slow, the voices of different tones, but perfectly harmonized and synchronized. It is like a Gregorian chant of the highest quality. There was no soloist, but the high "Aahs" were done by Daniel and Ralph.
10. Exultate - This had the same staging as the Summer and Autumn concerts with the jumping forward and back to the bouncy music. The first part was sung by Stefan with Daniel and Ben supporting. The second part was Ralph and Stefan. Mr. Prizeman on the keyboard and Steven on clarinet.
11. Mysterium - Since this was not performed in a church or cathedral, the introduction was played by violin instead of organ. It's pretty hard to top an organ though. With dark red lighting the boys entered from both sides with their hoods up. Ralph removed his hood and did all the high solo parts by himself without Stefan. Ralph did a really great job! Mr. Prizeman on piano.
12. Gloria - The strings played a musical bridge from Mysterium to this song while the boys formed a big arc on stage and removed their hoods 2 by 2 from the center out. When it came time for them to sing the first "Gloria in Excelcis Deo", a bright white light suddenly shone on them. Not sure if it was Matthew R-A or Daniel on the high parts. Mr. Prizeman on keyboard.
Speech by Freddie - "Hello. It's me again." He told about having to memorize a lot of words, music parts and finding positions blindfolded and then introduced the next song.
13. The Fountain - Mr. Prizeman did a beautiful piano intro to this piece. Ralph and Kavana sang a duet! (I can just hear Lala saying/singing Kavana's name! lol) Ralph sang the high part, and Kavana sang the harmony.
14. When a Knight Won His Spurs - This is an updated arrangement with Mr. Prizeman on piano and Steven on recorder. Ralph was in the center with all the other boys in 2 rows behind him with their hands in their sleeves. Ralph did an amazing job!
15. Stay With Me - The beginning has been changed with a piano and string introduction. Daniel was in the front with the others in a reverse arc behind him. He sang the solo, part of it a cappella, and his voice was really good! He was smiling as usual. :) Matthew R-A did the high "Aah" parts really well, too!
Speech by Liam - He, like Josh had done, talked about their voices changing and how it is exciting to sing with a new voice and learn lower harmonies. He said some boys could not come because of school exams. (I'm guessing that's Josh and Sam.)
16. Ave Verum - Jakob and Carlos were in the front with the others scattered randomly around the stage, turned at an angle toward the center. In perfect synchronization, they gradually moved into a V with Jonathan, the tallest, in the center going down to the smallest ones. Carlos sang the solo phrases with Jakob doing the echoes. Their singing, and the lighting that went with it, made it one big WOW! Mr. Prizeman on piano.
17. Love and Mercy - Mini James and Freddie were in the front with Ralph, Stefan, Luke, Daniel and Jakob right behind them, and the rest in the back. Mini James sang the first sentences by himself, "I was sitting in a crummy movie with my hands on my chin. All the violence that occurs seems like we never win." Freddie sang the beginning of the next verse, "I was lying in my room when the news came on TV." Daniel joins him in harmony, "There's a lot of people out there hurting, and it really scares me." Mini James sang the final "Mercy and love." Mr. Prizeman played beautiful accompaniment on piano.
18. Going Home - If you use the Leiden DVD as a reference, Mini James did Josh's part (I've always thought mini James' voice had a Josh quality to it), Daniel did Ben's part and Jakob did Tom's part. Beautifully done. There was a string intro. Not sure about piano or keyboard.
Speech by Jude - "Hello. I'm Jude. I'm new." lol He told how he had to learn everything in 2 months. Long applause for him. He is very cute! :)
19. How Shall I Sing That Majesty - The stage was lit in purple with Stefan and Jakob in the front. All others formed an arc behind them. Stefan sang the first 2 sentences then Jakob joined him. On the second verse, Jakob sang the first 2 sentences then Stefan joined him. Stefan had no problems hitting all his high notes on this song! The audience gave a standing ovation.
Encore: a short portion of Exultate - Another standing ovation with some whooping and shouting from the fans. The boys waved good-bye as they left the stage.
There was no Meet & Greet, but some fans who stayed late were able to talk to a few of the boys and have pictures taken with them.
Here's a few thoughts from me:
1. Can't believe how many songs Ralph sang! Sounds like he's the next Tom Cully! And could Ralph's voice have gotten even better since the Summer 2010 Tour? It doesn't seem possible, but it sure sounds like it did! :)
2. What's up with Stefan? He didn't have a bunch of solos yet he could still sing the high notes on "How Shall I Sing." Was he just ill, and they were saving his voice? Or is this a permanent change? I really loved his voice last summer.
3. I am happy, happy, happy that Daniel's voice is still high! He turned 15 in December and is still hanging in there! :D
4. I doubt Josh and Sam will come to Canada in April if their exams are in May. :(
5. There were only 19 songs. Will the Canada Tour have the usual 20 with the 20th being another new song? Oooh! Can't wait til April 14th! :D
6. No Meet & Greet, so no one could tell Stefan "Happy Birthday!" So...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEFAN!!!!!!!!!! :D