Monday, January 2, 2017

LIBERA HISTORICAL TIMELINE: PART 10 (January 1st, 2017 to Present)


 
Last Revised/Updated on April 30th, 2017

Greetings to all new readers. If you are unfamiliar with Libera, you may wish to go to Part One (link below) of this Timeline for an overview and history of the group, including the story of its beginnings. I welcome corrections, suggestions and comments at aahill@sonic.net.

For Part One (introduction to Libera and to the Timeline, 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 8A (January-March, 2015):



For Part 8B (August-December, 2015)



For Part Nine (January-July, 2016):



Please note: new additions are made to the END of each section, rather than the beginning.
*****************************
Table of Contents:
(New Year's Appearance with Kaden Bart Rockett)
(Shooting New Video(s)
(Passing of Libera Chairman Steven Philipp)
NEW ALBUM ANNOUNCEMENT: HOPE 
(Official Announcement of 2017 Japan Tour) 
(Some Songs for the New Album, with "teasers") 
(Ely Cathedral Concert Announced) 
(Benedictus Deus Re-released) 
(Robert Prizeman Interview and Premiere of "Smile") 
(Ely Cathedral Concert Review)

*********************************
Welcome to the tenth year of the Libera Historical Timeline, which is now read in over 90 countries (top dozen last year: the US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, The Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Indonesia, Russia and Slovakia).



For all those who would like to know more about the individual boys of Libera, I continue to recommend the wonderful Libera Passion site, stewarded by Patrick Fandelok and Quentin (aka The Furby). This site (in French, but fairly easy for non-Francophones to decipher) maintains an up-to-date photo, media, tour and concert record of:

"Membres Réguliers" (Current Members) — Boys who have participated in the most recent concert or tour.
"Miniboys" — This is Libera lingo for young singers in training. Names are not paired with faces unless the boys have been positively identified by photo.
"Absents du Dernier Concert" — Singers who have performed regularly with the group, but were absent from the previous concert or tour.
"Anciens Membres" — Former Libera singers, going back to the 1980s, when the group was known as "Angel Voices."
"Staff" — Staff members (often Libera alumni) and their roles with the group.
• "Liens" — Family groupings of brothers or cousins who have been members of Libera.

If a name appears in blue, you can click on it to see additional photos and statistics on that singer. The site also hosts an active fan forum (in French) with reviews, photos, and discussions.
Go to: http://libera-passion.exprimetoi.net/t1110-apercu-des-membres-actuels-maj-decembre-2016#24512

NEW YEAR'S APPEARANCE WITH KADEN BART ROCKETT

On January 1st-2nd, Libera appeared on an America's Got Talent broadcast, featuring young performers from around the world.



ROCKETTING INTO THE NEW YEAR -2017 w/ Guest Stars from this seasons America's Got Talent, a trip around the world, some of our brand new magic and a countdown party compete with over 300 of our friends to ring in the New Year! Laura Bretan & Jayna Brown join us on set for special live performances, Skylar Katz debuts her brand new single, Kadie Lynn performs one of her original country songs, and we go to London, England for an unforgettable performance by Libera Boys Choir! Special appearances by Calysta Bevier, Lori Mar Hernandez, Deadly Games & a trip all the way to Estonia (on the Russian border) to surprise Vello Vaher! #KidMagician #AGT Brooklyn Nicole Rockett

Libera's  selection was, appropriately enough, "What a Wonderful World," with solo by Gregor Lumsden, previously recorded at the December 2nd, 2016 St. George's Cathedral in Southwark, London.


Gregor Lumsden at St. George's
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY1CBuxvhns (What a Wonderful World/St. George’s Cathedral 2016/ solo by Gregor Lumsden/4:20)

On January 2nd, the entire program became available on YouTube. The Libera segment begins at about 29:20 and includes a setup scene in which the young hosts magically travel to London and burst in on the Libera boys relaxing before a concert.


 (America’s Got Talent “Trip around the World,” hosted by magician Kaden Bart Rockett and his sister Brooklynn [1/1/1]/1:42:48)


On January 8th, the Libera Passion site tweeted that it was now up to date on information and photos for all current Libera singers (excluding miniboys, who are added as they become full touring-group members) at:


 
Partial page for Camden Stewart
On January 9th, fan Yuki tweeted a photo of  Libera singers and mini-boys as a reminder of the group's upcoming tour of Japan in May-June 2017.

 

On January 14th, the Kajimoto Company, producers of the the upcoming Japan tour tweeted a charming poster announcing the events. 

Front row, L to R: Peter Kielty, Taichi Shinokubo, Arthur Palmer, Ben Bywater 
Middle row: Oliver Mycka, Alex Montoro, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti (with Leo Barron leaning on him),Camden Stewart, Gregor Lumsden
Back row: Rocco Tesei, Marc Alvares, Gabriel Collins, Alex Gula, Merlin Brouwer, Tadgh Fitzgerald

On January 15th, fan Surpinto noted two more interesting tweets from the Official Libera site:

A few more “Libera Moments” posted on Twitter. The footage used seems to be mostly videos taken from the past, although the dance video is a mix.



The boys cut loose.



https://twitter.com/officiallibera/status/819297030266830859
Caption: "A few of the boys can't resist a good dance-off!"
https://twitter.com/officiallibera/status/820617998616686592
Caption: "Isaac and Michael enjoying a cool butterbeer at Universal Studios Japan"

 
On January 18th, a short video clip appeared on Twitter, promoting the 2017 "Angel Voices" Japan Tour .


https://www.instagram.com/p/BPZJ6McjD-k/ (30 seconds of “Angel Wings” for ad by Kajimoto Company for 2017 Japan Tour)

On January 19th, a fan going by "Rewatisabotaz" posted an interesting video featuring early Libera/ Angel Voices soloist Liam O' Kane (spotted by gingerthedog1). From the sound of his voice, it appears that this was a fairly early guest appearance by Liam, probably from the early 1990s.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdhnbUAHeXw (Video by Lyra/Celtic Spirit, in which Liam O’ Kane sings the first two minutes/early 1990s/4:02)


  
Liam O' Kane
For those not familiar with this marvelous soloist, who sang with the pre-Libera Angel Voices from 1992-1998, and for a short time with the  newly renamed Libera in 1999, the marvelous compilation below, "The Best of Liam O' Kane," is a look at both a glorious singer, and at the "Angel Voices" phase of Libera (1987-1999). It also contains a number of rare songs, video footage and photographs from that era.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdhnbUAHeXw (2012 Compilation, by shnarashi: “The Best of Liam O’ Kane"/13:51)
 Also on January 19th, the Official Libera site posted a gallery of new photos of the December 2nd, 2016 concert at St. George's Cathedral, Southwark, London.

Front, L to R: Miniboys Laurence Taylor, Fyfe McGaughrin, and Koji Shinokubo. Percussionist Jon Ormiston is in the center. Back row: Ben Bywater, peter Kielty, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, James Menezes, Michael Menezes, Neo Parson, Lucas Wood.

 
Samuel-Francis Collins (R) jousts backstage with unidentified Miniboy.


 ( photos from St.George’s 2016 concert}
 
WELCOMING MR. CHEN...

Mr Richard Chen (shown here with Merlin Brouwer) recently joined the management staff of Libera.


,,,AND A FAREWELL TO STEVEN PHILIPP 

 On January 25th, the Libera Official posted the following tribute to former Libera staff member and parent Steven Philipp:


Steve Philipp with son Ben in 2009

On January 29th, Libera fan hiskeys posted an interesting discovery: 
I see that a Japanese fan included Libera in two compilations for boy groups/bands, one for 2012-2015 with Libera at 12:00-12:50 with the Isaac London version of “You Were There,” and the other one for 2014-2017 with Libera at 3:25-3:47 with "Santa Will Find You." I don't think of Libera as belonging in this category, but it might draw a few new fans.
This was intriguing on several levels. The compiler, Pori Den, posted the following comment(s) with the videos:
"I chose (27) 22 groups of boy singers who became famous from (2012-2015) 2014 to 2017."
The singers are primarily performing pop/rock songs or modern ballads. The attention here seems to be on Isaac London, who is featured in both clips. One intriguing note is that the video of  "You Are There," which ends the first section, is one that is not available on YouTube or on the Libera Channel, and presumably was only released in Japan, where the song has long been a kind of cult hit. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnszTPDGSuk (Video compilation 2012-2015 by Pori Den/featuring Libera and Isaac London singing "You Were There" at 12:00-12:50/12:52)
Isaac London sings "You Are There"
Top (Video compilation of 2014-2017 by Pori Den/featuring Libera and Isaac London singing "Santa Will Find You" at 3:25-3:47/8:45 ) 

The original version of "You Were There" was first sung by the marvelous Tom Cully in 2008, with backup by Libera greats Ben Philipp, Josh Madine, Liam Connery and Sam Leggett.
From left: Tom Cully, Liam Connery, Sam Leggett, Ben Philipp, Josh Madine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwDRZMoJtkk (You Were There/solo by Tom Cully/2008/4:12)

JAPAN TOUR POSTERS
 On February 3rd, The Kajimoto Company producers of the upcoming tour in Japan, tweeted posters for the event, and revealed that the title of the tour would be "Hope."

 
Front row, L to R: Alex Gula, Taichi Shinokubo, Ben Bywater, Alex Montoro, Gregor Lumsden, Marc Alvares, Leo Barron. Second row: Mathias Montoro, Peter Kielty, Rocco Tesei, Camden Stewart, Merlin Brouwer, Tadgh Fitzgerald, Arthur Palmer. Back: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Oliver Mycka.

Fans wondered at this time whether the new CD rumored to be in the works to coordinate with the tour would also be called "Hope." 

A TWEET FROM LIBERA (February 6th)

 
Taichi Shinokubo, Leo Barron, Tadgh Fitzgerald (top), and Romeo Tesei.


On February 11th, OfficialLibera tweeted a new photo taken during the filming of a new video. The boys faces and tan robes appear to be smudged with dirt and patches of color.
 
Adam Izghouti, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Tadgh Fitzgerald and Mathias Montoro take a break from video shooting.
On February 12th, another photo of a lad who appears to be Romeo Tesei appeared on Twitter, prompting the following comment from Surpinto:

"And another tweet this morning with one of the choristers wearing the same sort of costume and fake dirt as they used in the "Wonderful World" and "America" videos. I am mystified as to what they may are doing in these videos; but I hope to find out soon! As Dani [another fan] mentioned [on Libera Dreams], filming multiple videos makes perfect sense for financial and organizational reasons."





 

 
Steven Philipp Memorial Fund

A GoFundMe Site has been set up for the family of Steve Philipp, former Libera Chairman and father of  Libera soloist (2006-2010)  Benedict Philipp. The family is now in need of help with expenses. Steve is in the lower right of the family photo below; Ben is at upper left.


  https://www.gofundme.com/steven-philipp-memorial-fund

 On  February 13th, Libera's mascot "Moose" (with earplugs) Tweeted the following:


 

On February 15th, a number of photos of the video shoot appeared on the Libera Facebook page, establishing that at least part of the action takes place in a dark cellar-like setting.
Camden Stewart and Gregor Lumsden relax between takes.
Alex Gula and others react to the spookiness
 
Dirt by assembly line: Alex Montoro gets daubed, while Gabriel Collins waits his turn.


Libera  Footnote: the urchin look is hardly a new one for Libera. In addition to employing it for the videos of "It's a Wonderful World" and "America the Beautiful in 2015,  a number of videos from the TV show Thora on the Straight and Narrow (1993) saw Angel Voices (pre-Libera) rocking the same styles.

 

The boy in the white shirt is Angel Voices soloist Liam O' Kane. No names for the others.
A NEW CD CALLED HOPE

On February 17th, it was announced that a new Libera CD entitled Hope will be released on May 10th. Patrick Fandelok of the Libera Passion site commented:


"Here's the link to the news on the Japanese site Libera-Records : http://libera-records.com/news/%E3%83%A ... A%E3%81%A7

A summarized translation from Google says :
The long-awaited new Libera album by studio recording since 2011's release of "Winter Songs" [The Christmas Album] will be released on May 10!

The title is "Hope"

'I want to deliver an album that can make you happy feeling by putting dreams and hopes in harmony ...', it is undergoing acclaimed recording right now.

We decided to release two kinds, the first limited edition with DVD with the music video just finished shooting earlier this week and the regular one with CD only.
The contents of the recording will be announced later.

I will also paste poster present tickets with autographs of all the members coming to Japan who have many requests from fans!

The recorded songs are nearly solid, but I will show you when I am confirmed.

Depending on the shop, as early as possible, you will be able to make a reservation from today!

When they write the album is being recorded right now, it's not a joke. Yesterday the strings group 'Project Instrumental' that played at the last Libera concerts in UK, posted on twitter, Instagram and Facebook, about the recording they are currently doing for the new album (see here).
 
It's uncertain if the limited 1st edition that includes a bonus DVD will be available outside Japan, but even if it's not the case, this shouldn't be an issue; there are various Japanese record-selling sites that post English pages and accept foreign credit cards and international shipment.

The ticket for a poster with autographs is something they did at the last Japan tour in December 2015: you find a ticket inside your CD box and you have to present it at a booth at one of the three upcoming concerts in Japan. They then give you a (small) poster where all the signatures are printed. If I'm correct, last time it was A3 -sized. 
These signature posters are made because of the craziness of the incredibly huge lines in Japan. The boys have to be split in different groups that have different queues so you can't collect all the signatures by yourself.—Patrick

SMILE

Arthur Palmer,and Tadgh Fitzgerald in the video's dismal kitchen setting.

On February 18-19, Official Libera released more photos of the photo shoot(s) (Facebook link above) for upcoming videos, and announced that the "urchin"-look video is called "Smile." It was not yet clear whether this was the song first recorded in 1954 by Nat King Cole, or another song of the same name. Since the CD is called Hope, the nature of the popular tune and its hopeful lyrics, made it a strong possibility.

Adam Izghouti, Rocco Tesei, and Oliver Watt-Rodriguez (?)


"Smile"
Smile tho' your heart is aching
Smile even tho' it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by

If you smile
Thro' your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through, for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide ev-'ry trace of sadness
Altho' a tear may be ever so near

That's the time
You must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worth-while

If you just smile 

 Song by Charlie Chaplin
Published
1936 (Instrumental theme), 1954 (Lyrics added to song)
Length
2:52
John Turner (Lyrics)
Geoffrey Parsons (Lyrics)
Language
English
 
Another interesting aspect was the inclusion of a tawdry-looking young woman (here shown with Gabriel Collins).



 Also appearing was a 30-second promotional ad for the Hope CD, with Alex Gula and Leo Barron in the speaking parts.
L to R: Taichi Shinokubo, Alex Gula, Leo Barron, Romeo Tesei and Tadgh Fitzgerald


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8Rd0VU29pg (30-second announcement of upcoming release of Hope CD/2017)

On February 20th, the concert schedule for the 2017 Japan Tour was made official:

On February 29th, Libera tweeted the title of the second song that was videoed in the same block as "Smile," and published a new series of photos taken during the making of "Salve Regina."
 
Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Tadgh Fitzgerald 

Boys in the atmospheric location for their video of "Salve Regina."
 SONGS FROM THE NEW ALBUM (A Report by Patrick from the Libera Dreams Forum)
Also on February 24th, as usual, Libera fans were on the cutting edge of news concerning the upcoming CD, Hope, as Patrick Fandelok in France relayed news of album contents from Japanese enthusiast Yuki, and provided some excellent links and guesses.


Yuki tweeted this morning about news published on the Japanese site "Sony Music Shop'" that unveils seven songs of the new CD Hope:
https://twitter.com/DearLibera/status/8 ... 8204692480

Thanks to Yuki, the translation of the titles to English is guaranteed.

  • Smile
  • From a Distance
  • San Damiano
  • Salve Regina
  • Stabat Mater
  • Angel
  • Jupiter

We already know four of these seven songs:
- Smile, it uses the tune of the end credit of the Charlie Chaplin film "Modern Times" (here) and was sung by countless great artists, here Nat King Cole.

- San Damiano, sung in concerts since Summer 2016 in Krakow,

- Angel, sung in concerts since Summer 2015 in Osaka, and already released on the mini-CD 'Angel',

- Jupiter, the new version of "I Vow to Thee, My Country"sung in January 2016 for the Mao Asada ice skating performance, also already released on the mini-CD 'Jupiter'.

The new songs are :
- From a Distance
It could be this song sung by Bette Midler (watch here)

- Salve Regina
Salve Regina will most probably be this latin text composed during the Middle Ages. There are many versions available everywhere, like this one.
This song would fit perfectly with the beige robes the boys wore on the recent filming session.
 
A robed Taichi Shinokubo and a bowl of...gruel?

- Stabat Mater 

Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary. It has been set to music by many composers, see here, so many that it's a bit tricky to guess which version has been chosen by Robert Prizeman.—Patrick



 [Note: an earlier Robert Prizeman-arranged version of this lovely song appears on the 2001 CD Luminosa.—Ed.]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oEiRcze77U Stabat Mater/ Luminosa 2001/4:50


These song selections evoked a varied response from Libera fans, some appalled at the inclusion of "pop" songs, and seemingly forgetting that the history of the group includes songs by ABBA, Joe Cocker, Enya, Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, Brian Wilson, Cat Stevens and Sal Solo (who wrote "San Damiano"), as well as the now-beloved "Wonderful World." Libera does after all mean "free" in Latin, and was founded by Robert Prizeman as a vehicle for escaping the constraints of the usual boy-choir repertoire.

On March 2nd, the following exchange between two thoughtful members of the Libera Dreams Forum presented a reasoned view and historical perspective on the situation:


Well, they did change their name to Libera after all -- they're not bound to a specific musical style. And this freedom to explore options has always been there really, at least for the 28 years that I've been listening to them.

I think the reason I enjoy a wide variety of their recordings is because no matter where each song falls in the casual / classical spectrum, they all still have that signature sound that Robert Prizeman is able to awaken out of the humble voices of children.

Anyway, we're not listening to these on records, or cassette tape right? So if you don't like a track, go on to the next one. —enjaysea

Angel Voices (pre-Libera) sing Barry Manilow's "One Voice" in 1993. Soloist Daren Geraghty (older brother of Assistant Libera Music Director Steven) is on the TV screen. On the left are harmony singers Anthony Maher  (red shirt) and Oliver Putman (stripes).

 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttTCIxRFyTI (One Voice/St. Philip’s Boys’ Choir & adult male chorus/1993/Solo & second voices by Daren Geraghty, Anthony Maher and Oliver Putman/2:43)


I agree with this very much. When looking at Libera's music one must look at the recordings made as Angel Voices and prior. If we look at the totality of their recordings we can see that the variety of influences truly do stretch from ancient to modern. Many songs (e.g. "One Voice" from the "New Day" album of 1990 which was an arrangement of a 1979 song, not to mention "San Damiano") are much more modern than most of what they are doing now.

The amazing part of Libera, aside from the incredible training they provide to the choristers and the professionalism of their singing, are the arrangements of songs, old or new, that create the distinctive sound that makes them who they are. The harmonies Prizeman and associates add even to "pop" songs totally divorces those songs from their prior context and gives those songs a style that creates the song anew. 




Sam Wiggin solos on "Wayfaring Stranger."


Though it is not pop, "Wayfaring Stranger" to me is an example of such a song. Those familiar with the American bluegrass and folk genres know quite well just how unsuitable that song would appear to be for a boy's choir; but few people criticized the song in advance because only a few of us here are familiar with that sort of music. In fact, because I very much am familiar with this piece in its American folk music context, I was rather skeptical of how it would sound. Yet, the arrangement was superb and has renewed this song for me such that I no longer even think to compare Libera's version to the American folk versions with which I was familiar prior. This is an amazing feat; to re-create a usually twangy bluegrass song (that was the most popular version though there are others) into an ethereal choral work that is one of their best pieces of recent times.

Across their history many of their albums contained pieces I did not care for as much for others. But in my experience, there has never been, nor shall there ever be, an artist whose music I enjoy 100% of the time. Even my favorite composers or modern rock groups have entire albums or series of works I would never choose to listen to under any circumstances! We are all entitled to our opinion but we will never all enjoy every single work created by Libera or anyone else. The fact that about 90% or more of what Libera puts out is enjoyable to me is what makes me a major fan. This is a far higher percentage than many other groups that I listen to; choral, modern, or otherwise. Whenever I am listening to my Libera mix and "The Lamb" or "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam" (AV2) come on, I move on to the next track just as enjaysea says.

I see no danger of Libera going pop as we can see by the very pop choices they have made since the 1980's in their recordings; so this is nothing new. Let us wait to hear these songs before prejudging them. After all, I never thought I would like "Wayfaring Stranger."—Surpinto
 


Between takes: Taichi Shiokubo (seated), Merlin Brouwer, Peter Kielty, Adam Izghouti, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Mathias Montoro, Tadgh Fitzgerald, Romeo Tesei, Leo Barron.

ELY CATHEDRAL CONCERT ANNOUNCED

 
On March 5th, Libera announced an upcoming concert on April 29th in the magnificent Ely Cathedral. This was predicted to be a preview of their latest concert tour material.

A TWEET FROM KAJIMOTO

On February 8th, the following enigmatic tweet appeared (Libera is known in Japan as "Rivera"):


  
On March 10th, Patrick Fandelok posted:
 

The small-big announcement is the launch of a Libera loyalty card from the cultural chain "Tsutaya", in Japan. (Tsutaya is  a big Japanese store for renting CDs and DVDs and you can find a store in every small town.) Read all the information here (in Japanese). The card also offers an entry for a lottery to win signed goodies. The card will also be on sale at the concert venues, limited to one per person.—Patrick

The ever-vigilant Jimmy Riddle posted (on Libera Dreams Forum) this fascinating article on the acoustic difficulties of performing in the vastness of Ely Cathedral ( April 29th on Libera's schedule).


http://www.psneurope.com/ely-cathedrals-centuries-of-echo-tackled/ 


By March 16th, some intriguing tweets came through from the Libera mascot, "Moose," who had at that point acquired his very own Twitter account.
 

For more tweets from Moose, go to:
 
THE GREAT MIRACLE RETURNS

On March 16th came the news that one of Libera's most exquisite pieces of music, the "Benedictus Deus" from the 2011 animated film El Gran Milagro/The Great Miracle was to be re-released in conjunction with the film's new release in France. Since the Mark McKenzie piece was described as "newly recorded," it was not clear at the time whether this was a remastered version of the original Stefan Leadbeater/Ralph Skan version, or a new recording by the current group of Libera Singers.



Happy to see that this tiny film "The Greatest Miracle" will be released in Paris, Lourdes and across France next week. Very pleased the London boys choir LIBERA will release a newly recorded and extended "Benedictus Deus" and that this iTunes top performing McKenzie soundtrack is finding a life.

 

This original short version is accompanied by photos of St. Philip's/Angel Voices/Libera soloists up to 2011, ending with then eight-year old Isaac London, who in 2017 was still in Libera, singing with the lower voices after a stellar solo career.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwYiXAONy34 (Benedictus Deus/Ascension/Gloria Patri/from El Gran Milagro/solo & second part by Stefan Leadbeater and Ralph Skan/2011/3:33)

On March 19th, SoundCloud featured a new album featuring two favorite Libera alumni. This  collection of a cappella covers was brilliantly arranged by current Libera keyboard player (and former soloist) Josh Madine and performed by Vox from the University of York.  At least one of the songs, "Tongue-tied," was composed by Libera great Ben Crawley (Ben See).


 

https://soundcloud.com/user-759053276/sets/vox (SoundCloud/Album of a cappella covers arranged by Josh Madine and performed by Vox from the University of York)

Josh Madine in 2005
Ben Crawley in 1999


 (Tongue-tied/ by Ben See/arranged by Josh Madine)



On March 20th, a teaser preview of Libera's new CD appeared on Twitter...



 
  ...followed on March 24th, by another short listen. Libera fan Surpinto summed up the knowledge of the upcoming CD's contents on the Libera Dreams Forum http://www.forum.libera-dreams.com/index.php:


Based on the tweet by Libera today with further previews for the new album, we can definitively add yet another track to the list: "Wayfaring Stranger." Although the clip is short and the sound quality limited, it sounds as though they are not using the live version from the "Libera in America" album but have instead recorded a studio version. I notice differences when listening to that segment side-by-side with the live version.

So yet another new track! My fears of another EP have been completely eradicated by these latest announcements; and who knows how many more songs the album may have? —Surpinto


So far we have:

From the Japanese vendors
Smile
From a Distance
San Damiano
Salve Regina
Stabat Mater
Angel
Jupiter

From Libera and Libera Moose tweets
The Three Ravens
Wayfaring Stranger
Angele
Home


And there may be more!

We know of 11 tracks at the minimum, with a minimum of 5 totally new, never-before-recorded-by-Libera songs. This is excellent. New recordings of old songs or the inclusion of old recordings released prior on various EP's can of course be nice as well, but it is the new songs which I am most anxious to hear.


 On March 30th, Libera released the third teaser for its upcoming CD:


https://twitter.com/officiallibera/stat ... 1784721409

The four songs are:

- Angel
- Salve Regina
- ?
- Dreaming of Home


The  inclusion of "Dreaming of Home" was a long-awaited satisfaction for fans of this lovely song, first performed four years ago. At this point fans were still guessing about about the titles of at least two of the 13 songs revealed.

On April 1st, Patrick Fandelok of Libera Passion discovered that the Facebook rumor of an extended version of Mark McKenzie's transcendent "Benedictus Deus" was a reality, based on the following post on McKenzie's website, which included a sample of the original 2011 version.        




An Unusual Tweet from Ely Cathedral






A Tweet from the Past

Identifiable in this photo: Front row (Best guesses): Michael Vereycken, Joe-Sanders-Wilde, Samir Abouelfaid, Sam Leggett, James Vereycken, Jake Shortall, Zach Lockett, Ed Day. Second Row: Chris Robson, Anthony Chadney, Ben Crawley, Simon Lewis, Josh Madine, Callum Payne. There were 22 boys on this tour; they performed in Tokyo and Yokohama. For more photos, etc., go to: http://liberasworld.blogspot.com/2005/04/japan-concert-archive.html
NEW CD SONG LIST REVEALED


On April 7th, Libera Records released images of the cover of the Hope CD, a full list of the songs, and the names of the soloists: http://libera-records.com/news/20170407release
Cover of the regular CD:
The boys on the cover are (out to in on both sides): Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey (?) Isaac London, Taichi Shinokubo, Lucas Wood, , Alex Gula, and Camden Stewart.


1. Salve Regina
Composer: Franz Schubert
Lyrics: Lori Bath
Arrangement: Robert Prizeman
Solo: Rocco Tesei


2. San Damiano
Composition & lyrics: Sal Solo
Arrangement: Robert Prizeman


3. Smile
Composition: Charlie Chaplin
Lyrics: Jeffrey Parsons & John Turner
Arrangement: Sam Coates
Solos: Gabriel Collins & Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti


4. Stabat Mater
Composer: Robert Prizeman
Poetry: Traditional
Solo: Isaac London


5. Dreaming of Home ~ From the movie Aria of the Battlefield
Composition: Philippe Lomby
Lyrics: Loli Bath
Solo: Camden Stewart


6. Angel ~ Universal Studios Japan "Universal Wonder Christmas" tie-up song
Composition: Muramatsu
Lyrics: Robert Prizeman
Solo: Isaac London


7. From A Distance
Composition & Lyrics: Julie Gold 
Arrangement: Sam Coates
Solo: Alexander Montoro

Cover of the CD-DVD:

 
 

8. Angele Dei
Composition: Robert Prizeman
Verse: Traditional
Solo: Alexander Montoro


9. Benedictus Deus (from the movie The Great Miracle)
Composition: Mark Mckenzie
Verse: Traditional
Solo: Thomas Delgado-Little


10. The Three Ravens
Composition: John Haar
Poetry: Traditional
Solo: Gregor Lumsden with Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti & Alexander Montoro


11. Hymn to Mary
Composition & Lyrics: Beth Nielsen Chapman
Solo: Isaac London


12. Venite Adoremus
Composition: Robert Prizeman
Verse: Traditional
Solo: Merlin Brouwer


13. Home
Composition: Muramatsu - Yoshinori
Writing: Robert Prizeman
Solo: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey


Bonus tracks:


14. Jupiter
Composition: Holst
Lyrics: Cecil Spring & Mao Asada
Arrangement: Robert Prizeman
Solo: Isaac London & Taichi Shinokubo


15. Wayfaring Stranger
(this track is only on the regular CD, not on the CD-DVD)
Song & Poetry: Traditional
Arrangement: Sam Coates
Solo: Alexander Gula




DVD (only on the Initial limited edition)


DVD (only on the Initial limited edition)

Salve Regina

Smile


On April 10th, a Tweet from Libera:


Leo Barron (left) and Rocco Tesei prepare for the April 29th concert in Ely Cathedral.
And another Tweet on April 17th:


Clockwise from upper left: Camden Stewart, Alex Montoro, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Peter Kielty, Victor Wiggin.

On April 18th, fan Surpinto speculated about the upcoming release of the Hope CD, detailing recent changes in record companies and distribution:

We know that Libera has ended its contract with Warner and has gone independent; we can see this in their Libera at Christmas album. Aside from whatever exclusive deal they have in Japan with Wisteria/Libera-Records, which appears to include tour funding, they seem free to do whatever they want. So the unknown factor is: What are the terms of their deal in Japan? Are they allowed to release the same album outside Japan independently? Is the album exclusive to Japan? Are the release dates exclusive?
Obviously, we do not have answers to these questions but the way this album release goes down will indicate the likely scenario.

If I had to guess I would say that album will be released internationally not long after the Japan release, but it remains to be seen.—Surpinto
On that same day, the following announcement appeared at
https://libera.org.uk/news/new-cd-announced-hope/

 

On April 19th, Libera fan Patrick Fandelok explained what was to many an unfamiliar term:

a CD digipack is a physical media, a case made of cardboard instead of crystal plastic, with layers of printed paper on it, that has a least one fold, and with a plastic support pasted inside the case to hold the CD. For example, the Deluxe version of the Christmas Album is a CD digipack, with 3 folds.—Patrick

Libera Dreams also provided a link to the Invisible Hands website:


On April 23rd, fan Surpinto posted CD-release information on Libera Dreams:


An official update of the staggered release dates and information for the album was posted. Apparently, the album will not be released as a physical CD in the United States until June 15 but will be available for digital download on the international release date May 26.

Also on that date, the industrious Jimmy Riddle tweeted with enthusiasm about a BBC 30-second snippet of the extended version of "Benedictus Deus:'




Tom Delgado-Little


It was, indeed stunning, with Delgado-Little at the peak of his treble powers, and the rest of the boys living up to his example.  The full piece apparently was played on BBC Radio 2, and Riddle commented: ...I'm not going to audio grab it due to copyright but UK listeners can hear it http://bbc.in/2pRSzNr  here at 50:30. (Other tweeters reported that it was also available to US listeners.)




 By April 26th, several versions of the piece were available on YouTube.


(extended “Benedictus Deus”/solo by Tom Delgado-Little/3:28)

INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT PRIZEMAN

The industrious JimmyRiddle Retweeted Samuel Ball:

An interview with Robert Prizeman 

#Libera begins at 1:16:45 ucb.co.uk/catchup/166094 exclusive first play of 'Smile'; tours to US & China

And from Surpinto on Libera Dreams:
  A radio interview was conducted with Robert Prizeman about Libera. In it he talks about Libera, their upcoming plans, and forthcoming album. The feature of the interview (aside from a surprise announcement about a summer tour to the US), was the playing of the new song "Smile". I have listened to it several times and it is certainly growing on me. Nicely done. —Surpinto


CONCERT AT ELY CATHEDRAL


On April 29th, Patrick Fandelok tweeted a photo of the boys arriving at the cathedral, noting that alumni favorites Josh Madine and Kavana Crossley were present. The boys' rehearsal was open to the public, and posters for the new Hope CD  were prominently displayed.


Ely Cathedral tweeted photos of the sound check. The red patches on the boys' faces are holding microphones in place.

 
Left to right: (best guess): Taichi Shinokubo, Alex Gula, Nathaniel Bates-Fisher, Luke Jelley, Samuel-Francis Collins, Adam Izghouti, Lawrence Taylor, Marc Alvares, Joe Cranich, Gregor Lumsden, James Menezes, Rocco Tesei.

 

The evening's Song List:

 
(Program photos by Patrick)
The list of choristers named 34 boys, including the "Joe ..."  in the miniboys chart (below), now identified as Joseph Cranich. Other newbies included Nathaniel Bates-Fisher, Cassius Collard, Samuel-Francis Collins, Luke Jelley, Alexandre Menuet, Neo Parson, Koji Shinokubo, Lawrence Taylor, Romeo Tesei, Victor Wiggin and Theo Wood. Among the missing were Sam Wiggin, Timothy Lee, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Matthew Madine and Michael Menezes. The lower voices in the back row were former treble soloists Alex Montoro, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, and Isaac London.

 
 


 

Fan Lauren noted that the program design was by the mother of Libera singer Peter Kielty, and the indefatigable Patrick Fandelok got in quickly with the first review—entirely on Twitter. 

PATRICK'S REVIEW

1. San Damiano: The flutist Elmear McGeown went onstage alone, playing an intro, then the boys entered the stage from both sides. She left the stage at the end of the intro, which is a novelty. The song is mainly chorus; I have not noticed a specific soloist.

2. Sanctus: On that song and the third, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Isaac London left the stage. Merlin Brouwer sang his usual beautiful long harmony; Adam Izghouti sung the high notes.

3. Speech: by Peter Kielty and Alex Gula. They introduced the concert and announced new songs from the new CD Hope.

4. Dreaming of Home: Chorus song with final high notes by Camden Stewart. Such a wonder to hear it again !! Really looking forward to the CD.

5. From a Distance: (Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Isaac London back onstage) Wonderful solo from Merlin,Brouwer, located alone front stage. This song is soooo beautiful!! Possibly my favorite, but difficult to say— there were so many great songs tonight.


6. Angele Dei: A surprise, the solo is now performed by Rocco Tesei.  Eleven boys surround him in an arc, hands joined in prayer, the others in a second wider arc.

7. Speech by Alex M. (another one, Alexandre Menuet) and Victor Wiggin, about living in London.

8. Far Away: That song was last sung in Guilford 2013 . If I'm correct, it's back for the Japan tour in four weeks. Outstanding solo by Gabriel Collins!! I mean, Gabe was really, really, really good! Worthy successor to Michael Horncastle, Ralph Skan, and Isaac London. The high notes that give all the flavor to the song were sung together by three or four boys, difficult to say exactly: Adam Izghouti, Leo Barron, Rocco Tesei and Taichi Shinokubo.

9. Sacris Solemnis :The song started with the boys arranged in two rows facing the audience and ended in a large arc covering the whole stage.

10. Wonderful World: Solo by Gregor, located stage front, as brilliant as always.

11. Speech from Gregor and... perhaps Alex G (not sure...) about the many different layers of voices used on some songs.

12. Libera: Solo on English words by Alex Gula and Rocco Tesei singing together, located alone front stage. Final high notes by Adam Izghouti and Rocco.

13. Dies Irae: Nice to have that song back in concert!  It started with a new musical introduction, with piano and violins responding to each other. During the intro the boys entered the stage. As with “Sacris Solemnis,“ they started in two rows facing the audience, ending in a large arc.

14. Joyful Joyful This one was chained directly after “Dies Irae.” I missed who sung the high notes... Perhaps Adam Izghouti, who did a lot on many songs.

14. Speech from Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and perhaps Alex Gula (Not sure) about their mascot, “Moose.”

16. Angel: Solo by Camden Stewart, with everyone arranged in a large arc and Camden alone in the center of it.

17. Salva Me: Two rows of seven on each side, two rows at the center, facing the audience. Behind them was Taichi Shinokubo, who sung all the high "Salvas.”

18. Amazing Grace: I think they knelt on this song, arranged in two arcs. A piano intro and a beautiful solo verse by Rocco Tesei.

19. Speech about the various origins of some boys’ families—Alex Gula’s from Poland, Alex Menuet’s and Victor Wiggin’s from France, Theo Wood’s from Mexico, Oliver Watt-Rodriguez’ from Spain, Tadhg Fitzgerald’s from Ireland, Alex Montoro’s from Italy, Taichi and Koji Shinokubo’s from Japan.

 

20. Sempiterna: Four boys next to each other, front stage: Gabriel Collins, Ben Bywater, Adam Izghouti and Taichi Shinokubo. Beautiful performance!! High notes by Gabriel, alone.

21. Wayfaring Stranger: Solo by Alex Gula at the center at the back, the others in two lines on both sides. Alex walks slowly to the center and they all form a large Very funny to see Alex framed on both sides by the two "towers"—Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Isaac London.

22. Smile: Solo by Gabriel Collins, who stands center stage. Behind him on his right is Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti . Gabe starts alone and then he is joined by Alessandro. Alé brings a beautiful low harmony to Gabe's solo; they really fit well together. Gabe is again wonderful in his solo.

23. Speech from Tadhg Fitzgerald announcing the last song.

24. Exultate: Solo by Merlin Brouwer, located front stage. As usual Jon Ormston the percussionist and Elmear McGeown the flutist played from opposite sides of the stage. At the end Merlin sings his solo part 'we hear a distant music' while walking back to join the others, and Camden Stewart sings the high notes.

25. Encore: “Libera” (shortened) Again with Alex Gula and Rocco Tesei alone in the front of the stage, before joining the others in a large arc. 
 
 
Also on April 29th, a fan called thisisturok posted the following on Libera Dreams:

I just wanted to let everyone know that I posted a couple of the new songs from Hope on my Youtube channel.
Here's the link to "Smile:" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAR-dqR5qno
Here's the link to "Benedictus Deus:" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIGBvbYt19I

The goal/purpose behind this is to help to give the fans a little relief until the album is released.
I also want to to energize people to purchase the album.

This music is truly special to me and a lot of the times when I listen to it, it makes me cry.—thisisturok


I hope you guys enjoy it. God Bless you all.
 
 End of Part 10 for Now...