Saturday, August 1, 2015

Libera Historical Timeline, Part 8B: August 2015 to Present

Last  Revised/Updated 
Thursday, December 29th, 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 8A (March-July 2015)

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

 Summer Concert in Osaka
(Odds and Ends)
(Japan Christmas Tour and New Song Release Announced) 
(Christmas Concert at St. George's Cathedral Announced)
(Christmas-Themed Mini-CD/DVD to be released in Japan) 
(Pre-Winter Concert Season Activities
December 11th Christmas Concert in St. George's Cathedral 
Japan Holiday Concert Tour


So here we are again, in a new section necessitated by the limitations of long-posting on Blogger. Once again, I'd like to remind readers that I'm a writer, not a techie, and importing text/photos from other sources may change the configuration a bit, although it's all readable. As ever, corrections and comments are welcome at We begin with a few contributions/events from the last day of July.—AH

(Photo by Yuki)

On July 31st, faithful Libera fan Yuki published a delightful review of the July 27th Exeter Cathedral concert on her Dear Libera blogsite. It contains appreciative commentary, photos, and a 56-second video of the boys bows and exits.It can be found at
A combined review, originally posted on the Libera Dreams site, came from Libera enthusiast Yorkie, observant as ever. More photos from the concerts may be seen in Part 8A.

Starting with general observations, I was surprised at how well both concerts were attended given the short notice. The south coast of England is a holiday destination for many Brits, and we are now in the peak holiday season so maybe Libera have hit on something here. Christchurch in particular is a place that nails the UK Libera fan demographic (it seems a popular destination for those 50+) and the priory has a reputation for hosting classical events. Throw in that there is nothing much else on offer in the evening and bingo. At Christchurch they appeared to be selling tickets at the door and had added extra rows of seating (which I got the impression were not normally needed) right at the very rear of the church.

Both venues had relatively small central seating areas in the Nave and plenty of people sitting in the side aisles with views terribly restricted by pillars. In Exeter I had spare tickets, a pair of front row seats and a single near the front and centre so I decided to give them away. The ladies that got the front row were very surprised; it was the birthday of one of them and she said good luck like that never happened to her. Whilst we are on seating can I say that numbered seating is definitely the way to go at these events. It makes everything much more civilised; no mobbing the doors or sprinting through the church, please keep it up Libera.

In Exeter we had a nice raised stage, which is a great bonus for those sitting further back. Unfortunately this wasn't possible in Christchurch, and the boys performed most of their songs some way back from the front of a slightly raised altar area although they did come right to the front on the a cappella songs. Something I haven't witnessed before at a Libera concert was in Exeter when the music started for “Joyful Joyful” and the audience started to applaud. Odd, but infinitely better than Christchurch where people sang along to the songs or insisted on talking through “Mysterium," one of my favourite songs....

The returning songs were all great additions to the set list, and “Mysterium,” “Voca Me” & “Sacris Solemnis” (the last sung mainly by Isaac London, Alex Montoro, & Lucas Wood, with Isaac singing the top part over the others) really work in the setting of old churches, especially as the building darkens in the second act and the lighting gains impact. Alex Montoro has a better head for heights than I do, standing high on the pulpitum (especially in Christchurch where there was no rail), picked out in rich purple lighting for “Salva Me” & “Voca Me.” It was a very dramatic staging that really impressed many in the audience. Nice high-note work by Alex on both.

“Danny Boy” was staged as Guildford and it really is incredibly effective live. I was fortunate to be seated directly opposite Isaac London at Exeter (he kneels at an angle to the audience). The Harmonies as the other boys add their voices are fantastic. There was a slight pause when the song finished as if the audience had to collect themselves before a long round of applause that had to be ended by Robert Prizeman starting the next song. Tom Delgado-Little doesn't seem to be singing as many solos these days but his voice is still at its peak as demonstrated with his perfect solo rendition of “O For The Wings Of A Dove.” No problem reaching those high notes and he has exemplary voice control on a song that would trip up less skilled singers.

Loved the return of “Mysterium” to its rightful place at the start of the second half (although would prefer it not to link in to “Orinoco Flow”). Allesandro Mackinnon-Botti sings it beautifully, perhaps not treble-high but with a beautiful tone. A great return for this song.

I can only repeat the praise for “Stay With Me,” Merlin Brouwer taking the Ed Day main part and Lucas Wood doing the Liam Connery high flourish. Great song, great singing, & where did Merlin spring from to deliver such a great performance? (No magic puns, please; I'm sure he has to endure a lot of those).

NOTE from Libera fan sanctus: there is a new part in "Stay With Me" in maybe the second verse when Merlin Brouwer was singing , a few boys: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti , Marc Alvares , Timothy Lee, Sam Wiggin , Matthew Madine, and Alex Montoro (correct me if I'm wrong) accompanied him singing different oohs and ahs that harmonised very nicely !

“Dreaming of Home” is always a crowd-pleaser, so I hope this will get recorded at some point, and “Wayfaring Stranger” is a song that is destined to be a Libera classic, with Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti again taking the solo part.

Finally, “Nearer My God To Thee,” performed in a similar way to “Danny Boy,” a cappella with multiple harmonies. Now this is where lack of written notes is a problem because all I can remember is that it started with a single boy singing (Isaac London or Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti) then others joined in with multiple layering harmonies (Alex Montoro? Sam Wiggin? Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey?), and finished with a solo voice. Unexpected but very enjoyable.

During the interval at each concert somebody from Compassion UK gave a little talk about the work of the charity. If you are interested in learning more please check out their website

Both shows were very polished, and I would say better even than when I saw them in Guildford, and that was a really good concert, one of the best I've seen. They are heading to Japan in good voice and from what we saw on stage good spirits too, lots of smiles and energy. My only concern is that Taichi will cause such a storm that the Japanese fans won't let him come back to us!—Yorkie

 Concert in Osaka, Japan 

Also on July 31st, 20 Libera Boys arrived in Japan to perform in a special concert to be held on August 5th.

From left to right: Camden Stewart, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Tom Delgado-Little, Gabriel Collins, Alex Montoro, Lucas Wood, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Sam Wiggin, Marc Alvares, Alex Gula, Cassius O’ Connell-White, Taichi Shinokubo, Kavana Crossley, Oliver Mycka, Matthew Jansen, Timothy Lee, Isaac London, Merlin Brouwer, Michael Menezes and Shay Balsekar.


Oliver Mycka (photo by Yuki) is the newest boy on this trip. Nine of the boys who sang in the two UK concerts the previous week were missing: Leo Barron, Benedict Bywater, Tadhg Fitzgerald, Adam Izghouti, Matthew Madine, James Menezes, Rocco, Marc U-R and Joseph Walshe.


 On August 5th, the special Libera concert was held at 11:30AM (Osaka Time) in the Hollywood section of the Universal Studios Japan theme park. In spite of sweltering heat, the concert, for which the 400 seats had sold out in 10 minutes, was fully attended. Firsthand reports here come from Libera fans Yuki and Patrick, who were present at the performance, and Lauren/Lexi, from the Mini-Angels site, who followed their reports closely.

Choristers present were:
Marc Alvares
Shay Balsekar 
Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
Merlin Brouwer
Gabriel Collins
Kavana Crossley 
Tom Delgado-Little
Alex Gula
Matthew Jansen 
Timothy Lee 
Isaac London 
Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti
Michael Menezes 
Alex Montoro 
Oliver Mycka
Cassius O’ Connell-White 
Taichi Shinokubo 
Camden Stewart
Sam Wiggin
Lucas Wood

 The Boys pose with Muramatsu-san
The Song List, with only a brief nod to the "Christmas in Summer" theme:

1. Joy to the World
2. Carol of the Bells

3. Sanctus
4. Exsultate

5. Song of Life Song of Life with piano accompaniment by composer Takatsugu Muramatsu/solo by Isaac London/Universal Studios Japan/8/5/15/3:39) (Isaac makes a small slip with the lyrics midway, but carries on like a pro.) 
Oliver Mycka, Camden Stewart, Isaac London, Merlin Brouwer in "Song of Life."
6. Orinoco Flow
7. Amazing Grace
8. The Prayer
Wonderful World 
10. Wayfaring Stranger
11. Stay With Me
12. Nearer My God to Thee
13. Joyful Joyful

The 14th selection/encore on the program was  the world premiere of "Angel," a new song by Takatsugu Muramatsu, who also played the piano accompaniment. This song was written to be used as part of the theme park's "Universal Wonder" Christmas event in November-December.

Speeches were kept to a minimum, the primary speaker (in Japanese) being little Taichi Shinokubo, who read from notes pulled from his sleeve, and translated for Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey. Their speeches, along with short sections of five songs, can be seen in the following clip posted on a Japanese newspage

Taichi Translates (PAGE Video clips from Universal Studios Japan/8/5/15/3:34)

A day or so before the concert, the Libera lads obligingly sweltered in Hogwarts robes for a photo-op in the Harry Potter section of the theme park. 

Many More Photos are now available at: (Patrick and Quentin)

 Tom Delgado-Little, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Michael Menezes,Mark Alvares,Oliver Mycka, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Taichi Shinokubo and Isaac London pose with a new friend. (Lauren/Lexi/entry for Tuesday, August 4th, 2015)
(Courtesy of surpinto)  

Train ride with Camden Stewart, Marc Alvares, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Tom Delgado-Little and Alex Montoro
On August 6th, Yuki, another enthusastic Libera fan, translated the Libera Japan Official report of the USJ concert, complete with photos and extras on her Dear Libera site:


On August 8th, recent Libera alumnus Eoghan McCarthy and almost-alumnus/staff member Kavana Crossley joined forces to post this charming SoundCloud take on an old favorite. (Can’t Help Falling in Love With You/solo by Eoghan McCarthy, ukelele by Kavana Crossley/August, 2015/3:04)

On August 10th, fan Yuki tweeted a positive ID of mini-boy Leo Barron, taken during a break between concerts at Exeter and Christchurch.

Leo Barron
Remember, you can always find photos and info on the latest lineup of Libera singers (as well as former members) at:

On August 17th, Libera boys posted a gallery of new photos from Japan, including these slices of life-on-the-road at:


Oliver Mycka (R) gets a close-up of Camden Stewart, observed by Merlin Brouwer and a Japanese fan.


As readers might have guessed, the cancellation of the Korean tour due to a MERS epidemic created a late-summer hiatus for online fans, though probably not for the boys themselves, although their future scheduling was still in flux at this time. On August 28th, one of the lads kindly contributed a charming catch-up blog detailing the group's January excursion to Moscow to sing in a choral festival (see Part 8)

On September 6th, though the summer-doldrums blackout on other Libera news continued, so did the blogging, with a nice overview of preparation (and play) before the Exeter and Christchurch concerts in late July.

Jellyfish on the beach: (front) Ben Bywater, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Camden Stewart, James Menezes, Taichi Shinokubo; (back) Merlin Brouwer.

On September 9th, Libera posted a new Facebook photo, a composite of past program portraits.   
Clockwise from lower left: Oliver Mycka, Isaac London, Sam Wiggin, Lucas Wood, Alex Montoro, Marc Alvares. Merlin Brouwer is in the center.

Changes at

You may have noticed that we no longer publish blogs on We have decided to consolidate all blogging on the UK site at But nothing has changed at Libera of the US. We’re still working hard behind the scenes to support the one of a kind group that is Libera, and to support their touring activities in the United States.


The role of the Libera of the US organization in adding to fan frustration and inconvenience was thoroughly explored in the following Libera Dreams Forum exchange on 9/14:
 [Following the cancellation of the Pittsburgh concert]: Remember how Pittsburgh was "Rising from the ashes" after first being cancelled? I get the impression that there was some question at the time as to whether or not they could perform that concert. Now we know what happened. I am sure it will soon be officially communicated and set straight but I think it is more than reasonable to assume that Pittsburgh is off.—surpinto

That's a bummer for all those poor unfortunate souls who were looking forward to Pittsburgh. It's beginning to look like catching a concert In the U.S is more a matter of chance than a matter of planning, since so many concerts have been cancled or resurrected. Or it could be that we only notice it because we are given more behind-the-scenes looks at the planning process, and getting notified about concerts earlier, before the dates are really settled.— alsaceobservator

Yeah, tell me about it. I'm one of those souls who was looking forward to that concert, but what can you do? I think you hit the nail on the head that we have been privy to the behind-the-scenes planning process over at Even before that website and the US affiliate existed there were plenty of venues selling Libera tickets long before an announcement from Libera ever came out. In fact, some announcements were mere weeks before the scheduled performances.

By the way, has removed the Pittsburgh concert from their list. That coupled with removing the John Rexroad blogs gives me the impression that they are trying to streamline information about the concerts across websites to avoid the confusion some of the US announcements have caused; definitely a good thing. At the same time I always remind myself that everyone updating those websites probably has other full-time jobs, families, etc. Even Robert Prizeman himself is probably too busy being the music director at their church and doing the music end of things to devote more than a few hours a week to things like websites and announcements. And well he should, those choristers deserve the best musical education he and his team can provide them.—surpinto

I think we should only know about concerts when they are set in stone . The canceling of concerts and then saying they are back on to then canceling them yet again can only damage the brand in the U.S.A. Unless you are hard-core fans you would just get sick of all the mucking around going on with the concerts in the u.s and not bother the next time they did decide to hold a concert.It's nice to know in advance but it's just become a mess now and I think Libera need a stricter control on what's released about concerts abroad —dani.

I agree with dani. Sometimes more information isn't a good thing. Of course, the ideal situation would be to have dates set in stone long before the concert, the way more prominant artists do. Although, I do like the spontaneity. It means that any month they could announce a tour or concert near me. Hope springs eternal.—alsaceobservator

I also agree with dani's observations. It is better to have future concert announcements, regardless of the country in which they are to be held, consolidated on the main Libera website in the UK. I personally rely on this site for accurate information, since it comes straight from the Libera organization and those responsible for the administration of Libera's activities have input into what information is made public. Yes, sometimes it does take a while to put concert information on the UK website, but I am sure that this is done in a way to ensure that the public can get the most accurate information that Libera can provide, although sometimes cancellations occur because of circumstances beyond Libera's control.

By consolidating the concert information on the UK site, Libera is endeavouring to prevent needless cancellations/changes that would inconvenience those who need to make appropriate arrangements. They are probably aware that people who travel by air often choose the lowest fares which, unfortunately, are non-refundable in most cases. I think that the organization has moved wisely in both their own interests, and those of their supporters worldwide.—labbie


With this photo of Tadgh Fitzgerald, Taichi Shinokubo, Leo Barron and Camden Stewart, the boys tweeted that they were glad to be singing again after a summer break.

On September 18th, alert French fan Patrick tweeted:

New Libera mini CD-DVD is due for November 11th in Japan HMV Japan site:  Google translated: 

The CD has 5 songs:

1. Angel

2. Santa

3. Carol Of The Bells *

4. Angels We Have Heard on High *

5. Angel (orchestra version)

* = new version

"Angel" is the English title of the new song "天使のくれた奇跡" that was sung in Osaka this august. What is that 2nd song "Santa" (サンタ ) ?

The Google Japanese translation of the DVD title was: “Angels Give Me Was a Miracle,” presumably somewhat different in British.  The second song ("Santa") was at this time thought by many to be a mistranslation of Libera's trademark song "Sanctus."

On September 23rd, the Official Libera website posted the following concert update:
At this point, a concert originally scheduled by Libera of the US producer John Rexroad for October 25th in Cerritos, California (as part of a longer failed US tour) was still listed on Rexroad's website, but not on the Official Libera Events page, so its status was unclear. It was thought that, without a sponsor to underwrite the expenses of bringing the boys so far for a single concert (an example of this was Universal Studios Japan's sponsorship for a single performance there on August 5th of this year), the Cerritos concert would be canceled. 


On September 24th, fans got a look at the front of the new Angel mini-CD/DVD. The little angel on the cover was Libera newbie Oliver Mycka.

About this time, rumors began to circulate that the song listed as "Santa" was not a misreading of "Sanctus," but a new-for-Libera song called "Santa Will Find You," as sung here by its composer, Mindy Smith. This was confirmed by French fan Patrick:

The case of the song "Santa" is solved, it's a new song !!

Its full title is "Santa Will Find You"

This comes from Libera Records, the Japanese communication branch of Libera.
I asked them yesterday about that song, on their FB page.
They replied this morning : "Santa's original title is "Santa Will Find You". It's a new song!" (Santa Will Find You/Mindy Smith/3:42)

On September 28th, Libera tweeted a tease for upcoming news in the form of this wintery photo of soloist Isaac London.

And on September 29th, Patrick (of French site Libera Passion) came up with more Amazon-chart statistics:
 On October 5th, the boys tweeted photos taken during a tea break from rehearsal:

Timothy Lee (L) and James Menezes refresh themselves...
...while Camden Stewart (above) and Ben Bywater (below) model the traditional "backwards jacket" technique used to shield white robes from food/drink stains.


On October 8th, the US affiliate at posted the following:

Cerritos Tour Cancelled

With much regret, we must announce that Libera’s October concert in Cerritos, California has been cancelled. We fully understand the inconvenience and disappointment caused by this decision.

Although we were committed to performances for our supporters in the United States this fall and winter, circumstances beyond our control have made it impossible at this time.

On a positive note, we are very excited to announce that Libera will be releasing a new song for this Christmas season. And we are currently working on a new music video as well. We’re very excited to share these new projects with you, and we sincerely thank you for your continued support.

It was also noted that all blogs by US-based producer John Rexroad had been wiped from the Libera of the US site, suggesting that his involvement with the group had ended. 

Tickets for Libera's annual "at-home" Christmas concert on December 11th at St. George's Cathedral went on sale on October 10th. The concert was essentially sold out within two days, with all "premium" seats being claimed within the first five minutes of availability. Fans voiced their appreciation that tickets for this popular event were for designated seating, as opposed to the "queue-and-rush" haphazard-seating scenarii of past concerts.

On October 14th, Japanese fan Yuki tweeted the following...

#Libera 1 concert at Osaka on 21st, and 2 concerts at Tokyo on 23rd!  @Kajimoto_News @liberarecords @officiallibera

 ...and the boys posted this impish photo of Isaac London.

Japan Christmas Tour (Official Announcements)

October 17th, 2015 by Libera

Today we have announced a Christmas tour in Japan.  We will perform 3 concerts in Osaka and Tokyo.  In Osaka we will be at the Osaka International Convention Center, on 21st December at 7 pm.  In Tokyo we will perform twice on 23rd December at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, at 3pm and 7pm.

Tickets go on general release on 31st October 

[Also, On October 20th, after seeing a notice from an arts calendar in the Philippines, Libera fan Lauren tweeted:]

On October 26th, Universal Studios Japan released a 30-second TV commercial for the holiday season, featuring the voices of Libera singing their new song "Angel," by Takatsugu Muramatsu. (Libera sings “Angel” for Universal Studios Japan Holiday ad)

On October 27th, Universal  Studios posted a press release, showing another version of the cover (US limited edition) of the new mini CD/DVD, and announcing a concert on December 20th at USJ in addition to those scheduled in Tokyo and Osaka.

0 (Universal Studios Japan press release [in Japanese] for Christmas Tour 2015)

The boys also tweeted a photo and announcement:
We did a bit of filming over the weekend. We will let you know when it is on TV, but here are a couple of snaps: 
Michael Menezes, Lucas Wood, Sam Wiggin
Alex Montoro, Rocco Tesei, Mark Ustynovych-Repa, Taichi Shinokubo, Marc Alvares, Alessandro Mackinnon- Botti

On October 30th, according to tweets from Dear Libera's Yuki, another event, at Universal Studios Japan on December 20th, was added to the group's week-before-Christmas schedule: an outdoor performance (the first since Libera appeared at Disneyland in 2009). Yuki mentioned, in a tweeted conversation with French fan Patrick of Libera Passion (below), that the concert would be standing room only, with minimal VIP seating, and that several "acts" would also be included. Two separate shows were planned for the evening.


On November 1st, another tweet from John Rexroad appeared, accompanied by a delightful video showing what happened when a clutch of Libera boys was put into a room with an assortment of Libera footballs, provoking the thought: who washed those robes?
Taichi Shinokubo
Cassius O' Connell-White
Sam Wiggin

Group shots: Taichi Shinokubo, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, and Rocco Tesei.  Libera silly football session/11/2015/1:55

On November 3rd, a tweet from Lauren of Mini-Angels concerning the release of Libera's new Christmas songs on iTunes:

 ...and a November 4th tweet from Yuki (who also explained that the title of the US release of the holiday mini-album/EP is Angel, while the Japanese version is translated as The Gift of Angels). Somewhat confusingly, the release on iTunes is referenced in various places as both The Holiday EP and The Holiday EP (Santa Will Find You).

#Libera #USJ concert tickets are SOLD OUT! #リベラ USJ reserved tickets sold out! @officiallibera @liberarecords @USJ_Official.

 Some fan reviews of the EP can be found at:

A 30-second preview of "Santa Will Find You" can be found at:

On November 5th, the following message appeared on the Libera Official site, with a description of the soon-to-be-released video of the song:


White Christmas Comes Early to South London

November 05th, 2015 by Libera

A spate of snowballing and snow-angels broke out last weekend.   For the release of our new song "Santa will find you’" the boys created several Christmas scenes in a Balham studio for the accompanying video – thanks to a good supply of the right kind of fake snow.

Soloist Isaac London had the challenging task of delivering the touching message of the song as all kinds of mayhem developed around him. Draped in Christmas lights he eventually joins the snowball party.

The boys are due to experience a different kind of Christmas this year as they make a flying visit to Japan to perform several concerts in halls and the famous Univeral Studios theme park.
Also posted on the official site: a short blog about the boys' trip to Japan in August.

Libera's Taichi Shinokubo surrounded by adoring handmaidens adjusting his "Hogwarts" robe at Universal Studios Japan.

On November 7th, another tweet from Lauren. Translations of the name of this CD at this point included:

Angel Give Me Was a Miracle
Gift of Angels
Miracle of Angels
Miracle given by an Angel
On November 9th, a video aired on YouTube as part of a promotional ad, featuring about half a minute of the boys' August performance of "Angel," the title song by Takatsugu Muramoto that appears on the new mini CD/DVD to be released on 11/11. (37-second preview/ad/ Libera singing “Angel,” by Takatsugu Muramoto in Japan/August 2015)
On November 10th, numerous joyous tweets arrived from Japan, where it was November 11th and the new Angels mini-DVD went on sale. Fan Yuki posted a Dear Libera photo of her purchases, including concert tickets.

Meanwhile, in the US, an interesting announcement appeared:

On November 10th, an interesting video was posted; it was later removed due to copyright restrictions by Libera records: (Angel/solo by Isaac London/2015/5:17)
Boys in the clouds: Marc Alvares, Merlin Brouwer, Camden Stewart, Lucas Wood, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey

Re: Japanese CD + DVD

Postby Yorkie » Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:10 am

The Angel CD fortunately has the lyrics printed in English and as there is a little confusion I thought I'd type them out for those who don't have them:

Angel take your wings and fly, watching over me
see me through my night time and be my leading light
Angel you have found the way, never fear to tread
You'll be a friend to me, angel spread your wings and fly

Voces angelorum gloria, dona eis pacem
(Voices of angels in glory, grant peace to all)
For you're always near to me, in my joy and sorrow
For you ever care for me, lifting my spirits to the sky

Where a million angels sing, in amazing harmony
and the words of love they bring to the never ending story
A million voices sing to the wonder of the light
So I hide beneath your wing
You are my guardian, angel of mine

Cantate caeli chorus angelorum
Venite adoramus in aeternum
Psallite saecula et saeculorum
Laudate Deo in gloria
(Sing, chorus of angels, in glory for ever)

Can you be my angel now watching over me
comfort and inspire me to see our journey through
Can I be your friend indeed, from all cares set free,
the clouds would pass away, then I'd be an angel too

Voces angelorum gloria, dona eis pacem
(Voices of angels in glory, grant peace to all)

For you're always near to me, in my joy and sorrow
For you ever care for me, lifting my spirits to the sky

Where a million angels sing, in amazing harmony
and the words of love they bring to the never ending story
A million voices sing to the wonder of the light
So I hide beneath your wing,
You are my guardian, angel of mine,
Angel of mine.

And thanks to the ever-resourceful Jimmy Riddle, information and visuals appeared on Sunday November 15th  for the 2015 Universal Studios Japan holiday shows.

 Re: Japanese CD + DVD

Well the USJ shows have started in Osaka and the 'angel' song appears at 12:00 in this presentation... Video from :

Its okay but I think when Libera provide their authentic touch in the one-off special later in Dec; the organizers may be wishing they could have taken up a 6-week residency there.

The real McCoy with their 3 amazing songs back-to-back ("Song of Life," "Far Away," & now "Angels") appears in the "Joy of Lights" presentation.... commences at 2:00; Video from :

listening to those songs back to back, in a land far, far, away makes you appreciate the global reach 'Libera' now has.

On November 16th, fans got a "backstage" look at the creation of the "Santa Will Find You" video, with the announcement that it will be released on November 18th.

Another interesting development was the appearance of a YouTube video featuring a Santa suit-clad Japanese youth band performing a lovely instrumental version of "Song of Life," by Takatsugu Muramatsu. (Instrumental version of Song of Life/Japanese massed youth band/3:40)


On November 18th, the long-awaited "Santa Will Find You" video (directed by Libera alumnus Ben Crawley) appeared, with a great deal of charm and silliness swirling around soloist Isaac London. The Libera "Moose" mascot makes a cameo appearance at about 1:20. (Santa Will FindYou/solo by Isaac London/2015/3:57

On November 23rd, 16 Libera boys appeared on Britain's QVC Shopping Channel, performing "It's a Wonderful World," with Isaac London soloing.

Left to Right: Camden Stewart, Michael Menezes, Tadgh Fitzgerald, Sam Wiggin, Isaac London, Merlin Brouwer, Matthew Jansen, Oliver Mycka, Timothy Lee, Adam Izghouti (hidden) Marc Alvares, Alex Montoro, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Rocco Tesei, AlexGula, Taichi Shinokubo. (Sorry, not one camera angle without someone hidden); for more photos, go to Yuki's Libera Dreams site: (What a Wonderful World/solo by Isaac London/performed on QVC Shopping Network/11/23/15/4:37)  
On November 27th, the boys tweeted more backstage photos from the "Santa Will Find You" shoot. More at
The ever-adorable Alex Gula
Snow Angels Alex Montoro and Sam Wiggin
On December 2nd, Patrick Fandelok posted this update:

You can now buy the physical CD on the Libera US site

The CD is accessible on the home page or directly here
The price is $7 per CD, with a -21% discount in case you buy 10 or more. John Rexroad said on his twitterthat it's an independent release, so it all goes to libera. The CD can be sent worldwide.The shipment calculation is well made with several options from the fastest to the cheapest. The CD has a soft cover.The number is said to be limited, so don't wait for too long to order yours if you are interested.

The songs on the CD are:
- Santa Will Find You
- Carol of the Bells
- Angels We Have Heard
- The Wexford Carol

 The release of "Santa Will Find You" had a this point become somewhat of a charged issue for many fans, some decrying the "secularizaton" and "commercialization" it represents, and baying for a return to Libera's "core values" and "religious roots." Others saw it as an example of the group's freedom to perform all types of music, and as a charming seasonal offering rather than as a betrayal of values.

Making "Santa Will Find You"

On December 3rd, Libera posted the following FYI on Facebook:

Some of you have been asking about the best way to get hold of some of our recent releases around the world, so here goes...

You can get a copy of our Japanese CD/ DVD 'Angel' here (available for shipping worldwide):

 On December 7th, a helpful tweet from Libera...

...and on December 8th,a short interview with Cassius O'Connell-White, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, and Isaac London on BBC-Radio Solent,captured on SoundCloud by Jimmy Riddle:

On December 9th, a Salvation Army ad had  an oddly familiar musical backup. (Salvation Army Advert 2015)


 For the December 11th Christmas concert at St. George's Cathedral,there were 22 singers in the main chorus and 15 "Juniors" present. At least five of the latter (Samuel-Francis Collins, Shea Duffy, Mathias Montoro, Romeo Tesei, and Finn Wood) appeared to be second-generation recruits. The newest addition to the song list was, of course, "Angel." The list of staff members was remarkable for the number of Libera alumni (six), and former singer Simon Beston was on piano and keyboards. (All photos by Patrick)

Lineup of singers:

Song Lists:

Musicians and Staff:

Here's a breakdown of the singers by Patrick:

37 boys here tonight, including a large number of newbies (never performed with Libera) and miniboys (those already seen in concert).

Marc Alvares
Nathaniel Bates-Fisher (newbie)
Leo Barron
Borrelli Emanuele (mini)
Ciaran Hickey-Bradbury
Merlin Brouwer
Ben Bywater
Gabriel Collins
Samuel Francis Collins (mini)
Henry Cullinan-Hollihead (newbie)
Shea Duffy (newbie)
Tadhg Fitzgerald
Alex Gula
Adam Izghouti
Matthew Jansen
Luke Jelley (newbie)
Peter Kielty (newbie)
Timothy Lee
Isaac London
Alessandro Botti-McKinnon
Alex Montoro
Mathias Montoro (newbie)
Oliver Mycka
Cassius O'Connell-White
Arthur Palmer (newbie)
Neo Parson (mini)
Taichi Shinokubo
Camden Stewart
Cameron Taylor (mini)
Rocco Tesei
Romeo Tesei (newbie)
Sejus Toussaint O'Neill (mini)
Oliviero Veneri Thomas (mini)
Joe Walshe
Finn Wood (mini)
Sam Wiggin
Lucas Wood

Shay Balsekar
Kavana Crossley
Thomas Delgado-Little
Michael Menezes
For a translation of Patrick's long and detailed review of the concert, visit:

Post-encore photo with newbies up front (by Patrick)
Johan, from the Netherlands also attended the concert and contributed his usual concise observations: (photos by Incompleteness)


Stage set-up

Another beautiful concert by Libera. The program consisted of 19 songs, with no extra unprogrammed songs in between. There were 22 boys onstage and 15 juniors in two groups. We missed, among others, the brothers Madine (Josh and Matthew) and Tom Delgado-Little. Matthew Madine  was helping to sell CDs and DVDs during the interval, and said he would be back singing in the new year.

The program began with “Joy to the World,” with the juniors standing in front of the stage, and the choir entering in total darkness.

In “Sanctus,” Merlin Brouwer sang the high notes and the final solo; he is becoming an important member of the choir.

SPEECH: Cassius O’ Connell-White and Tadgh Fitzgerald informed us that there were 37 boys present, the youngest being Luke Jelley at seven years old, and Cassius at 14.

“The Prayer,” with all the boys kneeling, was, as always, moving, with Isaac London singing the solo.

“Silent night” was very nicely done, with Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey singing the solo, with solo flute accompaniment from the side of the platform.

Boys arriving for concert

Merlin Brouwer sang the solo for “Stay With Me,” with Lucas Wood singing the high descant.

SPEECH: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey explained where the boys in Libera come from, about their travels, and what they tell foreign audiences about the group.

“The Wexford Carol,” well known from the Christmas in Ireland DVD, was again beautifully done, with the beginning solo in Gaelic by Isaac London, and the main solo by Camden Stewart.

“Carol of the Bells” has had a makeover, now that Cassius O’ Connell-White has a different voice. Gabriel Collins and Alex Gula stood in front and did the solos together, and Lucas Wood sang the high parts.

For “Exultate,” the juniors were in front again, with a drummer and a flute player on either side of the platform (a new arrangement, about which I have mixed feelings). Lucas Wood sang the solo.

SPEECH: Ben Bywater and Alex Gula said that they were both seven years old when they joined Libera, and had a lot to learn, not only the melodies and words to all the songs, but how to stand and move.

The newest song, “Angel,” with Isaac London soloing, was beautiful, with fantastic harmonies. It can be heard on a DVD that was released in Japan, and is available on Amazon and other outlets.

Ben Bywater, Oliver Mycka, Gabriel Collins, Rocco Tesei, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Merlin Brouwer, Lucas Wood, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Alex Gula, MarcAlvares, Camden Stewart, Timothy Lee
“Libera,” with solo by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, was the last song before the interval. The choir was joined for this song by the juniors and the drum.

INTERVAL: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey came onstage to announce the interval and to introduce a representative of Compassion, a charity that helps children in poor countries.

Following the interval, Isaac London came onstage alone and began “I Vow to Thee, My Country,” as the others joined him on the platform. The solo was then taken over by Merlin Brouwer and Camden Stewart. I got the impression that Isaac is having occasional problems with his voice.

The junior boys joined in on ”Angels We Have Heard on High,” with the drum and flute onstage as well. Apparently Robert Prizeman felt that some of the boys were losing concentration, so he put his baton in his mouth to attract their attention and make them laugh. Some of the boys were in fact looking left or right to watch themselves on the video screens that had been set up to enhance the sight-lines in the cathedral.

Farewell, with newbies in front
SPEECH: Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti explained the difficulties of combining Libera activities with school obligations, especially with regards to foreign tours. Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey introduced the group’s mascot, “Moose,” and described his travels.

The solo for “Song of Life.” (always nice to hear) was done by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey.

“Wayfaring Stranger” is well known from the Libera in America CD/DVD. Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti performed the solo. Unlike the staging on the DVD, he no longer comes forward from the back, but stands with the others.

Isaac London soloed on “Wonderful World.” Well done.

SPEECH: Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey explained the various backgrounds of the boys, with demonstrations by Alex Gula in Polish, Lucas Wood in Spanish, Sam Wiggin in French, Alex Montoro in Italian, Isaac London in Gaelic, and Taichi Shinokubo in Japanese.

To make the language lineup complete, “Salva Me” was sung in Latin. Alex Montoro stood behind the group to sing the high “Salvas”.

For “In Dulci Jubilo,” the juniors joined in again, standing in front with the drum and flute behind them. Very nicely done.

Then came (for me) the absolute high point of the concert, “Nearer My God, To Thee.” All of the boys went to the back leaving Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Lucas Wood, Sam Wiggin, Alex Montoro, and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey in front. The harmonies they produced were just exquisite, and the whole performance was magical. Alessandro sang the solo at the end.

Finally Tadgh Fitzgerald announced the end of the concert and wished the audience “Merry Christmas.” The last song was “Joyful, Joyful,” with the boys reappearing draped in silver-tinsel garlands. The juniors (without garlands) joined from the sides.

After a well-deserved standing ovation, the group predictably sang their new song, “Santa Will Find You,” with Isaac London singing the solo. — Johan

Joseph Walshe, Merlin Brouwer, Gabriel Collins, Matthew Jansen
Another note from Johan:

On December 12th, a performance of the film Alice in Wonderland with live music took place in the Royal Albert Hall  in London.[See part 8A of Timeline.]  The music was by the Royal Symphony concert orchestra and two choirs, a mixed adult choir, and the Schola Cantorum of which Isaac London and and Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti are members. After last night's Libera concert I did not really expect any of the boys to be there, but  Isaac was in the choir and Alessandro was the soloist. The choir did not have much to do besides some oohhs and aahhs from time to time, but at the end of the film Alessandro had  an important part and stood next to the conductor, not easy with a complete orchestra and choirs behind you.  I expect Alessandro to sing again in the church choir tomorrow morning. This boy has endless energy.— Johan


Alex Gula tries some interesting headgear

On December 15th, a tweet from Yuki (screenshot: actual link to site is below):

 Three 2015 Holiday CD covers, courtesy of Patrick from Libera Passion.

The tree pictured at left set a new Guinness Book Record for "the most lights on an artificial tree.

(For a wonderfully confusing translation from the Japanese PR Times on the exact number of ornaments and lights, plus a review of the December 20th Libera performance, go to:

On December 20th, the boys of Libera began their Christmas tour of Japan in spectacular fashion, with a half-hour  mini-concert at Universal Studios Japan's huge outdoor stage area. There were 22 boys present, and the songs performed were:

With all of these recordings, please note that the sound quality may be uneven and not up to professional standards.)
Joy to the World
Carol of the Bells (Solos by Gabriel Collins (?), Alex Gula, and Isaac London)
Sanctus (Solo by Merlin Brouwer)
Song of Life (Solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey)
Angel (Solo by Isaac London)

Speeches were by Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti & Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, with translation by Taichi Shinokubo
From video by Patrick Fandelok:
Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti & Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, with translation by Taichi Shinokubo. Cassius O'Connell-White and Sam Wiggin are in the background

The production included numerous special effects (back-projections, dancers, soaring angels), and, as can be seen in the following two videos, the singers performed beautifully amidst all the distraction. 

(Concert at Universal Studios Japan 12/20/2015 with two songs by Takatsugu Muramatsu: Song of Life [Solo by Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey]; and Angel [Solo by Isaac London]/USJ official video/9:28)  (Concert at Universal Studios Japan 12/20/2015/all songs, videoed by Patrick Fandelock/Libera enters at about 7:45 of 32:17)
From video by Patrick Fandelok:
This was the first of two performances scheduled for that day; the second one took place at 7 PM. This was the rest of the schedule, which was to include some meet-and-greet autograph sessions.
On December 21st, a tweet from Patrick Fandelok:
The boys of Libera had another full day, with mid-day autograph sessions at Tower Records Osaka and at the Tsusaya Store (no photos allowed), an appearance on Yomiuri TV (YTV), a concert, and another autograph session post-concert. No photography was allowed at any of these events.

Robert Prizeman directs and Leo Barron sings at the Universal Studios Japan Concert
The boys divided up duties, with the same nine at each afternoon signing:  Leo Barron, Tadhg Fitzgerald, Joe Walshe, Ben Bywater, Adam Izghouti, Oliver Mycka, Timothy Lee, Rocco Tesei and Cassius O' Connell White, all younger boys and non-soloists. (Photos by Patrick Fandelok)

Libera Display at Tower Records Osaka
Thirteen Boys sang "Angel" on YTV
Concert program

14 boys signed autographs at HMV books in Tokyo
Tokyo Concert
Tokyo Concert
On December 22nd, the group appeared in Tokyo for an autograph session at HMV Books (14 boys), as well as for afternoon and evening concerts. Yuki posted a short account of the pre-session Q&A:

Tokyo Concert Venue by Rina
Lauren, from the Mini-Angels site passed on this video-from-TV-screen of the 12/21 Yomiori TV appearance, recorded by tomobarbie. sings “Angel” on Yomiuri TV/ interview in Japanese with Taichi Shinokubo/12/21/15/4:00) 

Jimmy Riddle contributed another compilation: (Compilation of clips from the concert at Universal Studios Japan/2:35)

On December 24th, John45 posted a fine summary of both concerts on the Libera Dreams Fan Forum, preceded by a note on the Tokyo autograph session:

Boys visible (L to R) include Timothy Lee, Merlin Brouwer, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti  (behind pole), Marc Alvares, Cassius O' Connell-White, Joe Walshe, Adam Izghouti, Ben Bywater, Oliver Mycka, Leo Barron, Tadgh Fitzgerald, Matthew Jansen, Rocco Tesei, and AlexMontoro.

The boys were delayed in traffic so the Q&A session was very short. The fourteen present just introduced themselves—name and age —and only answered the one question "What is your favorite Libera song and why?". Most popular was "Sanctus," for the complex harmonies, followed by "Orinoco Flow" and "Carol of the Bells," -for the beat. Best answer was from Alex Montoro: "Voca Me,"because it's so difficult". (I guess he likes a challenge - good for him!)

Forever the diplomat, Cassius O' Connell-White chose the new song "Angel". Joe Walshe chose "Sacris Solemnis." (I forget his reasoning, but I can certainly understand his choice; it's a personal favorite of mine.) Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti chose "Santa will find you."

The interviews were followed by a ten-second photo-op (yes, ten seconds, with a countdown) and then they moved to tables for a traditional signing session


Both venues were very impressive architecturally with excellent sound quality. Orchestra included several violins, cello, bass, French horn, and clarinet played by local musicians with a percussionist and flautist imported from the UK (the same who performed so well at St George’s). As is usual in Japan the appreciative audiences numbered in the thousands.

Twenty-two boys were on stage, the oldest being Matthew Jansen at 15 and the youngest Tadhg Fitzgerald at Eight. For some reason, in the speeches Cassius (at 14) was introduced as the oldest.

There was a very enthusiastic welcoming ovation for Robert Prizeman as he approached the music lectern.

The concert opened with “Joy to the World” followed by “Sanctus” with the boys in a wide arc as usual. Merlin Brouwer was the soloist for the descant and also the final “Sanctus.” Not sure who did Tom Delgado-Little’s usual descant part – perhaps one of the Alexes (Gula or Montoro) or Lucas Wood.

A short speech with Taichi Shinokubo translating preceded “The Prayer” (solo by Isaac London), “Silent Night” (Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey was at his very best} and “Stay with Me” (Merlin Brouwer with Lucas Wood doing the high descant).

Another speech, which mentioned Japan’s remarkable performance in the Rugby World Cup and then introduced the “Wexford Carol” (Isaac London and Camden Stewart) which was followed by a very lively “Carol of the Bells” with perfect solo bits from Gabriel Collins and Alex Gula.

Lucas Wood then led “Exultate” which was followed by “Angel” with solo by Isaac London and its composer Mr Muramatsu at the piano.

A rousing “Libera” completed the first half.

Adam Izghouti answers a question at the autograph session. Others visible (L to R) are Ben Bywater, Oliver Mycka, Leo Barron and Jo Walshe (Photo by John45).
Second half opened with “I Vow to thee my Country,” very nicely done. A subsequent speech noted that the tune had been used as accompanying music by a well-known Japanese figure skater.

Next was “Angels we have Heard on High” – again not sure who did Tom Delgado-Little’s’s usual high bits – perhaps Alex Gula. Whoever it was, they did it very well.

“Song of Life” (Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey) followed, once again with Mr Muramatsu at the piano.

Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti led “Wayfaring Stranger” with the usual staging, which was followed in Osaka by “Wonderful World.” However, this was dropped in Tokyo as it seemed that soloist Isaac London may have been experiencing throat problems.

Next was “Salva Me” and you must wait for Patrick Fandelok’s report to know who did the high “Salvas”. Lucas Wood or Alex Montoro?

Next came the delightful new arrangement of “In Dulce Jubilo” complete with la-la-la’s and tin whistle.

The high spot of the concert for me was once again the most perfect a capella version of “Nearer My God to Thee.” All the boys except Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Lucas Wood, Sam Wiggin, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey and Alex Montoro left the stage; Alessandro opened this heavenly piece. I almost had to borrow the handkerchief that my neighbours had been sharing, but it was already soaked having had much use by them for “Sanctus”, “The Prayer”, “Silent Night” and “The Wexford Carol.”.The other four left the stage as Alessandro sang the final verse and then the entire group returned bedecked with tinsel for “Joyful,Joyful.”

In Osaka, rousing applause was followed by an encore of “Santa will find you” then more applause.

In Tokyo, Robert Prizeman joined the boys on stage for a bow immediately after “Joyful, Joyful” and then all, including the orchestra, left the stage. It seemed clear there was going to be no encore, but the applause did not stop for several minutes. At the 3.00 PM concert the audience finally realized there would be no encore and the rush to the signing session began. At the 7.00 PM show, again no encore, but this time, again after insistent applause, the boys and RP returned to the stage for a final bow and received a standing ovation (which is quite rare in Japan).

Signing sessions attended by hundreds, if not thousands, followed. The boys were split into two groups that were comprised differently for each occasion so it is unlikely that anyone achieved a full house of signatures. The photo book, which was a popular item for signatures, is a must-buy, beautifully produced on high-quality paper and many, many charming pictures.

Finally,Taichi is to be congratulated for his excellent job translating the speeches into Japanese—with what I was told was a slightly British accent. He was very expressive in his manner and deliverance. I was told by several Japanese-speakers that he would make a very good storyteller.—John45
The boys got to fly home in time to spend Christmas Eve with their families. Robert Prizeman et al are probably still heaving sighs of relief at having made it through the tour without soloists Isaac London's and Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey's voices actually changing mid-song.
Tadgh Fitzgerald, Alex Gula, Leo Barron and "Moose" sent holiday greetings
End of Part 8B 
For Part Nine (January-Present, 2016):

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