Thursday, November 3, 2011

LIBERA TIMELINE Part Three: 2010

(Last updated/revised/edited: 5/8/2017)

More changes/photos/videos/links/updates to all parts may appear at any time. As sites are continually being updated/revised, please excuse any temporary small errors 
Also please be aware that software on other Libera sites may change or rearrange color accents, photo placement, spacing and type size.  For original Timeline site and Part One (1981-2007), go to:  
Part Three

(Mash-ups/The Roundhouse)
(A Critical Diversion)
XlI: 2010 SPRING TOUR; Japan, Korea, and the Philippines
(Libera Footnote: Extracurricular Activities)


In late January of 2010, EMI Records released a new video gem (revealing a complete Libera group with new mini-boys), featuring Josh Madine (at 15, lower of voice, but now teen-crush material for sure) singing a luminous alto solo, and Ben Philipp (14), still in strong soprano voice. The name of the new album was revealed as Peace. It's notable that the "Time" video appeared on YouTube on January 22nd, and by the evening of January 24th, was well on its way to 15,000 hits.

Captures from the atmospheric "Time"video, with (L to R) Ben Philipp, Liam Connery, and Josh Madine, 2010  (Time/solos by Josh Madine and Ben Philipp/2010)

Libera Footnote: Mash-ups/the Roundhouse:

(Optional) The paucity of other new Libera appearances, meanwhile, made for some creative repackaging by one tech-savvy fan, known as Cayleb101, who produced "mash-ups"—older versions of favorite Libera music videos synched and blended with newer counterparts and soloists. The classic "Stay With Me," two versions of which are mashed up here, was originally written for the voices of two Josephs (Platt and Sanders-Wilde), then taken over by Ed Day and Liam Connery, and in 2010 (not available on video) was first performed by Ben Philipp and Stefan Leadbeater, then by Daniel Fontannaz and Matthew Rangel-Alvarez. By late  2012, the former solo line was being sung by a trio consisting of Cassius O'Connell-White, Dylan Duffy, and Barney Lindsell, with Matthew Rangel-Alvarez continuing in the descant, and O'Connell-White's performance becoming more of a solo with each appearance. in 2015-2016, Merlin Brouwer sang the solo, and Taichi Shinokubo the descant.

The unusual setting for the earlier “Stay With Me” was the then-unreconstructed Dorfman hub of The Roundhouse in Islington, London. This structure was built in 1846 as an engine-repair facility, and now houses a flourishing arts center.
Victorian section of the Roundhouse, Islington
*********************************************************************** (Stay With Me [the Roundhouse, Islington, 2001] Joseph Platt and Joseph Sanders-Wilde w/[2007] Ed Day and Liam Connery)

Two Joes in the Roundhouse
Another fairly successful mash-up was made of two versions of the same song, eight years apart, by two Bens. The song is "Lacrymosa,” a remarkable adaptation by Robert Prizeman from the “Aquarium” section of Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals.  (Lacrymosa Ben Crawley (1999) w/ (2007) Ben Philipp)



James Mordaunt, James Threadgill, Ralph Skan, Freddie Ingles, Kavana Crossley
In early March of 2010, made the entirety of the 13-track Peace CD available to play online at their site. It immediately became evident that, in spite of all the changing around of personnel, Libera's talent pool was as deep as ever. (Only partial tracks nowavailable here, but most selections subsequently available on YouTube.)


Photo from Peace advertising; (L to R) Jakob De Menezes Wood, Freddie Ingles, Liam Connery (top), Daniel Fontannaz, James Mordaunt, Flynn Marks, Josh Madine (top), Ben Philipp, James Threadgill

Josh Madine, singing in a lovely alto range, was featured on two songs: "Time" (seen above as a YouTube video), and the exquisitely dreamy "Faithful Heart," seconded by Stefan Leadbeater and Daniel Fontannaz.

(Faithful Heart/Josh Madine solo, with Stefan Leadbeater and Daniel Fontannaz/2010)

Long-time favorite Tom Cully was featured only once, in the beautiful "Ave Virgo," a swan-song solo (based on a theme from a Mozart clarinet concerto) evidently recorded before his then-recent voice change. Ben Philipp, as one of the last soprano holdouts of the "older" generation, was everywhere on this album, soloing in "O Sanctissima," "Lacrymosa," "Time," the marvelously intricate lyrics of "Exultate," and singing secondary vocals on a number of other songs.

Ben Philipp (Exsultate
/solo/Benedict Philipp)

Stefan Leadbeater was featured on a new song, "How Shall I sing the Majesty," and as co-soloist in the classic John Rutter composition "Deep Peace/Gaelic Blessing"( first performed by the St. Philip's Choir as early as 1982), with James Threadgill; Sammy Moriarty joined Josh Madine for secondary harmonies, as can be seen here in another inventive video from EMI, released March 7th:

Sammy Moriarty, James Threadgill and Josh Madine harmonize in "Deep Peace.">  (Deep Peace/Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter/Soloists: Stefan Leadbeater & James Threadgill with Sammy Moriarty and Josh Madine/2010) (Optional—Backstage at the making of the “Deep Peace/Gaelic Blessing” video/2010)

Videoing "Deep Peace"

...and cutting loose after the official shoot

Another stunning song foretold many of the lyrics of "Deep Peace;" it was written by Robert Prizeman for the 2001 Luminosa CD, called "Attendite," and gorgeously sung by Ben Crawley, with a lovely  second voice by Anthony Chadney and full Libera backing.  (Attendite/by Robert Prizeman/Luminosa 2001/Soloist: Ben Crawley)

Peace also included a number of pleasant first-timer surprises:

1) 13-year-old Daniel Fontannaz firmly established his presence as a go-to soloist by producing a flawless and accomplished "Panis Angelicus" soprano line.

Daniel Fontannaz Angelicus, by César Franck/ Solo by Daniel Fontannaz/2010)

(Optional) A fan video from 2011 allows us to compare Daniel's solo version of this ecclesi-classic with versions by two early duet pairs. (Panis Angelicus in three versions/soloists: 1) Daniel Fontannaz [2010 Peace CD]/2) Oliver Putland and Anthony Maher [1992 Angel Voices CD/3)Jaymi Bandtock and Sam Harper/[1988 Sing For Ever CD])

2) After four years in the background, 12-year-old Jakob Wood sang a gently moving solo part on "Lead Kindly Light," by John Henry Newman, and appeared as second voice on “Faithful Heart."

Jakob Wood    (Lead Kindly Light/ solo by Jakob Wood/2010)

3) Young Ralph Skan stepped out of the chorus to reveal a surprisingly lovely treble range in "The Fountain," adapted by Robert Prizeman from Chopin’s Prelude in C-Minor. (The Fountain/solo by Ralph Skan)
Ralph Skan
4) The most delightful surprise, however, came from "Mini-James" Mordaunt and a whimsically evocative tone poem called "Touch the Sky," which the tiny Mordaunt sang in a childish but absolutely clear and true soprano. To back his simple vocal line, former Libera soloist Ben Crawley composed a subtle and difficult arrangement with weaving counterpoint lines and difficult harmonies supplied by Ben Philipp, Jakob Wood and others. It's the most atypical song on the CD, and one of the most effective.
James Mordaunt the Sky/Solo by James Mordaunt/2010)

On March 8th, an online version of the CD booklet was made available, with full information on all songs and some lovely new group portraits of all current Liberans. Two new boys, Mine Akpobome and Luke Collins, were pictured and listed as members of the latest Libera roster. Tom Cully was also included, and was credited with assisting on the production of the album along with the usual suspects, perhaps presaging a continuing role with the group. (The booklet is available online at

A fan who goes by "OrangeCat" made this pastiche of the photos in the Peace CD. Front row, L to R: Matthew Rangel-Alvarez, James Threadgill, Sam Leggett, Henry Barrington, Tiarnán Branson, James Mordaunt, Flynn Marks, Daniel Fontannaz, Alfie Smart, Jakob Wood. 2nd row: Jonathan Barrington, Sammy Moriarty, Ed Day, Liam Connery, Alex Leggett, Mine Akpobome, Carlos Rodrigues, Jude Collins. Back row: Tom Cully, Luis Fernandes, Ralph Skan, Kavana Crossley, Freddie Ingles, Josh Madine, Stefan Leadbeater, Ben Phillip.

From the photos that accompanied the CD, it was evident that former soprano soloists Ed Day and Liam Connery were still in the group at this time, but neither was credited with any solo work on the Peace CD. Newbie Luis Fernandes (second from left in top row) was included in the photo, but not credited on the CD; he subsequently appeared onstage in the UK several times, but had essentially disappeared from public view by 2011.

A Critical Diversion

With the advent over the past decade of so-called "crossover" classical/pop artists (Josh Groban, Escala, Il Divo, Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church, Andrea Bocelli, etc.), not to mention similar acts coming to public attention via reality/talent shows (Paul Potts, Susan Boyle, Andrew Johnston, Faryl Smith, Jackie Evancho), it appears that a new form of music criticism has arisen. 

This approach is typically taken by reviewers who have adopted the role of protectors of the strict classical-music traditions of the last century, as they deplore/deride the state of the art form, the growing boobism of the public, and the talents of this new brand of artist (not all of whom are uniformly accomplished, but all of whom a good portion of the CD-buying-iPod-downloading public has taken to its collective bosom). Describing the rich soprano of US #1-selling 11-year-old Jackie Evancho, one such writer scoffed "This isn't a voice, it's a variety act!" (No, it's a talented child.)

Jackie Evancho
With this type of "critical review" gaining in popularity, it was inevitable that Libera, with its increasing visibility, would eventually be subjected to at least one such. Snide in tone ( the reviewer refers to Libera as a "revolving door-style boys' choral ensemble," somehow overlooking the reality that all ongoing boys' choirs regularly change personnel as singers age out), and containing factual inaccuracies, Daniel Ross's BBC Online review of Peace barely discusses the music, but dwells with a certain petulant vagueness on the fact that he just doesn't much like the concept, the musical direction, the choice of music, the arrangements, the robes, the marketing or the fact that the boys dress alike for the album photography—he calls the last "disturbing." (Perhaps he's never noticed the Vienna Choir Boys in their little sailor suits.) A quote:

"Peace is not the vehicle to afford Libera a significant increase in either popularity or authenticity, but it is the one to be strategically released in time for Mother’s Day (it was actually released to correspond with Libera's Asian Tour—Ed.), bring a smile to said mothers’ faces and provide enough interest and money to last until the next one. They might do better in critical circles to steer away from the cult-ish robes, cringe-worthy photography and banal arrangements of standard repertoire..." 

Libera in robes with raised hoods during the singing of "Mysterium," 2010.
 What was more fascinating than the review itself, however, was the reaction it provoked on the page's "comments" section: a veritable crossfire of indignant commentary, rebuttal, counter-rebuttal, explanations, accusations, censorings and other-tempest-in-a-teapot activities. (The section was finally closed to further action, after a year of stürm und drang, in March of 2011.) The last grammatically-challenged line of Ross's review is perhaps its most telling:
"...but it’s clear that if ever there was an ensemble that had no cares for what the critics thought about them, it’s Libera." (BBC Online review of Peace CD by Daniel Ross/3/8/2010)

(End of A Critical Diversion)
Another March event was Libera’s participation in a 12-hour recording session of Classical Relief’s “Prayer for Haiti” CD, as a fund-raiser following a devastating earthquake in that country. With 23 artists performing the same song, Libera’s role was limited; however, the DVD made of the recording sessions is extraordinary.

Sammy Moriarty, Ralph Skan and James Threadgill during recording session for "The Prayer" (Classical Relief/Prayer for Haiti/various artists/2010)


XIl: 2010 SPRING TOUR; Japan, Korea, and the Philippines 

Experiencing a Philippine welcome are Ralph Skan, Ben Philipp, Josh Madine, "Mini-James" Mordaunt, Liam Connery and Kavana Crossley.

 On the 3rd of April, 23 Libera boys traveled to Japan, Korea and the Philippines for a number of concerts and personal and TV appearances in each country. It was a tribute to their growing worldwide fan base that fansite Libera360º (started in spring 2009) twice had to ramp up its technology factor to handle an ever-increasing pile-on of hits.

 By March, Libera had also become a Facebook, MySpace and Twitter presence, using the sites to air or word-of-mouth new videos and provide CD-release and concert updates. Within the month, their Facebook fan group had reached 10,000 and climbing.

(Optional) (Libera Facebook invite, 2010) 

The 23 boys who made the Asian trip were:

 Alex Leggett, Alfie Smart, Ben Philipp, Carlos Rodrigues, Cassius O'Connell-White, Daniel Fontannaz, Flynn Marks, Freddie Ingles, Henry Barrington, Jakob Wood, James Mordaunt, James Threadgill, Jonathan Barrington, Josh Madine, Kavana Crossley, Liam Connery, Luke Collins, Matthew Rangel-Alvares, Ralph Skan, Sam Leggett, Sammy Moriarty, Stefan Leadbeater, and Tiarnán Branson.

Conspicuous by their absence were former soloists Ed Day and Tom Cully, and young Mine Akpobome, the African-British boy who had appeared in recent videos and on the Peace CD. A surprise addition (because neither on videos or CD) was Cassius O' Connell-White, a wee boy with a long name and impishly off-beat personality, who supplanted Freddie Ingles as the youngest member of the concert group.

Cassius O' Connell-White
Performing to sellout crowds in all three countries, the boys followed an exhausting schedule of matinee and evening concerts followed by autograph sessions. Inna, a long-time Korean fan (aka dearmadine), provided an online song-by-song review of their Seoul performance, enthusiastically noting personnel changes and other details of the new concert sequence (20 songs plus encore). Another bonus on this site was a layout of then-current photos of each chorister, with names and birthdates clearly noted.  (Seoul 2010 Concert Review/Photos—not sure how long this will be available)

Liam Connery and Freddie Ingles, blasé about having their every public move recorded while on tour in Asia.
Video material of the actual concerts is tightly controlled by the Libera 
organization (which also bans all cameras and mobile phones from concerts, except for staged photo ops, usually post-concert). Several Japanese TV appearances were filmed from TV screens and posted on You Tube, but their quality is dreadful.

Much clearer and more accessible was a Japanese interview with five poised young Libera spokespersons, concerning a recording session of The Nutcracker with the Berliner Philharmoniker and noted British conductor Simon Rattle. (2010 Nutcracker interview, Japan, with Ralph Skan, Daniel Fontannaz, James Mordaunt, Ben Philipp,, and Kavana Crossley/2010)

The 2010 reception for Libera in the Philippines was, if anything, even more tumultuous than last year's. Here they reprised their performance of "Bayan Ko" (My Country) in Tagalog on Showtime, a riotous daytime TV program.  (Libera on Showtime/Bayan Ko/ solo by Ben Phillip/2010)

An interview appearance on another national music show, Myx Top Ten, also mentioned the fact that Libera would provide the featured music for Philippine Airlines' in-flight concerts from May through October of 2010.

Henry Barrington, Kavana Crossley and Carlos Rodriguez share the screen with a Myx Top Ten selection

Intense post-concert autograph-session videos showed an interesting range of reactions by the boys to all the adulation, ranging from shy and withdrawn, to confident and basking in it, to let's-get-this-over-with businesslike. Josh Madine, who consistently created the greatest furor just by showing up, seemed to be somewhat embarrassed by the whole business, but always gracious and well mannered.

The trip home from the Philippines turned into a prolonged adventure for the young travelers and accompanying staff, as their plane was grounded on Thursday, April 15th, due to an Icelandic volcanic eruption that stranded them in Athens on their way home. A number of the boys were due to take school exams on Monday the 19th after an intended homecoming on the Friday before.

Stranded in Athens, 2010 (CNN videocapture)
The group eventually returned by land and sea over 2967km (1844 miles) of Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, France, and across to London via the chunnel, bringing their total mileage for the trip to 16,200 miles by land, sea and air, involving five airplanes, two ferryboats and six buses, arriving home on 4/22. They probably not only got a make-up on those exams, but plenty of material for some cracking good essays on the delights and perils of foreign travel. (For the boys' take on this adventure, see the 2011 Canadian Salt and Light TV interview below)

Robert Prizeman interviewed in Athens airport with  boys in background, 2010

Around this time, an enterprising fan, Snelling06, put together the following video, covering all the Libera soloists from 1984 to the spring 2010 group. The video missed out on a few of the earlier standouts, such as Ian Grimley, Gareth Lowman, Robert Chee-A-Tow, Glen Tilen, Anthony Maher, Jonathan Arthey and Matthew Arthey, but generously included both frequent lead soloists and boys who only sang occasional solo lines in duets or larger compositions. Another fan noted that, of the 23 boys who traveled on the most recent tour, 16 had done solo work in concerts and/or on CDs/videos. The video was later updated to 2011.

Robert Chee-a Tow, soloist on first Angel Voices CD in 1987
  (Soloists of Libera as of 2011, with interesting mashup accompaniment )

Mid-May saw the group performing at a familiar venue: Arundel Cathedral in West Sussex. (Mine Akpobone, missing from the Asia/Philippine tour lineup, reappeared for this concert.) Several days later, an official “Spring Tour 2010” You Tube offering appeared, in the form of photos taken during rehearsals and concerts, and while the boys were sightseeing. (Libera Spring Tour 2010)
Newbies and veterans pose for post-concert photo op, Arundel, 2010
Even more interesting, however, was footage that included the end-of-concert photo-op, and the presence of a dozen new “mini-boys,” looking as tentative as newly hatched baby chicks next to their confident elders. An excellent high-definition close-up video look at all the choristers and newbies at this concert can also be downloaded from an excellent Swedish fansite:

The new boys, who performed in several numbers, were listed in the program as Alex Godden, Barney Lindsell, Ben Fairman, Cian O’ Sullivan, Dylan Duffy, Ewan Baxter, Jude Collins, Luis Fernandes, Matthew Jansen, Matthew Madine, Sere Akpobome, and Thomas Delgado-Little. (Those highlighted in red went on to become full-time members of the group) This was also the first concert in which Stefan Leadbeater made what was to become a signature appearance singing the first notes of "Mysterium" while walking down the center aisle.


 Robert Prizeman in Canada, 2010
Libera Footnote: Extracurricular Activities: Also on May 15th, at Durham Cathedral, Robert Prizeman was made an Associate of the Royal Society of Church Musicians. These awards have been made annually for more than 60 years, honoring outstanding contributions to church music. Among the other recipients this year were senior cathedral musicians, a leading musicologist and a former bishop, as well as RSCM volunteers in the UK, America and New Zealand. Prizeman was honored for his roles as founder and director of Libera,
 and as music Adviser for BBC-TV’s Songs of Praise.

Stefan Leadbeater
Barely a week later, on May 22nd, resilient Libera member Stefan Leadbeater starred as boy-treble soloist in a live performance of the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, in front of a sold-out audience of 5000 at the Krakow International Film Festival in Poland, where he received an enthusiastic ovation from the audience.

Meanwhile, former Libera soloist Tom Cully had become a production assistant for the group. Several original songs that he performed and posted on a MySpace page were quickly snapped up by fans and put onto YouTube, apparently to his dismay. The MySpace page was removed, but several of the videos continue to circulate without his permission.
Tom Cully backstage in 2011 (photo by Michael)
This was a common problem for Libera and ex-Libera members wanting to maintain an individual Internet presence; their sites tended to be swarmed (and occasionally violated) by (mostly) well-meaning fans. Another difficulty was with false sites, purporting to belong to one of the boys, that were put up on Facebook, etc. by fans. Several ex-Liberans, including Ben Crawley and Sam Coates, have maintained official websites for their non-Libera musical activities, including Coates' participation in a lively singing group called Fuchsia.



At the end of June, The following brief video appeared on Facebook, detailing the group’s projected summer tour in the US, with performances mostly scheduled in the South and Midwest (Dallas, TX; Fort Worth, TX; St. Louis, MO; Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA). (Promo video-Libera Summer USA Tour/2010)

The touring roster was the same as that of the Asian tour, with the addition of another small blond mini-boy, Matthew Jansen, and the absence of Flynn Marks and occasional support soloist  Alfie Smart.
Flynn Marks

Alfie Smart

The Liberans romped through the Deep South, on a tight schedule of performances, appearances, and sightseeing, and followed by an increasing number of American and European devotees. They also began to keep a collectively written blog of their experiences <>, with a number of the boys contributing.

Libera’s musical depth had by then apparently reached the point where new voices began appearing in different combinations on familiar pieces—Sammy Moriarty singing lead on “O Sanctissima” and “How Can I Keep From Singing;” Carlos Rodrigues pairing up with Matthew Rangel-Alvarez on “Ave Verum” and James Mordaunt with Freddie Ingles on “Love and Mercy;” Alex Leggett soloing on “Agnus Dei;” and the older boys’ solos being taken over or augmented more and more by Stefan Leadbeater, Ralph Skan and Jakob Wood.

Carlos Rodrigues

Sammy Moriarty
     Josh Madine, in “Time” (at this point sung in combination with Ralph Skan and Alex Leggett), and Ben Phillip were the only soloists left in the older ranks, and often sang what were formerly solo pieces in combination with others.
(Optional) In Atlanta, a genial fan incurred the ire of those behind him in line for the customary “meet and greet” by introducing himself and speaking with the boys individually. The resulting video, however, is a wonderful look at each of the singers as they responded to this friendly fellow.  (Libera Atlanta Meet and Greet 2010)

Concertgoers remarked that US audiences in general seemed younger than their European Counterparts, and one blogger marveled that (as has been true for many years) the boys were able to sing in any configuration, instead of having to be divided into sections of like voices.

Distinct but vocally mixed groups onstage (photo by Bulyhenka)
In a charming continuation of the practice of group members giving informational speeches occasionally between songs, spokespersons for this tour included Freddie Ingles (twice, first welcoming the audience and later explaining the history of the Libera robes); Kavana Crossley, “conducting” the singers to demonstrate how their harmonies are put together; Ben Philipp, speaking about their travels and lifestyle; Josh Madine, explaining about voice changes, and how roles in Libera shift with them; and Cassius O’ Connell-White with a brief farewell and thanks. All spoke without notes.

In St. Louis, three boys and Robert Prizeman appeared on local TV and radio shows. (Fox-TV interview in St. Louis with James Mordaunt, Ben Philipp. Ralph Skan)



Arundel Cathedral

Libera photo-op with newbies at Arundel 
In September, it was announced that Libera’s autumn tour would be in England, with October performances at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol and Chester Cathedral, and November shows at St. George’s Cathedral in Southwark, London, and at Beverley Minster.
Vaulted Ceiling, Beverley Minster

This “home field advantage” all-England tour had the quadruple benefits of requiring minimum travel and expense, introducing Libera to more potential fans in their own country, promoting an expanded holiday version of the Peace CD (the expanded version by this time also known as ”Peace Deluxe”) and allowing new mini-boys to be integrated into the concert group.
Prior to leaving on their UK tour, Robert Prizeman, Kavana Crossley and Freddie Ingles showed up on a Classic-FM radio program, being interviewed at length on the Libera experience.  (Classic-FM interview with Robert Prizeman, Kavana Crossley and Freddie Ingles/2010)

Performing in Bristol Cathedral, 2010
The Bristol and Chester concerts saw the return of Mine Akpobome, and the addition of newbies Sere Akpobome, Dylan Duffy and Barney Lindsell to the regular performing ranks. Alfie Smart, Flynn Marks, and James Threadgill were the only absent full members on this tour.
Brothers Mine (top) and Sere Akpobome
Again, there was quite a bit of change in parts and solos, including, to everyone’s pleasure, young James Mordaunt taking on the initial solo in “Going Home.”

The London Concert followed a similar pattern, but also gave Robert Prizeman a chance to “road-test” even more of the mini-boys. For this concert he added Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey (a relative unknown), Thomas Delgado-Little, Ben Fairman, Luis Fernandes, Matthew Madine and Jude Collins, the last two remarkable for their resemblances to big brothers Josh and Luke. The group reverted to its earlier configuration for the Beverley concert.
Luke Collins


Also in October, EMI announced the release of an expanded version of the Peace/Peace Deluxe CD, which was to contain five new songs, including “Lullabye/Goodnight My Angel” by Billy Joel; “Eternal Light,” by Akira Senju (with solo/harmony by Stefan Leadbeater and Ralph Skan); and Hugh Martin’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” (see below) from the film Meet Me in St. Louis, with solo/harmony by James Mordaunt and Ralph Skan).

"Eternal Light" set
The album also contains an older version of “Silent Night,” featuring Tom Cully and Ed Day; and the Leiden Concert version of “Going Home,” with Josh Madine, Ben Philipp and Tom Cully soloing (see Part One).

When it appeared, Peace Deluxe included a poster with 18 boys’ photos and 22 signatures, an 18-month calendar, and a DVD with videos of “Time,”  “Deep Peace/Gaelic Blessing,” the Leiden “Going Home,” “Libera” (an older version with Michael Horncastle as soloist), the latest Introducing Libera and “Behind the Scenes” videos, and a positively luminous presentation of Billy Joel’s “Lullabye/Goodnight My Angel,” featuring Josh Madine and Jakob Wood as soloists, and Ben Philipp and a clutch of younger boys in non-singing-onscreen roles.
Ben Philipp and Josh Madine as WWI recruits during the making of the video for "Lullabye/Goodnight My Angel"  (Lullabye/Goodnight My Angel/solo/harmony by Josh Madine and Jakob Wood/2010)

There was also a Japanese expanded release in November, with slightly different content/graphics/video lineup. Around the same time, EMI also released a two-disc compilation called Choirboys from Heaven, with eight of the 64 tracks devoted to Libera, albeit showcasing older performances from the early- to mid-2000s.

In early November of 2010, the latest “Introducing Libera” video appeared on YouTube, to coordinate with the release of the expanded Peace CD. It very much followed the pattern of the 2003, 2007 and 2008 videos of the same name, (coinciding with the release of Free, the Angel Voices: Libera in Concert DVD, and New Dawn).

Introducing Libera, 2010: (Front) Freddie Ingles, Cassius O' Connell-White. (Rear) Sammy Moriarty, Luke Collins, Carlos Rodriguez, Jakob Wood, Daniel Fontannaz, James Mordaunt, Kavana Crossley, Ralph Skan (2010 Introducing Libera)
As has become customary, the video concentrated on the young up-and-comers who were beginning to take on the majority of the solo roles (coverage of 2010 performances focused primarily on Libera’s May appearance at Arundel Cathedral). “Old-timers,” such as Josh Madine, Sam Leggett, Liam Connery, Tiarnán Branson, and other veterans were visible only in older video clips.

Youngsters relax pre-concert in the video.

Shortly after that release, a similar video, nearly twice as long, appeared as a video blog. Obviously created in response to fans’ curiosity about all things Libera, this mostly behind-the-scenes look went backstage at many of the 2010 rehearsals, performances and photo shoots, and follows the boys’ non-performing adventures, with a great deal of candid commentary by Liberans of all generations and some charming looks at unrehearsed moments.  (Libera Video Blog Spring-Summer-Fall 2010)

(Optional) The Japanese TV show mentioned is shown at length below, a wacky look at Japanese pop culture, with the Libera boys seeming a bit confused, but game, and as always, polite and poised. (Complete "Don" Japanese TV show segment with Libera, 2010. Includes "You Were There," with solos by Ben Phillip and Ralph Skan)

Libera on Don
A week or so later, yet a third video appeared, this one concentrating primarily on the concerts presented in Japan (It was made to be included in the November Japanese release of the expanded Peace album). Each of the boys was interviewed at some length, revealing excellent manners and varying degrees of comfort/discomfort with the spotlight. Freddie Ingles appears onstage as a charming and confident speaker, even greeting the audience in Japanese.

On November 21st, a music video called “Eternal Light” aired on Songs of Praise, as part of a tribute to film director J. Arthur Rank (which explains the somewhat incongruous image of a dancer in red ballet shoes, harkening back to Rank’s noted film The Red Shoes). This video presented newbies Sere Akpobome, Barney Lindsell, Dylan Duffy, Matthew Madine, and Matthew Jansen, with glimpses of working staff alumni Tom Cully and Callum Payne.

"Eternal Light:' (L to R) Sere Akpobome, Matthew Madine, Barney Lindsell, Daniel Fontannaz, Stefan Leadbeater, Ralph Skan,Dylan Duffy, Freddie Ingles  (Eternal Light/ Solo by Stefan Leadbeater, secondary harmony by Ralph Skan/ composed by Akira Senju/lyrics by Terry Cox/Arr. Robert Prizeman/2010)
At the beginning of December, two older Libera tracks, “Silent Night,” with Tom Cully soloing, and  “The Lamb,” with Ben Philipp (see Part One, Fan Tributes footnote) appeared on a two-disc album called Songs of Praise and Radio Times Christmas Carols, available on The Tom Cully “Silent Night” track also appeared on an EMI-Japan CD called Aura Christmas.

Also in early December, EMI released yet another 2-disc compilation, called Classical 2011, Featuring Libera’s “Deep Peace/Gaelic Blessing,” from the 2010 Peace CD.
(Optional) Here is, in my opinion, the definitive Tom Cully “Silent Night,” from a 2006 performance on a program called Christmas Cooks—an all-star lineup of just seven legendary voices. (Silent Night/solo by Tom Cully, with Ed Day, Josh Madine, Joe Snelling, Sam Leggett, Liam Connery, and Michael Horncastle/2006)

During the approach to Christmas, the boys’ schedule was packed with church services and concerts of holiday music in London. It was noted by those who attended services at St. Philip’s, Libera’s “home church,” that Jonathan Barrington, Tiernán Branson, Liam Connery and (at least once) Josh Madine appeared as members of the adult choir, dressed in black robes.

Live on BBC Breakfast Show (Front, L to R): Freddie Ingles, James Mordaunt, Kavana Crossley,  Daniel Fontannaz, Josh Madine (blowing pitchpipe). Standing: Ralph Skan, Jakob Wood, Stefan Leadbeater

To accommodate this demanding schedule and allow for personal holiday time, the boys were sometimes split into smaller groups, especially for media appearances. In the one below, it was notable that all of the singers except 16-year old Josh Madine (in the first) and 13-year-old Jakob Wood (in both) were post-2007 Liberans.  (Libera live on BBC This Morning show/Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas/solo by James Mordaunt/2010)

On BBC This Morning
Shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve the emerging younger group (with a few veterans) came up with their most impromptu (though charming) Christmas greeting yet.

Note jackets worn backwards to protect robes during a pre-concert snack. Kavana Crossley is in front. (Libera/Informal Christmas Greeting, just before midnight, December 24th, 2010)

As of Christmas Day, 2010, Libera had acquired over 25,000 Facebook followers.

End of Part Three
Newbies on the bus, Philippines, 2011: Isaac London, Michael Ustynovych-Repa

(To continue to 2011, please click on )



 EXTRAS/MISCELLANEOUS LINKS, Fansites, blogs, interviews, resources, disclaimer, author info.

 This essay-with-videos is strictly an informal ongoing history, and, while I've attempted to make it as accurate as possible, some of my sources (or my interpretation of them) may be flawed or inaccurate. If you notice errors that I have made, or facts that were taken from inaccurate sources, please let me know at my email address <>, so that I may make appropriate changes.

This piece of writing has not been authorized by, nor is it connected with, the Libera/St. Philip's organization, or with EMI Records. It is not to be posted on Facebook, MySpace or any other Internet site, (including other Libera fansites) without permission of the author.

 Amie Hill


LINKS to Official Sites, Blogs, Fansites, Groups, and Video Sites
(With Great Thanks to Timjanni from Germany)

 Official Libera Websites


Libera's Official Homepage

Libera's Official YouTube Channel: Libera performances and related videos

Libera's Official Facebook Site

Libera's Google+ Site   Google+

Libera Songs on

Libera's MySpace Site 

Libera's Official Twitter Account

Support libera directly here with Donations

Shop for LiberaCDs and other products (Libera gets a percentage if you use this site

 Forums and Communities


A discussion group with over 1000 members, Excellent research site, with files, links, database.

The largest Libera Facebook Group, with around 2000 members

International Fansite with about  6.000 members. Very active and innovative.

 Libera 360 Forum

International Forum with about 600 members

British/international Fan Community

 Libera-Fans-UK Forum

 Other Libera Sites


Largest Libera Facebook Group


Fan blog with profiles of Libera Members  

British Fansite

Blog with the history of Libera 1981-present 

Blog by Syafiqah H. (Singapore)

Libera's Site for the  BCSD, which is a great information and research tool

Information site

Blog by orangecat (Philippines)


Official Libera page on Wikipedia

Other Blogs in English From Around the World (Many contain links to translations into other languages.)


Blog by Dennis  (Scandinavia)

Blog by cayleb101, who also posts excellent videos

Blogby Yuki (Japan)

Blog by Inna (S. Korea)

Blog by Liv (USA)

Blog by music4 (USA)

 music4's information on Libera members

Blog on the history of Libera (1981-present) byAmie H. (USA)

 Blog/database of Libera information/videos/photos etc. going back to 1982

Blog by Michael (UK) 

Blog by Enyu (South Korea

Blog by a fan group from the Philippines)

Blog by Zoe (Philippines)

Blog by Yuni (Indonesia)

Blog by Charmaine (Malaysia)

Blog by Lexi und Lauren (USA)

Blog by emma (USA)

Blog by   Liberaholic (USA)

Blog by Rebecca (USA)
 Libera Video Sites


Official Libera YouTube Video Channel
YouTube Channel by TygrHawk (USA)
YouTube Channel by Yuki  (Japan)
YouTube Channel by  Rebecca (USA)
YouTube Channel by  LiberaUSA (USA)
YouTube Channel by   Paulmartin47 (Spain)
Youtube-Channel by LiberaFansGermany
Alternate Official Libera YouTube Channel 
YouTube Channel by Inna (Korea/USA)
YouTube Channel by JimmyRiddle (USA)
YouTube Channel by  Murkskis  (Lettland)
YouTube-Channel by PinoyLiberian (Philippines)
YouTube Channel by several UK Fans 
YouTube Channel by cayleb101 (USA)
YouTube-Channel by choiretto
YouTube Channel by Lexi (USA)
YouTube Channel by iloveLibera 
YouTube Channel by Le Furby Libéré (France)
YouTube Channel by  libefan (Spain)
YouTube Channel by Libera Fans UK
YouTube Channel for Libera360
YouTube Channel by LiberaFan4Ever (UK)
Youtube-Channel by   liberafraters
YouTube Channel  by LiberaWish
YouTube Channel by Liberic1 (France)
YouTube Channel by liberlu1
YouTube Channel by  MrJoesnelling (Canada)
YouTube Channel by psychestef
YouTube Channel by Snelling06
YouTube Channel by symphonica7
YouTube Channel by TheDearlibera (Taiwan)

 International (Non-English-Language) Libera Sites


Blog by necook (Japan)
Blog by junialee (South Korea)
(S. Korea)
Fansite (France)
Forum  (China)
Blog   (Mexico)
Fangroup  (Russia)
Fangroup (Japan)
Forum Holland)
Forum (France)
Blog     (Japan)
Blog by Liberaddict (France)
Blog     (Japan)
Blog by miho (Japan)
Blog by sacura2506  (Japan)

8. Libera – Libera Members' or Member-Based Sites

Ben Philipp fansite by music4 
Ben See (Ben Crawley's) YouTube Channel 
Ben Philipp's YouTube Channel 
Josh Madine fansite by music4 
Videos by Sam Leggett, Jonathan Barrington, Josh Madine, Alex Leggett and Liam Connery 
Fansite dedicated to Tom Cully

ODDs & ENDS (Radio Interview with James Mordaunt and Daniel Fontannaz/ITV Inspirational Breakfast Radio) (2010 Holiday video by French fan Dikoy/features several generations of Libera, atmospheric animation) (extended 2010 fan video by Japanese fan Snowy0155/includes Japanese, Korean, US and UK tour footage and stills)

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