Saturday, October 25, 2014

Libera's QVC UK Appearance


I love everything about this picture! :D 

But then along came this one! lolol



Did you see Libera on QVC UK?! They did a great job singing. For now, if you missed it, you can view it here. It will be replayed again tonight (Saturday, October 25) at 8:00 pm.  There were 17 boys -

Front row: Ben Fairman, Tom Delgado-Little, Alessandro Mackinnon-Botti, Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey, Isaac London, Alex Gula, Marc Alvares, Lucas Wood, Sam Wiggin

Back row: Camden Stewart, Shay Balsekar, Timothy Lee, Matthew Jansen, Rocco Tesei, Alex Montoro, Michael Menezes, Matthew Madine

They sang "Carol of the Bells" while over 300 people were on hold to order their 2011 "The Christmas Album" CD. Tom and Lucas sang the high "aah's" and then Isaac sang the last "Ding dong, ding dong." They sounded so good!! I'm only sorry that the show hosts didn't interview the boys. I'll upload the video if someone posts it on YouTube.

What an amazing price!


Libera on set
 
Alex M, Marc, Lucas, Michael M, Rocco

Camden

Ciaran, Isaac, Alex G, Rocco

Ben, Tom

Camden, Shay, Ben, Tom, Alessandro

Matthew M, Sam

Ciarnan, Isaac

17 boys

Matthew J, Alessandro

Tom, Timothy

Tom on his solo

Marc, Lucas on his solo, Michael M

Isaac during his solo


Great job, boys! :D


Friday, October 24, 2014

Libera on QVC UK




Mark your calendar and set your alarm clock! Libera will be performing live on QVC UK on Saturday, October 25, 2014. They are scheduled to be on the Saturday Morning Gift Show which airs from 9:00-11:00 am UK time, but they could be on as early as 9:00 am, so start watching then. That's 4:00 am on the East Coast of the US and 3:00 am in Chicago.

Libera will be singing "Carol of the Bells" during the show and probably doing interviews like they did when they appeared back in 2011. You can watch QVC UK's channel online at qvcuk.com/LiveChannel.content.html   

QVC UK's blog says that Libera will be appearing on their Saturday Night Show from 8:00-10:00 pm, but that may be a replay of their appearance on the Saturday Morning Gift Show.

If you want to tweet with other Libera fans while you watch the show, I'm @chocolatlvr on Twitter. Just look up other fans under my following list. And, of course, follow Libera at @officiallibera.

QVC UK is using Libera's "Carol of the Bells" song for their Christmas ad campaign.




How cool is that?! Are you ready for Christmas now? :D

~Lauren


 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Libera Tour Blog - Wonderful Washington Part 1


Libera at Sandy Cove


Hi, everyone! This is Lexi's mom, Lauren. Lexi is at university and a bit "under the weather" right now. Actually, she went to the doctor for a respiratory infection and fever. The nurse gave her a shot and left the room; Lexi passed out and got a concussion. She is taking it easy. Well, as easy as you can when you have quizzes and papers to write for school. But that's the explanation for why I'll be writing the next few blog posts. I usually do write the boring posts like concert venue information. Now that I've made this one boring as well, let's make it exciting and get to Libera. :)

First, isn't it cute how Libera alliterates their blog titles? Wonderful Washington, Phancy Philippines, Interesting Ireland, Kool Korea, Terrific Taiwan, Joyful Japan, Shiny Singapore. Guess they didn't know what to do with Jersey and Guernsey. lol

Whoever wrote this particular blog installment is a fabulous writer. Would they like to come and guest-author this blog also? Please? :) 

We find out that all 31 boys were mic'd for the concert instead of just the main soloists. Weren't there 30 choristers listed on the program? Yes, but don't forget that Josh Madine left the piano and sang with the choir for 2 songs, so 31 microphones! :D These were the mics that come up the back of their neck to the top of their head and down to right above the forehead. The mics get covered up by their hair. Or they are supposed to... The writer explains that everyone was mic'd because the Basilica has so much echo.

After getting packed and flying to the USA, they met up with their coach (bus) driver, Shaun. We met him, and what a nice, fun, funny guy he is. BEST BUS DRIVER EVER! (No offense to the other bus drivers they've had.) ;) They should have him drive them all the time.

Camden, Lucas, Isaac, Matthew M, Michael M, Timothy, Tom, Matthew J, Ben, Alessandro
And that is Shaun the bus driver in the back ground! :D


They spent their first week having morning rehearsals. We fans sure do appreciate all the time they spent doing that, because the resulting concerts showed that practice makes perfect! The author writes, "knowing this show would be filmed and televised brought a little extra pressure on us...However, seeing as this DVD was going to be documented for life, we didn’t mind putting a little extra work in..." Who does that remind you of? Do you remember in their Christmas in Ireland DVD when Alessandro says, "I'm not very nervous. It's just exciting. A bit scared, because it's going to be burned on a DVD for the rest of my life." The way he said that was so funny. Like he was resigning himself to whatever happens, good or bad, will be forever recorded on a DVD for his entire life. lol I wonder if Alessandro is our author. Hmmm.


Sandy Cove


After rehearsals, they went to a really great place called Sandy Cove. It has everything fun to do and fabulous food. I don't know about you, but I wish there was video of them playing "Gaga," having crazy diving contests, and playing silent soccer (how's that for alliteration)! I had never heard of Gaga or Ga-Ga. Sounds like a job for Google. Here's a video of the Ga-Ga game. 



It says it's a type of dodge ball from Israel. Lots of people can play at the same time. Get hit by the ball below the knee and you're out. If the ball goes out of the play area, the last person who touched it is out. The last player left is the winner. Looks fun!



Bertie & Matthew M kayaking

Alex G on the swings

Timothy and Tom swimming

Gabe squirting Ciaran? lol



There were lots of other activities, and I love that they got to play with other kids. I also love when they celebrate the boys' birthdays while away from home. We know Lucas's birthday is the first week of August. Now we know he turned 12! There are also 12 curly candles off to the side that have already been used. Could this be for Ciaran's birthday? He turned 12 on August 4. Happy birthday, guys!

Ready for a party!


After a fun week, it was time to go to Washington DC for the filming concerts. We shall read about that when Part 2 comes out. Can't wait. Thanks to our anonymous author for the great blog post. Be watching for official pictures from the tour to be coming out soon also! :D

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fan Videos from Washington DC Meet & Greet


Libera had a Meet and Greet after the Washington DC concert. It was REALLY great and fun! I took a video, but it's REALLY long, so it'll be a few days before I can post mine.

Several fans posted their videos. Thanks to them for sharing!

This is a video of the boys walking into the Meet and Greet posted by FanDeLoK. You can see the people lined up behind them waiting to get autographs.




The second video is by Philip Van. He posted the video with music in the background as well as this one without music so you can hear what the boys are saying.

We find out that Bertie has been in the choir for 3 years. Tiarnan says that the Basilica is probably the best place they've ever sung - it's quite big. A lady ahead in line keeps asking who Sam Leggett is. lol. She then asks who sang the high part, and Tom says, "That was me."

Sam Wiggin says that the choir practices 4 times a week. Kavana reveals that they stayed in the US for 5 more days after the concert and that they might be coming back to the US!

And oh my word, Gabe cuteness alert! Cassius calls Gabe a small midget to which Gabe replies, "I'm not the youngest, OK? I'm older than 3 people. And I'm still the smallest. Actually I'm not the smallest. lol.




This third video by Enjay Sea is especially great because you can hear Isaac say his lines in Gaelic from the concert. Daniel says that he's been singing in the choir for about 7 years. It turns out that Alex Gula did NOT draw on the table. It was Matthew Madine and his green marker. (Actually a lot of markers bled through fabric onto the tablecloth. lol.) Isn't Ben so sweet to sleepy Marc? Hugs! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Washington DC Concert & DVD Recording


Basilica of the National Shrine - photo by Roberto Ibanez


Hello to everyone from my nation's capitol of Washington DC! It's time to talk about another DVD filming! Yes, that's right! There's a new DVD coming out in March 2015 from PBS! We're going to get so spoiled! The filming of this DVD was a two-day-long process, and it was a little different from the one last year in Armagh. The boys did a "practice concert" on Wednesday where just the stage was filmed, and then they did the big concert on Thursday with a full audience of about 1,500 people and all the camera shots that go along with that. I was able to go to both of the concerts, and they were both spectacular! I cannot wait for this DVD! So let's talk about the concert. 


Sign in Basilica vestibule - photo by Patrick

Stage - photo by Steve Centanni

Musicians on the left

Musicians on the right

Audience of 1,500 - photo by Steve Centanni

It's hard to describe how many people were here.
You can't see the front or side sections at all. It was packed!
Photo by Patrick


The filming was an interesting process. The flow is very different from your normal concert. Libera would perform a song, we would clap, and then we'd all sit quietly (while the boys stood patiently) and wait to make sure the director was happy. Sometimes he asked for all or a part of a song to be shot again, and different camera angles were used. We could hear the production team talking to each other through their microphones. Our assistant director, Andre Teelen, was from Holland, and he didn't really prompt us to clap longer as in Armagh, but he did explain if we had to wait awhile. Once the director said everything was good, Robert Prizeman would wave to the boys, and they would take their positions for the next song. There wasn't as much fussing with hair and makeup as in Armagh (that seemed to be after every song), but sometimes Steven would come out to reposition a boy or fix a microphone.

There were ten cameras in the Basilica, including the tall jibby-jib, cameras on the floor and front pew, cameras in the balconies, a handheld camera, and a steadicam! That was fun to watch! I can't imagine lugging that heavy thing around for all that time! The steadicam guy ran across the stage or down the aisles while another guy squatted down and followed him around holding a black box. He was electronically adjusting the focus so the first guy didn't have to let go of the camera. It was fun to talk to them about how all of the equipment works!


There were 30 boys listed in the program as choristers. As in the last DVD filming, we had a lot of our big boys back up on stage! Tiarnan, Daniel, Sammy, and Sam were all there, and now Sam has beaten his own high score for being the oldest boy to sing in Libera! He's now 19 years and 10 months! We got another nice surprise when Josh came off the piano to don the white robe and sing in two of the songs! We had some who are not newbies to the stage, but this was the first big tour for them - Shay Balsekar, Timothy Lee, Rocco Tesei, and Camden Stewart! They did so well! Camden's dad was even able to come see him perform! I got to sit next to him during the concert! :) 

Here is the chorister list. I added Josh. :) 

1.   Marc Alvares
2.   Shay Balsekar
3.   Henry Barrington
4.   Anthony Blake
5.   Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
6.   Tiarnan Branson
7.   Gabriel Collins
8.   Kavana Crossley
9.   Thomas Delgado-Little
10. Ben Fairman
11. Daniel Fontannaz
12. Alex Gula
13. Matthew Jansen
14. Timothy Lee
15. Sam Leggett
16. Isaac London
17. Joshua Madine
18. Matthew Madine
19. Eoghan McCarthy
20. Alessandro MacKinnon-Botti
21. Michael Menezes
22. Alex Montoro
23. Sam Moriarty
24. Jakub Niedermaier-Reed
25. Rocco Tesei
26. Cassius O'Connell-White
27. Matthew Rangel-Alvares
28. Bertramo Smart
29. Camden Stewart
30. Sam Wiggin
31. Lucas Wood

Musical Director - Robert Prizeman
Assistant Musical Directors - Sam Coates, Steven Geraghty
Violin - Christina Wensel, Regino Madrid, Mari Uehara Washington, Luke Wedge, Armine Graham
Viola - Robin Massie-Pighee, Nick Hodges
Cello - Ben Wensel, Jessica Nilles
Double Bass - Regan Brough
Flute/Whistle - Laura Byrne
Clarinet - Adrienne Hodges
Oboe - Alison Lowell
Horn - Aaron Cockson
Percussion - Mathias Kunzli, Sidonie Wade
Keyboard - Joshua Madine, Steven Geraghty

Sound mixing & production - Sam Coates
Stage management - Jonathan Barrington, Luke Avery, Simon Lewis
Lighting Director - Jeroen Jans
Tour co-ordination & chaperone - Barbara Geraghty, Eleanor Lewis
Concert management - John Rexroad, Steven Philipp
Production co-ordination - Andrew Winter


Libera performed 17 songs. The assistant director told us they would not necessarily be in this order on the DVD. There was no encore, but we did get 2 new songs!

1.   Joyful Joyful
       Robert Prizeman wrote a new arrangement of this hymn and introduced it for the first time in April in New York City. It was a really happy and invigorating opening to the concert. The beginning of the song was all new with a nice flute part.

2.   How Can I Keep From Singing
       Tom sang the high notes.

3.   Be Still My Soul
       Josh put on a white robe and sang for this song. On the second verse, everyone sang quite low, even the treble boys. Tom sang a new, beautiful high part. Really lovely.

4.   Morning Has Broken
       Here's where the lighting started to get really amazing. On this song it looked like sun rays were coming out! Wait til you see it! Alessandro, Ciaran, Sam, and Isaac sang by themselves at first.

Speech - Ciaran and Ben explaining that this is Libera's third PBS concert, but it's the first one they've ever made in the USA. :)

5.   America the Beautiful - NEW SONG
       This is a very patriotic song in America, and Libera just made it spectacular! Isaac sang by himself at first then with Alessandro and Sam. Tom and Lucas sang the high part. There were red lights shooting out from the altar with a stripe of white light coming out of the center. As the song went along it got more and more powerful until it swelled on the last verse. For the last verse, all the boys moved to the center of the stage, but Gabe was so into the song that he didn't realize everyone had moved and just continued to sing from his spot on the left side. At the end of the song, everyone clapped then Steven came out and put him back in position. It was so adorable that everyone clapped and cheered again. I'm really glad that Libera did this song because my great-uncle and great-aunt came and his is a retired US Navy commander. They came to the concert with a large group of their friends who are also retired US military officers. One was a 3-star general! He told us he loved the concert! :)

6.   Wayfaring Stranger
       This song is stunning! Sam W soloed the first verse from the back of the stage then the full choir sang the chorus. Sam then slowly walked forward while singing the second verse, and the choir formed a "V" with Sam front and center. This song has such amazing harmonies. It's just gorgeous. You're going to love this one when you see and hear it!

Speech - Cassius and Ben told us that Rocco is the youngest on stage at age 9. Cassius is "old" at age 12, and he's been in the choir for 5 years. Then 6 boys spoke in the language of where their family is from - Alex G - Polish, Lucas - Spanish (Mexico), Tom - Spanish (Spain), Sam W - French, Isaac - Gaelic (Ireland), Alex M - Italian. They said their names and what parent had heritage from another country. They each finished with the line "It's a wonderful world" in their language.

7.   Wonderful World
       The solo by Isaac was fabulous! This was a new song in April. I'm so happy that I got to hear it, and you will be, too! :D

8.   Amazing Grace
       This is another song that was new in April, and it may make you cry. They filmed a close-up of Josh playing the piano at the beginning. There were red lights shining up the pillars of the altar. Ciaran has a beautiful solo on the next to last verse.

9.   The Prayer - NEW SONG
       You may know this song because it's been sung by Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, and Josh Groban. Now it's Libera's turn. The boys started out kneeling. Isaac sang the solo then beautiful harmonies joined in. This one is stunning and made many people cry.

Interval

10. I Vow To Thee My Country
       The first verse was sung by Tom, Alessandro, Alex M, Lucas, Sam W, and Isaac. Ciaran and Matthew J sang the "ooh's." Tom sang the last "And all her paths are peace" with Ciaran harmonizing with him.

11. Ave Maria
       Tom was in the center with 11 boys kneeling behind him. Tom's solo was so pure that it was like a crystal bell. Just amazing!

12. How Great Thou Art
       Aaah! This is my favorite hymn! Sam W sang the solo on the first verse. His voice reminds me a little bit of Josh's voice. It's very smooth. The song builds in volume and intensity. It's very moving.

Speech - Ciaran and Alessandro introduced the next 2 songs.

13. Rest In Peace
       This song was written after 9/11. Tom sang the solo. Sam W sang the ah's.

14. Sanctus
       Bertie sang the middle "ah's" and the last "Sanctus, sanctus." Lucas sang the high part. There was a beautiful green light effect.

15. Song of Life
       Really great solo by Isaac with the rest joining in on the chorus.

16. How Shall I Sing That Majesty
       This song was stunning! Lucas and Alessandro sang the solos with Tom on the high part. 

17. Voca Me
       My favorite of the concert!! Josh was back singing for this song. There was a moving white light shining out from the altar. Tom was in the back by the altar to sing the high notes. Matthew J sang the "Lacrymosa" solo. He has always had a great voice. It's a little lower now but still great! As you know, this song just builds and builds until there's an ecstatic peak, then Ciaran and Matthew J sang the last, quiet "Voca Me." 

Next came the longest standing ovation I've ever seen. The assistant director didn't even have to tell us to stand up and clap. lol. We just kept clapping and clapping! After a while, the boys coaxed Tom to move forward to the front of the stage, and the crowd started loudly cheering and clapping some more! I think the boys really realized how great of a job they had done and how much the audience loved it. When we finished clapping, we sat down to await the director's instructions. But there were none. No retake needed on that one! Robert Prizeman dismissed the boys and they waved to the audience as they left the stage. And the audience clapped again. lol.


At the end of the first "rehearsal" concert on Wednesday


There were a lot of Libera souvenirs for sale (they should also be on sale on Libera.org soon) in the lower level of the Basilica. That's also where the Meet & Greet was held. 


Libera t-shirts, hoodies, hats, Christmas ornaments, Moose!

Libera CDs, DVDs, 13-month calendar! - photo by Patrick

Libera Moose, wrist bands, lanyards, UK & USA flags - photo by Patrick

Libera posters, special 36-page picture book - photo by Patrick

People buying Libera souvenirs


The Meet & Greet was listed in the program, but the line for it was not super long. I know for sure there weren't 1,500 people waiting. I think some people didn't go to it because it wasn't announced during the interval or they had to catch their train home. This was a Thursday night, so many probably had work the next day.



First in line!

The boys walking in for the signing

30 boys at the signing table!

It's really fun to go to a signing (what we call a Meet & Greet). The boys are in such a good mood after a concert, and they're so fun and funny to talk to. Even the newbies are good at talking to people they don't really know. Now get ready for a lot of pictures! :)



Isaac, Kuba, Ciaran

Ciaran

Sammy

Bertie

Matthew J, Tiarnan

Alessandro

Rocco, Alex M - photo by Patrick (they weren't looking right at me in my pic). lol

Daniel, Marc


Ben, Tom

Lucas, Sam W, Alex G

Matthew M, Michael M

Kavana, Eoghan, Cassius

Cassius, Gabe

Timothy

Anthony

Henry, Sam L, Tom, Matthew R-A

Shay, Camden

And now some candid shots. All photos on this blog are by me unless I credit the person who took them. If you copy any pictures, please remember to give the photographer credit.


Daniel

The line... 

Eoghan 

Timothy

...the line.

Kavana

Cassius & Gabe talking to Camden's dad

Anthony, Henry, Sam L, Matthew R-A

Ben, Tom, Lucas, Sam W, Alex G - photo by Patrick 

Alex G, Gabe, Timothy - photo by Patrick


Now a message from my mom - 
Thank you to the many people who sent pictures to me. If anyone else has any pictures you'd like to share with the fans, please send them to LBooth311@aol.com. 

We'd like to thank John Rexroad for sponsoring this tour for Libera. We also want to acknowledge the many donors all over the world who helped to sponsor this DVD production. Donations are still needed to finish paying for the DVD and can be made at Libera.org.

Thank you to the volunteer usher crew on Thursday. You may have noticed them in red Libera polo shirts. They are Kent, Tom, Patrick, Andreas, Paul, John, Luke, Fred, and Roberto. Thank you to the volunteers at the Will-Call desk - Stephanie, Mike, and Stephanie - and to the Basilica staff, especially Brandon. He's so amazing and efficient that he should be running the White House!

And now back to me, Lexi... thank you to Libera staff and boys for all your hard work and for coming to the USA again to make another DVD for all of your fans to enjoy! Can't wait until March 2015 to see it! These were the most amazing concerts ever! :D