New UK Concert 23 April 2016 at Romsey Abbey

Talks and reviews about Libera concerts or public appearances

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Liberanna
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Liberanna » 1 year ago

Yorkie wrote:I have one good premium seat available if anybody is thinking of going at the last minute or missed out on premium seats when the tickets went on sale.Just DM me if interested.

I would be the happiest if I could go! :? But unfortunately, I'm busy. I've never been Libera concert. Does anyone know why they do not tour in Central Europe?

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fan_de_LoK
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by fan_de_LoK » 1 year ago

Liberanna wrote:Does anyone know why they do not tour in Central Europe?
Good news, you can easily have Libera to do a concert in your town :)
What you have to do is just to pay for planes, hotels, meals, entertainments for 40 persons,
Then you have to pay to book a venue, to rent audio and lights materials, to hire a staff of technicians and a group of musicians.
Once you have paid for all this, then you can have Libera :lol:

Seriously, people don't think how much money it is to set a Libera concert... It's several tens of thousand Pounds.
And in most of the cases the tickets incomes will not cover the expenses.

Liberanna
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Liberanna » 1 year ago

fan_de_LoK wrote:
Liberanna wrote:Does anyone know why they do not tour in Central Europe?
Good news, you can easily have Libera to do a concert in your town :)
What you have to do is just to pay for planes, hotels, meals, entertainments for 40 persons,
Then you have to pay to book a venue, to rent audio and lights materials, to hire a staff of technicians and a group of musicians.
Once you have paid for all this, then you can have Libera.
Unfortunately , you're right . Difficult life is a non-profit organization. Going to the lottery , I hope I win a few thousand dollars. :D

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alcesalcesobservator
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by alcesalcesobservator » 1 year ago

Okay, where is everybody? There's been a concert and not so much as a picture? Not a single review?

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john45
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by john45 » 1 year ago

alcesalcesobservator wrote:Okay, where is everybody? There's been a concert and not so much as a picture? Not a single review?
There was a lot of activity on twitter and you can get an almost live blow by blow account by following @KnightofNorbury @fan_de_LoK and @DearLibera.
While the twitter information is much appreciated, I miss the comprehensive reviews from these writers (hint,hint).
Even though twitter records are permanent they soon get lost among a prolific tweeter's thousands of other tweets whereas material on Libera Dreams is both searchable and easily accessible.

For the record, the venue was aesthetically and acoustically excellent. There was a full house but audience capacity is quite small (about 550 including side aisles) so breaking even might not have been achieved (or so I'm told). However cameras with jumbo screens for the side aisles are a permanent fixture of the Abbey which saved some expense.

The program was almost identical to Korea with "Angels we have Heard" replaced by "Voca Me" (soloist Alex M - from the Pulpit) and included the Korean encore. Personally, although the performance was technically excellent, I did not think "Nearer my God" was enhanced by the string accompaniment and I missed Sam's deeper tones. All the usual soloists were in fine form and any voice concerns raised by program changes in Korea were allayed (at least for now).

The 3 choristers missing from Korea (Ben B, Arthur and Oliver) were back (but still no Tom D-L or Joe). All choristers were fully shod (some with minor repairs).

Performances were all excellent and received two standing ovations. Two of my guests were first timers - and both were blown away.

Many thanks to all.

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Yorkie
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Yorkie » 1 year ago

32 boys were in attendance which John mentioned above but for the record I'll list them here:

Marc Alvares
Shay Balsekar
Leo Barron
Emanuele Borrelli
Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey
Merlin Brouwer
Ben Bywater
Gabriel Collins
Henry Cullinan-Hollihead
Tadhg Fitzgerald
Alex Gula
Adam Izghouti
Peter Kielty
Timothy Lee
Isaac London
Gregor Lumsden
Matthew Madine
Alessandro McKinnon-Botti
James Menezes
Michael Menezes
Alex Montoro
Mathias Montoro
Oliver Mycka
Arthur Palmer
Taichi Shinokubo
Camden Stewart
Rocco Tesei
Sam Wiggin
Finn Wood
Lucas Wood
Matthew Jansen
Cassius O'Connell-White

Set list was:

1 - Joyful Joyful
2 -Sanctus
3- The Prayer
4- Salva Me
5- Stay With Me
6- The Wexford Carol
7 Amazing Grace
8- How Great Thou Art
9- Angel
10- Exultate

11- Voca Me
12- Orinoco Flow
13- Song of Life
14- Wayfaring Stranger
15- Wonderful World
16- Sacris Solemnis
17- Nearer My God to Thee
18- Libera
Encore - Arirang

The problem with writing reviews is that I don't take notes any longer (since we were politely asked to desist as it made the boys nervous) and therefore it is difficult with advancing years to recall the who, what, and how from only seeing one show. I can try and pad out some of my experiences of my trip but I'm not sure how interesting that would be for people.
Last edited by Yorkie on Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Yorkie
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Yorkie » 1 year ago

So, yet again Libera surprised us with a short notice announcement of a concert in a far flung corner of the UK; not May this time but April and almost certainly due to the difficulty in finding a venue. It seems Guildford Cathedral, which does make for an excellent location with ease of travel from London, good facilities, and a good acoustic is undergoing roof repairs. Apparently they are holding services outside in a marquee. Not the Libera way!

I don’t know how they knew about Romsey Abbey but obviously Libera has contacts everywhere and they managed to get a booking in this beautiful thousand year old abbey which is very busy with events and music. The night before the Libera concert they hosted a fund raising dinner (£90 a ticket) and charity auction to raise money for orphans of Ebola. On the Sunday after the concert they were hosting over 600 boy scouts. It is a regular venue for classical concerts and they even have an in-house team to televise the stage show to the attendees in the side aisles who otherwise would have no view of the stage (also owned by the abbey). In case you’re wondering they don’t record the concerts! The Abbey has its own choirs a traditional men and boys and also a girls choir. They have a young music director whom I’m told is determined to push the standard up to the highest level. It seems the town has a great tradition of singing as there are at least six different choral groups based there.

I came down to Romsey the day before to give me the chance to do some sightseeing at some other nearby Cathedrals (Winchester & Salisbury) and also a stop off in Oxford where I got to see Liam Connery singing in Christ Church Cathedral. Evensong at Winchester was excellent (they were just back from singing in Italy, including for the Pope in the Sistine Chapel) and I posted some photos on Twitter of all the venues which I might try and upload. I didn’t take any pictures of Libera because I was too busy applauding!

Arriving in Romsey just after midday (no queuing these days but old habits die hard) found a surprisingly unhurried team, including Kavana & Matthew J) going about their business in setting up for the concert. The small stage had been assembled by the abbey’s own team (and more or less as soon as the boys had walked off stage at the end of the night they moved in to start dismantling it). Kavana is currently taking on official photographer duties it seems and if you see any official photos from Libera they will be his, although there was also a photographer from the Abbey as well. We learned later that the boy’s bus was delayed in traffic so they arrived at the venue somewhat later than they intended. During the afternoon a song was played to test the speakers that I didn’t recognise and neither did Patrick or John. It sounded a bit like Home (so Muramatsu like) but the words didn’t seem to be those of Home (which is a song I haven’t played much) and I thought it sounded like Isaac. I thought it might be a new song that would be unveiled but no such luck so I’m beginning to suspect it was Home (sorry Ciaran to confuse you with Isaac).

The Abbey doesn’t close for anything during the day as it is the main tourist attraction in town and that includes Libera rehearsals. So, those of us present were able to sit through the sound checks and practice of a few songs. I’ve only experienced this once before I think in Chester in 2010. It wasn’t as intensive this time and I suspect it was because the boys were well practiced due to the recent tour to Korea. One song they did do a few times was Nearer My God to Thee due to a new arrangement and Camden replacing Sam in the 5 boy line up. They did a mic checked by practising their scales singing the numbers from one to eight and back again or a rising scale that sounded like ‘ma, ma, ma, ma…’ and then did a group warm up singing ‘ma, ma, ma’ in an ever higher scale with a piano accompaniment and then they did the ‘zinga mama, zing, zing, zing’ scale that they demonstrated in concert a few years back (as one of the speeches during the concert) During the rehearsal I nipped out and saw the snacks that were being prepared, which as well as the usual selection of sandwiches included carrot and cucumber sticks. Yuck. The parents might be pleased but those poor kids!

And now we get to the concert which is where I will struggle because I just relaxed and enjoyed the show. To be able to capture the detail to write a review I have to focus so hard that I don’t enjoy it, and well, what’s the point of that? I can say immediately that Sacris Solemnis was my favourite performance of the night. It sounded perfect amidst the beauty of the thousand year old Abbey, the coloured lighting adding to the atmosphere and the blend of sound was perfect. This is why I like Libera concerts in old churches; the architecture and song can just gel in a perfect and memorable way that you just can’t get in a concert hall. I think it was Alex M on the piercingly high notes but hopefully somebody else can confirm that. There was a beautiful contrast between the main vocal line of the song and the harmony of the lower chant behind it, before finishing with a final Gaudia (who sang that final Gaudia???)

The staging had Robert placed in centre stage just forward of the front audience row. The musicians, including Josh on keyboards and piano, was to the audience right behind and to the side of the stage in the south transept. They would have very little view of Robert during the concert. The stage was small and on a number of the songs some of the boys would leave it even though they are all concert veterans.
Some things that I can remember of the night – missing shoes! Yes, it happened again. We had a technical glitch with the first half speech made by Alessandro & Ciaran about where the boys live and walking around in robes (bad feedback so they switched off the mics) We could hear them near the front but it was lost at the back so they repeated the speech in the second half. The technical issue resulted in a lengthy pause before the start of the next song (Wexford Carol). Fortunately the sound was fine when it counted for the singing. There was also an issue with the ‘normal’ plain lighting which lit up the stage, it would cut out at the wrong time leaving everything in darkness. Wexford Carol had Isaac starting, then Camden took up the song before the others joined in. I noticed that the flautist (who came to the front of stage) had a head mic on to pick up the sound.

A funny moment was at the start of Exultate – the flautist appeared on the right of the stage but where was the percussionist with his drum? The silence went on for ever and then a figure appeared having walked all the way around the back of the stage to take up his position front left with his drum. He turned to face the boys and puffed out his cheeks and raised his eyebrows to indicate what an effort it had been to get there. This really cracked up a few of the boys and Isaac and Cassius were still grinning and trying not to laugh well in to the song.

The Prayer had the boys kneeling as usual and Isaac on the main vocal. He was introduced as having just turned 13. He still has his high notes but he also seems to have a deepening lower range if it wasn’t in my imagination. Gabe got the role of delivering the high Salvas in Salva Me and delivered them with confidence. Stay With Me was Merlin on the main (Ed Day) part and Taichi did the high fill in’s (Liam part). Merlin & Taichi have good voices, perhaps a bit soft at times during the song. After the boys cleared the stage for the interval Ciaran remained behind to introduce the charity that allows you to sponsor a child in the third world.

Voca Me started the second half and as John said they didn’t hide Alex M away for his high notes he was in the ornately carved pulpit to the left of the stage. I love Voca Me but my personal choice in this style of venue is to start the second half with Mysterium – we have had some cracking arrangements of it down the years. O-flow next and I thought it had a slightly reworked instrumentation than previous versions, with some embellishments by the wind instruments in the second part of the song.

Another strong performance on the night was Wayfaring Stranger with a faultless vocal by Alessandro who has a beautiful rich voice that is bang on the money at the moment. This is a very moving arrangement and a real Libera classic. Like Isaac (and I think Ciaran) Alessandro is also 13 and whilst that age brings out the finest quality in a boys voice it also heralds the end of a glorious Treble/alto career, but none of them are showing signs yet fortunately :D This was followed by the now familiar languages speech before heading in to Wonderful World with Isaac doing his usual faultless vocals. Nearer My God introduced a backing instrumental from the musicians, personally I prefer the previous a cappella version which was very effective with just the five boys on stage. Not that this was bad but it didn’t wow me like the first time I heard it performed in Exeter last year.

So, the encore was the Korean song Arirang. I’m honestly not sure about this one. It didn’t capture me at the time but walking back to the pub after the concert it was the song I was humming so……My apologies for lacking more descriptions and detail. I’ll now see if I can attach some photos.

Oh, and just a final note, after the boys left the stage it was Kav who swooped down to whisk moose back to the safety of the choir room :D
Last edited by Yorkie on Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:42 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Yorkie
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Yorkie » 1 year ago

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Romsey Abbey
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Yorkie
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Yorkie » 1 year ago

Some pictures posted by Official Libera Twitter feed:
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Offical Libera
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Yorkie
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Yorkie » 1 year ago

Some pictures from Romsey Abbey Twitter feed:
Romsey Abbey 1.jpg
courtesy of Romsey Abbey Twitter Feed
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Romsey Abbey 1.jpg
courtesy of Romsey Abbey Twitter Feed
Romsey Abbey 1.jpg (59.26 KiB) Viewed 440 times
Romsey Abbey 2.jpg
courtesy of Romsey Abbey Twitter feed
Romsey Abbey 2.jpg (155.51 KiB) Viewed 440 times
Romsey Abbey 2.jpg
courtesy of Romsey Abbey Twitter feed
Romsey Abbey 2.jpg (155.51 KiB) Viewed 440 times
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john45
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by john45 » 1 year ago

Thanks Andy. Always a pleasure to read your reviews.

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fan_de_LoK
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by fan_de_LoK » 1 year ago

Thank you very much Yorkie for that great review ! :D

To answer you :

I think it was Alex M on the piercingly high notes but hopefully somebody else can confirm that.
--> Alex M and Isaac sung the high parts :)
In Korea I only saw Alex M on the high notes, but John pointed that Isaac is also involved.
And he's right, Saturday I saw Isaac singing the high notes with Alex and they were both excellent.

Like you, I also feel that this song Sacris Solemnis is one of the highlights of the concert, it was also my feeling during the recent concerts in Korea :)

"(who sang that final Gaudia???)"
--> Lucas :wink:

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Yorkie
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Yorkie » 1 year ago

Thanks both and Patrick, what has happened to your review writing? I don't think you did anything for the Philippines or Korea :( Will we get anything for Romsey?
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fan_de_LoK
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by fan_de_LoK » 1 year ago

I started to write a detailed review after the Cebu concert while waiting for my connection plane at Incheon Airport.
But I went suddenly hit by a strong steepness as it was between 4:00 and 06:00 am and I couldn't finish it, i not even reached the intermission !
And once at home then the routine time of work, and many other things, and the tour to Korea to prepare, and also my usual huge laziness, prevented me to continue the writing... :|

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Yorkie
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Re: New UK Concert 23 April 2016

Post by Yorkie » 1 year ago

fan_de_LoK wrote:I started to write a detailed review after the Cebu concert while waiting for my connection plane at Incheon Airport.
But I went suddenly hit by a strong steepness as it was between 4:00 and 06:00 am and I couldn't finish it, i not even reached the intermission !
And once at home then the routine time of work, and many other things, and the tour to Korea to prepare, and also my usual huge laziness, prevented me to continue the writing... :|
Go on, take an hour tonight to say a few words about each song and who sung each one - nobody does it better than you.
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