9th September 2016

Libera the Charity

Libera is a UK charity based in South London with a mission to keep alive and actively encourage the tradition of boys’ choral singing. The charity arranges the recruitment and manages the training and performances of youngsters who come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Through learning to sing a broad range of vocal music – from ancient plainsong, across the classics to contemporary church music – the boys are given an intense training which is widely regarded as one of the best initial musical activities. This is because it teaches children to have a concept of the sound they need to make in their head before they produce the notes with their voice. Libera boys develop teamwork, self-discipline and confidence, and they experience the joy of achieving the highest possible performance standards, on a par with professional singing groups.

Libera boys attend many different inner-city state schools. The only criterion for entry is that they should have musical potential. Most join between 7 – 9 years old. They rehearse and perform as Libera for about 8 hours a week, and lead worship in various churches in and around South London. Boys are given the experience of singing in a wide range of sacred and secular venues together with studio based recordings, and performances for TV/Radio and other media.

With its distinctive musical style and high standards, Libera is able to reach beyond London and perform to large audiences at home and abroad, furthering not just the reputation of the group but also the concept of boys singing in general, which in many countries is nowadays quite a rarity.

Although some of the Libera activities cover their own expenses, and we receive royalty income from past recordings, this does not fund all the day to day running costs of the group and the ongoing musical training of the boys. These costs are supported by charitable contributions from generous donors. This generosity ensures that the boys are able to perform to such exceptionally high standards and also that Libera is able to perform in places where our costs are not covered by income.

As boys grow older and their voices change many continue to sing with their new harmony parts – alto, tenor and bass. Some pass on their skills by mentoring younger ones and some take on supporting roles in sound engineering, stage management, musical arrangement and accompanying performances.

Being a part of Libera is life changing for many of the boys. With their secure grounding in a shared activity working as a team to achieve the highest possible standards, the choir can offer a training for life and many go on to achieve excellence in their chosen careers whether in the performing arts or not.

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