Excerpt for Hope's Song by , available in its entirety at Smashwords




By Alexa Ortuoste

Published by Blessry Publishing House at Smashwords


Copyright 2018 Alexa Ortuoste


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Names and persons in this eBook are entirely fictional.


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To Flyn and her beautiful little treasures, Kaoru and Kaede.


And also to Kuya Jaggy.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson



To sing is to pray twice.

– St. Augustine

Hope Francis loved to sing and perform. She started singing at a young age in different occasions, and her mother and father took turns in accompanying her to school activities, birthday parties, weddings and contests. They enrolled her in a dance class when she was in fourth grade to improve her stage presence, and for a year Hope learned piano so she could read music.


Six months ago, Hope turned twelve and became a member of the church youth choir. It was her parents’ idea to introduce her to a musical group and its leader, Rita, an eighteen-year-old girl. Hope attended an hour of choir practice on Saturdays.  It thrilled her the most when she put on the silky white robe for church service every Sunday. It was different from what she wore in her years of singing, and her mother chose most of her dresses for competitions. 


Ever since she learned how to play the piano, Hope wondered what it was like to sing a song she wrote by herself. She did not mind belting out the popular ballads on stage; the audience responded more to her performance if they knew what she was singing, but her curiosity in singing an original led her to form melodies in her head. Grateful for the lessons from Mr. LaMorena, she wrote this development of chords on her music notebook. It wasn’t long before she found the right lyrics to match the tune. 


She did not show her first composition to anyone, and no one shared her delight as she composed four more songs after that. She only played them in her room, and Hope just waited for the perfect time to tell her parents. 


She was relieved when the year ended since Christmas was her favorite holiday. The choir practiced every day since the start of December for two important reasons. They had to go caroling around town in the evening, and they had to do a mini-concert on Christmas Day church service.


Ten days before Christmas, Hope came home and found her parents in the living room. 


“Hope, we have a favor to ask of you,” Mrs. Francis said as she held a long light blue card in her hand.


“What is it, Mommy?” 


“The local library gave us this invitation for their holiday activities. Your Dad and I know you’re busy with the choir but we plan to volunteer.” 


Her father added, “The library is hosting a program for the elderly and the children.”


“Will you sing for them?” her mother asked.


She read the invitation and frowned. “It’s a four-day event.” 


“Yes, dear. That includes the Christmas parties for the staff and volunteers.”

“I don’t want to miss choir rehearsal." She looked at her parents. "I'm planning to ask Rita to let me sing solo in our mini-concert.” 


“But you're a member, not a soloist,” her father said with an uneasy smile.


“Still, I want to sing the part on the twenty-fifth.”


 “Hope, that role is for regular church soloists only,” he added. “You’re not old enough to be one. Besides, you have plenty of opportunities to sing alone at school or birthday parties.” 


"But I was hoping to change Rita’s mind and play Joyful Tidings, the song I wrote with my piano."


Her parents looked surprised. “Wow! That’s great, Hope! We didn’t know you could write a song, but ...” he said, “in the meantime, we want you to be with an ensemble.”


“Why don’t you sing at the library this time?” her mother interrupted. “Tomorrow, you'll inform Rita and I’m sure she understands.” 


Hope lay on her bed that night and wished that Rita wouldn’t agree to her parents’ plans. Mr. and Mrs. Francis had always managed the schedule of her performances in the past, and not once had she shown a reluctance to accept an invitation. Until today.


She tried to shake off the small guilt in her stomach. It took her a month to write the Christmas song, and she found the opportunity to sing it at the mini-concert. If she could convince Rita to let her sing the solo part, then maybe her parents wouldn’t mind if she refused to go to the library.


Rita hesitated after Hope told her she'd be missing rehearsal for four days. But the older girl said three other members missed rehearsals due to family or work priorities, and she understood if Hope’s parents wanted to include their daughter in volunteer activities. Hope, however, did not expect her to agree right away.


“But I told my parents I don’t need to be there for four straight days,” she said.


“It’s okay. You can sing for them for as long as they need you. You learn fast and you’re very familiar with our music by now.”


Hope nibbled on her lower lip and decided to tell her plans. “Rita, will you let me sing solo on Christmas Day?”

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