This autographed program from an Atlanta 2010 concert became the inspiration for a story I spent more than a year writing. It is not meant to be biographical or documentary in any way. It is, as the title plainly states, "a fictional story".
Libera, a 26 member British boys choir ages 8 to 15 from South London, embark on a 6 week 21 city tour of the United States completely funded by an anonymous benefactor. The equally mysterious promoter, Marcus Edwards, sees to all of the group's needs while trying to prevent them and anyone else from learning the true reason for their benefactor's generosity. Josh, 15 year old Head Chorister, must handle his leadership of the choir while trying to sort through an inner conflict concerning the jumble of truth and lies used by the adults in charge to protect the motive for the tour, a tragedy linking contemporary technology to a celestial event millions of years old.
Told from the perspective of the final reception on the grounds of Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC, we learn of the near fatal accident involving 10 year old Freddie’s Mother in the Ural Mountains of Russia which ends up revealing some of the truth to him after he is flown to be with her. Masha Tereshkova, a Russian liaison, is also in Washington to learn what more she can. Libera’s Producer, is the only one who knows the full story while the boys, their families and Libera’s Director are contractually required to be unaware of the matter’s details.
During the tour a mutual antagonism between brothers Henry 10 and Jonathan 14 reconciles itself to one of mutual respect as Jonathan recognizes and supports Henry’s superior singing ability. They join to help present a very special rendition of “America The Beautiful” at the Washington concert. Ben 15 is dealing with the emotional reality of this being his last tour with the group and saying goodbye at the Final Celebration Performance to what has been his surrogate family for the past eight years. Zack 9, the shortest person in the choir, handles his position with comic fortitude.
All must manage the reaction of fans and press at each stop on the tour and at several unannounced small Parish visits they make. One of these side trips ends up in the middle of the night at a remote southwest desert hospital compound guarded by a joint US and UK military contingent where some of the sad puzzle is put together.
An unfortunate incident renders Liam 13, recognized as the best singer in the group, unable to perform at the last show. A somewhat controversial replacement is found among the National Cathedral’s Choristers who are volunteering in production support roles for the event. David Penn 13 has his own secret. An invited group of Libera Alumni are also present and assist the worn, harried production crew with the last performance.
Immediately prior to the tour's finale, the boys reveal to Edwards their collected knowledge of his background and of the more than one hundred British citizens; families, who perished of the unforeseen effects from a rocket engine test in the desert one year ago. Individual sentiments among choir and audience members are resolved with the light hearted, sacred and surprising aspects of the closing program where Libera’s talent, friendship and character are proven to all.